Monday, August 11, 2008

PhotobucketJosiah Left us Today....

Pray for safe travels as he returns to Texas.

Cy in Boston
Bre and Cy in Boston on Illumatrek (Krista was in Trinidad)
Washington DC
©2008 D.R.G.

Photobucket Note -

There will be no photos until I find more time and opportunity to upload them. Your computer is not messing up. I simply can't spend so much time on the computer this week.

We are taking zillions of photos.

©2008 D.R.G.
Photobucket Day 6 – Music Pass ~ Geocaching

The day began with breakfast inspired by Darshia – Cinnamon Rolls. Yum. They were a big hit.

Various nameless children voiced their concern that we NOT do another 12 – 20 mile hike today. Mike had pity on them. He had been talking about an easy 5 mile hike to the top of Music Pass in CO. This is a trail that breaks off from Grape Creek Campground. We had camped here 22 years ago with Mike’s folks when Bre was 1 year old. There is an aspen tree in the grove here with Mike’s initials from 1977.

We headed out with the promise of an “easy” hike. We got to the campground and the roads looked nicer than remembered. We met two couples who are RV park neighbors. Seasoned Citizens…with ATVs. They told us that there were just a couple of rocky spots and they thought our 15 passenger van could make it to the top of the mountain.

Visions of RIDING instead of HIKING motivated the children to encourage Mike to try it. We went ATVin in our Ford 350. ::snort:: Wow! What a ride.

I have some great “me and my Ford” photos. ::snort:: We had to back down as cars came down the hill several times. We totally confused the GPS that was loaned to us and had great fun taking photos to share with its owner when we return to TX. We were finally able to have a picnic in a mountain meadow…and what a view we had!

We spent time enjoying Grape Creek back at the campground. Mike called his parents from the campground. He’d tried from the top of Marble Mtn but the reception wasn’t good.

We ran by the RV park for a bathroom break. The outhouse was padlocked and try as we did Krista and I could not get it unlocked. Yeah, I know.

We hunted down two more geocaches. One was in the old, historic mining town of Rosita. We saw a snake. This did not endear the town to me at ALL. ::snort:: The drive was gorgeous and we never would have been motivated to visit Rosita without a cache to find. We retrieved our second travel bug and will replant it in TX soil in the weeks to come.

The next find was on a rancher’s property. Another gorgeous drive, big mountain meadows, lots of trees. Stacia found this one! She was a bit leery to grab the cache. As we logged the find someone drove by. We quickly formed up for a photo in front of the tree. I thought we were fairly ingenious…the driver thought we were strange tourists. ::snort::

The day was rounded out with dinner at camp, an evening rain shower complete with a DOULBE rainbow (and I’d just read about Noah in my Tryst this a.m.), ice cream treats and doing LAUNDRY….piles of laundry.

It’s been such a JOY to have the family together. I miss the old days of “family”. I’ve cooked more in the 6 days (or at least quantity) wise than I have in the last months. ::snort::

©2008 D.R.G.
Photobucket Day 5 – Bishop Castle

A fellow camper told the young ones and I about Bishop Castle yesterday.

It was about 25 miles to go see. WOW. Jim Bishop began building his castle when he was 15. He has built it single-handedly. He’s a character. He’s worked on it 39 years now. He is now working on building a wall around the castle. We HOPE he will eventually add some safety features. ::snort::

Basically, he builds the wall and carries on conversations with visitors. His political views are unique. Everyone is allowed to go in free. He has built it “his” way…ignores codes and safety features….I’ll show you photos. I took 116 photos and Mike took 201. ::snort:: You’ll see. I got nauseas and couldn’t get beyond the 2nd story – about 30 feet. Discovery Channel is going to be taping his place the 15th of August. I’ll have to find someone to tape the show for us when it comes out. I’ll be interested in seeing how they handle some of his more eccentric views.

Zander carried on a good conversation with him….until he began to make comments about DNA of various races….then we left.


After the castle we went to find a picnic spot. I was surprised that every spot up here was either a fee $5 to park or private property. We ended up back in Westcliffe (after a 2 hour ride through country roads). We ate at a park and the young ones enjoyed the playground. The girls and I went and stocked up the pantry again.

