Sunday, December 2, 2018

October 26 - 27, 2018 A Weekend with my Brother Jeff

October 26
This is my brother Jeff. He hasn't visited us in 14 years. We have visited him many times in New Orleans where he lives. But it is nice to see him here in Chicago. We stopped at Ricobene's for their very tasty chicken vesuvio sandwich on our way to the Chicago Theater.

It isn't even Halloween but Christmas is everywhere downtown. 

Sure my brother really came to town to see the Goo Goo Dolls not me. But whatever got him here, I get to spend a weekend with him. So I'm glad he came to Chicago.

They put on a great show. I haven't seen them live since the early '90's when they opened for The Replacements at University of Illinois.

I can't walk by street art in an alley without taking a picture.

We stopped here on our way to the subway to pickup a 6 pack of cupcakes.

Everyone gets cell service underground except me. Fucking Sprint.

October 27
Jeff & I took the dogs to Central Beach.

I gave him Oslo because he is easier to walk than Nola. But Oslo stops a lot to smell everything.

It's a beautiful autumn day for a stroll on the beach.

When I stopped to talk with a couple on the beach, Jeff and Oslo just kept walking toward Mt. Baldy. Nola & I eventually caught up when they headed back our way.

We continued walking east ...

...until the beach became impassable for Oslo.

So we headed back...

...and rested on this downed tree and just enjoyed our time along Lake Michigan.

We had an enjoyable dinner at the 18th St Brewery in Hammond with my childhood friend Bob and his wife Megan. After dinner Jeff went to my hockey game and seemed to enjoy hanging out with the team for a few beers after the game. I moved out of my parents house when I was 19. Since I lived so far away, I missed out on both my brothers later teenage years. So I really enjoy getting to just hang out with them whenever I get a chance. Thanks Jeff. It was a fun weekend.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

October 10, 2018 Rain, Snow, Sleet, Fog and Glorious Sunshine...A Beautiful Day in Curecanti and Black Canyon

"The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom." - Theodore Roosevelt
When I plan these trips, I try to have several options for each day. So we can choose one depending on the weather or how we feel that day. Today there are no options. We are spending the morning in the Curecanti National Recreation Area and the afternoon in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. So far this morning, it has not stopped raining. But here we are at the Neversink Trail along the Gunnison River putting on layers and rain gear.

There has been a year long drought here in Colorado but I think the fire danger rating could be dropped to at least high or possibly moderate today.
Down the yellow leaf trail we go.

The once wild Gunnison River has been dammed several times to create the reservoirs that are now the Curecanti NRA. 

Despite the weather, it was a very colorful hike along the river.

Our rain gear made it even more colorful.


The trail lead through a small patch of forest between the ranch land and the Gunnison River.

It did stop raining during our hike and blue sky was visible at times. 

The lighter sky made the color of wet leaves really pop.

It even made Chrissy smile.

We hiked back along the local rancher's fence line.

The park map back at the trailhead was colorfully decorated by Mother Nature..

The photo of the sign looked much better on the way out. Too bad the blue skies were east and we are heading west.

Our next stop at Wilson's Landing was very windy with a mix of rain and wet snow.

We stopped for a few minutes to walk down to the river...

...and enjoy the scenery.

Then back to Route 50 to the main Visitor Center to pick up a few items and use a warm bathroom with plumbing.

The sky was dark except right here. So we stopped to hike to the Dillon Pinnacles.

Unfortunately, the extremely low reservoir had a gale force wind blowing across it.

We headed out but it wasn't looking good... the direction we were hiking.

Kennedy & I kept hiking toward the pinnacles while Chrissy did her best to photograph this bird... a very strong wind.

These three pictures were the best of the bunch.

It began to rain mixed with ice pellets moving about 50 mph. Kennedy turned back to meet up with his aunt. While I kept going over ridge after ridge. 

Eventually I gave up and headed back. There was blue sky to the east...

...which lit up the grassland along the Blue Mesa Reservoir. But a heavy fog was rolling in from the west.

This was the closest I got to the Dillon Pinnacles.

Snow capped mountains and trees only growing in the valley between two mountains. Yes, I gave up hiking all the way out but I didn't give up taking pictures on the way back until the rain became to heavy.

Back out on Route 50, I stopped to photograph the colors even though the fog was very thick. I did use photoshop to remove the fog as much as possible.

This is what the fog looked like for the picture above.

Finally sunlight in the direction we are heading.

The Cimarron entrance to the Morrow Point Dam. I turned in here for the railroad exhibit and was damn glad I did. The cloud broke and it became a beautiful sunny day in just a few minutes. 

The drive down to the dam was a narrow road through an incredible canyon. 

The views just get getting better as we drove down the canyon.

Unfortunately the locomotive was not on display due to maintenance work being done on it.

I didn't care one bit, look at this place. We drove further down to the dam.

When we reached the end of the road, we each went in different direction. I checked out the dam because I am a history geek. The dams on the Gunnison River create electricity and drinking water for Colorado.

I was surprised you can walk right down to the base of the dam. It was an impressive site standing in front of this massive wall of concrete.

I found Christy taking pictures of flowers...

...and Kennedy was down by the river.

Christy and I hiked down the Mesa Creek Trail to the Gunnison River.

Mesa Creek

The Gunnison River and the Morrow Point Dam.

It was beautiful down here. So quiet and relaxing. Of course that could change in an instant if they open the dam. Just like the sign warns you. 

The fall colors just added to the majestic beauty of standing along a river in a very deep canyon.

We crossed the river and hiked toward Black Canyon.

We enjoyed the perfect weather and natural beauty for a long time here. 

I was the only one who got out of the car to check out the old trains on the way back to Route 50.

I love places like this. The only person we saw here was a guy fishing in the river. This is why I travel so I can have a few moments of pure bliss in a new place.

Off we go, west to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

The entrance road is a long climb uphill past free range cattle.

This local doesn't seem happy to see us.

We stopped at Tomichi Point.

Then we hiked along the Rim Rock Trail.

The views changed with different elevations and angles of access into the canyon.

Our next stop was the Visitor's Center at Gunnison Point.

We hiked around this area which had great views into the canyon.

The scenery changed with passing clouds making the shadows move across different areas of the canyon.

We found the road further into the canyon was closed due to the snow last night. This was disappointing news. But that means I have to return someday. That will be easy because Colorado is an amazing place for nature lovers.

I stopped again at Tomichi Point on the way out. Just to sit and enjoy the scenery for a little while.

We ran across these two locals on our way out...I think the one on the left was saying "Thanks for visiting, kiss my ass, now go home". Another great day for us in Colorado.

"It is an incalculable added pleasure to any one's sum of happiness if he or she grows to know, even slightly and imperfectly, how to read and enjoy the wonder-book of nature." - Theodore Roosevelt