Hike to Nowhere

Hike to Nowhere, Rocky Mountain National ParkSometimes the best outdoor adventures have no goals, no expeditions to high mountain peaks and pristine alpine lakes. Sometimes the best adventures are found deep in the forest, off trail with only the sound of silence to reward you. Sometimes the best adventures are nothing more than a hike to nowhere.

We took a hike just such as this. With no goal in mind and no destination planned, the rule of the day was, just hike until it feels right. The trail had no real defining features. A well blended forest of alpine fir, lodgepole pine and aspen opening here and there with an occasional glimpse of snow-capped mountain peaks. A gentle rolling creek trickling alongside on our left fed by a high alpine lake in the far distance. Steep slopes rising to the right and dropping to the left, leaving just enough room for the trail and our unknown destination of a hike to nowhere.

We meandered our way up the canyon, stopping here and there, taking a non-aggressive pace and enjoying the quiet of nature.

At some point the trail turned away from the creek and headed uphill. We, on the other hand, did not. Following the creek, off the trail, we made our own way. Our trail to nowhere brought us to a small outcropping overlooking the creek, surrounded by dense woods and the perfect place to call it a day.

Hike to Nowhere, Trail FoodThere we were, all alone, despite the wildlife who possibly hadn’t seen humans for quite some time, if ever. We coexisted well with them and enjoyed each other’s company. For us, time didn’t exist.

While preparing lunch we looked up at a lone aspen tree that sat on the edge of the outcropping and were dumbstruck at our finding. Perfectly carved in its aging trunk, a peace emblem. Indeed, this was the spot we had been looking for. Perfect in so many ways, and yet, perhaps, unimpressive to anyone else.

Sometimes the best outdoor adventures have no goals, no expeditions to high mountain peaks and pristine alpine lakes. Sometimes the best adventures are found deep in the forest, off-trail, with only the sound of silence to reward you. Sometimes the best adventures are nothing more than a hike to nowhere.

Hike to Nowhere, Peace SignBirds singing, a gentle breeze winding its way through the trees and the creek running gently below us, we sat front row to a natural symphony while a flood of memories of our lives together danced through our heads.

Our hike to nowhere had indeed taken us to a very special place.

Peace,

MAD

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Summer Breeze

Summer BreezeAn almost perfect moment in time, a cool summer breeze, listening to music and watching nature unfold into another day.

It’s 5:00 in the morning, the airport is still and a gentle morning summer breeze is rolling through. Sitting outside, in what normally is an extremely hostile environment, feels calm and serene. Perched atop a piece of aircraft servicing equipment, watching the drama of night and day play out, the early morning light begins to overtake the dark and create amazingly rich colors across the sky.

I sit, iPod on, earbuds in, the Rush album Signals drifting through my ears, all coordinating in a seemingly remarkable multi-dimensional composition of sound and nature in such an unlikely place. The song “The Weapon (Part II Of Fear)” sparks the imagination and gives way to the enchanting violins of the next song “Losing It” that dances with the sunrise. I’ve often enjoyed the silence of headphones (now days earbuds) that shut out the world and allows for no interference where my imagination is left to wander.

An almost perfect moment in time, a cool summer breeze, listening to music and watching nature unfold into another day. I say, almost perfect. Despite being at work, and most noticeably, wishing Debbie was here with me to experience what I’m seeing and feeling, I take what I can get to pass the time of being someplace I don’t want to be. Some days you just want to quit the rat race and run to the mountains. Who created this mess we call life anyway?

The music continues and I wonder, does anyone even see the sunrise anymore? Are we all just so damn busy to realize the natural world and what we really are? The lyrics linger as the dark fades to light and another day begins…

 “Some are born to move the world
To live their fantasies
But most of us just dream about
The things we’d like to be
Sadder still to watch it die
Than never to have known it
For you, the blind who once could see
The bell tolls for thee…”

Peace,

MAD

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Between the Lines

Between the LinesHave you ever just sat back and considered the detail of your life? Have you ever tried to read between the lines? No doubt if you have you’ve seen many coincidences that have made you think about your life all the more.

