Saturday, December 22, 2007

Drilling on a wildlife refuge???

I was quite irritated when I read an article by Erin Emery of the Denver Post, that they are considering allowing an energy company to drill inside the Baca National Wildlife Refuge....This refuge is part of the Sand Dunes National Monument, which I have posted about before. According to the article, there are places that you can't even hike on due to the fragility of the space...yet these people can freakin' drill on this land??? Go figure....Isn't there something we can do about this???

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Colorado Wildlife...

For my own amusement I thought I'd list all the animals I never saw (and some never even heard of...) until I moved to Colorado....and also some that I want to one day see....thanks for your indulgence...

A sample of unique wildlife species that I've seen since moving to Colorado:

1. Yellow-bellied marmot

(I see these cute little creatures every time I drive to the top of Trail Ridge Road...and other places above tree line, in the alpine tundra areas.)

2. Black-tailed prairie dog
3. White-tailed prairie dog

(I never heard of either one of these prairie dog species prior to being in Colorado. I was definitely intrigued when I would look out at an empty sand lot and see dozens of these creatures and all of their home's...i.e. holes).

4. Western spotted skunk

(I saw this little guy when I was camping near Buena Vista this past summer. I had to take a double-take, I am only used to seeing the typical black skunk with a single stripe down his back....this guy looked like a punk-rock version of the typical skunk, with his frayed out tail and spots everywhere).

5. Gray Fox
6. Elk
7. Coyote
8. Tarantula
9. Several species of chipmunks
10. Several species of birds (red-winged blackbird, magpie..)

***Several of the above species are endangered or are close to being endangered.

Animals I am hoping to see one day in Colorado (to name just a few):

1. Moose
2. Bear (from a good distance)
3. Snowy Owl
4. Pika
5. Ptarmigan
6. American Marten

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Better luck next time...

Well, I didn't see any moose...although its not for lack of trying! Several Grand Lake residents said that it is common to see moose walking through the middle of town every so often. I also talked with a ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park and she said that there are around 200 moose in north-central Colorado. And somewhere around 20-60 in the Kawuneeche Valley of RMNP, including the surrounding towns, such as Grand Lake. So, I guess I'll have to keep trying. Apparently the best times to spot them are dawn and dusk, although its possible to see them venturing out at anytime of day.

Anyway, all was not lost...I did manage to see a very cute and lonely coyote, which I've never seen in the wild before, along with the usual elk sightings (see pictures above).

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bono's comes to Denver!

As I was driving around this evening I spotted a familiar restaurant...I immediately felt a deep sense of thankfulness and excitement as I now have a fantastic bar-b-que joint near my house!

I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and therefore grew up on Bono's Bar-b-que. Lou Bono, the founder, brought this southern style restaurant to Jacksonville in 1949. My lips are getting juicy right now just thinking about a slab of baby-backs or a chopped pork sandwich...accompanied by some sweet tea....mmmmmmm.

Anyway, it looks like Bono's has now branched out to the fortunate city of Denver.
I looked online and found that there is a location in Centennial and Aurora. Woo hoo! Check it out, y'all!

Bono's website:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

In search of a moose sighting...

So, next week I am hoping to drive up to Grand Lake, Colorado in search of moose sightings. I hear moose sightings are rare in Colorado--but not impossible, as this woman's blog proves. Apparently, moose were introduced to Colorado in 1978, as I found on a couple of websites (although this is not the first finding of moose in Colorado).

Anyway, here are some other websites to explore. I'll keep you posted on my expedition....

(FYI: the picture above is from

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Excursion Of The Week.

Excursion Of The Week: Fraser Tubing Hill

One of my all-time favorite things to do in the winter months is to go snow tubing! Usually when I mention "tubing" to my eastcoast cohorts they immediately think of tubing behind a boat or down a river....But here in Colorado, you can go tubing in the summer and the winter!

My favorite place to go tubing is Fraser Tubing Hill, located in the small town of Fraser, just outside of Winter Park.

The hill is a nice size and makes for some decent speeds. They keep the hill groomed, for the most part, so you don't have to worry too much about hitting a big stump or tree. They also have a pulley type of system that pulls you and your tube back up to the top of the hill...if you don't feel like making the trek back up by foot...which is kinda nice!

Also, nearby is the YMCA-Snow Mountain Ranch where you can stay for lodging or other activities, such as an indoor heated pool. There are also several trails for snowmobiling or snow-shoeing (and they provide rentals). There is also a commercialized hot spring nearby called Hot Sulphur Springs, located near Granby.

Hey, it's winter--let's go out and play!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Thanks Colorado Rockies

Okay, so the Rockies didn't win the World Series...but you've got to admit it was a good run! Thanks Rockies for the exciting and entertaining games!--Maybe next year! (We'll just hope the Red Sox lose a couple of their pitchers, right?!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Go Rockies!

The Colorado Rockies are going to the World Series!! Woo hoo!! (In case you've never heard of them, they are the local professional baseball team around here...Anyway, they swept the national league series and are now waiting to sweep the World Series of baseball! Now...if we only knew who we are going up against--either the Boston Red Sox or the Cleveland Indians....)