Back at camp we played monkey in the middle…

Watched real cowboys cull out a calf…

Ate dinner (rice, BBQ meatballs put in the Crockpot this a.m.) and watched the mountain.

©2008 D.R.G.
Photobucket Day 4 – A Fine & Pleasant Misery – G family style

Patrick McManus books are great reads. Check them out if you’ve not tried them…..Mike has to edit on the fly but they’ve been great camping books for years for our family.

We often look at each other in the middle of our traditional “camping trip in the rain” and comment, “This is a fine and pleasant misery”.

In addition to the 2.5 hour hike up Rainbow trail in the rain….this a.m. we had more camping humor.

0400 Jared came in from the tent and said, “Zander took a water bottle out to the tent and it spilled all over me.”

0420 Arielle reports that Stacia is throwing up in a back bunk.

0430 I climb back into my own bed….a bit bleary eyed but sure I can get another 1 ½ of sleep. I’m THAT tired (I’m usually up if awaken at 0400). Mike comments, “This is a fine and pleasant memory,” from his snug bed. I do not deck him. ::snort::

0445 Josiah brings Zander in. He’s SOAKED from his pillow (which upset him greatly) to his socks. I strip him and wrap him in a mummy bag. Displaying grand foresight Mike and I had made the table up into a bed despite assurances from Nolan and Zander that they would not be back in. I plopped the mummy wrapped Zander onto the cushioned table. As I give Zander a kiss he said, “Mom, finally! It’s so warm in here. The tent is freezing.”

0500 Stacia is throwing up again.

0520 CY brings in Nolan, mummy wrap repeated. I’m very thankful at this point that Mike had the foresight to pack every sleeping bag we own.

0525 Jared wonders if we should open a van window for Jamin, it seems he climbed into the van when the water bottle deluge began. I search for keys. I mutter about WHY any sane person would choose to sleep in a van and Zander offers his opinion, “Maybe he got tired of watching our bodies shiver and our teeth chatter.” ::snort::

0530 I SHOULD get up and start breakfast but I climb back into MY WARM BED (and I felt a bit guilty for not inviting the younger boys in; but I said no to guilt).

0600 Jamin is up editing his latest book. He’s quite disciplined.
PHOTO (day 3)

0700 Mike determines that though the weather forecast predicted 80% chance of heavy thunder storms…the sky is blue and they’d better try to scale the top of Marble Mountain...and explore Marble Cave. We’d love to plant a cache up here – a definite 5/5 but we’ve not gotten permission. We’ll settle for leaving one of our wooden caching coins.

0715 I begin making pancakes. The boys begin dragging wet sleeping bags out of the tent. I drag smelly clothes and mattresses out of the trailer. Mike packs a lunch and energy snacks for the hike. He gives Nolan and Arielle permission to come along this year. We debated. He KNOWS the hike is hard and tough and may be too much for Nolan….but we’ve been telling him to “do hard things” and that “no mountain is too high to scale”….so off they went.

I had planned to run into town for groceries (it takes a lot of food to feed 11 people 3x a day), quarters (laundry), possibly a hot spot and an ice cream cone for the little ones. Ooops….they drove off with Stacia’s shoes and the keys to the trailer and all vehicles. We’re tied to camp. {Turns out her shoes were in the diaper bag that they removed from the van….which I never thought to even look at all day.}

0830 I switch the crock pot to high. It holds shepherd’s pie. Make ahead mashed potatoes are thawing. I’ll assemble it all and have a meal hot and ready when they get home.

0830 – 1300 we clean the trailer, clean camp sites, find enough quarters to wash the smelly stuff….and hang it to dry. We hang and switch around numerous sleeping bags, wet socks, wet and muddy clothes from yesterday’s hike in the rain. We hike down to the creek and visit the cows. Zander tries to find food for ANTS. We visit all the Seasoned Citizens in the camp. Stacia tells each one, “I know you love me,” answers all their questions, explains why she is wearing mom’s shoes and why ZANDER has a rubber band gun and she doesn’t (he won’t trade for her doll), and tells each one, “Promise I’ll see you again.” The old gents love watching Zander site in on various critters. He’s valiantly protected the whole park from “ants”. We’ve come home for lunch…..and that’s the a.m. We don’t expect our big folks back until late into the evening….