There’s no secret that we tend to filter everything through the mystical, hence we tend to read between the lines. Though we’re not overtly religious, and would probably be deemed irreligious, there’s more to the story than face value. Yes, there is a G-d. Yes, there is an intelligent design to the cosmos. No, we don’t feel a four-walled organized religion is the way to go [for us].

There are many aspects to all religions that seem to have the fingerprint of a moral compass, and that’s a good thing, they also seem to have man driven ideologies that can equally impact in a negative way. We listen, observe and consider, from a distance. For us it’s the mystical observations found in between the lines.

Of late we have been looking at patterns, physically and spiritually, that would give us further insight into our relationship. Why, you ask? Well, if we had to explain it would come in the notion that we do accept that our relationship is almost too good to be true. Not that we’re complaining. But, it just doesn’t seem to be the norm. Allow us to explain through our observations from a somewhat eclectic approach.

Spirituality, mysticism, astrology, kabbalism and numerology all seem to get a bad rap from the naysayers. Relating them all in the same mind set on the other hand can be quite a mouthful full of complexities that take time to evaluate, understand and even accept. That being said, pull up a chair and be patient.

In Judaism there is a practice of reading through the Torah [Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Numbers] each year, the cycle repeating each year thereafter. In a nut shell, each day of the entire year has a corresponding assigned portion to read. As well, the Psalms are also read alongside in like fashion. If one approached this from a rote mentality there would be a likelihood of missing out on a deep spiritual impact.

Here is where we get off the religious wagon and walk down the path less traveled. We have approached this same reading schedule with an interesting question. Is there something between the lines here, something that somehow corresponds to us, say a major life event as the day we were born or were married? We think so. For the purpose of this writing we’ll focus on our marriage.

We were married on March 27, 1984, that being the Gregorian calendar. On the Jewish calendar, Adar ll 23, 5744. It was a waning moon, three days before the new moon. The Torah portion for the day we were married was Par Tazria, or Leviticus 13:18 – 13:23. At first glance this just seems like some Jewish religious practice. And while that is true, there’s more to it. Just reading those  passages alone probably won’t tell you much either, unless you’re into leprosy and how it was dealt with in the Torah. Not a popular topic to say the least.

However, once we begin to read between the lines, a rather interesting pattern begins to emerge that has much more to say than dealing with a disease. Looking at the letters, words and phrases, in the Hebrew alphabet, has enough to chew on for several lifetimes. Hell, the numerology, or gematria, itself is perplexing. To simplify, if that were so, we’ll focus on the “hidden” content.

A bit of history about us. When we first me, even before that, and soon thereafter, we were already questioning everything. We trusted no one. Sure, we were fragile teenagers dealing with our own issues. A relationship is not something we wanted or were looking for. But it happened. It wasn’t long before we figured out we were both in the same boat and that we both felt familiar to each other. We both wanted away from the world and to be left alone. We needed a fresh start from the norm.

Back to the Torah portion. Examining the afflicted person, “The Kohen shall look at it, and behold – the affliction has changed to white, the Kohen shall declare the affliction pure; it is pure.” (Leviticus 13:17). The color white has long been understood as meaning, clean and pure. Even in cultural memes, white is used in many ways to designate something good, holy and undefiled. The idea of becoming pure, clean, moreover, the moment just before becoming pure and clean occurs, is a notion found in between the lines in that this would be the time the Messiah would come, at the climax of the greatest intensity. This would be the unveiling moment when destiny is revealed.

The Talmud (Sanhedrin 97a) describes the Messiah as coming only after the governments of the world become totally heretical, come to a climax. Again in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 98a), it speaks of the generation when the Messiah will come, “a totally deserving, or totally guilty” generation. A generation at its climax.

Our point being, we were at a climax in our lives. The intrigue is that the Torah portion is associated with the day of our marriage when we were at the apex of change and went a whole new direction in our lives with the energy of change, the same energy the Torah speaks of. Thirty-four (at the time of this writing) years later we are still moving forward in that energy, still connected to each other, if not more, than ever before. There is something to be said about destiny, connectivity and the energy that binds it together. Understanding such evidence is not necessarily vital, but sure does help us understand just what our lives are about and how our unique relationship has had an impact on us.

