Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rocky Mountain High

Since we arrived here in Monument we have been walking our 4 miles as usual. The difference now is the altitude. It is a whole lot different walking at 7100 ft. versus 800 ft.. Our lungs seem to be huffing and puffing more than usual and when we get to the top of the hill in the campground we are a little bit dizzier than normal. But we are starting to get use to it.
Monday after the service tech that was working on our washer left, we had to run some errands. We had to take Maxine’s leather coat and pants that she wears on cold days on the motorcycle in to get cleaned. They were inside the motorcycle cargo trailer and ended up getting wet. We found a dry cleaner that will send them out and have them conditioned. We then went to Wal-mart and bought groceries. After getting them back home we took a tour of Monument and picked out places of interest to come back to later.
We made it home for Monday night football in which the Chiefs were playing San Diego. The Chiefs had an ugly win but it is still a win. The positives were a much improved defense and special teams play. The offense still needs a lot of work. We watched the game outside for the first half then it was getting too cool so we moved inside for the second half. The game ended at about 11:30 and we headed for bed.
Tuesday was a day spent doing laundry and financials. So far we can use the washing machine if I jiggle the door locking switch while standing on one leg, with fingers crossed and one eye closed. We got caught up thankfully and did not have to go to the laundry mat. After getting caught up on everything we went to a Mexican restaurant and splurged on dinner and drinks. After that meal we will have to walk a little more this week.
Wednesday we went to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. This Monument is one of the richest and most diverse fossil deposits in the world. Petrified redwood stumps up to 14 feet wide and thousands of detailed fossils of insects and plants reveal the story of a very different, prehistoric Colorado. It was about a 30 mile bike ride up to Florissant and an elevation of 8400 feet.
The visitor center has a short video of the area detailing how the fossil beds were formed. We are not that into fossils but it was very informative and it was interesting to look at. They have about 14 miles of hiking trails and that was the main reason we went.
We started out by hiking past the petrified redwood tree stumps. These looked like they would feel like wood but they are solid rock now. Here are a couple of pictures of the stumps.
The stumps were dated back to about 34 million years. There were numerous fossils inside the visitor center and the fossil lab were we looked at different fossilized insects and plants. After we spent some time looking at the fossils we then grabbed our hiking gear and headed out on one of the trails.
We were at an elevation of 8400 feet so we did not want to go to far, plus a lot of the trail was up hill. I had a backpack with plenty of water and Max had a belt bag with snacks and water. Now we have never been hiking in bear country so there are some precautions we needed to be aware of. Like talking on the trail, or wearing a bell on your shoes. Things that would alert a bear that you are in the area. This goes against my thinking. I think it would be better for a bear not to know I am there! Any way we headed out and started up the mountain. The trail took us through various valley’s and ridges. Here are a few picture’s.
The Trail Head
Pikes Peak way in the distance
Max using her orientation skills! (Bears are that way!)
We did not see any bears but we did see some old bear tracks and different animal scat along the trail. This is also Mountain Lion country as well and it was a little un-nerving that we were not the top of the food chain. I also wondered if it was a bad omen when my Prudential agent called and wanted to go over my life insurance policies. Well at least I knew we had cell service.
Beautiful valley
Remains of an old log cabin. I wonder what made the builder choose this location over any number of locations like this one.
The views were awesome and it was very quiet and peaceful.
A neat rock out cropping.
Heading back down the mountain
We made it back down the mountain and did not see any bears or cougars, but we saw signs that they were around. It was a very nice hike and we had gotten plenty of exercise. Walking our 4 miles a day has helped but we have a long way to go to get in shape.  We ended up the day by riding the 30 miles back to Monument and having dinner at Rosie’s, which was a 50’s style dinner that had really good food. We may have just ruined all the exercise we got for the day but it was very good. We made it back to the rig and finished off the night by watching a little tv. Now to decide what to do next?

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