Category Archives: hike

Hike {Big Dry Creek}


After school and some fortification from Cafe’ 180, we headed to Westminster to hike, but really we were searching for glass eggs.

Westminster started a program to get more people on the trails, well, the eggs must be TOO easy to find. We walked and saw prairie dogs, hawks and coyotes – but, not glass eggs.

B&W day 5.

Later Grace took this cute pic of Hannah.

Grace got dropped for her retreat, Maisy helped me read, then we had dinner at Saltgrass.


Hike {Tanglewood creek}


Bethany was off today, not a common occurrence lately, so we took her hiking with us. We’ve been to this trail one other time, you do not want to try and make it after it snows or rains, the dirt road was pretty banged up, but dry, right now.

Happy pic day 2, hiking with my girls.

We went to Beau Jo’s for lunch, it was good. Back at home we chilled, I made dinner, read a bit and we watched the Good Doctor.



At church the sermon was about I am alive in Christ. I have a disjointed poem in my notes, but it might take me awhile to assemble it correctly. B&W day 7.

We chilled at home, took a nap, the girls walked to Starbucks, then James and I took Maisy for a walk by the Platte.

We saw some beavers on the way back, first time I have seen them actually at the beaver dam. I had dinner in the crockpot, so we made some rice and peas to go with the roast and found a Father Brown on TV.

Last of the sunset.

Then James and I went to Green Russell for jazz and drinks off the new drink menu, they were good and jazz there is always good.

A bit of jazz here. 

The week – NIA, school, worship dance, hiking, co-op (spooky cupcakes), Bible study, youth groups, buskering on the mall, kitten therapy at the cat cafe (ie doing school at the Denver cat co., though they have 11 kittens right now, so…) sugar skulls at the library, don’t know about Sat. yet, church, working at church and Trunk or treat at church. My weather app keeps making snow appear and disappear on Thurs/Fri so we’ll see what happens there.

Hike {Waterton}


I had a plan and we did most of that plan…Grace had a lab in AgriScience and an assignment, she did the lab and part of the assignment. There was English, Physical Science and Geometry to do. Hannah was reading about Michael Faraday and mitosis. After lunch we headed out to Waterton, it was just us. The Fall colors were nice, the temperature was not too bad, could have been colder, but there was a light breeze.

Grace made s’more cupcakes for youth group later and the baked ziti turned out pretty good.


We made a stop to pet the horses before youth group.

Ft. Vasquez, Cheese shop, Devil’s backbone


Our outing today was to go see Ft. Vasquez. It’s a small reconstructed fort (they used some of the original adobe to rebuild the walls, though the walls are about 5 feet shorter than they were) in the middle of 85 near Platteville. Literally, the fort is straddled by 85 North and South.

We looked around outside, there wasn’t anything going on (they have a homeschool day camp on Mondays, so we might be able to make one of them the week we’re off dance or the week after dance ends.) Inside the docent told us about the fort and then we looked around at the exhibits. It’s a very small fort and museum, but they had some cool things.

The fort was built in 1835 as a fur-trading fort by Louis Vasquez and Andrew Sublette, who hired mountain men like Jim Beckwourth and Jean Baptiste Charbonneau (son of Sacajawea) at their adobe outpost on the South Platte River frequented by the Cheyenne, Arapaho and Lakota people. They gave us directions to another fort in the area that is gone, but has a marker.  So we went off in search of Fort St. Vrain.

This fort was built in 1837 and was managed by Marcellin St. Vrain, brother of Ceran St. Vrain who worked at Bent’s fort and started the new fort. An interesting note is that Marcellin married a 13 y/o who was the sister of Chief Red cloud and niece of Chief Crazy Horse. The fort and river are named after Ceran St. Vrain.

From there we went to Longmont to eat and the cheese shop and take pics (the girls were taking LPS pics.)

From there we went to Devil’s backbone for a hike. This place is notorious for rattle snakes during the Summer, so I had hoped that the cooler weather would keep them at bay – we only saw one and it was dead.

It was sunny, so we worked up a sweat and stopped in to get some ice cream before heading home. Back at home it was grilled cheese for dinner and youth group for Grace.

RW, CU, Nederland hike


We dropped samples, got our supplies and made it to CU Boulder by 9:45am. My plan was to do school in the museum’s bio lounge and check out the new exhibit and kids space.

When we first turned to park I was like – where did the parking garage go? I knew they were building a new student center, I didn’t know they were building it right on top of the garage, we haven’t been here in awhile….

We did school, looked at the new food web/ecosystem exhibit and had tea and coffee in the new discovery center.

It’s really made for little kids, but there was no one there, so we sat at the table and did school, made some art and looked around. I like that it’s brighter, it used to be so dark, they kept the puppets and tree house and added some more discovery boxes, a light table and a few other things. We would have taken a spot in the bio lounge, but every table was taken (usually not the case.) We had a few minutes to also go through the art museum’s new exhibit….art.

Joel Swanson Zabf Dingbats revolved around their y-axis

Erika Randall Paula and Francesca P+F

We headed to Ned and ate at Kathmandu, then went to Mud lake for an easy hike and Fall pictures.

Even though they got some snow recently, the aspen are still vibrant.

We also made a quick stop on the way out at our favorite aspen location on 119.

Back at home the girls played with their friend, I read and then I started on dinner – the chicken pot pie came out great, I think it was my best one ever.

We might be the only ones at park day tomorrow, again, but Hannah will practice her ukulele, Grace will draw and I need to go through all of the stuff I got from the museum.

