Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hello Autumn! Guanella Pass, Colorado, and Easy Canvas Winner!


Autumn color comes early to the high elevations of Colorado! By mid September the aspens along the lower Rocky Mountains are already beginning to turn their shades of golden yellow and oranges. My husband and I returned from a trip to Atlanta, Georgia, last week, and we knew we should take a "Leaf Peeping" trip to catch some of the spectacular color as soon as possible. Unfortunately, last Sunday was an overcast and  hazy day, with predictions of rain, but that made us all the more anxious to see the colors before the trees lost their leaves. Almost as soon as we started out driving west on Highway 285 we were rewarded with our first glimpses of the patchwork colors of autumn aspen trees on the distant mountains!


The closer we drove, the more vibrant the colors became. even with the misty sky! Although it was overcast, it was a fairly warm and pleasant day at lower elevations.


When we entered Clear Creek County, we saw that the aspens had begun the process of changing from green to their deep golden autumn color. We heard that the unusual wet and rainy summer we had in this part of Colorado this year was going to bring exceptional color, and it looked to be true!


Everything looked picture perfect!


We decided to drive the entire Guanella Pass, which connects the town of Grant to the town of Georgetown, both in Clear Creek County.  At its highest point the 22 mile long pass is at 11,670 feet.

The first 12 miles from Grant towards Georgetown is unpaved and the speed limit is slow--perfect for observing the beauty of the surrounding Arapaho and Pike National Forests and the Mt. Evans Wilderness. which lies east of the pass.  This pass is closed in winter, as it is not plowed by the county during that time.


We stopped at many pull outs, and took short walks on  hiking trails along the road.


Although I would have preferred the bright blue Colorado sky to be showing in these photos, I think the more subdued, stormy sky brought out the tree colors just as well.


We were surprised to see a lot of reddish colored aspens--it is a rarer color to see for this genre of tree!


Most of these photos were taken as we drove...


...but every now and then we stopped for a closer look


Would you like to listen to this waterfall?  Just click through to my facebook page at this link to watch a short video. You can also click "Like" on my facebook link-to-follow Mille Fiori Favoriti on facebook at this link.  This creek was running strongly and the water certainly fitted the name of Clear Creek County.


The pine forest remains green all year long, and they are a wonderful backdrop for the bright autumn colors.


I loved this pretty meadow, where even the shrubs were turning fall colors.  


The horses were very intent on grazing.




A view of a beautiful home along the road. Although the land surrounding the pass was comprised of much wilderness there were also areas that were private property.


"Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons" ~ Jim Bishop


"Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty., as if nature had been saving up all year for the Grand Finale." Lauren Destefano

Did you notice the deer jumping into the woods in the first collage, and the photos of the mountain goats in the collage above?  Click on to enlarge the collages for easier viewing. It is always nice to see wildlife in a natural setting and it is a good reminder to drive slowly when on roads such as this one.


Speaking of wildlife, look at this moose my son and his family saw along the Peak to Peak Highway last week!  Moose are always a rare sight to see in Colorado, as they are not indigenous creatures to our state. Twelve moose were brought to Rocky Mountain National Park by wildlife managers from Wyoming and Utah in 1978. You can read more about this fact on this link. Happily they thrived and multiplied until their number is estimated to be above 2,000 in Colorado. They can be unpredictable, and their kick can be deadly, so it is always wise to stay a good distance away if you see one!


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long as I stood
And looked down one as far as I could 
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

From the poem "The Road Less Traveled By" ~ Robert Frost


We could not take either path for very long that day, as the rain finally came!


We ended our ride on the Guanella Pass in the historic town of Gerogetwon, Colorado.  I showed more about this town's charming Christmas festival on this link.   This day I enjoyed a delicious bowl of Green Chili Soup at Ed's 1859 Cafewhich was the perfect way to end a perfect Colorado day!


And now for the winner of the 16 x 20 Easy Canvas photo canvas, with free shipping and handling, like the one my husband and I had made from a  photo we took on the summit of 14,270 foot Mt. Evans, that we are absolutely thrilled with!


Using the web site Random.org, the following blog comment was chosen as the winner # 5! That commnet was left by The Gathering Place.  Congratulations, Joann!  Please e-mail me and I will send the free code and instructions on how to place your Easy Canvas order!

I'm linking this post to the following blog events:


Thanks to all the blog hosts!
* In full disclosure, this is a sponsored post by Easy Canvas. I was provided with a free wall canvas print by Easy Canvas, and Easy Canvas will be providing the code for one winner to obtain a free 16 x 20 canvas from a  photo of their choice with free shipping and handling. 

