Why the title?

"Pioneers take the arrows"

Oh, wait. I should be upbeat and taking arrows doesn't sound like an upbeat thing to say.

So, let me amend that statement.

It was courage and vision that led the pioneers to leave behind a comfortable, settled life and trek West to begin a new life in a new place. Many of those from the East that went West found a strength within themselves that they didn't see while they were in their old life. Instead of being one of those that just kind of went along with the others in the old life, they became leaders and visionaries in their new lives.

The sentiments of that last paragraph come from a favorite author, Louis L'Amour, in many of his books. So, I can't really say that it is an original thought from me. However, what he said is truthful.

Welcome to being a pioneer. Look ahead and ignore the "barking dogs" that give you negative opinions and comments. Louis L'Amour also spoke of the barking dogs.

In some of his stories, it was usually a father or older man telling a young boy how it was that when the Westward bound Conestoga wagons rolled through towns, the dogs came out to bark at them. His character then told the young listener that the barking didn't stop the wagons from going on to their destinations.

Following the advice of the Louis L'Amour characters, may we all forge ahead with our plans, after carefully considering all consequences and leave the "barkers" behind.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

OK….I’m Tired of Heat

Granted, it could be worse, but after 43 days this year of being over 100 degrees, I’ve about had enough. Southern Oklahoma is getting it worse than Oklahoma City. One community down near the Red River has had 68 days with the temperatures being over 100 degrees.

So, since I can’t lower the “ambient air temperature,” I’ll try to lower the “ambient mental temperature” by posting a few pictures or so. Of course, to make this all work, all pictures will have to be of areas where it is a lot cooler than here in Oklahoma City. Now, I refuse to take us anywhere that a heavy coat is needed, so you will only need a light jacket instead of a heavy coat.

Anyone who knows much about me at all knows that I have an affinity for the mountains. I don’t go in for skiing, because I have never been convinced that it is a good idea to deliberately throw oneself down off of a mountain. (And, my opinion of skiing and the obvious result of my trying to ski would result in that very event happening.)

It is my preference to go when it is hot in Oklahoma, even though it generally means that I have to leave the cool of the higher altitudes to return to the heat of the plains. Now, if I could just be assured of a good job in Colorado, I’d move to the higher elevations and see if I could suffer through the cold months.

Let’s start our day at roughly 5:30am in Purgatoire River Campground in 2000. The temperature is roughly 55 degrees and I’m returning form the campground outhouse when I see a gorgeous sunrise. I hurry to the truck and get my camera. Incidentally, 2000 is the first year for me with digital cameras, so it is in the truck instead of in the tent.

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The following year of 2001 brought a change for us on our vacations. It was prompted by what this image alludes to.

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You see, it was just Jo and I that year in Purgatoire River Campground and two hunters, who happened to be up on the mountains. When we arrived, we were told of rummaging bears, and with the previous spring having a late frost, there were no berries. Thus, bears were looking for food everywhere, including grocery stores and peoples kitchens.

When we were told that the two hunters would be leaving, we realized that if a bear arrived, we would automatically be “appointed” as camp hosts for the visiting wildlife. So, we left this:

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for better accommodations such as this, with one bedroom and a loft:

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We still spent time up in Purgatoire River Campground with hiking and exploring, but we didn’t have to worry about nighttime visitors seeking handouts. This was the first time ever that we vacationed in a cabin of any kind. But, it wasn’t the last. In 2003, we opted for a larger cabin just up the valley from the one above. That is because our youngest son, Eric, was vacationing with us again, and this cabin was a two bedroom

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That year, we branched out a bit more than we have in the past. In addition to being in the area of Monument Lake, Stonewall, and Purgatoire River Campground, we also went to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Zapata Falls.

Monument Lake is now referred to by me as “Monumentless Lake” as the boulder, that was sort of a monument within the lake, toppled over and is no more to be seen.

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Great Sand Dunes National Park:

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Zapata Falls is actually located back inside of a cave.

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OK. I chickened out on taking a picture of Zapata Falls itself. You see, one has to walk back into that cave through this mountain stream and that water is really cold. A year or two later, I was to actually do it since we had bought some boots with which to wade the streams and rivers.

We seldom ever go to the area of Stonewall, Purgatoire River Campground, or Cuchara’s Blue and Bear Lakes that we also don’t go up on Apishapa (Stinking Waters) Pass and over to the area of the Spanish Peaks. A short trail up on a ridge lets us look at the west Spanish Peak and out over the Spoon (Cuchara) Valley. Incidentally, we’ve always known it as Apishapa Pass, but it is marked everywhere as Cordova Pass.

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The photo has Jo and Eric with our two MinPins, TJ and Lady.

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