Life, Love and Experience

Mt Flora, Continental Divide Trail, CO

Mt Flora, Continental Divide Trail, CO

It’s not just about hiking…it’s about spending time together, it’s about being in an environment that promotes tranquility, it’s about surrounding ourselves with natural and raw energy, it’s about life and love and how small we are in the eternal and unimaginable universe. Hiking just sets the stage for experiences, memories and discovery.

Peace,

MAD :)

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Winter Wonderland

Chatauqua Park in Boulder, CO

Chautauqua Park in Boulder, CO

After a good ole fashioned snow storm moved through Colorado, we were itching to hit a trail and experience the beauty of Colorado in the winter. This past week we also learned that a favorite trail of ours that had been closed for over a year because of severe flooding had reopened making our choice of outings a no-brainer. Winter gear packed in the truck, we headed out excited to hit a snowy trail and enjoy sunny blue skies in Boulder, CO. The Royal Arch trail might not be a long trail, or even a high altitude mountaineering experience, but that notion soon fades as you hit the trail and are quickly thrust into a beautiful and serene environment among the amazing Flatirons of Boulder. Hiking in Colorado is no doubt a wonderful blessing, hiking in Colorado in the winter just seems to take it to the next level. Whatever the case we are indeed in the midst of some amazing mountains that never cease to amaze us in any season all year long.

Enjoy the photos of our hike on our MAD Facebook page and let yourself get lost in the beauty of nature at its finest.

Peace,

MAD :)

Dream a Little Dream

Winter in Eldorado Canyon State Park, CO

Winter in Eldorado Canyon State Park, CO

Can you believe it, we actually took a nap today? Wow, really, are you going to sit there and read the rest of this after an opening line like that? Seriously though, we just had one of those days where we had planned the night before to sleep in, didn’t happen. And when we did get up we were going to go snowshoeing, didn’t happen. And then, after all that we were going to come home and have a old time favorite meal [Frito Pie] and an amazing microbrew [Yeti from Great Divide] to end the evening, didn’t happen. So what did happen?

Well, as fate would have it, or better put, after a long bitterly cold week in Denver we just made it up as we went along. We got up early instead of sleeping in, had our usual morning routine of single syllable words, or grunts..not sure what you’d call it…but after 32ish years we seem to understand each other just fine. Feed the pups, though we never remember who did it, and then rendezvous at the coffee maker for [hopefully] a life awakening experience. We then moved to the couch to drink our miracle elixir and watch the same news over and over again until we can recite it before they repeat it [again].

Finally the question gets posed, “well, are we going snowshoeing?” Crickets ensue as the life giving elixir has yet to kick in as the early morning insanity wears on with the repeating news, repeated drinking of coffee and now a full sentence in the English language is heard as if the world were about to come to an end amongst the echoing sounds of crickets. The response…back to one syllable words, and an often overlooked quote by Jeff Spicoli, “I don’t know.” Nodding our heads in unison as if an agreement of the unknown, we respectfully return to our news, coffee and prehistoric ramblings until one of us would make a decision.

And then it happened, a moment of sheer ingenious inspiration, let’s skip the snowshoe outing with the weather predicted to get bad in the mountains. Ah, yes, we were more than watching the news, we were actually listening too! Instead of throwing all the winter hiking gear in the truck we grabbed our cameras and headed out for a drive instead [fully clothed of course]. The plan now had become an expedition of gathering information about nine of the state parks close to Denver that would be great alternatives to those [like us today] that don’t want to travel in the high country during a winter storm [go figure] and stay close to home while still getting out and enjoying the outdoors. Flash forward, those nine state parks were quickly whittled down to five…then four…and finally three. Is there a pattern forming here, maybe more coffee would help?

Off we went to make good on our plan to do a write up on four, well, three amazing places to go near Denver when the weather is not necessarily cooperating in the cold winter months. Needless to say, it wasn’t really cooperating for us either. Our first step out the front door and we were met with the fresh breath of old man winter, frosty and frigid it was. Determined we headed off, clouds hanging low, icy wind blowing and now snow falling, but wait, we memorized that forecast, we have time before the snow falls…alas, it’s Colorado and the weather will do what it wants when it wants. Still driving, still snowing and still determined. But it is beautiful.

