A Beach Trip

I keep seeing people from home posting pictures from their beach trips.  Makes me miss sand & water.  Johnny has never been to the beach… I’m sure he would love it.  He loves anything to do with water!  Any time I start missing sand & water too much, we head up to Catamount Reservoir.

It was a powerful sight heading up to the reservoir.  The entrance to the reservoir goes right beside of the south side of the burn scar.  The picture below is a 180 degree panorama of Cascade.  You can see all of the mountains are burnt and this island of green with the town of Cascade in it.  Gives you a good view of just how close it came to those houses.  There is a medical specialist I see in Cascade & I spoke to him the other day – he said the bulldozers dug the fire line 200 yards from his house.  Crazy!

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Anyway, on to the hike.  We just took a quick hike in to get away from people.  =)

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Then we headed down to the “beach”.

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And more importantly, the water.

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This may be my most favorite picture ever:

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Johnny’s favorite activity of the day was taking rocks of all sizes & chucking them into the water.

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Followed by much celebration:

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Then we stopped the strenuous work of rock-chucking to eat a picnic lunch.

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Johnny made a new friend while eating lunch.  He had a little chipmunk that followed him around every step he took. He’s kinda hard to see in the pictures below… sort of blends into the background.  Just waiting for that sandwich to drop!

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I could spend every day like this…. just me & the boys, water & sand.

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Nature’s Beauty

When we were evacuated for the Waldo Canyon Fire, we headed down to Trinidad to stay at Doug’s parents new ranch house.  It was a nice retreat from the smoky air and chaos of the Springs.

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When the evacuation order was lifted and we went home, we quickly realized the smoke was still too bad to be in the house.  So we grabbed some camping gear and headed to the mountains – Lily Lake in the Sangre de Cristo mountains.

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We met up with Doug’s brothers to hang out.  This was Johnny’s first camping trip!  He was a very good helper with setting up the tent.

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Driving in a tent stake:

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With three uncles and two cousins there with us, there was lots of fun to be had.

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Miss Abbey was content to blow bubbles for Johnny to chase & pop!

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We went for a quick little hike.

Panorama

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Doug & I both agree, this valley is one of our favorite views in Colorado.

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It was very healing and refreshing to be in nature this weekend.  We had so much fun, we decided to take J camping again this coming weekend!

Nature’s Wrath

I’m sure by now, you have all heard of the Waldo Canyon Fire that has been raging outside of and in Colorado Springs this week.  The events that transpired over the last week are like something out of a nightmare. Or an action-packed movie. Not something that you would imagine in our calm life. We watched, day by day, as this fire built in size “safely” over the ridge of the front range. I never in a million years thought the fire would come into the city. Tuesday, everyone’s worst fears were realized as the fire jumped TWO containment lines and spread down into our lovely Northwest side.

 

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Top of the hill

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(the view from the top of our hill on Tuesday afternoon, right before the fire came over the ridge):

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(Photo credit: Marco Antonio Marchiani)

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(photo credit: Dana Smith)

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(photo credit: Chris Pareso)

We were among the 32,000 residents that evacuated – fleeing for our lives as this massive wall of fire entered the city.  This was hands down the scariest experience of my life (my sister said it even tops my labor with Johnny, which is saying something. I have to agree).

Today, we came back home.  The firefighters were able to stop the blaze about 2 miles before it got to our house.  Doug, Johnny & I are all safe.  Johnny is soundly sleeping in his bed.  This is more than I can say for a lot of folks who lost their homes or loved ones to this fire.

The scientific side of my mind makes sense of this fire with a formula that is something like this: over-growth + dry conditions + wind + spark = mighty big damn fire that wreaks havoc.  However, the emotional side of my mind can’t process this yet.  My heart weighs heavy for lives lost.  My heart weighs heavy for those who lost everything they had.  My heart weighs heavy for our beautiful vistas that are charred, burnt, and still smoking.  My heart weighs heavy for all of the beautiful hiking trails and open spaces that were destroyed… the places where we have made many memories as a family.

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Like a phoenix, the “burning down” of things, makes way for a new evolution – better than before.  I know beautiful things have & will come of this… a greater sense of community, a LOVE and adoration of brave, selfless firefighters, and nature’s power and beauty that exists, even in flames.  I hope, in time, the pain and heartache this community has felt will start to fade.