Monday, November 26, 2018

International Archaeology Day In Roxborough, Colorado




Do you find archaeology interesting?  I've always been fascinated by the past, and the people and civilizations that came before modern times and the remnants of their lives they left behind.  Every year on the third Saturday in October, the Archaeological Institute of America organizes International Archaeology Day, where the AIA and archaeological organizations across the United States, Canada, and abroad present archaeological programs and activities for people of all ages and interests. On that day, depending on where you live, many parks, museums, historic sites, colleges, and universities will hold all kinds of events including public digs, exhibits, talks, and demonstrations. 


In Colorado, the International Archaeology Day Expo held on October 20th, was held at the Roxborough Intermediate School. in Roxborough.  It was a celebration of archaeology and the thrill of discovery, via family-friendly exhibits, demonstrations, and lectures.


One of the exhibits was something I had recently heard about on Colorado Public Radio--lithophone rocks! A lithophone is a musical instrument consisting of a rock or pieces of rock which are struck to produce musical notes. Notes may be sounded in combination (producing harmony) or in succession (melody).  If you click on the CPR article--here--you can hear the sound the rocks make.  Lithophone rocks have been found all over the world, but the ones discovered by archaeologists in the high desert near the Great Sand Dunes National Park were mysteries at first.  Some were 5,000 years old and the first found in Colorado. Archaeologists thought they were tools used to grind nuts or seeds. Longmont, Colorado, archaeologist Marilyn Martorano finally made the correlation that they were ancient man-made musical instruments. The ancient people who lived near the Great Sand Dunes crafted their lithophones out of dense, often volcanic, rock to get the best sound. The stones have different sizes, which gives them different tones and pitches. We were able to hit the rocks to hears their musical sounds.


There was information for on-site tours available for archaeological sites such as Lamb Spring, where ancient Mammoths roamed, and Roxborough State Park, and South Valley Park, where ancient peoples lived.  In these areas, there were other exhibits and talks on the schedule. I have been to all three of these areas in the past, and you can read blog posts about Lamb Spring here, Roxborough State Park here, and South Valley Park here.


There were also artifacts and information about digs and discoveries throughout Colorado.


Many interesting exhibits...


...many artifacts to see...


...as well as fun things for younger children to do.


The part of the International Archaeology Day Expo that my husband and I were most interested in was the scheduled lectures. One of the volunteers proudly showed us the schedule!



Jack Warner, a member of the Denver Chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society, was the first speaker, whose topic was "Ancient People of the Hogback and Foothills: Golden to Roxborough."  We know Jack from our community history society and always enjoy his lectures. It is always so interesting to learn about the prehistoric people that lived where we now live. If you'd like to see a short version of his lecture about one area along the front range, you can watch this YouTube video presentation.




Next was archaeologist Kevin Gilmore who spoke about " A Short PrHourehistory of the Palmer Divide: Everything You Need to Know in an or Your Money Back." You can read more about this unique area of Colorado's history where the earliest known area inhabitants were native-American tribes that date to the Folsom period, 10,000 years ago, on the Palmer Lake Historical Society link and also the Franktown Cave Wikipedia.






Archaeologist Neil Hauser spoke about "The Blackfoot Cave Dig in SE Douglas County" From archaeological digs there is evidence that prehistoric people occupied the cave and surrounding area from 10,000 years before present (BP) through 1540 AD. Evidence also shows that the cave and surrounding area was occupied by modern tribes from the 1540s through the 1840s. European contact occurred as early as the 1540s by the Spanish Conquistadors in the North American Continent. You can read more about the cave on this link.  My husband and I actually were able to see this archaeological dig taking place a few years ago--click here--to read that post, and we were interested in the final findings.


The last lecture of the day was presented by Douglas Bamforth about the "Mahaffy Clovis Cache." When landscapers uncovered a collection of 83 stone tools in the front yard of Patrick Mahaffy's home in Boulder, Colorado, the homeowner called the University of Colorado at Boulder's anthropology department and the next day archaeologist Douglas Bamforth came out to investigate. What they discovered is called the Mahaffy Clovis Cache. It contains elaborate stone knives and blades used to butcher ice-age mammals 13,000 years ago! You can read more about this exciting discovery on the University of Colorado at Boulder's website on this link.