{I tend to have to speak to myself about contentment and such when Mike and the older kids go off on these adventures and I’m watching little ones…..but honestly I did this hike 22 years ago and didn’t make it to the top. I doubt I’d make it now. I did go above timberline. I also discovered bear tracks. It’s a family joke that Mike was so determined to reach the top that he left me on the trail with a bear. ::snort:: Honestly, I do miss doing this with Mike. I think by the time there are no little ones to watch I’ll be too decrepit to go hiking. ::snort:: I think we need to begin to plan adventuresome dates to make up for these days. HOWEVER, I do not mind at all sitting in a camp chair, reading a book, watching the children pick wildflowers while I view gorgeous mountains….and when the heavy thunder storm comes? We’ll go inside and play “Sorry”. Ed note: well THAT didn’t work out – when the storm came I stayed outside like some kind of idiot and tried to take an awning down.}

1500 – 1600 STORM coming. We folded and stowed all the sleeping bags back in the tent. We buttoned the tent up. We stowed all the camp chairs. I sent the kids in while I tried to put the awning down. There was lots of wind. I didn’t succeed and quit when the storm blew over.

1700 We walked to the road and back – 1 mile.

1800 I fed the little ones and myself.

1900 We join the rest of the park residents to watch the sunset on the mountain. I take a ton of photos.

2000 I receive a voice message saying that they are waiting in Marble Cave for the rain blow over (sounds better than my plan of wrestling with an awning in the storm ::snort:J. The message was sent at 1730 (5:30 p.m.). We expect them home shortly. The little ones are getting antsy.

2015 I realize I did NOT get to read Dayuma. I spent the entire day chasing little ones…small families are hard work. I DID get a lot of walks in. I DID take 78 photos. I’m now more than ready for Mike to return…

2112 – They are home. I’m hearing wild stories of exploits. They can barely move. They were hungry but TIRED. Several fell right into bed after we pumped them full of water. I’ll have to have one of them write the day up from THEIR perspective. I DO know they made it to the cave AND the tip top of the mountain – over 12,000 feet up. We’re at 7,888 here; I’m sure they drove a bit of it…but I’m also sure they hiked a lot of feet UP. LOL

©2008 D.R.G.
Photobucket Day 3 – Exploring, Geocaching, Shopping….

We ran into town and began to explore Westcliffe. It has been suggested that females interested in Antiques need to make another run to town; alone. ::snort::

We ran up to Alvarado National Campground. We had a two-step cache that we wanted to find. It was GORGEOUS up there. We had a few “mis-starts”.

Here Jamin gleefully observes the rest of us looking for the cache he’d already found.

We finally found the micro-cache with the coordinates for the second part. It was a 2 ½ hour hike. It rained.


It really wouldn’t be a G family camping trip if we weren’t rained on a few times. We ran back to Westcliffe and found two more caches.

We came home to yummy stew, garlic bread and I even made cupcakes.
We played more games, talked and talked some more.

©2008 D.R.G.
PhotobucketDay 3 - A few photos

Some photos of the day.

At the head of Rainbow Trail Stacia INSISTS she carry the caching bag AND she can “do it myself” when asked if she wants to be carried.


Jamin watches from afar with a self-satisfied smile as we continue to search for the cache he’s found.


It wasn’t long until she was on shoulders and backs of various male G’s– well probably about an hour?

When we all found the first find, we were given the coordinates for the second step of this cache.

The rain can’t dampen the beauty.

Arielle found it first – and it was POURING by this time. ::snort::

We all thought it funny to listen to Bre and Stacia sing and sing as they walked along. Stacia often says, “Let’s sing about that” during our day.


We found two more finds in the town of Westcliffe…what’s a bit of rain.

I cooked and cried – ah those onions.
We played games, discussed all manner of topics, and turned in for the night.


©2008 D.R.G.