Sunday, April 30, 2017

Zebulon's Expeditions & Journals ~ A Trip to Pike's Peak in Colorado < #AtoZbloggingchallenge >


When you think of Westward Expansion and the brave pioneerism of 
the 1800s, two names come to mind, right?
Okay, more if pressed...
<< Lewis & Clark, Jefferson, Sacajawea. >> 
History buffs among us can rattle off  a list of key people, places......
But I'm guessing that Zebulon Pike is not a name
most immediately recognize as instrumental
in the opening of The American West.

Fame and glory eluded Zebulon Montgomery Pike.
 The ambitious young military officer and explorer, 
best known for a mountain peak that he neither scaled nor named, 
( yup---surprising, right? )
was destined to live in the shadows of more famous contemporaries.



THIS is the fascinating story of the region surrounding the famed peak.

 In 1806, Army General Wilkinson assigned Lieutenant Zebulon  Pike 
to explore the headwaters of the Arkansas and Red rivers. 
From St. Louis, the lieutenant's  party traveled across the Great Plains
 to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. 
Throughout the journey, Pike maintained a journal describing terrain,
 Indians, hardships, and the group's daily activities. 

In  Colorado's San Luis Valley, Pike and his men were captured
 by the Spanish and taken to Santa Fe, 
where many of his papers were confiscated by Spanish authorities, 
not to be uncovered until the early twentieth century.
The recently published,  Southwestern Journals of Zebulon Pike,
is the chronicle of the not-so-well-known expedition
of 1806- 1807.






"Discovered" by Zebulon Pike in 1806, the Pikes Peak region
( pictured above complete with gorgeous rainbow!)
is truly The Stuff of westward legend.
On a recent cross country trip, this,
among many other spots in Colorado, was a highlight.
Let me take you on a trip up Pike's Peak Highway alllll
the way to the summit.........

This website is replete with the getting-there details,
but National Geographic's map and guide is a must-have .


....as is the Fodor's state guide to Colorado.
Forget American Express.
We don't leave home without Fodor's.



Once past the toll booth, we began the 19 mile, 14,114 foot ascent
to the summit.










Honestly, we were shocked that we practically had the
road to ourselves!

Where was everyone???
Middle of summer, beautiful day, empty highway!
Other than the desolate road, there was one other surprising find......
locals ( for the most part) take their Sasquatch seriously.
Verrrrrrrrrrry seriously.
We were positively dying with hysterics over this sign,
which we SWORE was the epitome of a highway department
with a super quirky sense of humor.
Until we began talking to a resident of Colorado, working up at 
the summit gift shop.
Um, no.
People.......This Sign Is For Real.
Real.

Before I offend any readers, < believers of Big Foot readers, that is)
 let me stop right there.



About 15 miles and super close to the peak.....
Snow!

Annnnnnnd, light headedness and nausea!
Which none of us expected....but which hit us hard!



Right before we reached the summit,
we snapped these shots looking down
toward Canon City.........
Image result for pics of pikes peak highway


And here we are!
Top of the World.
Sort of


Before I close, I have to share the prettiest, most western and
alluring Walmart ever....
Canon City, Co, right at the base of the peak.

Perfectly "fitting" for a western town, no?


By the way,  I snapped these with this camera.....

....it's a rare day that I don't capture something:
a moment, a family member, something popping up in the garden......




And my Nikon is perfect!

A couple of recent travel-posts in the archives might
interest you if you've 
found your way here for the Pike's Peak tour:


Among the myriad of parks, monuments,
battlefields, memorials within the national park system
in this great land of ours, we've been, 
at last count, to approximately 75 of them....
our don't miss list is here by the way.....





I'm happy to participate  in the A to Z blog challenge! 
Hey, we made it!!!!


Z is for.......
Zebulon's Expeditions & Journals ~ A Trip to Pike's Peak in Colorado 

Day 26 and allllllll the way to Z.
Thanks my friends, for sticking with me to The End!