Mule Deer in the Meadow at Roxborough State Park, CO

Mule Deer in the Meadow at Roxborough State Park, CO

Our first park, Eldorado Canyon State Park. The sign at the entrance said 4-wheel drive or chains required, no problem, we have the 4-wheel drive part covered. Deep, white Colorado powder had blanketed the area for several days and even more was now falling. How wonderful we thought, and it was. We stopped, soaked it all in, walked a little and decided to head off to park number two, Roxborough State Park to the south. A winding hilly foothills highway, with the lanes now obscured by snow and we were beginning to wonder if this was a good idea. Still driving, still snowing and still determined. But it is beautiful. We got to the park and drove through stopping to take a few pictures and admire the ever present mule deer grazing in the meadow as if time really didn’t exist, and why should it? After enjoying the peace of the moment, and now stomachs growling for food, we headed off to our last and final destination, Castlewood Canyon State Park, further yet to the south. Once there the serenity of a cold winter day was really setting in, not to mention our hunger level was beginning to outweigh any and all decisions being made! A short walk, a few pictures and we were off, headed home to finish off our great plans for the evening, or so we thought.

We stopped off for a few food items before getting home. Our illustrious plans now were more of a make it up as we went along, sound familiar? Frito Pie, hmmm, lots of work there. We aggressively attacked a bag of chips as we heated up onion rings and vegetarian [chicken style] sandwiches in the oven. After devouring that we hit a little ice cream we usually reward ourselves with after a long hike…and hey, it was cold outside, all that driving..and well…it tasted good! Our bellies now full we were determined to have a nice imperial stout, didn’t happen. We both made for the bed and took a long nap listening to the sounds of a show we like to watch, Buying Alaska. We love to watch shows like that and dream a little, OK, a lot. And now it only seemed to woo us into a nice late afternoon nap as we fell asleep dreaming of living in a small cabin in the mountains, deep in the woods. We couldn’t believe it, all of our plans pretty much out the window and now taking an afternoon nap. What an awesome day of doing nothing, or not much anyway, and cuddling up to dream a little dream.

Peace,

MAD :)

Are you keeping up with out antics on the MAD Facebook page and Twitter?

Resisting the Wind, Absorbing the Experience

Flattop Mountain [12,324'] in Rocky Mountain National Park

Flattop Mountain [12,324'] in Rocky Mountain National Park

Our latest outing took us back to Rocky Mountain National Park on a summiting adventure atop Flattop Mountain [12,324']. Well equipped, we met nature head on as fierce winds were blowing off the peaks as if to say “try if you will human, but this place is for the determined only.” Determined we were…slowly, methodically and carefully we put one foot in front of the other and pressed on. Climbing ever higher, the energy release and altitude gain quickly reminded us where we were. But the reward today was not the destination, it was the trail, the many views…the energy of a raw and unrelenting nature that had welcomed us into its high alpine playground. Indeed, we were resisting the wind while absorbing the experience. We love hiking the Rocky Mountains, in any season, as they all hold unique opportunities to experience the beauty of Colorado.

See more photos from this latest outing on the MAD Hippies Facebook page.

Peace,

MAD :)

Lazy Saturday Hike

Castlewood Canyon State Park - East Canyon

Castlewood Canyon State Park – East Canyon

One of the greatest assets of living in Colorado is the outdoors as you can be on an amazing trail within an hour of any location, if not sooner. Indeed, we have to keep ourselves in check every now and again as to not take such opportunities for granted and remind ourselves of how blessed we are to live in such a beautiful state with many diverse locations, miles and miles of trails and the incredible Rocky Mountains.

Today we once again took advantage of our benefit as we could not decide on a trail to explore. We awoke in a somewhat foggy slumber after the festivities of Halloween the night before and weren’t in the mood to scale a mountain, though getting out on a trail was in order.

Alas, just to the south of Denver is the often over looked Castlewood Canyon State Park. Perfect we thought, far enough away from the city, yet close enough that we don’t have a long drive. Granted we’ve been here many times before, there was still  one area of the canyon we had not explored, the East Canyon. Much more diverse than its west side, the east is virtually without a visible trail leaving the explorer to follow cairns along the way. As such, the east side sees fewer people making for a perfect and quiet lazy Saturday hike!

See the pictures on the MAD Facebook page.

Peace :)

MAD

Women Are Stronger Than Men!

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

I love it when you don’t know I’m taking your picture. Is this just another Kodak moment for an amateur photographer? Not at all, these moments are very special to me as I just get to [silently] stand back and enjoy not only the beauty of the surroundings, but you. It’s interesting, while you’re having your own moment, I’m having my own. I’m in awe that you’re able to just separate the world out and bask in the moment of nature’s heavenly bliss. Is your mind quiet, are you actually slipping away and allowing peace and tranquility in? You look so calm, so relaxed…a goddess of humility and serenity.

Alas, my own moment, which I’m not sure you really know about [until now] is powerful all in its own right. It’s truly not a physical thing either, though indeed you have always been, and will continue to be, the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on, but these moments delve much deeper than skin. You always wanted to know what I think, well I guess here’s a glimmer of sorts into my mind and the chaos within! Don’t be alarmed, it’s not all bad, there is much good inside too, thanks to you and the gentle persuasion you’ve had on me over the years to bring a better view of life to my often developed conspiracy theories!