If that were not enough, interestingly, on the day of both of our births the Torah portions for those days also describe new beginnings, receptively fitting to both our own personalities at that. Debbie being the role of sacrifice, offering and teaching future generations (Leviticus 1:1-13). Mine being yet another beginning, another apex if you will, where man was moved from the Garden of Eden to work the soil of the earth as he strives forward to go back, knowing both good and evil (Genesis 3:22-4:18).  Coincidence? The references don’t end here, are certainly not tied only to religious content and have become overwhelmingly too numerous to put in this one writing.

Are you curious about the patterns in your own life? Start researching and be amazed! Need help? Drop us a line and we’ll try to share some resources with you.

Peace,

MAD

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Who Do I Think God Is?

Who Do I Think God Is

Who Do I Think God Is

Who do I think God is? Honestly, I don’t know. What I do know is what others say he is. In my humblest opinion, God is bigger than any of us will ever know.

I’m not one to follow the crowd, memes and the like. I’m not a religious person. I test everything, I question all and I do not regret doing so. I have never felt sacrilegious about my decisions, nor any negative discomfort from them. To me, God wants us to challenge him, he wants us to figure him out and by and far he wants us to come to an understanding on our own and not by someone else’s views or opinions.

Evolution? Sure, we’re evolving one day at a time. But seriously, something can’t come from nothing. So we’re left with an intelligence far beyond our own.

I don’t care for four-walled organizations, I’m not a fan of structured religions and by and far I have no place in my life for anyone who claims to know it all and tells me it’s either their way or the highway, hell, purgatory or oblivion.

I approach this all too complex issue from a rather simplistic and rudimentary angle, God simply is. One piece of evidence struck a chord in me many years ago, a somewhat reoccurring theme within a wide range of texts ingenuously states that we will know God by his creation. Simply put, open your eyes, ears and mind to the natural world around you and patterns emerge, human nature reveals and the vibrations of life proclaim his essence.

Though seemingly complex, it’s rather simple, humans just seem to complicate it all to the point of a legalistic dogma that leave no room for interpretation, no place for contemplative thought and certainly no place for honest and open debate. Sad, but we all just seem to back into our own corners of the religious market and raise our camp flags.

Indoctrination is a dirty word with far more negative impacts than many of us are willing to admit. Albert Einstein puts it all too well, “If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.”

If I had to explain myself, perhaps the best way to express my eclectic and ever evolving beliefs, for lack of a better word, would have to be a mystic influenced by the spiritual blur between the lines. I’ve been told I am a critical thinking INTJ. I look for patterns in vocabulary, in numbers, in equated complexities of adding them together to form words, sentences, paragraphs and beyond. I learn from history and do not repeat it. I look in the recesses of places I’m told are taboo. I journey spiritually in my sleep and awake times. My mind constantly drifts in thoughts of the unknown and how to get from here to there. I listen to all and repeat few.

If you ask, I’ll say I’m Jewish. But then I’ll ask you what you think Jewish is! Too many times we surmise what we think someone is by a title, a title man has created and given meaning to based on human ignorance.

I love Kabbalah, Gematria and Jewish mysticism. I want to visit Safed, Israel and not Jerusalem where too many fight and argue over their right to the sand. I don’t have a problem with Jesus, Muhammad, Buddah or the like, I don’t know them either. What I do have a problem with is what people have made them out to be, much less their religious claims on any given doctrine. One thing is for certain, one day we’ll all know the answer. Question is, in the interim, how much time will we waste arguing and waging war when we could be collectively exploring God and not our egos.

Who do I think God is? Honestly, I don’t know God. What I do know is what others say he is. In my humblest opinion, God is bigger than any of us will ever know.

Peace,

Miller [The “M” in MAD]

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It is a MAD World Out There

It is A MAD World Out There

It is A MAD World Out There

It is a MAD world out there! Each morning we get up and do it all over again. Consumed by the rat race we neglect to capture our thoughts and go about our day out of tune and out of touch.

Do what you love, or hate what you’re doing. Seems pretty straight forward, and most likely a statement attributed to our work or careers, but this could also apply to all of life, everything we do. 

