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June 15, 2002
a year ago
two years ago
three years ago
four years ago

Eldorado Canyon

We did quite a lot today. Though I really tried to keep it small when I fell asleep after getting up at 5 to feed Jet and only handed him off at 6:30. He really didn't want to go back to sleep after I fed him, but I also didn't want to wake John and Isabel up until it was after 6. So I just lay with him in his room until I just had to go back to sleep.

So then I brought him down for John and Isabel and they took care of him while I slept some more. I ended up not getting up until 9 am. I took a short shower and by the time I was finished, they were both making breakfast. Yay for waffles! Jet ate nearly two entire squares of waffles with yogurt. He really enjoyed them and this on top of four ounces of milk. When we were all done we piled everything in to the Baby Buggy and headed out west to Eldorado, which is a little national park that's tucked away a bit south and west of Boulder. It's as fantastic as some of legends about El Dorado. It's an old artesian springs place with lots of sheer, red rock cliffs, easy trails, rough scenery. South Boulder creek runs right through it and we have a co-worker that lives near there and they've recommended it often. John went there with his brother David, once, and he liked it so much he thought it would be a good place for Jet to hike a bit.

We first took the road all the way into the canyon and went to the visitor's center and bought a day-hike book, not just for the canyon for all of Boulder. So we can do more of these. We really do need to get out more often. We got to watch butterflies, learn a little more about the history of the canyon and use the restrooms. An important thing. Though the hikes today were just .7 miles and a few hundred feet.

The first hike was about two-thirds of the way in, and it was pretty darned level, but it was all along the south side of the canyon. One side of the trail fell away to practically nothing. Jet got to start out walking under his own power, but when he stopped for every rock, blade of grass, and tree, we finally decided to put him into the back pack. I shouldered the pack as I really wanted something of a work out with all this. I was probably not going to get a chance to ride the exercise bike today, so I might as well shoulder the extra weight.

It was a gorgeous hike. Especially since we got such a great view of the pushed up layers of the opposite side of the canyon. There were dozens of climbers in bright clothing all over the cliffs. It turns out that this is a place that draws technical climbers from all over the country, and they often have hundreds of thousands of climbers in the course of a summer. We saw dozens and dozens of them in small groups all over different places of the faces of the cliffs there, and it wasn't like this just along this short trail, but it was like this all up and down the canyon and park! Wow. We walked along the trail, spotting climbers, turkey buzzards, and watching the astonishing formations of earth.

There was a boulder with a bronze rattlesnake on it to show everyone what a real rattler looks like so that they don't bother them in the dust. There were binoculars along one part of the path, ostensibly to study the cliff-dwelling birds, but they were really good for spotting all the climbers and seeing what they were doing or not doing. Nearly half the climbers weren't wearing helmets. One climber had no shirt on and you could see the massive case of sunburn developing. There were plenty with belts entirely full of hardware, waistlines bulked with rope and bags of chalk/resin being used liberally. Near the end of the trail was the Bastille, a nice tower of rock with all kinds of good climbing areas. We could mark the often used areas by the white hand-holds left by the climbers. That one tower had at least a dozen people swarming all over various areas of it.

There was also a steep, loose trail right next to it for access to various parts of the tower, and there was a family climbing that just for the fun of it.

Jet got to get out of the pack once as we were looking for climbers. He wandered about a bit, and then started running down the path, and started wandering further and further towards the edge. He had no fear of the edge, which caused John no problems, but both Isabel and I were half frightened out of our wits. Finally, I had enough of being that scared and asked to put Jet back into the pack. Jet acquiesced without any fight at all and once in there, he put his left hand on my left shoulder and started banging his feet against the support bar of the pack in time with my stride. He also hummed or sang in time with my walking stride. That was very comforting.

Jet drank water and demanded it when he saw it. He drank a lot as we hiked along, and while we were in the sun. He was really good about asking for what he needed. When we were done he was mildly cranky and chewing on everything, so we stopped in some shade and I nursed him while John and Isabel headed out to look around a bit. When he was done we did a really short creek-side trail, that had an arch of a bridge over the creek to start. The slats of the bridge were very wide apart, and when we got to it Jet was demanding to be allowed to walk. So John let him walk. Jet surprised me a very great deal by not stopping at all while he was on the bridge, he just stomped right over it, with some glances towards the sides, but no stopping. I was very glad of that.

On the other side, the path had a wall on the water side and the mountain on the other, so Jet couldn't get into much trouble. So we were much easier about that walk than we were about the other one. I was glad of that. On the other side of the canyon was the Bastille, and from here we could see that there were half a dozen people attempting just this face of it, in various spots. One as a lady with a fixed line, trying to simply get to the top. There were three men following various cracks up various areas, and a man and a woman nearly at the top of a chimney. We just stood there for a while and watched.

