Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Checking for Fires So You Don't Have To

Ahh...Memorial Day.

Makes you want to grill out, veg out, chill out. Or--in the case of my family--climb a big fat mountain.

Now don't get me wrong, my husband Josh and I did plenty of the former. We went over to Josh's brother Micah and sister-in-law Kelly's house two nights in a row to drink some lemonade-y vodka drinks and jam out to Rock Band. We also traipsed down to the Farmer's Market and then caught the uber-early 11:00 a.m. showing of Indiana Jones on Saturday.

But Sunday...whew. Sunday was a different story!

Micah and Kelly suggested the four of us go on a drive in the mountains, packing a picnic lunch and possibly doing a little hiking. Heck yeah, sounded great! So we piled in their car with their dogs Brahmin and Bodhi and headed for the hills. Mt. Evans or thereabouts was our destination. Naturally, the lake we had picked out was pretty was Memorial Day, after all. So we kept driving, skipping the toll road to the top of Mt. Evans and continuing onward and upward until we found a really beautiful picnic area. Bread, oil, vinegar, avocado, swiss cheese, almonds, fresh fruit...simple and tasty!

After lunch, we drove until we reached a random pull-off point. There was a sign that indicated that vehicles were permitted to continue up the rocky dirt..."road" is too luxurious of a term...more like "path". Micah braved it in the car for awhile. Snow only partially blocked the path, but we were lucky no one was coming down at the time. Finally we pulled over to an out-of-the-way spot and decided to go the rest of the way on foot. We didn't have a clue what "the rest of the way" meant, so we were pretty lucky that it was only another mile or so up! The path was gentle and not steep by any stretch of the imagination, but the air was thin and I had sort of a difficult time. Lack of oxygen really gets to me, even after having lived in Colorado at 5,400 feet for 4 years. At certain points I became really sleepy, then giddy, then freaked myself out because I realized I was oxygen-deprived. All was well, though. You just have to take your time and not push yourself too hard.
Turns out we were climbing Squaw Mountain, and went all the way to the top of the Squaw Mountain Fire Outlook post...11,486 feet! The 360-degree view of the valleys spreading below and the snowcapped mountains in the distance was absolutely, positively unbelievable. We could even see Denver! No fires in view, thank goodness. Inside the hut at the top you could just make out a couple of plastic-wrapped mattresses, for the lonesome Forest Service rangers stuck on fire-watch-duty. Josh, being who he is, also scrambled up a few rock outcroppings. I, being who I am, did not. :) I really enjoyed the excursion, though I usually make a lot of noise about how I don't like to go Up. Having a goal point (supercool outlook station!) helped make me feel like there was an actual finish to the hike. Yep, I'm a wimpstick.
Monday dawned rainy and Seattle-y. I honestly didn't want to get out of my pjs. It was a great reading day...finished A Tree Grows In Brooklyn...and managed to get out of the house long enough to go on a long walk with my darlin' to see the tail end of the Boulder Creek festival. I was also adament about watching the Great Rubber Duck Race, because...well...when 9,000 rubber duckies are floating down a municiple river, ya just gotta see it.
Sadly, no fiber news over the weekend. But in a day or so I'll post the details of fleece-washing that took place a couple of weekends ago. A pound of soft and lovely Rambouillet, all squeaky-clean...certainly didn't begin that way!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Great Western Alpaca Show Report!

Whew, it's been awhile! Looks like I haven't posted all...month. Whoa. How did that happen?

Okay, to sum up, I've had a fantabulous fibery month so far. Not this past weekend but the one before was the Great Western Alpaca Show!! It was in Denver, but that's not so very far away and I managed to drag Josh along with me with promises of lunch at Watercourse (LOTS of vegan options). I just had to go and get some wonderful alpaca-y goodness. Plus, my spinny friends from the spring Spinning 2 Class, Jess (of Midnight Designs, and Wiley (of Sakina Needles, were sharing a booth, so I wanted to stop by.

Well, the show was really wonderful. Lots of fuzzies on parade. The Fiber Fiesta was upstairs, and actually was much smaller than I expected...then again, I'm used to the madness that is Estes Park Wool Market. I bounced from booth to booth, digging my hands in everything. That's expected, right? Since fiber is such a tactile art? :) Found Jess and Wiley's booth quite easily. Wiley is hard to miss, what with her green hair and all. She was spinning away at her beloved Sonata while Jess and her husband worked the crowd. All manner of things were for sale at their booth...oodles of dyed SakinaNeedles fiber, Jess' handspun and hand-processed fiber, even some handmade lip balm. Jess' husband is allergic to lanolin, so her specialty is alpaca. I had just bought some MoWoPaca (50% mohair, 25% wool, 25% alpaca) from a neighboring booth and was looking for some straight alpaca. When Jess saw me fondling some alpaca roving, she casually let drop that she had some batts available, too. Well, I love batts. LOVE. So her husband popped open a ginormous plastic tub chock FULL of heathery alpaca batts. And then Jess told me she'd sell them to me for $2.50 per batt. Um, yes please! I bought six, which was about how many I could carry...these batts were huge and superfluffy. And I've already spun 4 of these beauties, from an alpaca named Marcus. Pics soon to come! Thought I'd dye them, but...yeah...just couldn't keep my hands off the batts.

Josh and I poked around a little more at the festival, but decided to hold off buying any more, so went on to Watercourse, then returned to Boulder to check out the Tulip Festival. Every year Boulder imports something like 20,000 tulip bulbs from Holland and plants them down on the Pearl Street walking mall. It was just gorgeous. About a million people were there, half of which were little kids dressed as fairies and elves...guess there was some sort of fairy parade earlier? So it was cute to the point of we-need-to-get-outta-here-before-sheer-cuteness-makes-my-brain-explode. Natually, I'd forgotten my camera for the Alpaca show, but I sure had it to capture some tulips.

On May 5th I went to the First Monday Spin-in at Shuttles. Good news: since there were so many of us there (20 people, maybe?), Maggie decided to keep the Spin-ins going throughout the summer! Yippee! Usually they take a hiatus, so this is great.