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Maroon Bells || 10 on 10

Autumn is the greatest.

The end.

Hope to see you again soon.

Buh-bye.

⸰  ⸰  ⸰

Well, it was worth a shot, but of course there is more to be said! The day my remarks are that brief is probably a day without coffee. Which would be bad.

What is not bad is another edition of our monthly 10-on-10 collaborative project! Here are my fabulous colleagues:

 

Say hello and happy trails to the crew, and then we shall continue with my tale. Go ahead, I’ll wait….

A few weeks back we traveled through the mountains to Aspen. Our quest involved finding fall colors to photograph a fine, engaged couple standing in front of, among, and totally surrounded by the glory. It took a little more doing than you would expect when going to a place named for the exact trees which we sought (as you heard about a few days ago).

We spent our second day of the weekend rising before the sun to catch the sunrise. As one must do. We ventured to the Maroon Bells, an iconic mountain vista here in Colorado. Prior to this particular weekend adventure I had somehow never actually visited this famous and gorgeous place. I have been remiss as a Colorado native, they may revoke my birth certificate.

The pre-sun morning was 100 percent freezing. We’re talking icicles here, folks. And it being a famed destination, we were not the only photographers and visitors to make the trip.

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Colorado Centennial Farms

Colorado is my first love. This state is not just the setting for my life story (thus far), it is a central character. It is the backdrop and a main tenet. I feel like I know Colorado like I would know a beloved relative, someone who shares my heritage and my blood. But I cannot even begin to claim to know this land like those who have spent their lives actively working it.

Two weeks ago I ventured into the eastern part of Colorado for a story with the Denver Post local section. My destination: A century-plus year old farm in Strasburg. An arm of the state had recognized this property as one of its Colorado Centennial Farms, not a small feat when the parameters of such an accomplishment are considered.

↣ The farm must be owned by the same family continuously for at least 100 years.

↣ The farm must still be a full-fledged working farm.

↣ The farm must be at least 160 acres in size.

There are nearly 500 farms that have been granted this title since the program began in 1986. Only six in Adams County, which is where I headed in mid-September to meet Ray “Stubby” Schmidt.

Schmidt Farm Colorado Centennial Farm

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sunrise || on being spontaneous

I recently had occasion to wake up at 5 a.m. and drive 3.5 hours to Denver for a 9 a.m. meeting. This occasion was Monday.

The waking occurred in Steamboat Springs. The driving took place along US-40 and I-70, skirting mountains and trudging through foggy valleys. The meeting happened in the Post building. The driver in question drank a lot of coffee with a side of espresso that day. That day was Monday.

This year — maybe this entire existence, which is how it seems these fine days — has been one of quick turnaround trips. There was our 14-hour vacation to Salt Lake City. Then the 12-hour stay in Silverton, Colo. And now this approximate 17-hour visit to Steamboat Springs. This visit was Monday.

These ridiculous endeavors are almost always in conjunction with work. (This example being related to getting Dan to the starting line of another cycling tour; he was covering the race this time, not riding in it.) We tend to shoehorn adventure in around other obligations and responsibilities. Perhaps that’s just being an adult, yeah? Perhaps it’s just some particular habit (ahem, psychosis) for us. Whatever the case, the alarm rang much too early that morning. And yes, that morning was Monday.

Processed with VSCOcam with k2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with b2 presetIt’s hard to be too perturbed by this shoehorn lifestyle when these are the vistas with which you paint your adventures. And it’s better than not going right? When Dan first suggested I stay the night with him in Steamboat (the original plan being for me to drive him up to the mountains Sunday morning and abandon him there like the good wife that I am), I was hesitant to go for it. The original plan had me getting home at a reasonable hour Sunday evening, with time to lounge and then get to bed at a respectable time before hitting the work week sans zombie eyes. That plan sounded nice, comfortable. Easy. But then I caught myself.

I didn’t want to be the kind of person who was bothered by a touch of spontaneity. So what if I didn’t have an overnight bag, a contact lens case, face wash, mascara? So what if I’m not a morning person? So what if it sounded a little insane to start the week with a sunrise road trip back to the city? There may very well come a time when it doesn’t make sense to uproot the “original plan,” in whatever form it may come in. But that time isn’t now.

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So as we get to another weekend, don’t hesitate to embrace the spontaneous, my dears. If not now, then when, right?

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when you’re longing to be in France

It’s a twinkling little ping just left of center in your heart. Your brain quickly catches on to the ping and before you know it you are torturing yourself by fruitlessly gazing at plane fares to France. You imagine fields of lavender, crusty baguettes, cappuccino sipped from a sturdy little cup at an outdoor cafe, a flaky croissant making a mess of the tablecloth.

You all know what I’m talking about, don’t be shy in admitting it. I would happily go to France always. Let’s move there now, what do you say? Sadly, this is almost never a reasonable plan, to simply drop everything and move to a foreign country. But a girl can dream, can’t she?

Luckily, when this feeling gets too unbearable, there is a charming cheese shop in northern Colorado, the city of Longmont to be precise, to which a girl can retreat. I know this sounds a little odd, but it’s true. It’s called, simply, Cheese Importers. And while I would never turn my nose down at a vast selection of cheese, the store also boasts a rich offering of boutique items, ranging from other food stuffs (breads, desserts, olive oils), to trinkets (perfumes, books, jewelry). There is also perfect little bistro with a bar area that I daresay would enliven the very likes of Hemingway himself. (Yes, there is absinthe on the menu; no, I haven’t tried it yet.)

Take a tour with me.

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silverton || colorado

Whoa weekends around here lately. Read that sentence REALLY fast the way I just sounded it out in my head as I typed. As if you just drank four cups of coffee back-to-back in a quick and consecutive fashion. Did you do it? Welcome to my brain, folks!

We have been on the war path with our weekends these past several weeks. It’s almost like we are trying to conquer every minute with decisive action. But fun action. Delightful action even. Just decisive. This past one we photographed a wedding on Copper Mountain, then drove an additional five hours to Silverton, Colorado, to catch the very tail end of the Hardrock 100 endurance race. (Here’s some words on that monumental endeavor from @danielpetty.) Then the next morning after closing down coverage of said race we drove seven hours back to Denver. We spent more time in the car than we did out of it, but that’s what tunes and incredible gas mileage are for, right?

This upcoming weekend gets even more ridiculous, but more on that later. (Pray for us, guys. We’ve worked with crazier schedules before, but this one is up there. Top three easy.)

So, Silverton! Funny little Silverton. To get there (well, one of the ways to get there) you go over Red Mountain Pass which is spectacular and terrifying. We did it at about 11 p.m. after a significant rain storm passed over soaking the roads and making the sheer drop-off that loomed directly beside me even more nerve-wracking. I’ve never been terribly scared of heights, but when you can see nothing but inky darkness dropping immediately off just feet from your window on a very twisty and wet road with no guardrail to speak of, that’s enough to spook even the most resolute.

But, spoiler alert, we survived!

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