From life in the middle of nowhere

Posts tagged “outdoors

Winter Memories

It’s been a rainy couple days here in south Texas, and no one is complaining. I’m sure as it dries out I will begin my annual rant about the war on bugs that inevitably plagues our 1948 hacienda style house and therefore begin complaining, but until then I’ll enjoy the cooler weather and the calm sounds. I have been flipping through my catalog of images and found this one from the winter of 2013. The earliest arrivers of sandhill cranes flying just over the ridge in my back field. Enjoy and have a peaceful day. cranesfly


Hike to Bierstadt Lake

I had high hopes for this trip. We were going to hike higher, walk longer, see more. So our first hike I thought we could take the most accessible route to the top of the continental divide. One way the trail measured about 4.4 miles. It would be tough, but I figured the way down in always a little easier than the way up. I admit I was surprised and beginning to reconsider when we arrived at the Bear Lake trailhead to a frozen scape with knee deep snow just off the well defined trail that leads around the lake.

SchimmelFrozen Bear Lake appx. elevation 9550 feet

We thought maybe it might be easier up ahead and forged on. The trail was completely covered. Our only markers were little orange tags that dotted the tress through the forest like little Rocky Mountain bread crumbs. It was clear after less than a quarter mile that 4.4 miles was not going to happen.

Schimmel-2My friend Chris looking ghostly as we hiked through the snow.

At the first sign we opted for whatever trail lead us to something closer than a 4 mile hike. This happened to be Bierstadt Lake. Which we realized later, had its own trailhead up the road. If we had known we could have used the park shuttle to get back to our car at Bear Lake and made a loop instead of walking there and back on the same trail. But, anyways, I digress. We plowed through the snow the rest of the 2.1 miles, our feet constantly breaking through soft snow and plunging knee or thigh deep. It was a serious workout!

The trail wasn’t the best I have ever been on- but the reward at the end was spectacular!

Schimmel-3View from Bierstadt Lake, RMNP

Schimmel-4I made it!

Bierstadt translates to Beer Village or Bier City Lake, which is such a weird name as neither of those things are present. Or ever have been. After the hike back, we went ahead and set up at our second campground choice in Moraine Campground. I highly recommend this campground. It’s got great sites and great views. The sites are beautiful in park because you park your car about 180 feet away. The nature of the sites are preserved and although you have to walk back and forth each and every time you forget something, they provide generously sized bear boxes for your site, making it a little less far if you keep your stuff in there.

Schimmel-5View of Rocky Mountains from Moraine Campground tent site


More from the Mountains

Estes Park Colorado may be the world’s most beautiful tourist trap. The mountain view is absolutely breathtaking, but the town center is full of overpriced food, shot glasses and tee shirts. Sitting like a crown jewel in Estes Park is the stunning Stanley Hotel, which has been made infamous because Steven King was inspired to write “The Shining” while staying here. We went in and sat in the lobby for awhile, trying to act like we belonged. Below is a picture of some elk in velvet munching on the grass buffet outside the beautiful hotel.


For all my traveling, I haven’t actually spent too much time in a tent. I purchased this 4 person dome tent off of REI during a sale, and it was fantastic for what we needed during our trip. At about 9 lbs it is too heavy to take into the mountains, and works best for car camping. It was extremely easy to set up and kept us dry the whole trip. This is our site at the Glacier Gorge Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Colorado-5 Colorado



Rocky Mountain National Park

Before the summer sun really got the best of us, we thought we would head to the mountains, pitch tent and get one last chance to play in the snow. The skies were cloudy and yes, we got hailed on some, but the trip was amazing!

This photo was taken from a scenic pullover on the road that leads to Glacier Gorge and Bear Lake Trailheads in the Long’s Peak area of the park. The sun was shining on the snow capped mountains in such a pristine way.




Banana Flower



Big Bend National Park


Grotto on the Ecuador Coast

Outside of Puerto Lopez, Ecuador is a national park which has some hiking trails and three different beaches with beautiful sand, smooth stones and millions of little crabs. My niece donned one beach as ‘crab beach’ and it is the only name I have for the special place. The little waddlers were too fast and too camouflaged for me get on my camera, so I settled for the steady stillness of these rocks. The photo fades to darkness, but what was so magical was that you crawl quiet a ways into this little cave/ enclave / grotto or whatever fancy word sounds best to you.

bw beach-0630