Linda K Murdock, author of A Busy Cook’s Guide to Spices and All Things Colorado blogs about things to do in Colorado, networks with crafty Coloradans, gives spice advice and writes gentle rants. See Categories or use search to find what interests you most.
You expect any Coloradan to say February is the month to ski, snowshoe or ice fish. Yet, the warm weather makes us ponder about outdoor adventures and possible Colorado activities in Boulder. Even though there are a few patches of snow in the foothills, my husband and a friend of mine decided to climb Royal Arch near Chautauqua Park in Boulder.
My husband and I scrambled up to the arch several years ago, and we just thought it was busy then. The temperatures brought out a lot of like-minded people, and we found ourselves taking frequent stops to let the busloads pass. We dodged off-leash dogs that threatened to clip you at knee level and cause a tumble. Gridlocks caused several delays on the steepest sections of the climb. We didn’t complain much, as it allowed all of us to catch our breaths and recoup from the feeling of vertigo.
I like to have a destination at the end of a hiking trail, whether an arch, a waterfall or, as often happens in Canada, a tea house. Our plan was to hike to the arch and then stop at Dushanbe for tea and a yummy brunch. We managed to do both, although there were a couple of times I wasn’t sure I’d make it all the way. For those that have never been, it is a steep climb. If you’re coming from a lower altitude, it probably isn’t the best climb to test yourself on. We ran across one lady from Kansas City, who had to stop and put her head between her legs from dizziness. That is one of the signs of altitude sickness. We kindly suggested they turn back before both the trail and the hiker got worse.
The park is undergoing some improvements as it continues to grow in popularity. Be prepared to park a few blocks away. There are many trails inside and a Ranger Cottage to help with maps and information. The distances can be misleading, since the stated mileage only considers segments of your route and not the entire walk from the parking lot to your final destination. If you look on the map, the Royal Arch trail may be marked .7 of a mile long. However, the distance from Baseline Road’s parking area is more like 1.5 miles. Bring something to nibble on and at least one water bottle. We had some of my freshly-baked pineapple cookies with walnuts from my cookie book. The weather won’t stay this opportunistic for very long, so get out and hike before those March upslopes bring us some of that inevitable fluffy, white stuff.
My husband and I went out to Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum last weekend. About 8 minutes east of downtown Denver it was once the home of Lowry Air Force Base. The airplane museum in Denver is a must if you are into aviation. My brother was a recruiter for the Air Force. I once sent him out there when it was still part of Lowry Air Force Base to park his open trailer model airplane. It looked too much like a missile when disassembled and attracted a lot of media attention along Broadway, where I was living at the time.
As you might expect in a 40,000 square foot airport hangar, the airplane museum in Denver contains large, diverse modes of air transportation, along with a flight simulator. What isn’t often known or talked about is that they have a library that can be used for research. Under a previous gift shop manager, I was able to sell many of my Almost Native books. When I happened to do a book review written by early flyer and trainer of pilots Paul Roxin, I donated it to Wings Over the Rockies, not realizing they had a library.
The airplane museum is continually evolving. There are interesting science experiments to the left of the floating gift shop. Children participate by getting into the cockpits of various airplane pedal cars. I love the little girl in her jet airplane and tiara! There is the requisite Star Wars commercialism to draw in more people. I enjoyed reading about early daredevils, who ventured on trips around the world. Yes, there were many aside from Lindbergh, including women like Jerrie Mock, who successfully completed a circumnavigation of the world in a Cessna 180.
If you have flown into DIA, Wings Over the Rockies can be a nice diversion on your way to downtown Denver. Allow at least a couple of hours and include the kids.
Even though I was busy throughout the holidays, that didn’t keep me from visiting a few craft shows. I found Colorado paper and plant crafters and other creative souls even though I am just now getting around to mentioning them.
One such art show I managed to bring my husband to. We met Jessica Schutz at the renovated McNichol’s Building on Colfax (the original Denver Library built by Carnegie). The Denver Post does a great job telling the history of the building and its new lease on life. They held a Marketplace there in time for the holidays. It was my first visit to this grand building, and even my husband enjoyed the upscale crafters and artisans.
Jessica’s Green Lady Gardens creates framed wall art with no-water moss and other plant arrangements, including terrariums. Whether hanging or magnetic terrariums, Jessica’s plant-based decorative art pieces are one of a kind, and they are beautiful. I gave one as a gift and had to keep one for myself. To say she makes dried flower arrangements just doesn’t do her justice. Go see for yourself.
I’m a sucker for flowers even if they are made out of paper. Brooke Brink does a wonderful job creating paper flowers that look fantastic. She will custom make flowers in your favorite colors and in several different sizes if you don’t see the one you like at a show. You can look at other samples of her work at her Etsy shop Posey Hill.
Holly Myers of Lakewood does miniature animals, but it was her designer hats that caught my eye. I’m always looking for new styles and ways to make my own hats a little more unique. Her high quality items require a lot of work. She uses wool and cotton to sculpt her felted, lifelike animal creations that are hard to resist.