I eventually gave Jet a glimpse of the creek, over the wall, which might have been a mistake as he wanted to get a closer look after that, or at least be up where he could see the water. So I held him up for a good, long time, and let him see. He really enjoyed that. We eventually started to head out and, again, Jet was bound and determined to walk the bridge himself. And, again, he didn't actually stop. This time, however, he did swerve a good deal towards one of the edges, and John finally just had to take a firm grip of his shirt and follow him across. Once across, though, Jet didn't want to head towards the car. Even after being picked up and carried by each of us for a while, when we finally put him down, he headed right back towards the bridge.

I followed him, and I grabbed his shirt, this time, as he ran all the way to the other side, swerving to look to the left, down at the water. Then, on the other side, he just turned around again and headed right back. Again, he didn't stop for anything. Once he had done the two runs, he was content and was finally good to go.

Whew.

We headed into Boulder, and it was already well past 1. I didn't know if the Boulder Farmer's Market was going to be open past 1, and as we headed into town it started just pouring. This is very good news. Boulder is Front Range, a bit like where the worst of the fires are and if the Front Range is getting rain, it's likely that the fire areas may well be getting good rain as well, rather than all of it just falling on the plains.

It was, however, pouring while we checked out the Farmers' Market and found that it was still open. So we parked in the normal parking lot, Isabel put on her rain jacket which she, alone, had been wise enough to bring. We tucked Jet in his back pack with a sun shade that could double as a rain shade, and we headed towards the Market. The rain had been falling very hard while we were parking, but then eased up a bit as we headed out from under the parking structure.

It was a very warm rain. It brought back all kinds of memories of Hawaii and Indiana. Rain isn't often warm in Seattle, it's only warm from summer thunderstorms in the mid-west, or tropical storms... that's how I remember it, at least. It was really neat what that triggered for me as we stood out in the rain waiting for the lights.

It was nearly 2, and a lot of the food stalls had already sold out of most of their stock. Isabel and John were content to just get smoothies for their lunch, but I needed something a bit more substantial and I got a plate of chicken curry on rice with a blob of very complex, sweet, and wonderful chutney with it. It was hot enough to make my sinuses run a bit, but it was really, really really tasty. Yum.

I then emulated Jet from yesterday and walked while I ate. John and Isabel looked at a bunch of craft stalls that had been set up to the side of the Market. I really wanted just two things from the Market, a pot of marinated goat cheese and some spinach. So after we wandered the craft stalls, I went and picked those up while John and Jet bought a huge bag of kettle popcorn. It was still hot and the crystallized sugar was crisp and wonderful even in the rain. The rain was gradually letting up as we munched and headed back to the car, a trip to Target, and then home.

Jet fell asleep in the car during the last mile towards home. John put him up in his room while we napped in our room and Isabel napped downstairs.

Jet woke up half an hour later, and I nursed him back to sleep and then I did something I have vowed to do a while ago, which is make a CD backup of all our pictures of Jet, my journal backups and my flick web site as well. The only problem is that all that data is scattered to the four winds all over our home machine, my work machine, and my work Solaris machine as well as my Eskimo account. So it took all two hours to get all of that cleared up. And even then I was having to move stuff to my home machine while I started cooking and taking care of Jet.

Jet woke up before John or Isabel. Jet only had a two hour nap after nursing, they each had a three and a three and a half hour nap. I guess they really needed it. I started dinner with John's help and it took a while. I made a saffron risotto and the chicken picata from Cook's Illustrated. Basically very intense lemon chicken. It was really good, but it took a while. I had to pan fry the chicken after prepping it and all the other ingredients, and then make a sauce with chicken broth, lemons, capers, lemon juice, and parsley and I forgot the parsley at the end. Hee.

When Mom and Dad came, they brought a dozen lemons from their lemon tree. I loved those lemons, they're huge, sweet, and flavorful and the zest can perfume a room. They are astonishing lemons, tree-ripened and they taste like sunshine. Gretchen had reminded me of them before they came, so I asked them to bring me some. I used one of the lemons for the sauce, and it provided the full quarter cup of juice I needed. The recipe called for two to make that much juice, but these lemons are so big one easily provided the fruit slices and the juice for the sauce.

It all turned out wonderfully. John and Isabel made the salad and nuked some peas for our dinner. The risotto was creamy and soft and with that bitter depth that saffron always brings, along with that brilliantly yellow color. The chicken was perfectly tender, cooked through, and the sauce was brilliant with lemon and capers. Yum. Jet, of course, ate very little, and when John brought out a jar of baby food, Jet not only forcibly pushed it away but yelled every time a spoon got near his lips.

Finally John just put the jar and the spoon in front of Jet and Jet stirred it, intensely, for fifteen minutes before John put a straw in it. Then Jet started using the straw as a 'spoon' and ate very little of it. He just wasn't hungry I guess, and he was very tired. He went to sleep while nursing, no problem, and John brought him upstairs without a fight.

I then got some time to myself to finish with the backup and write today down. Whew. I guess they really needed the sleep. I really needed it too, this morning, and I guess all the exercise really energized me a lot. I just seem to be awake and not really that sleepy. One problem is that I'm still covered in mosquito repellent and I can't go to sleep with that, so I might have to sneak a quick shower before actually laying down to sleep. I hope that won't wake anyone up. I guess I get to just let the CD burner run its course and that'll be that...

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