I really enjoyed attending the International Archaeology Day Expo, and after listening to all the interesting lectures my mind was full of the possibilities of discoveries still waiting to be found in our part of Colorado, and also your part of the world. Perhaps in a local cave, among some large rocks, or underneath the soil, lie the secrets of life from thousands of years ago!  Doesn't that thought make you want to start digging?


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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving 2018



Happy Thanksgiving Week!


It will be a busy week ahead in the U.S. as we prepare for our annual Thanksgiving Day. Here are some of the foods I prepared last year for nine adults and four children. We begin the meal with various appetizers, and then for the main meal, I made a ham as well as a turkey with all the trimmings, plus many different vegetables. I serve buffet style, but we sit down together at my dining room table to eat.


Dessert last year was chocolate covered strawberries, pumpkin and apple pie, and my daughter's ice cream birthday cake.  She was born close to Thanksgiving Day and we always celebrate her birthday on the holiday.  Everyone takes home lots of leftovers to enjoy the next day! It is a special feast to celebrate our bounty and acknowledge our blessings. I give thanks for all we have and make an effort to give to those in need. all year long. 


Our grandchildren always enjoy being together for the holiday and they fill the house with laughter!  This was last year's photo and I can't believe how big they've grown since then!  I give thanks for each of them as they have filled my life with joy!


We already had snow a couple of times in our part of Colorado...


...doesn't everything look so beautiful?  

I am thankful for the snow as we have been in a drought year, as most of the west has been, and the snow brings much-needed moisture to our land. The recent drought-ridden fires in California have been devastating and my heart goes out to those affected.


Blessings are like leaves that fall....we can never, ever, count them all!


This is our favorite grace to say before 
our meals:

"Thank you, God, 
for the food before us, 
the family beside us, 
and the love between us.
Amen"


I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

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Monday, November 12, 2018

a Family Celebration and Montauk, Long Island



My husband and I flew to New York in October to celebrate the very special anniversary of my older brother and sister-in-law.  Fifty years of marriage, a beautiful family of three sons, three daughters-in-law and nine grandchildren are blessings beyond measure for them!  They had a lovely party with family and friends and we were so happy to be able to celebrate with them all! (All photos will enlarge if clicked on)


Since we were on Long Island, New York, we decided to also continue celebrating by spending a few days in Montauk.  My husband and I had celebrated an anniversary there almost 30 years ago and we thought it might be nice to make a return visit,  Montauk is at the very eastern end of Long Island. Long Island earns its name by being 114 miles long with Brooklyn at its westernmost end and Montaulkat its easternmost end.


As we drove east we passed many towns and scenic sights along the way.


We stopped to stretch our legs and take a hike along the Hither Woods nature trail. Don't you love that name?


After checking in to our hotel in Montauk we headed over to Gosman's Dock for an early dinner. I was in heaven having their award-winning clam chowder and lobster roll!



Afterward, we wanted to walk along the shore, so we headed for a public beach.


The sky was moody but the air temperature was still warm.


We were the only people walking on the beach, with the exception of...


...some very fast piping plovers and seagulls.



The next day, after breakfast, we drove to the very tip of Long Island to see...



I wrote a blog post about the Montauk Point Lighthouse and the Memory Motel in 2010 --Click Here- to read that post.  The Montauk Point Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in New York State. It was authorized by the Second Congress, under President George Washington, in 1792. Construction began on June 7, 1796, and was completed on November 5, 1796. This historic landmark has been part of Long Island's land and seascape for over 200 years and still serves as an active aid to navigation.



Unfortunately, the lighthouse wasn't open the day we visited, but we enjoyed walking around it and along the coastline.


Because of erosion from waves and storms. the easternmost coastline has been reinforced with large boulders.


View looking out at the very end of Long Island to what is referred to as "the end of the world" by the locals.




Here is a short video I took that day that is also on my Mille Fiori Favoriti Facebook page at this link We sat for quite a while on a bench that was along the shore enjoying the sound of the waves and the sights at the end of Montauk. Be sure to click on the sound in the video to hear the ocean.  I lived most of my life in Brooklyn, NY, not far from the shore, so it was nice to listen to the Atlantic Ocean again for a few days.



It was also nice to enjoy fresh east coast seafood, and, as you can see by the photo collage above, we indulged in all our favorites during our trip.



We were also able to visit our family and some friends in Brooklyn before flying back to Denver after a short, but memorable, trip.  I'm always sad to leave my hometown, but always happy to return west to Colorado.  It's nice to have a piece of my heart located in two states!


