Wednesday, March 25, 2015

One Day Before Departure

I'm ready to go, but I will change my shirt and tie for hiking clothes before leaving for the airport.

Two Days Before Departure

Today, as well as the last several days has been  devoted to taking care of my "honey-do" list. I've been working hard to get everything around the house, and several rental properties ready for the summer. I mowed and raked the lawn; weeded the flower beds and prepared the spot along the garage where Jodie likes to plant tomatoes. I unwrapped the swamp cooler (we're still old-fashion - no AC) and powered up the water line, turned on the water to the sprinkler system and tested all the sprinkler heads. Testing the last  water station, no water issued forth from the heads, however, I noticed water pooling in the lawn. That meant only one thing - a broken water pipe, and not something I really wanted to deal with.

As I dug away the grass and rocky soil, I discovered that not only was a PVP pipe broken, but also a T joint was cut. Then I remembered that last Fall, I had been digging tree roots out of the lawn using an ax.  I hadn't realized that sprinkler pipes were so close to the surface. In my effort to cut out the tree roots, an ax swing severed a pipe and T joint at the same time.

I detest sprinkler systems. I've had to repair them my whole life. Someday, I want to move to a place where all yard work is part of the package deal. It was late at night when I finished repairing the broken sprinkler pipes.

 Jodie's Tomato beds are ready.

The vexing sprinkler system.

10 Days Before Departure

My original goal was to leave for Georgia and start hiking on March 17th. But the winter storms that have burried the East Coast still continue. From the reports that hikers, who are currently on the trail, are sending back, the trail is covered with snow, thick gooey mud and and in many cases - ice. Accordingly, I elected to postpone my departure day for a week, and will fly to Georgia, from Salt Lake City on March 25th to begin the journey north.

Taking advantage of the extra week, my wife Jodie planned a surprise mini-vacation. She booked us into the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park. 

We flew to Denver, rented a Jeep Cherokee, and drove the hour and a half to Estes Park. We had nothing special planned, it was just a time to be together for one last time, before departing for five months.

The hotel was built in 1909 by F.O. Stanley, one half of the Stanley Steamer automobile innovators, cars that were powered by steam as opposed to gasoline. The hotel is also the location for the filming of the "The Shinning" starring Jack Nickolas and Shelly Duvall.


One of the Stanley Steamer cars on display in the hotel.

After viewing the sights around Estes Park, and skirting the edges of the park (the park roads are still snow-bound), and having time to explore, we drove over to Grand Lakes as I wanted to see where the Continental Divide Trail will pass through the town, as I will be here next year.  I was delighted to find several CDT logos identifying the trail.

My dilemma, do I help Jodie out of the snow, or do I take a picture?

Without proper footwear, we didn't deem it wise to walk the mile to view Glacier Falls.

 Couldn't resist taking a picture of this 1927 Model T Ford, 4-door Phaeton,

Jodie is small, but it looks like she's shrunk even more.

The Model T still runs, and can be started with the hand crank.

The CDT passes over this bridge which links two lakes together.

Here is one of two CDT markers I found showing the trail going through Grand Lakes.