Thursday, September 4, 2014

Colorado Summer 2014

Yogi and BuBu in Colorado

Storm Clouds Over Boulder Colorado

You're probably asking yourself about the title since I haven't posted anything like it before now. Well I guess I would beYogi (not to be confused with the cartoon bear) since I am a devout practitioner and student of yoga although really, really, really far away from being any kind of master. BuBu refers to my car and traveling companion - a 2013 Subaru Outback wagon. After my trip around the world, I traded in my backpack for the car and have been exploring the American Southwest in it since end of April. It certainly adds a degree of comfort and spontaneity to things since I can also sleep in it.
BuBu on the road in Rifle Colorado

Cliffs practically grow out of the road so the approaches are negligible. 

Looking out from inside one the caves in Rifle. HARD climbing!!!
I came in to Colorado a couple of months ago after leaving Moab Utah. I traveled through Grand Junction with stops in the steep climbing mecca of Rifle and some other cool places. I spent a few days in a Grand Junction motel working on a cover painting for a friend's forthcoming book. Hey, wherever you can find a suitable workspace when you need it. I stopped in the Denver area with the intention of finding a place in Boulder and hopefully staying. Wrong on both accounts as it turns out. Boulder is still fabulous, but apparently everyone else found it too and it's become much more expensive and somewhat of a scene (sigh). It's not the same funky college and climbing town I recall from visits many years ago. I could still live there, but I think I've been searching for a less "discovered" spot. At any rate, I found a great little bungalow through a friend and rented that through the summer. Wash Park is a great neighborhood in Denver and my bungalow is super cute. I thought I would stay here, but the Universe has other plans for me (for which I am truly grateful) and I am leaving next week for The Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. More about this on a later post. While I was here, I did a lot of exploring, worked on my own books and projects as well as a high profile contract designing a mobile/tablet app for Lego (yes that Lego haha).
Late Afternoon over Boulder

Late Afternoon over Boulder

Boz Skaggs in concert at wonderful outdoor venue in Denver


I joined 2 climbing gyms, made new friends, explored and caught my breath. In early July I attended the Hanuman Yoga Festival in Boulder and took some amazing workshops. My favorite was with well-known Yoga Guru Sianna Sherman and I learned a lot in just a single session with her. Not that I can do all of it, just that I now have even more to aspire to lol. I spent some wonderful time reconnecting with friends Michael and Clarann whom I have known for many years and enjoyed their amazing and generous hospitality.
More recently, I have been talking to the two major local booksellers in Denver and Boulder and excited that they will be carrying my illustrated Children's Book The Ball in the Hall. I'm really happy to see it in these wonderful bookstores. I saw Boz Skaggs in concert outdoors and it was wonderful!! He did a marvelous job, the venue was terrific and the company was fabulous. I only wished now that I had been able to attend more outdoor concerts here. Next time I hope.
Starting out a long overhanging lead inside the climbing gym

Leading near the top of a big overhang in one of the fabulous climbing gyms here

Me with Sianna Sherman after the Hanuman workshop. I am WAY more tired than I look here
What surprised me here? Well as odd as it sounds, one of the biggest is the incredible variety and quality of seafood here - so far from either coast. I've had some of the best salmon preps and sushi anywhere here in Denver. One great place is just down the street - literally. The  other has been the weather. I understood Denver to have 300 plus sunshine days a year and while that is technically probably true, it has also rained and/or thunder-stormed virtually every single day since I've been here. So if you want to climb outdoors, you better get it done by mid-late afternoon or you're going to get wet and slide off the rock.
One of the more unexpected and cool things I experienced here was something I stumbled into completely by accident. I was just driving down the highway in the middle of nowhere and a little voice insisted rather urgently I take the next exit. No idea why and at first I thought it might even be a dead end. But then I drove around a bend and there were half a dozen or more cars all parked close together right beside the river, which was just jamming with late spring runoff. I saw a guy with a surfboard so I parked and followed. I mean how often do you see surfboards about 44 million miles from the coast? Not like the tide comes in with tasty waves to the middle of the Rocky Mountains all the time... So down the road, around the corner and under a bridge and there I find a bunch of people all surfing these incredible waves right in the middle of the Colorado River. It is simply awesome!!! What a treat, but then of course I really wished I had a board or a kayak or ... something!!
Surfing the Colorado River - where's Gidget and Frankie???
video

There is such a wealth of beautiful places within a very short drive as well. Major ski resorts such as Aspen or Breckenridge are day trips here. Estes Park at about 9000 feet is gorgeous and has some fantastic rock climbing too. I feel like I have barely scratched the surface here and so many places I want to come back to  or see for the first time. I'm definitely coming back.