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Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Curecanti National Recreation Area and Blue Mesa Reservoir in Colorado


When my husband and I left Crested Butte on our visit at the end of September, (click here and here to read those posts) to drive to the Back Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (click here to read that post), we had to drive on US Highway 50 through the Curecanti National Recreation Area and over the Blue Mesa ReservoirThis area in Colorado has an unusual natural beauty.
(All photos will enlarge if clicked on)



The Curecanti National Recreational Area is a series of three reservoirs along the Gunnison River. The reservoirs are a destination for water-based recreation high in the Rocky Mountains. Best known for salmon and trout fishing, Curecanti also offers opportunities for hiking, boating, camping, and bird watching.  A National Park Service PDF shows the size and layout of the area--click here to view.



Seen above are the Dillon Pinnacles in the Curecanti National Recreation Area, located above the Lake Fork section of the Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado. They are high craggy rock formations, made of eroded West Elk Breccia, a composite rock spewed from the volcanic West Elk Mountains 30 million years ago.



It is impossible to pass the pinnacles without being impressed at their sharply eroded appearance.




There is a 2.8-mile trail that leads through the area's high desert landscape of sagebrush and stubby alpine trees to the base of the Dillon Pinnacles. The trail begins at 7,526 feet altitude. with a total elevation gain of 741 feet.



The Blue Mesa Reservoir in the Curecanti National Recreation Area is the largest body of water in Colorado, spanning 20 miles and boasting 96 miles of shoreline. It is also the largest Kokanee salmon fishery in the U.S. and receives a copious stocking of brown, rainbow, and mackinaw trout. Unfortunately, recent years of drought and low snowfall have made the reservoirs levels reduce to historic low levels. As of this writing, it is only at 39% capacity.  I am hoping that this winter will bring back normal levels of snowfall to rectify this problem. Colorado rivers supply water to many western states.

A view of the Blue Mesa Dam, completed in 1966, which is situated at a narrows in the river valley where the Gunnison River enters the upper reaches of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.  


Driving further on I could see the Gunnison River flowing into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, an area of deep erosion created by the river flowing into this area over millions of years.  To see more of the Gunnison River in the Black Canyon go to my blog post on this link.



After leaving the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park we drove again on US Highway 50 to return to Crested Butte.


 In this part of the drive, we passed cattle ranches...



...and just a small bit of autumn color among the mainly sagebrush-covered hills.




We then again passed by the reservoirs of the Curecanti National Recreation Area. You can take a park ranger-led boat ride into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison during a leisurely 1½ hour boat tour on the Morrow Point Reservoir during the months of June till mid-September.


I couldn't help but laugh when we drove past this sign for the "Bay of Chickens" in the Curecanti National Recreation Area. Curiosity about its name leads me to many online searches without success, except that I learned it has a facebook page and that it is a pleasant beach stop along the Blue Mesa with a picnic and swimming area, but has no chickens.


Some more views of the picturesque Curecanti National Recreation Area and the Blue Mesa.


In about two hours we were back in the Crested Butte area.....


 ...and as you can see from this photo this is the way I take many of my travel photos from the road--pointing my camera at the views outside our car window as we drive along.


It seems to work!

Mount Crested Butte

Soon after leaving Crested Butte and returning to the Denver area of Colorado, my husband and I flew to New York to attend a very special anniversary party for my older brother and sister-in-law, and also to enjoy a few days at the very eastern end of Long Island in Montauk. More about that trip on my next post!


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

Amaze Me MondayMosaic MondayAll SeasonsBlue Monday,  Through My Lens MondayInspiration Monday, Blogging GrandmothersHearth, and Soul Link PartyYou Are the Star Blog HopGood Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialTravel Photos, Photo Tunes, Happiness Is HomemadeTuesday TreasuresPictorial TuesdayOur World TuesdayRuby TuesdayTuesdays With A TwistParty in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayNanahood WWOh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful WednesdayOutdoor Wednesday, Words On WednesdayWhimsical WednesdayYour Whims WednesdayWednesday Around the WorldWonderful Wednesday,  Share Your CupLittle Things Thursday, A Blogging Good TimeThankful ThursdayThursday Favorite ThingsThursday Traffic Jam Weekend LinkyPretty Pintastic PartyFriendship FridaysFriday Photo JournalSkywatch FridaySweet Inspiration, Pink SaturdaySaturday CrittersOver the MoonHappiness Is HomemadeWandering Camera (monthly-last Thursday of the month)

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