Saturday, November 21, 2009

Little Death Hollow

This is an incredible place that I live. Every venture into the great outdoors, you think can not possibly be as spectacular as the last, and that is the surprise. Yesterday's forecast was for "warm before the storm" so we decided to go on a hike that the dogs could also go on. We went to Little Death Hollow. The worst part of the hike is that the trailhead is out by a corral instead of down further, closer to the canyon. The dogs also didn't appreciate the lack of water, but we kept them fairly well hydrated with Steve's water bottle, although Maggie wasn't sure she wanted to give up any of the water to the other dogs and Lucky didn't think drinking water out of Steve's hands was a good idea, but they all survived.

The walk to the canyon is littered with petrified wood. There are also petroglyphs on one big rock before entering the canyon. We even found an unnamed arch (it has a name now). The canyon is beautiful but it narrows to an amazing slot canyon and then goes on forever. It narrows to about car size and then continues to narrow until it is one person size. I tend to get claustrophobic in these slot canyons, but this one feels very open even at the narrowest points. There were a few choke stones to climb around and one place where we were on our hands and knees crawling under a log that had wedged in the slot during a storm. The walls are rubbed smooth by the water but also has interesting holes carved along the ways. We were trying to get to the exit at Horse Canyon but came to a place that dropped into a mud hole. It would have been passable either through the mud or over the top of the sandstone but it wouldn't have been a great way to take dogs so were turned back at that point. We figured we were very close to Horse Canyon. Steve probably would have gone on down to find the exit while I started back with the dogs, but the dogs will not leave him while hiking. They even get a little freaked when the alpha female decides to walk in front of the alpha male. So now we need to go back and come up from the Horse Canyon side. This is such a perfect time to hike. It's cool, you don't have to worry about a flash flood, and there are no snakes. It was a lot longer coming back to the truck. Steve likes to underestimate the distance while we are hiking but my hips and feet can still tell when he has taken us over my hiking limit. But this was such a beautiful hike, I will gladly nurse stiff joints for a few days and the dogs I'm sure will be very well behaved for a few days as well.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Historical Hiking

Being so heavily involved with the Boulder Heritage Foundation, you are continually focused on the history of this area. One of our recent interests have been to learn more about the old roads that came in to Boulder. Because of the inaccessibility of this place, every road that was ever created becomes an amazing feat. We have now traveled the Haymaker Bench Road, the Claude V Cut-off, and today we scouted the Old Creamery Road. Each road is so interesting with it's cuts into sandstone cliffs with scary drop-offs and sand pits that must have buried wagon wheels. We are like detectives looking for scrapes on sandstone and sandstone made smooth by numerous wagon trips. We've had a little help from someone who has previously cairned much of the trip but today we totally lost the road in sand. We wandered across the sand looking for a cairn or anything that looked like the road. We finally followed a dirt road, now closed, and found the old Lollipop Tree which was a marker for the direction and the connection to the next part of the road. After standing for at least one hundred years, this tree finally fell down this year. Part of the pine stump stands about 10 feet in the air but the lollipop top now lies on the ground so it won't be a trail marker anymore. It was fun to find this tree that I have heard of all my life even if it was lying down now. We did follow the road once again to the Escalante River bottoms directly across from where the road we traveled last week up the Haymaker Bench. It is incredible to think of traveling on these roads in a wagon.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Do What Scares You

This has become one of the most important goals of my retirement. So far it has lead me on an incredible eight day motorized boat trip down the Colorado River across over 100 rapids. Yesterday it included a totally different kind of experience. We (my husband and I) are a part of the Red Farmhouse Community Farmers Co-Op and we receive a box of vegetables every two weeks. In one of the boxes we received a very large turnip. Neither of us have had much experience with turnips. We decided we must not have been as poor growing up as we thought we were since we were lacking any turnip experience. So we searched the Internet looking for a recipe that would include turnips. I found "Bacon Turnip Mash". I thought bacon might help hide the taste of turnips, so we went for it (even though I think it did scare both of us a bit). It was ok but probably a waste of good bacon, so I doubt we will go that direction again. Our next adventure is going to be beets. We both had beets in our childhood homes (yeah, so they were trailer houses) and we both decided to not like them from an early age, but we are now at this new and incredible age, so we probably should be bold and experiment with beets. So there maybe some beet soup in the upcoming days of our retirement.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Time To Start

I have some great role models for retirement so I will start this first retirement entry dedicated to them. With each of my mother's sisters all in their 60's and 70's blogging away and encouraging me to follow suit, I suppose this is inevitable.
I kept thinking I wanted my blog to have a specific purpose, more than just what I'm doing each day and with so many of my friends and colleagues facing retirement, I thought that might be my purpose. I retired 2 1/2 years ago but continued to work part time until last May when both my husband and I decided to fully retire and to move to Boulder, Utah. We have always loved Boulder but it is a very small community and it would have been difficult to make a living here and also to keep both of our children happy especially the one that loved all sports and eventually received a scholarship to play football in college (they don't play football in the local high school of less than 100 students in grades 7 to 12). So we waited for him to graduate. We also had my mother-in-law, daughter, and grandson living with us, so that was difficult to consider a move. But in the last couple of years, everyone has found their place and the time seemed just right for this move.
I want to focus on retirement because I see so many people struggle with this phase of life. There are many concerns about retiring; will there be enough money to get to the end, will there be adequate health care without a job, will I like my spouse well enough to just hang out together, will I have any value without my job title, what will I do with my time, and on and on. I have considered these concerns as well and I know I will face many of them even further as time goes on, but I also have the experience of seeing my mother die of cancer at age 51 and my father-in-law died at 47 of a heart attack. I know too personally that all of this can end at anytime and I don't want my whole life to be work or one job even I really loved that job and was very good at it. I think there might be some other things I will love and some other things I am good at. That is why this blog is titled "Directions 4 Retirement." Maybe I can provide some directions to make this step easier for someone else but more importantly for me it is the directions that I will take in my retirement. It is a journey that I look forward to even if I can't fully envision where it will take me. But I believe it will be a great ride.