Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Two Buffs in the Ark

I'm typing this as I sit in the dark in a cheap motel room in Buena Vista, Colorado. We're on highway 24 on the way to Leadville. We figured it would be adventurous to get a place in town that allows pets and doesn't cost a ton. The beds are squishy, but it's not bad as far as places I've stayed. I am on one bed with Isabelle and Iris is on the the other bed with Dennis. Those two seem to be sleeping soundly while Iz and I are restless. 

We needed to get out of town more for a mental break than anything. We came up to our property on Trout Creek Pass where we have a shed on 2 1/2 acres down the road from the Buffalo Peaks. We haven't spent much time up here in years, since the girls were puppies, which was before we got the cabin 30 miles east of here and closer to the front range. 

Last summer we sold the cabin so it's back to vacationing on the Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and sagebrush covered lot overlooking Pikes Peak and South Park. 

When we arrived we pulled the chairs out of the shed and after walking around surveying the property for dead trees, and just the general condition, we sat down. And breathed.
The infamous South Park wind whooshing through the pine needles, the tall Douglas firs bending in the gusts. And the smell. Pine and grass and earth and sage. And the quiet.
I felt like I returned home, became re-grounded, landing squarely back on my feet after some kind of wild chaotic ride. I forgot how peaceful it is up there. It was simply a matter of driving another half hour, but we never wanted to do it once we got the cabin and moved back to Fort Collins. 

We went into Buena Vista and checked out the town. Dennis has been through here more recently than I have, on his many trips to Gunnison. It'd been a long time Since I came through Buenie (that's what the locals call it, rhymes with "puny") and things gave only changed a little. Very little. 

I'm so glad I don't live here, but I am surprised I forgot the rough charm of the place, the hard reality that people endure who live and work in these towns, unless they are super wealthy and don't have to worry about paying the bills. 

We went down to the Arkansas River. It's sacred to us, years ago we scattered our first dog's ashes upstream in Clear Creek, near Winfield, where she used to play stick all the time. We parked at the east end of town just above the bridge.

Isabelle didn't want to get out of the car so Dennis took Iris across the bridge and up the trail and I stayed close and took some river pics. Iris did not want to go without her mom so they came back quickly. 

We were hungry and decided to find a place to eat. Turned out there was a Mexican restaurant in a dive of an old building, and we checked it out, called Los Girasoles. Turns out it is the real thing, from Guadalajara. Dennis had empanadas that were awesome and I got a burrito with chile verde and refried beans. My test of a Mexican restaurant is always the refried beans. And these passed. 

The spices were mild but when we looked around it was mostly old people eating there. But it was good. And the salsa reminded me of a favorite restaurant in Scottsdale from my high school days that had great salsa and to die for green corn tamales. 

After we ate I went out while Dennis stayed with Isabelle at the room. I took Iris in the car and took pictures of the valley at sunset. The sun was setting behind Mt. Yale and the light was pouring down the drainages between Antero and Princeton, and Yale and Harvard & Columbia. To the south there was light shining on the flats in the valley near Poncha Springs.

On our way back into town we saw deer crossing the highway at the pedestrian crosswalk. They looked like they were going to get their prescriptions filled at the drug store. I guess everyone can have coverage under the ACA.
We came back to the room and now I am awake at 11 pm after trying to go to bed at 9. At least I am not hot flashing because the room is cool. 

I needed to get back here. This place always was healing for me. I used to come over here when we lived in Gunnison, over Monarch Pass and spend the day in the valley. I used to drive over in the morning, go for a run in the hills either on the roads or trails depending on the time of year, then go up to Mt. Princeton Hot Springs and soak a while, then go into Salida and have a glass of wine and hang out until it was time to go back over the mountains.

And then when we lived in Arizona, we used to come up and spend 2 weeks at a time. But ever since we moved back we only went as far west and south as Fairplay, and never bothered to come back here. We're back now. It's like reclaiming a forgotten part of yourself. 

The girls needed to come back too. When they were puppies we took them here all the time. Took them swimming in the river, took them hiking east of town, by the Buffalo Peaks there was a 16 mile trail loop we used to do with them. Now they can't do that, but they are happy just sitting in the grass and sniffing, wandering around to check things out. 
Last week I ran with Wheaties Boy in the cemetery. That morning we only did 7 easy miles, no speed. That was good. Not ready to jump back into speed yet.

I'm still doing the 10 miles a day on my feet plan. Gradually doing more running and less walking. Not  super motivatevd but at least I can do that. 

The Next Morning

When I woke up this morning I was tired. Dennis went out to get coffee while I dragged myself out of bed. At some point in the night the girls wanted out, so I took them out to pee. When I got back into the room I was freezing so I climbed into the bed with Dennis before Iris could jump up, to get some warmth off his body, and then Iris jumped up on the bed  and then Isabelle wanted up. So then it was really Noah's Ark, two people and two buffs on a sagging queen sized bed, sloping toward the middle. Not much sleep, but it was worth it. 
Dennis didn't sleep well either but he slept a lot longer than me. He didn't complain. The only things he said was, "next time, pay more".

We went over to the Evergreen Café for breakfast, where we always used to eat. It's still decent food and good service, right on the highway, and it was pleasant enough outside to sit on the patio. The sky was clear and only a few clouds were out. It was so funny to see the way people dress so casually up there and that they are still so laid back. I always feel like I have to dress "up" in the city. Not really dressed up, because I am about the most casually dressed person in any crowd, but I forgot that I used to live in my fleece jacket and jeans and t-shirt, and never thought about being any less comfortable until I moved to the city. Now it seems like I put a little more thought into what I wear before I go out most of the time.

We drove up by Mt. Princeton to check out the hot springs and they have added a pool. It looks really nice now. And then we drove down to Salida just briefly to check it out too. It hasn't changed either. After that we headed back toward home, with a brief stop at the property again for the girls to stretch their legs.
When we got home, I got caught up on things, unpacked and did laundry, and even had time and energy to give both of the girls a bath. In the bathtub. They smell much better now than they did after lying on that filthy motel room floor. The dirt was pouring off of them.

And Monday is another day. I look forward to it. Taking the weekend off helps everything. And next weekend, it's off to Arizona for me...

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