Who knows. We’re the kind of people that tends to incorporate every mundane thought and action into a complete package where nothing is exempt as it all is a part of life. We’d love to make it a la carte, picking and choosing what is personal and what is not, but unfortunately that is not a task that we find feasible, if we’re breathing, it’s life.

Wish we would have known all this stuff at an early age.

Alas, we are all taught what someone else believes to be a successful and productive life. In a meme driven culture, it’s a wonder anyone of us has half a mind to figure out what it is, as individuals, we want out of life. Essentially, it is like a virus that takes over our thought-process and tells us what we believe we want, but do we want those things, and how do we know and does it matter to most? 

The business, political, religious and educational leaders [to name a few] seem to have a plan they’d like us to follow, outside of that box, you’re deemed rebellious and a societal outcast…or, better put, weird. Keep ’em busy so they can’t think for themselves and the machine will run as designed.

If you do stop, observe and think about it for even a second, it can cause one to wonder who you really are. Or, at the very least, confuse the hell out of you and leave you wondering what exactly truth is, and what it is not.

It is a MAD world out there! Each morning we get up and do it all over again. Consumed by the rat race we neglect to capture our thoughts and go about our day out of tune and out of touch.

Peace,

MAD

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Hiking Lost Lake

Miller Harrell, Debbie Harrell, MAD Hippies Life, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado, Rocky Mountains, Lost Lake

Hiking Lost Lake, Colorado, Wildflowers, Rocky Mountains, MAD Hippies Life, Hessie TrailheadWelcome to springtime in the Colorado Rocky Mountains!

The winter thaw is upon us, the creeks and rivers are running fast, the lakes are filling back up and the wildflowers are blooming like a fireworks display on the 4th of July. On the menu for today, four moose, three deer, a black bear and an amazing landscape! Hiking Lost Lake in Colorado is an adventure close to Denver full of wildlife, wildflowers and waterfalls.

Many people are coming out from their long hibernation, along with the bears, and heading up into the mountains to enjoy the cool mountain air, the incredible explosion of colors and trade in their skis and snowboards for hiking boots and backpacks.

Hiking Lost Lake is an old favorite which never lets us down when it comes to an abundance of wildlife, wildflowers and waterfalls. And once again, we were not disappointed as indeed we were witness to several moose, deer, a black bear and an amazing breathtaking landscape full of the life we’ve come to appreciate that springtime in the Colorado Rocky Mountains provides.

Hiking Lost Lake, Middle Boulder Creek, Waterfall, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Hessie Trailhead, Lost Lake, MAD HIppies LifeNature’s air conditioner! Many of our hikes are broken into segments, not necessarily to stop and rest, although in the high country that is not such a bad idea! There are those places along the trail that pull you off the beaten path to explore rare opportunities to experience the wild and untamed landscape. When the snow melt begins in spring and the creeks begin filling, the rapids and waterfalls can be quite dramatic. Here, the Middle Boulder Creek bursts with an incredible volume of fast moving water creating a spectacular sight. The heavy mist fills the air and makes for a great spot to cool down. Exploring such a hidden gem is remarkable, while sitting and soaking up the roar is equally meditative.

As much as you might want to stay here, there is so much more to see when hiking Lost Lake. Though, a quick mental note to return again is always a good idea.

Moving on, the trail deepens into the sub alpine world as you climb higher and deeper into the Indian Peaks Wilderness of Colorado. Snow capped peaks begin to emerge behind the tall pines and the trail resembles more of a creek than a footpath as the ever increasing evidence of snow melt overtakes the landscape. The land is alive and your curiosity begins to spark the imagination of what lies around the bend.

Indian Peaks Wilderness, Hiking Lost Lake, Hessie Trailhead, Colorado, Rocky Mountains, MAD HIppies LifeAnd just as the sun rises in the morning giving way to a vast array of colors in the sky, you turn the bend, rise over the ridge and find yourself witness to an incredible landscape that could only be compared to paradise on earth. Beautifully adorned, Lost Lake is a deep blue wonder surrounded by sub alpine trees that reach high into the sky. The cloudless morning sky is endless, rich and clear and the breeze is ever so slight though crisp and cool. All around, snow capped peaks beg to be summited.