So just what am I thinking about lately, when it comes to you…us? I’ll try to just stick to the G-rated material! However, of late, and you more than deserve to know this, along with every other woman in the world who does not get credit for the inner hell they go through just for being a woman. I am dumbstruck what you go through on any given day, but especially now in this time of your life when you should be kicking back after having had children, raising them and putting up with me all those years. Here you are being dealt yet another blow for no other reason than being female. What men are indeed clueless to is how damned determined and strong women can be!

You’ve given birth three times, and that alone gives you bragging rights over all men when it comes to enduring pain. But now, you’re dealing with what many men consider nothing more than a dramatic [ongoing] episode of instability. So far from the truth, and if there were any truth to it it’s because of what you are dealing with, alongside the opposite sex being ignorant to what it truly is. In short, menopause is a cruel and unjust evil that seemingly leaves nothing untouched, your body, mind and soul suffer for no other reason than being a woman…and I hate that for you.

I can imagine that many a divorce have occurred during this stage in life. I can see why many women have just laid down and called it quits. Though I would never condone such behavior, I see why many men run…but that’s their own ignorance and inability to deal with something they know nothing about. I can’t imagine being inflicted the way you are on all levels of your being and wanting to get up each and every day to go about your daily life. And yet, somehow you do. And not only for yourself, but for me, our family and the life we have together. You push through the incredible effects of a physical drudgery and an emotional hell to watch over us. Again, I’m in awe.

So yes, when I find that moment where you’re sitting calm, allowing a moment of peace, I don’t want to bother you, even though I just want to race over and embrace your body, your soul and your mind and be one with you in that moment. I have to fight back the urge and give you a few minutes, if that, where you can be rewarded what you’re owed for being so strong when you’re putting up with so much, and at no fault of your own, other than being a woman. An amazing woman at that! Fight on Beautiful, you inspire me.

Peace,

The “M” in MAD :)

The Eyes are the Window to the Soul

Bighorn

Bighorn Sheep – Waterton Canyon, CO

Silence Is Golden

Chasm Lake [11,800'] at Rocky Mountain National Park

Chasm Lake [11,800'] at Rocky Mountain National Park

How many ways can you say “WOW” when that moment of anticipation arrives? And yet, there we stood, after several hours of uphill hiking through diverse mountain zones only to find ourselves standing in silence as our goal stood before us. Sometimes there just aren’t words to describe how you feel…silence takes over and facial expressions tell the story of your intense moment.

There we were, our weekly encounter with nature intertwined with our raw unfiltered selves and all we could do was stare silently at the immense landscape before us. Eyes wide, mouths open, bodies numb as nature’s awesome glory held us in its grasp for just a moment that we would know just where and what we are in the vastness of the cosmos and how there is much much more to life than day in day out man made existence.

Our hike on this day was an 8.5 mile alpine journey to Chasm Lake [11,800'] which sits at the base of Mt Meeker [13,911'], Longs Peak [14,259'] and Mt Lady Washington [13,281'] in the high country of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

See the photos of this latest MAD adventure on our Facebook page

Peace,

MAD :)

Who Do You Think I AM?

Mt Evans, CO - Sunrise Meditation at !4,265'

Mt Evans, CO – Sunrise Meditation at 14,265′

Who am I? Or, more notably, who am I to you? A loaded question no matter how you turn it! Seems we spend our entire lives in transition developing ourselves into the beings we perceivably want to be all the while retaining the right to make changes at any given time. When do those changes [real and personal] take place, generally out of intense situations. The following is exactly that… real, intense and personal. Are we still in transition, you bet, and most likely will always be. The next time you think you know someone, or feel like judging them or just want to make a quick assessment of why someone is the way they are, you might want to stop and think, we all have our own personal hell we’re either going through or have been through.

Read on at Elephant Journal - “What ‘Be Authentic’ Actually Means”

Peace,

MAD :)

And To Think I Almost Didn’t Go

The Loch, Rocky Mountain National Park

The Loch, Rocky Mountain National Park

Ever had one of those mornings where you didn’t want to get up? Sure, we all have. Today was one of those days, just leave me alone to die. Coffee won’t fix the clouds in my head, Advil won’t get rid of the pain in my body and by and far…I just didn’t feel like being alive this morning. Of course the stubbornness kicked in and I got dressed, put all the gear in the truck and we headed out for a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park that we had never been on before. The Loch [10,200'] is an amazing 6 mile roundtrip hike up to an amazing high country lake surrounded by snow capped peaks! After we made the lake I couldn’t believe I almost didn’t go! Hell, before we made the lake I couldn’t believe it. What an incredible day in Colorado. Awesome weather, great trail conditions and at my side my best friend and soul mate [the "D" in MAD]. See the photos of our outing to The Loch on the MAD Facebook page.

Peace,

MAD :)

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