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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bittersweet

Kissy Face waffle breakfast for my Beloved yesterday morning
Today's post is a walk down memory lane for Beloved and me. You may want to quickly flip through the pictures and call it done while I choose to linger and wipe away a nostalgic tear or two with my photo descriptions.

Pikes Peak as seen from Colorado Springs
As a part of our preparations to move to the Land of Flip Flops (which is 1,747 miles from where we are now), there are places we will need to bid adieu -- places we may not see again except in our sweetest memories. Beloved and I devoted nearly twelve hours of yesterday to visit one of those special places.


driving past our kids' high school 
At least a couple times a year (more, when we could) we have been driving up to Beloved's favorite fishing spot. We have a special route we always follow that takes us through Colorado Springs (where we have lived twice in the past).

Cheyenne Mountain. Beloved worked inside this fortress some 40 years ago
We give a mental nod to special places that helped write the story of who we are as individuals, as a couple, and as a family.

Frog Rock along Highway 24, west of Woodland Park
We relived serious, funny, and perplexing memories that include the private jokes happily married couples share.

the community that clusters around Lake George, Colorado

We came face-to-face with some unrealized dreams we now feel certain will never come to be -- human life on this earth can never live them all out.

We thank God some of those hopes did not materialize. At the same time we thank Him for the dreams that are finally coming into focus.

one of Beloved's boxes of bugs 
When we arrived at Eleven Mile Canyon, which is a portion of the South Platte River that comes out of the Eleven Mile Reservoir, we made our first stop and Beloved pulled out his fly fishing gear.

"I see by your outfit that you are an angler..."
If you've never watched a fly fisherman get dressed beside his vehicle, you've missed out. As you can see in this picture, he's got to have the waders, the waterproof boots, the gravel cuffs, the vest with the hanging net (not shown because it dangles down his back), clippers, a hook holder, a pair of forceps, tweezers, his bug boxes, spare leaders, weights, tippet material, his wallet (in a ziplock bag in case he falls into the drink!), and such stuff. He wears a long-sleeved shirt and a hat for sun protection. And of course, he's got his fly rod.

Note: a fisherman (and I imagine hunters, too) should always carry their wallet because Forest Rangers can appear at any time and ask to see their hunting/fishing license. It has happened to my man and this is not unusual.

I made a video but haven't figured out how to post it to my blog
Funny story (and true): years ago Beloved was putting on his getup beside his truck. Two women drove up to ask directions. He told them what they needed to know and then turned away so he could continue dressing behind the driver's door. 

But the women did not leave immediately. One asked him if he was married because the other one thought he was cute! 

At that point Beloved felt it was okay to be rude and just turned his back on them. They drove away.

a peaceful portion of the stream
Eleven Mile Canyon is like a piece of heaven to us. We have taken others up with us (Judy and Bob, Denise and Alan, Sue and Gregor, as well as our children when they still lived at home with us) and they all are inclined to agree.

One really, really big rock
The sky is blue-blue, the rocks are huge, the Blue Spruce and Pines always show off with scents and height, and the water babbles cheerily.

tree roots define the steps to the picnic table

There are picnic tables, charcoal grills, reasonably clean potties, and limitless opportunities to hike. Some even bring their climbing gear to scale the rock faces.

water splashing around boulders
While some of the river is quiet, other parts turn into white water as it navigates rocks of all shapes and sizes. Sometimes the fish linger in the pools (and sometimes not).

the only road in and out of the canyon
The dirt road can have that 'washboard' texture at times, which kicks up the dust with traffic and is bumpy-loud. We saw a grater going over it at least 3 times today, which is a decided help.

one of three short tunnels that takes us through solid rock
That road is double-wide most of the way, but there are exceptions when it narrows down considerably. The recommended speed limit is 20mph. We appreciate the drivers who obey that when passing us.

watching the water
I can't get enough of watching the water. There is something about it that puts my serious thoughts on a back shelf of my mind so I can coast with the current.

more splashing water
My habit is to watch Beloved cast his line many times until he decides to move upstream. Eventually I return to the car and pull out my folding chair so I can read or doze -- usually both.

me
Yesterday was a jeans-and-long-sleeves day, with a zippered vest that helped defeat the effects of a chilling wind. I wore my hair in a French braid so my hat would fit well on my head and then added a wood stick pin to keep the hat securely in place (you can't see it on the back of my head).

I enjoyed the coolness of the breeze -- these days of cool will be remembered and missed in the Land of Flip Flops!

the fisherman returns
Beloved fished all morning, we had lunch together, and then he fished for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Eventually I encountered him returning while I was hiking alongside the dirt road. He was very tired from wearing all his heavy gear in the river's current. No, he had not caught a thing. Nobody we saw had seen any fish that day.

walking back to the car
But Beloved has always held onto the thought that "a bad day fishing is still better than a good day at work."

He's retired now. He doesn't eat fish and most of this area is declared "catch and release" by the state of Colorado, so he's okay with an empty creel. (well, pretty much. The thrill of the catch would have been nice.)

the back side of Pikes Peak, looking east
We bid Eleven Mile Canyon goodbye, probably for the last time, with warbly voices and moist eyes. Forty years of fishing and picnicking made for good memories.

Pulpit Rock in Colorado Springs
On our way home I re-lived one more memory. In the late 1980s and till 1995 we lived among the trees on the left side of this picture. Our kids were teenagers and would hike to the top of Pulpit Rock. I mean, to the TOP!  

One time they invited me to go with them and I did. I even got to the pinnacle, but I was on my stomach! I was too afraid to stand up!  But at least I can say I did it and made a good memory with my children at the same time.

We are thrilled we get to move on to another home, closer to more of our family. But it would be unrealistic to deny the emotions we feel for Colorado as we leave. 

It was a sweet day.













7 comments:

  1. Awww...what a lovely place to live...I think you will find Florida nice, but not quite as mountainous, lol. (and I prefer the mountains, friend, just saying.) You might want to visit Mt. Dora while your in FL...I wouldn't truly call it a mountain though, giggling.

    My son asked us the other day would we ever consider moving back south...no thank you...not even if I was million years old. This girl needs the mountains and snow. LOLOL

    I am so excited for you and this move...smiles

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    1. I visited Mount Dora about 22 years ago when we lived in Orlando. No oxygen masks needed for that altitude, for sure!! (ha-ha)

      Yeah, leaving the mountains and 4 seasons is a distinct change for us, but this is the time of life for Beloved and me when we need to make this change -- before we get too old to handle it. Thanks for your comments. I always enjoy them.

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  2. 1700+ miles is a BIG move but I so admire you two or doing it. My parents moved near me in 2000 after our living apart for 35 years. It was a wonderful time to have them near and I enjoyed 8 years with my Mom before she passed away and now I have my Dad nearby so that I can oversee his care. Being near family is a good thing. I'm enjoying following your move.

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    1. We are in that season of life when we figure we should make this change, before we are too old to do it with grace. Our kids are breathing a sigh of relief, too. Thank you for your supportive comments!

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  3. I hope you have a scrapbook that you can drag out and share as you say remember when...blessings as you say goodbye.
    Mama Bear

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  4. I understand the tension of the new and leaving the old...
    Blessings!

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  5. Some of those emotions count even when the move is just across town. Hopefully you will come to love the springs here as much as you love the rivers there!

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