A few backcountry campers, still in awe of their find, begin to emerge from their slumber to fill their lungs with the mountain air while the birds serenade us all with songs of the high country. It wasn’t that long ago we were dumbstruck by a waterfall, yet now that begins to fade as this new encounter has stopped us dead in our tracks. Mouths wide open and our souls leaping with joy, we are now witness to an awesome natural wonder. Yes, let’s build our dream cabin right here and never leave!

Indian Peaks Wilderness, Hiking, Backpacking, Hiking Lost Lake, Colorado, Rocky Mountains, MAD Hippies Life, Hessie TrailheadAfter we collected our thoughts and got passed the awe of what hiking Lost Lake has to offer, we began exploring around and above. It is really quite amazing, while you can keep close to the shoreline, equally fun is to climb high above and look back down for a new perspective. Soaking up such a view not only gives you and bigger and much grander understanding of the landscape, but offers views that would otherwise never be seen. Alas, our time here was growing short, though not short on experience. We took one last good look around and chose the long way back out to the main trail.

Peace,

MAD

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Watching Time Watch Us Watch Time

Love is in the air

MAD Hippies Life, Watching Time watch Us Watch Time, Love, Life, Experience

How do you get two people to be in the same place, hell just the same general geographical proximity, at the same time that they would be caught up in a silent explosion in the cosmos that sets off a chain reaction where time, space, life and love will continue to exist in perpetual motion and the resulting memories, experiences and emotions are shared well beyond their own lives?

OK, so maybe that is just a fancy way of asking how two people meet and their history begins. Still, the question begs to be asked, what possibilities exist that they will emerge from such a chance meeting and continue to surge forward in the energy of it all as if it were indeed planned from the beginning of time?

And yet here we are, sitting among our memories watching time watch us watch time.

How is one supposed to consider the mind-numbing statistics that exist in bringing two people together? You know the kind of equation that would keep Einstein awake at night as his variables become demons and solutions are nothing more than dreams. Does such a thing even need to be asked?

Though we will just tell you, it is real and not just some fairy tale.

Life can throw you curve balls every now and again. At one moment you can feel as if everything is spinning out of control, barely allowing for a minute to sit and catch your breath. And, at other times, it seems as if time stands still while everything just passes you by. Perhaps it is just one of those things, the natural movement of time if you will, the unexplained but necessary parts of being human where we wonder if we are watching time watch us watch time.

Strange, it is not as if we can control it, much less make any demands, but indeed time itself seems to watch us watch it, pulsing in one way or another, that we might catch up, slow down or just take in the moment, perhaps if for nothing else but to make necessary alignments in the grand scheme of things.

When we were first married it almost seemed as if time stood still. Sure, when we were dating we could not wait to be together again, and time certainly was our nemesis, but when it comes to time standing still, we refer to the notion that nothing mattered. It was us, just us, and that is all we ever wanted. We were caught in the middle of our own dream state and became oblivious to the outside world.

As parents some of that seemed to change a little, though not in a bad way. We would gather our glances and catch those special moments on the move as time was moving much faster. Minutes, hours and days flew by turning into years. We were busy taking care of the day in and day out activities, going through the motions and doing what we did to watch over our nest. We came to love those quiet dull moments as gifts to take a breath, look around and at each other if for just a moment and realize we are still here and it is still us. Our beautiful wonderful girls were growing, carefree and absorbing life and we were there guiding them one step at a time.

Don’t blink though, you will soon realize that the years have blazed by in a whirlwind of parenthood and those children have become adults and are beginning their own process of creating as we did in perpetual motion.

Alas, the clock stops again, silence.

We sit looking through all the special pictures we have taken and recount the memories of it all, smile a little, cry a little and perhaps laugh as much. The dust is settling, our breath is returning as we regress back to those days of being just us again. Dare we stop and think what just happened, or even consider that we are intact and still the same free willed and spirited teenagers we were so many years ago. The deafening quiet then becomes less noisy and peace settles in, we are still head over heels in love, though more refined in our still free spirited ways.

Just like the pictures we sat among spread all around us in all directions, so too does the energy continue on through our children, their children and on and on. It is all so beautiful, serene and utterly mind blowing to witness and experience, much less the understanding that it all started with us.