Weekend – Park hill tour, NBTS 15th anniversary party, 25th church anniversary


Friday we got home about 2pm, started laundry, then Grace and I went to see her friend who was in the hospital. Hospitals suck, so Grace wanted to go and hang out – I think she wanted the adults to leave the room (but we didn’t.) James made spaghetti for dinner, we watched some TV and went to bed.

Saturday James and I went to the library for a walking tour. The girls did not want to go walking, so they stayed home and hung out with friends. When we got to the library I had three different librarians (from three different Denver libraries) recognize me and they asked where the girls were. Yes, we go to a lot of library events. Our walking tour started at the Pauline Robinson library, she was Denver’s first black librarian, brought books from black authors into the library and was responsible for integrating Lakeside (amusement park.) Walking in this area you can see that it is starting to come back.

There was a strip mall fire that pretty much brought down the neighborhood that was already in decline (a food desert area.) So, when funds starting coming in from the city to add buildings and services, the community was asked what do you want? There is a new rec center, a boys and girls club, a new elementary school and a mental/physical health building that offers garden space (and farmers market), hydroponics (plants and fish), mental and physical health facilities, a pre-school and an alternative school for troubled kids.

I walked with a coordinator of the facility and told her that our HS group wanted to: tour the facility and host a Preschool Valentine party. I’m excited for both of those things. We continued up the street, walking in the road for the most part since this area was designed during the 40’s-50’s when Hollywood curbs were in and pedestrians were out.

This intersection in Park Hill was across from a park (which had a gazebo ordered from a Sears catalog, paid for and put together by local Girl scouts.)

The area had no access to grocery stores, markets, clothing stores, you name it. So a market district was introduced, some people thought this would be the end of Park Hill (1920’s), but obviously it was not. There is a book store co-op that was started by local Moms back in the 70’s at the end of the block that is still going strong. Here and there on the street and in alleys are guerilla art and gardens. Bringing a little plant life and a little quirkiness to the area.

There were also lots of ‘Little Libraries’ in the area, some were registered, some were not!

Hickenlooper lives around here, we saw his house, but I didn’t take a picture. We passed some old churches and one church that now houses two different congregations.

We finally made it to the Park Hill library and sat down for a bit, drank water and had snacks and listened to the story of the library. There were 9 Carnegie libraries in Denver (Byers, Decker, Park Hill, Woodbury, Smiley – still standing) and (Denver central – now the McNichols building, Warren- now lofts, Dickinson -now houses an architecture firm and Elyria – now a private residence.) Park Hill doesn’t look like a traditional Carnegie library, but it’s there under that awful stucco.

We passed by some of the Boulevards put in by Mayor Speer during the city beautiful movement. Some of the money that was used was questionable, but hey, we see wide lanes, lots of trees and green spaces, so now we don’t care. We continued our walk through the neighborhood and noticed missing streets. Our next fact was a math one, the streets were laid out in an oblong rectangle twice as wide as it is long. Some streets are numbered but have names (Montview), some streets are 23rd on one side and 24th on the other and some just disappear completely. Also the golf course at City park was once a field full of cows, there was a lot of dairy making going on in the area when it started. We got back to the Pauline Robinson library and thanked our guides and headed back home. We weren’t home long before it was time to go to the park for our HS groups NBTS party and 15th anniversary party.

We had food and more food, cakes and doughnuts, games, coloring, tattoos, a photo booth and glow sticks.

We met two new families and had fun catching up with everyone.

Trying to get all the kids in the picture was hard….

I had to save the table art in photos.

Sunday we went to church and Hannah got to try out the new middle school room she’s in, she liked it. We went back for a lunch at the church celebrating 25 years, 15 of those in this building and the previous years in an elementary school in the area. This church started out as Highlands Ranch Christian church, then a bit later became Mountainview Community Christian church. It was the first church in Highlands Ranch that was a new church, not a plant from another part of Denver or an arm of a church located elsewhere, just the first (non-catholic) church to build in the area. We’ve had some ups and downs as a church, a major pastor shift happened some years ago and some of the church split over that, but some of us stayed and continue to get fed (sometimes literally fed) and volunteer here.

We pretty much lazed away the rest of the day, making only one outing after dinner….

The week – school, worship dance, St. John’s music at noon, Kindness Krewe, park day, NIA, youth group, CRUSH fest, HS skate, TNO, youth fest outing, ukulele class….feels like I’m missing something….

Dinners – crockpot chicken enchilada casserole, Asian lettuce wraps, pan fried tilapia with tomatoes and feta, sesame beef with fried rice, chicken creole pasta.

Asian Lettuce Wraps

16 Boston Bibb or butter lettuce leaves 
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons minced pickled ginger
1 dash Asian chile pepper sauce, or to taste (optional)
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 teaspoons Asian (dark) sesame oil

Rinse whole lettuce leaves and pat dry, being careful not tear them. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir beef and cooking oil in the hot skillet until browned and crumbly, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and discard grease; transfer beef to a bowl. Cook and stir onion in the same skillet used for beef until slightly tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir hoisin sauce, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and chile pepper sauce into onions. Add water chestnuts, green onions, sesame oil, and cooked beef; cook and stir until the onions just begin to wilt, about 2 minutes.
Arrange lettuce leaves around the outer edge of a large serving platter and pile meat mixture in the center.

Sesame Beef

1 pound round steak
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons white sugar
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Mix soy sauce, sugar, oil, garlic, and onions in a large bowl. Set aside.
Cut steak into strips and add to bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or at least 30 minutes.
Cook in wok or frying pan until brown, about 5 minutes. Add sesame seeds and cook for additional 2 minutes.