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Day 68 - Hike and Museum and Gus

Thursday, July 28, 2016

I had signed us up for a 3-mile Newcomers hike through  It started at 7:30 a.m. at Chautauqua.  Chautauqua is about 4 miles straight down Baseline Road from where we are staying.

We were to meet at the Ranger Station.  I was a bit apprehensive that 1) I wouldn't be able to find the Ranger Station and 2) George would not be able to keep up with the group.

We drove in and the first parking lot was by the Ranger Station!  Pleased.  I transferred our waters, bug spray, and sunscreen to the backpack.  Right away we met a couple of people who were also going on the hike.  Great!

The ranger came out and distributed trail maps.  Seeing the many trails through the area, I was glad we were going with a guide. 

She explained that way back in the late 1800's Boulder decided to set aside open space around the town and began buying up land for open spaces.  The city has a sales tax to fund this.  It is now about 8.8 cents on a $10 purchase.

I said to George, that is a much better use of a sales tax than paying for a new Brewer's Stadium (which is what they did and are doing in the Milwaukee and surrounding areas.)

She showed us some castings of some fossils they have found on the property.   A huge dinosaur foot print, and a palm frond from when the area was wet and swampy.

We started the hike on a smooth road, up hill.  She stopped and explained that this was a ranch when the city bought it.  The original ranch house is still there and maintained.

We went over a bridge and she explained that in 2012 there was 16 inches of rain in one day and a flooded river brought down huge boulders and created a valley or canyon where there used to not be one.  She said this sturdy bridge held back huge boulders that would have destroyed homes below.

She showed us a lovely place to come at sunset to see wildlife and watch the city light up.

She settled my fears a bit about getting lost on a hike by explaining that the trails have names.  So know the name of your trail.  And at intersections of the trails are these kiosks that say..."YOU ARE HERE".

The "Flat Iron's" behind her came off the Rocky Mountains and over time were moved here... A LOT of time...

The hill overlooked this huge house....

 We came to the area where the flood of 2012 had cut a new valley in the area.  She said this used to go straight across.

She stopped often and talked.  At one point as she was talking I saw a cloud swirling and descending over one of the Flatirons.

Then the  next time I looked it was clear blue sky.

And then it did it again.  All in a matter of 3 to 5 minutes or so..

Later the ranger stopped again and pulled out all kinds of pictures and touchy-feely stuff and told us about the wildlife in the area.

 Pieces of bear hide, owl pellets, a picture of a panther in a tree that she had walked under and then looked back and happened to see.  She took a picture before high-tailing it out of the area.

When she pulled this picture out and started to tell the story behind it I stopped listening for a moment as I wondered how they got this bear to jump on a trampoline and how come all those rangers are standing so close to a jumping bear?

My ears tuned in and I was able to replay the story she was telling in my head.  It turns out they were tranquilizing the bear to relocate it and this bear was in the tree.  So their method is to put a huge matress/cushion down under the tree where the bear might fall.  And then hit it with the tranquilizer.

George was keeping up very well.  He was ahead of me!

As we were ending the hike, the Ranger had mentioned she was retiring next year.  I asked her what she would be doing.  She said she is right now gathering information about affordable ways to travel and stuff to see and do.

So I told her about and and  She was thrilled and was frustrated...  she didn't have paper to write it down.  I told her to record it into her phone.  So she was thrilled again and we recorded them in her phone.

I told her how we were on our 68th day and George had Alzheimers so we were doing it while we can.  She said I should look up "Spark".  That there are some activities specifically for those with dementia.

Back at our home base after the hike, I had a couple business items to take care of.  One required printing something out and getting a notary again.

So this time we walked over to the shopping center and library just a few blocks from "home".

I didn't like the book I was reading... The Kitchen House had too much drama.  So I asked the librarian if they had a books for sale section.

It was a very small area.  I got two books.  When we got back "home".  George started reading the fun one...

At about 3 p.m. I started trying to figure out what  we could do with the 4 hours we had until we go to meet Gus the cat at 7 p.m.

I found a museum that would be open until 5 p.m.

So I drove us to the Leanin' Tree Museum.

There are several wonderful bronze sculptures in the front gardens.

On the inside they have several rooms of paintings, smaller sculptures, and stuff for sale.  Leanin' Tree makes greeting cards.  So, earlier in the day we could have taken a factory tour.

As I walked around each time I paused because an image that really pulled me in, I found it was done by Bill Hughes.

He created this one and when he was done he told his friend he had finished the big one.  The next day he died with a massive heart attach.

We went home and I put a dinner together from what we had left in the house.  Pasta, beans, peppers, onion, tomatoes and seasoning.

After dinner we drove over to where we will start our house-sit on Sunday.  We got there early so we walked around a park nearby.

A woman was walking four little dogs.  She had lots of plastic bags in her hand, but as we passed I saw one of them poop and she made a disgusted look and didn't pick it up.  I guess there is only so much poop she could deal with in one walk.

We met Arlene and Dick and Gus.  Gus took right away to George and Arlene was surprised and pleased.

Dick showed me all his flowers and indoor plants and told me about the watering schedule.  I took notes.  I would hate to kill a plant while they are gone.

Dick collects, sells and trades matchbox cars.  So he showed George just a few of the older ones in his collection.

I didn't feel comfortable taking pictures, though I will in the weeks to come, while trying to protect the location of their home for security reasons.

They have a security system and I know that will be interesting getting used to.

We got back home well after dark.

Tomorrow we will ride and explore...


  1. House sitting sounds interesting. We have a friend who does "dog sitting" in Door County much of the time. She got started in this by taking her dog to the dog park near Sister Bay and meeting the other dog people. She is gone as much as she is home in Cedarburg. She asks only for gas money and tells the people to make a donation to the charity of their choice.

    Ron Friedel

  2. I hope you "get" the alarm system. The place we stayed at with the family had an alarm system. I think we set it off three times, freaked out the kids. Spark + Alzheimer's will get you a few sites.

  3. You sure are filling your days with interesting things. I'm almost living it through your stories. Thanks for sharing.


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