Peace,

MAD

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God My Wife is Hot

MAD Hippies Life Golden Gate Canyon State Park ColoradoI am constantly amazed at my wife’s ability to remain sane as a woman with all the struggles she has faced in life. From the pressures of society to the unique attributes of being female, she has dealt with so much in every season of life and remained someone I constantly am inspired by and look up to. Indeed, I am proud to be her husband and best friend in this life and the next.

Of late, she has had to endure a cruel and unjust phase of life for no other reason than she is a woman, menopause. What’s interesting to me is that we have read up on and listened to so many points of view of what women go through when that dreaded day comes and menopause becomes part of everyday life, but it’s all from a woman’s perspective, and most assuredly should be, as they are the ones dealing with it on such a deep personal level, physically and mentally.

Rarely, if ever, do I hear from the men. And when I do it’s generally in a joking manner laden with so much ignorance, and sad to say is quite insensitive. The last thing a woman needs to hear is some quick and insincere response to her heartfelt needs.

Though I can joke about it, and do at times, but from a position of knowing and understanding what my wife is going through. Perhaps as a way to shed light on her struggles, let her know I do understand, am listening and am willing to help. Is it frustrating? Very much so. But I’m learning.

One of the most difficult aspects I deal with are her repetitive questions that seek reassurance. At first it was maddening to me to be asked the same question over and over…within a short period of time, sometimes within the same hour. But seriously, that’s one of the cruelest conditions of menopause, she normally would never need constant reassurance, but for some ungodly reason menopause does! I finally made the recommendation to her, jokingly, that I would make her a set of flash cards with her questions and my answers.

Reliving all the difficult memories of past experiences in life with her is tough, too. While she gets to go back through all the past emotions again, and not just as they were, we’re talking an “erectile dysfunction pill” for emotions, they will last more than four hours and be much harder than before! Those memories can be difficult to deal with all over again. Moreover, her memories of times I wasn’t a part of, how am I supposed to be a support when I don’t even know the trigger source of the emotion.

Indeed, to me, menopause is far more a traumatic mental affliction than it is physical.

That is not to say the physical is any walk in the park. My wife is hot…and cold, and hot, and cold. If you see a woman with her head out the window driving down the highway in the middle of winter with sweat running down her face, well, that’s us.

Sleeping at night is like an aerobics class. We start off all snugly and the next thing I know it’s like someone put an electric blanket between us set on ultra-high! Blankets flying, not to mention our little dog somewhere lost in the now flying blankets, we’re seeking the cool air away from the sauna of our not so distant quiet and relaxing sleep. Sleep? In short spurts, maybe. This was no gradual warm up either, instant heat. Perfect I think for winter camping in the mountains. But just as soon as you’re looking to turn the ceiling fan on high, open all the windows [mind you it’s 20 degrees outside] she’s grabbing for the blankets as the heat dissipates and the grueling cold moves back in. Talking about AC/DC!

Where does all this leave me? Hoping I can at the very least bring some peace to her life during this rather evil punishment she must go through, that we’re going through. It does affect me, not as it does her, but indeed, it does affect me, we’re going through this together, like every other stage in our 33 years together.

As crazy as it sounds I love going through it with her. But that’s just as it should be, we should always be there for each other. The key being, together. We are doing this, we are finding ways to cope and we are holding strong against what life throws at us not willing to let the negative penetration of life’s dark side destroy what we’ve made together.

IMG_0493
Sunrise at 14,000′ on Mt Evans

I love the picture above. I love to see her finding, if for just a moment, peace. Be it meditating, staring blankly into the sunrise or just absorbing the short time when menopause leaves her alone, I just want to go up and grab her from behind, wrap my arms around her and encourage, embrace and relish in the moment with her. Unfortunately I fear that it might trigger something that would somehow reverse the bliss she is enjoying.

Alas, I stand back and have my own moment of seeing the most beautiful person in the world creating a special and most unbelievably serene setting with her physical and spiritual energy aligned with the universe at peace.

Peace,

The “M” in MAD

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Life, Love and Experience

 

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.

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Peace,

MAD 🙂

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Dream a Little Dream

MAD Hippies Life Mule Deer Roxborough State Park Colorado 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.

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 🙂

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