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Goodbye Summer! Win a Photo Canvas



This is a look back on some wonderful events from the summer of 2014, that I have not blogged about as yet, and a chance for you to possibly win a 16 x 20 Easy Canvas wall photo of a photo of your choice! Please remember, that all collages in this post will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on.


My community had a celebration this summer to commemorate its centennial as Ken Caryl Ranch, under the ownership of John C Shaffer--a prominent newspaper owner and businessman of the time--who named the ranch after his two sons, Kent and Carroll. Shaffer built a magnificent Manor House on the highest point on the property, and President Theodore Roosevelt was a frequent visitor to his home.  Over the years the property changed owners a few times as a ranch,  until the homes of the Ken Caryl Ranch community were built by the Johns Manville Corporation during the 1980's and 90's. The members of the Ken Caryl Historical Society planned the 100 year celebration event that the entire community was invited to, and we all wore costumes reminiscent of the 1914 era.  My husband became Teddy Roosevelt for the day, and I became a cook in the Manor House.


As you can see the variety of costumes worn by the historical society were fabulous, and put all the guests into a vintage mood!  A barbershop quartet and banjo players entertained the attendees with songs from the early 19th century, there was a car show with a 1914 Model T Ford as the star, a fashion show of period clothing, horse drawn wagon rides and lawn games for the children, and donated ice cream, cupcakes,and hot dogs were distributed. Many descendants of the past families that lived on the ranch were in attendance, and the entire history of the community was displayed on placards within the Manor House for all to read.  The cerebration was a wonderful success, and my husband and I were thrilled to be a part of it!


Our beautiful valley has quite a bit of history going beyond the 100 years it first became a ranch, and one precious part of it is an apple orchard that was planted in 1870 by another owner of the land, Robert B Bradford. I'll tell you more about him in a future post. In an effort to preserve this orchard, the Ken Caryl Historical Society takes care of the propagated trees that were grafted from the original trees and planted near them. We go out periodically to open the wire cages that protect those small trees from the deer, and weed around them. Isn't it amazing that these ancient trees are still producing apples after all these years?


Another fun activity we did as a family this summer was to attend the Zoppe Italian Family Circus! This circus originated in Venice, Italy in 1842, and has been touring continuously since that time. You can read more about its history on this link.  It is a charming, one ring circus consisting mainly of clowns, acrobats and trained dogs and ponies. My grandchildren enjoyed it very much!


We attended the 11th annual "Festival Italiano" in Bel Mar in Lakewood, Colorado. It is a fabulous two day affair with Italian food and entertainment--including flag throwers from Florence, Italy-- bocce ball tournaments, and artisan vendors. It is a fun event we look forward to each summer!


My oldest grandson began attending kindergarten this year, and is also playing soccer for the first time in a league. We have been enjoying attending the games and watching our son teach and coach the little guys about the sport. Our youngest grandson began pre-school, and he is so proud of his big brother being on a team, and he wishes he could play too!


We also had some new landscaping work done at our home this summer, both front and back,. The frequent deer visitors we get have already partially devoured two of the new shrubs, so it is a constant struggle to keep it maintained.  We watched many a thunderstorm come through almost every afternoon this summer, so I believe the drought is over for awhile. I heard we will experience an El Nino weather winter, and I'm curious as to what that will bring! As you can see in the last photo in this collage, some of the trees here have already turned their autumn hues, and the mountain areas are at peak color.

All in all, we had a wonderful second summer in Colorado, and we now look forward to many happy events coming up this fall. I hope to capture some of the beautiful Colorado autumn foliage this weekend, so please come back soon to see those photos.

Now here is how you can win a 16 x 20 Easy Canvas wall photo, like the one I show below, including free shipping and handling.  I had my canvas made of a photo from a trip my husband and I took up to the top of 14,000+ foot Mt Evans this summer--read that post at this link if you missed that exciting event!



All you have to do is a leave one comment on this blog post telling me what was your favorite activity of this summer, and what memory you's like to preserve as a beautiful canvas photo, like this one that hangs in my husband's office!  I will use the Random Generator to chose one comment as the winner,  and will announce it next Sunday, September 28, 2014.  Good luck!

I'm linking this post to the following blog events:

Thanks to all the blog hosts!


* In full disclosure, this is a sponsored post by Easy Canvas. I was provided with a free wall canvas print by Easy Canvas, and Easy Canvas will be providing the code for one winner to obtain a free 16 x 20 canvas from a  photo of their choice with free shipping and handling. 

Comments closed 9/28/14--announcing photo canvas winner on my next post! Thank you to all who commented!


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