Yes, it’s fall, so this will be one of those ubiquitous (why isn’t there another word for “ubiquitous” which I seem to use every time I feel like a cliché which then makes the word a cliché?) “It’s fall” wordy posts. I swear that I won’t mention sweaters, fleece jackets (although I’m currently wearing a newish Melanzana pullover – fully embracing the cult-like adoration of this Colorado company), pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween. Or I won’t after this!
An aside: for the “potpourri” part of the title – it always makes me think of Jeopardy!, which then makes me think of SNL’s skits. I used to feel sympathetic towards Alex Trebek until I heard an NPR interview with him, and in those mere 5 minutes, I went from liking him to finding him completely repugnant. He was seriously an arrogant ass! Anyway, moving on…
As this is my second official fall here in Colorado, a pattern has emerged, or so it seems. A trip to Leadville marks the end of summer – both last year and again this year, we spent an exhausting but fun weekend spectating the Leadville 100 Trail race.
I say spectating and NOT crewing because I don’t feel that we really add much value to the crew part. Our one “major” contribution is providing food for the people who are seriously crewing – it’s a major job for them, lots of coming and going, and not much time to figure out dinner on Saturday night. Last year was our first experience at Leadville, and we had no idea what to expect – there is a festive quality to the area, from Leadville to Twin Lakes and other pit stops in between, and I always end up with “ultra” envy, wondering about trail running rather than other events (such as triathlon). My cousin’s goal was his 10th Leadman – last year he completed his 9th, so this was one of those “milestone” years. Also, it was NOT a given that he’d complete the run. He barely made it last year, and then for 2017 they changed the course, so instead of 100 miles, it was more like 103. We could only compare with last year, but, at all the points where we saw him, he looked *fantastic* (you know, for someone running 100 miles) so we felt that he’d be okay. And he was! He looked great when he crossed the finish line, well before the 30 hours were up, and he even made it back out to cheer on a few friends who were finishing too.
I know that way more people could (and do) write with a more intimate knowledge of the train/ultra running experience and community, and I just have this one sliver of connection, but it amazes me how supportive everyone is and how ultrarunning really is a process. We went to the awards ceremony this year, and some of the first people they recognize are not the winners but those who started the race but didn’t finish. There is no shame in that, as we spoke to several (at least 3) people who didn’t make it to the finish line – no tears on their part, at least not as they were talking to us, just a “We’ll be back next year.”
Once September rolled around, just like last year, also, we took in the changing fall colors. I feel like a broken record, as I know that I said the same thing last year, but experiencing fall is just wonderful. Living in California for over ten years, it was easy to forget why people found the months of September and October to be so wonderful, but the change in temperature, as the morning chill bites just a bit and you’re thankful for wool socks, the change in colors, the shorter days – these all serve as reminders to get out, enjoy the beautiful days before hunkering in during the winter months.
A few weeks ago, we zipped up to Kenosha Pass, leaving before the sun had officially risen, and taking a short walk there – probably cut off because of the drizzle which then turned to a steady rain. Even with the crowds and the rain, it was beautiful to get a little high and see the aspen. While the colors this year weren’t as vibrant and lively as last year (a common consensus), I couldn’t complain at all!
Sammy obviously enjoyed the outing too!
Finally, we spent last weekend in Salida, visiting my brother- and sister-in-law who moved from Boulder to Salida in July. This was our first chance to see them as official “residents”, although we’d visited Salida with them on several occasions last year and this past spring. I have to admit that I’d move to Salida too if we could figure out how to make ends meet! It’s definitely changing, and it’s a mountain/river town that is becoming a little more “hip” as people move in and others move out. The beauty and the outdoor opportunities abound, so it offers plenty to adventure-seekers, whether it’s high thrills or something more low-key.
We stuck to low-key, with a nice hike on Saturday, up to Boss Lake, which we sort of attempted last year but didn’t quite make it to the lake. At that point, Michael was still barely off crutches and a hike with a good bit of elevation gain was fairly unrealistic. So, back to last weekend – he handily made it up to the lake! It wasn’t one of those “gorgeous” Colorado days with sunny skies, but a bit of cloud cover is never a bad thing, and we still enjoyed the climb to the lake. It had snowed earlier in the week on the higher peaks, so the climb rewarded us with a view or two!
In addition to outdoorsy activities, we hit up a few local watering spots – Elevation Brewing, always a favorite of ours, and Woods Distillery, a first visit for us and definitely fun! We didn’t buy anything to take home, but we enjoyed a few drinks at their bar. Finally, we seemed to eat our way through town – stopping by the Salida farmer’s market on Saturday morning to pick up items for the weekend, and I ended up at the Little Red Hen Bakery both Saturday and Sunday for scones and also a loaf of sourdough bread. I’d sampled the scones before and they are always a crowd-pleaser, but the sourdough loaf was, perhaps, the big winner. I am such a sucker for a good loaf of sourdough, and we really haven’t stumbled on a go-to bakery in Golden. (Obviously I should start to make my own, but… shew, that seems like a lot of work!)
It may seem that we’ve been on the go quite a bit, but the outings have been, for the most part, pretty quick and easy, yet have given us a nice taste of fall and an opportunity to explore – again, in these cases! – a few of our favorite places. We have also hunkered down a bit in our new place, which is coming together, mainly thanks to Michael! Sammy is certainly happier in a larger abode, and we’ve unpacked boxes that we’d schlepped around California and now Colorado for a decade (literally). It feels strange – as though we went from barely being adults to REAL adults. Not that a house is the marker of that threshold, but it does demonstrate a stability and responsibility that I identify with adulthood. While things are still a bit up and down for me work-wise (I don’t love teaching middle school), overall, we are doing well, and I feel that I can finally exhale and enjoy where we are.
AND enjoy winter! Which, as they say, “is coming”! (Sorry, couldn’t resist!) We had our first winter storm on Sunday night/Monday morning. I rolled my eyes at the forecast, but, to my surprise, the storm definitely materialized and made for a crappy drive to work but a beautiful day. It has all melted by now, of course, but it certainly turns our mind toward the months ahead. But, for now, we’ll also continue to revel in the fall – sneak in those bike rides, take in the colors, and appreciate the chilly nights and mornings and warmer days.