Image result for 2016 a to z blog challenge badge

And here are all of the 2016 A to Z  Blog Challenge posts~~ ~

Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
here at my home on the web! 
Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just click here to 
quickly and easily  so we can be in touch regularly!
You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

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This post contains amazon affiliate links....
If you are shopping at  amazon and Target
why not consider clicking through my link
In this way, I will receive a small commission on the purchase.....
at no cost to you.
THANK YOU!

Until next time,

~Chris

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Yosemite ~ A Tour of the National Park Whose Majesty Ansel Adams Made Great < #AtoZbloggingchallenge >


Probably my family's most favorite national park
for many reasons... its beauty, our memories..... is Yosemite.

First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park
 may  best be known for its waterfalls
and sheer granite monoliths,
 but within its nearly 1,200 square miles
 you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias 
and a vast wilderness area which include hundreds of hiking trails
and dozens of national parked owned campgrounds.

Among the myriad of parks, monuments,
battlefields, memorials within the national park system
in this great land of ours, we've been, 
at last count, to approximately 75 of them....
our don't miss list is here by the way.....

Back to the land that Ansel Adams made great.....
And yes, there is an Adams gallery  nestled smack 
in the center of Yosemite's village! 


I could wander around in there, getting lost in his photographic genius
 for an entire day and then step out onto the porch of the 
cabin to the scent of Ponderosa pine.
sigh....there's nothing like it

We actually purchased a few of his prints, which now
hang in our family room.
Is there any better memento of Yosemite than the time-honored

Let me take you on a tour of Yosemite as seen through
one of my family's recent trips cross country.......

ok, here's our version of the legendary Half Dome:

This one's snapped from a different vantage point 
( taken at Glacier Point )
 than was Adams's shot. ( taken from  the Yosemite Valley floor)

And here----more glimpses of beauty and grandeur~~~









El Capitan.....the sheer  granite wall that, on which 
climbers can be spotted on any given day!

The famed Bridal Veil Falls

...an adorable fox wandering in the Glacier Point parking lot.

Half Dome, again, from above , at a high point.



Because Yosemite is only about a four hour drive to San Francisco,
we of course, found ourselves there the very next day.

Lombard Street


Alcatraz!

And of course Fisherman's Wharf.
In case you're interested in my SF posts, here they are:


By the way, a couple of recent travel-posts in the archives might
interest you if you've 
found your way here for the Yosemite tour:

Roadtrip! How to Economically Travel Cross Country ~ 5 Simple Tips 

5 Essentials for Your Next Camping Trip or:
 All Rain Flies are Not Created Equal

5 Movies You Should  Definitely See Before  Taking That Cross Country Trip 




By the way, all the above shots were  snapped these with this camera.....

....it's a rare day that I don't capture something:
a moment, a family member, something popping up in the garden......




And my Nikon is perfect!


I'm happy to participate  in the A to Z blog challenge! 

Y is for Yosemite  National Park ~ 
A Tour of the Park Whose Majesty Ansel Adams Made Great  


Image result for 2016 a to z blog challenge badge


And here are all of the 2016 A to Z  Blog Challenge posts~~ ~

Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
here at my home on the web! 

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just click here to 
quickly and easily  so we can be in touch regularly!
You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

Image result for new york city themed blog post dividers
This post contains amazon affiliate links....
If you are shopping at  amazon and Target
why not consider clicking through my link
In this way, I will receive a small commission on the purchase.....
at no cost to you.
THANK YOU!

Until next time,

~Chris

Friday, April 28, 2017

"X" Marks the Spot! A Pirate Party Fit for the Most Daring of Swashbucklers < #AtoZbloggingchallenge >

You must have pirate-crazy kids if you're here;
 the whole Jolly Roger / Black Pearl thing is pretty cool, huh?
When it's not ruthless, bloody and inhuman.
But let's focus on the, well, fun of the seafaring life, shall we?
Thought I'd share some highlights of
 a Pirates of the Caribbean party we held for my son a while back.
Because cake, buccaneers, and sea -  themed food faves plus
 the #AtoZbloggingchallenge, given  today's super stumper
of a letter, X,
led me to organize our pirate shindig into a post!


In fact, I personally can't stand the POTC movies, but 
my crazy kid has seen each of them only
about twice and has. each. movie. memorized. 
I kid you not. The entire movie.
He memorizes whole movies, tv episodes and plays "by accident," he claims.
Since he's been a walking wiki on all things  POTC,
a pirate birthday theme was a no brainer!

The birthday boy pretty much came up with all the aspects of the pirate-y theme,
from the invitation ( we made a cool one
and if you, too, are having a pirate-y themed party, email me and I'll
be happy to send it to you)
to the decor, to the treats,  the favors and the music.
We even salvaged a shipwreck of a cake.
Ok it looked far from impressive, but it did look authentic -  pirate.
Extra icing and a wealth  of paper  and candy 
skull and crossbones  decoration do wonders.
And luckily big brother had the honor of DJ-ing!
So here we go~



~Decorations and preparations~

We bought a box of banner letters and paper fasteners 
at Walmart
to string up pirate expressions!
ARRRG
and
AHOY MATEYS


Next came the Dollar Tree skeletons with the AAA battery operated blinking green eyes
which we had on hand from Halloween....
hung with a gruesome warning.......

... depicting a morbid movie scene!

Lots of candy making in the kitchen!
treasure chests  were artfully crafted....


...And the day of, we iced, labelled and set up the pirate bounty!


Anyway, all of the serving accessories save that pretty cupcake display,
were purchased at the Dollar Tree.


Pirate-y photos, which we printed off the web and then laminated, 
 fish nets decorations and blue lights strung around the house
gave a nautical "glow."







~Pirate treats~

Sorry I can't  turn these few shots, no matter what I do!


All the food was Pirates of the Caribbean -inspired and
 conjured  by the birthday boy.









A close up of the handmade chocolate~




...and more goodies concocted with yellow chocolate and dark chocolate:

...with Dollar Tree pirate coins strewn around~


Blue jello and candy skulls~

~~The cake~~

What we used to decorate and make, above and
what came out of the pan, below~!


With a lot of patience and time
yay!.......... we salvaged it and turned it 
from shipwreck to well, not fancy, but at least, recognizable, galleon!





 ~~The favors~~



This year they were simple, frugal and very appreciated.
Clear favor bags from Michael's, decks of cards--- 2/$1 at Dollar Tree,
pirate themed pencils and skull and crossbones bandannas

tied up with red ribbon.



~The music and fun~





Ghost stories and marshmallow roasting~




Older bro provided music, complete with garage-sale bought disco ball!



And THAT pretty much sums up the revelry among the local pirates~!
I don't share pictures of kids other than my own here on my blog;
so all the group shots around the cake, campfire and the "dance floor"
are still on the memory card.
Great,smiling faces and tons of fun with all his friends.
He's very lucky to have them...and they, him!


~The birthday tree~
I create a birthday tree for my boys to display  photos of them
throughout each year and "charms" depicting their hobbies and interests.
It's easy and they love a special tree dedicated to them!
This post gives the how-to.
Here's a quick shot of the tree a few years ago.:


Image result for new york city themed blog post dividers
I'm happy to participate  in the A to Z blog challenge! 


X is for X Marks the Spot!
 A Pirate Party Fit for the Most Daring of Swashbucklers  


And here are all of the 2016 A to Z  Blog Challenge posts~~ ~

Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
here at my home on the web! 

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just click here to 
quickly and easily  so we can be in touch regularly!
You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

Image result for new york city themed blog post dividers
This post contains amazon affiliate links....
If you are shopping at  amazon and Target
why not consider clicking through my link
In this way, I will receive a small commission on the purchase.....
at no cost to you.
THANK YOU!

Until next time,

~Chris