Anyway, I never knew there was a baseball team called the Rockie's until I moved to Denver a few years ago....And though, honestly, I've never really cared too much for baseball before, its really exciting to see an unknown, hometown team making it this far! Go Rockies!

Stay tuned for details on the best places to watch the big game series, if you can't get tickets!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Royal Gorge

The highest suspension bridge in the United States is in Canon City, Colorado. The bridge is 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River. I recently made a trip down to the Royal Gorge and it was a beautiful drive, as well as, a unique experience.

It was a little scary, not to mention dizzying, walking across the bridge but the scenery was amazing. One has got to marvel at such an architectural feat! There are two ways to view the bridge; basically from above or below. From above, you can drive or walk across the bridge, in which case, you can ride several rides and see various animals at the Royal Gorge Park. If you'd like to view the bridge from down below,check out the Royal Gorge Railroad.

Canon City offered a lot more than I originally expected; they had a Wal-Mart, at least half a dozen hotels, a couple of car dealerships, and several restaurants. Right in the middle of the town is a winery that is run out of an old abbey. They have free wine tastings and visitors are welcome to tour the abbey.

So, if you are ever near Southeastern Colorado check out the Royal Gorge.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

An interesting and itchy discovery...

I was recently down in southeastern Colorado....As I was driving on a back road looking for highway 50, I saw up ahead of me, a black tiny creature crossing the road. As I slowed down to see what the thing was--since it was bigger than a bug and smaller than a rodent--I completely gasped! It was a freaking tarantula! I'm not kidding! I had no idea that we had tarantula's in Colorado! Thinking that this surely must be some type of isolated incident, I asked the next park ranger that I came to about this....He told me that actually in southern Colorado, Texas, and California that tarantula migration is a common phenomenon! What?! Did he say migration?? You mean there are lots of tarantulas in Colorado?! Good grief, just when I was starting to make peace with the bears and mountain I have to look out for tarantula's! Anyway, so yeah, for anyone else who might be surprised about this fact...I did some research immediately upon my return home and here are some websites I found:

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ace's and Eight's...Excursion Of The Week

Looking for something to do on a lazy afternoon or weekend? Check out the historical town of Central City. It is an extremely quaint old town with turn of the century houses and buildings. However, the main attraction to this town is the gambling. Central City is home to several large casino's. And just down the road is the town of Black Hawk, which also is home to several large casinos.

I've never been much of a gambler, generally have to have some extra cash lying around to partake in such a hobby....But on a couple of occasions I have gone up with only $40 dollars in my pocket to try my hand at "black jack" and the slot machines. It was actually kind of fun. Of course, it's even more fun if you walk away with a profit....But did you know that you get FREE drinks while you play?? That's definitely a perk. And there was one time when I literally played "black jack" for 4 hours straight on $20 bucks. I never knew cards could be so much fun. Here are a couple of things I've learned that I thought I might pass along:

1) When playing "black jack" always double-up when you get "11". For some reason, I guess the odds are with you and several times I've gotten a nice little profit from this simple trick.
2) According to my statistics professor the slot machines that are on the ends of the aisles and closest to the entrances/exits are supposedly "looser". Supposedly the logic behind this has to do with people as they come in/out or are waiting around and as they quickly try one of their last coins they get sucked back in for a while longer. So, if you are the type who can take your winnings and easily walk away, try the slots on the the odds may be with you...
3) If you sign up for the featured promotional offer or membership the casino is offering it may be helpful in the long run, as they will send you promotional discounts throughout the year.
4) Finally, in the words of "the Gambler" (A.K.A. Kenny Rogers):
"You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when youre sittin at the table.
Therell be time enough for countin when the dealins done."

Anyway, Central City is worth checking out even if you're not up for gambling. There are several old-time shops and plenty of hotels to stay in if you're exploring the mountains. It's even a cute little town to go mountain biking in, but there are several big hills! As for Black Hawk, it has several big casino's but not as much landscape or scenery as Central City. So, if you have some extra change and an itch to try your hand at gambling, there's no better place near Denver than Central City or Black Hawk.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Helen Hunt Falls

(NO, the actress Helen Hunt did not trip...I am referring to a place in Colorado Springs....)

Helen Hunt Falls is a nice place to simply relax and enjoy a picnic, or take a short hike.

This day trip is more of a short excursion. This seems like a nice place to come for an hour or so to just get some fresh air. There are several trails in the area but the main waterfall area is just off the parking lot so its not much of a hike. You can walk up the stairs to the top of the waterfall and continue going past the falls onto a trail. But, in my opinion, this main area is more suited for a photo-op and a picnic. There is a shaded stream to walk along with several boulders nearby that make for excellent sitting and thinking spots.

Here is a link for more information.

Also, nearby: Garden of the Gods, Seven Falls, Manitou Springs, and downtown Colorado Springs.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Excursion Of The Week.

(Photo by Patrick Myers)

Trip: Crestone, Sand Dunes National Monument, Zapata Falls

One of my all-time favorite trips will take you about 4 hours southwest of Denver into the San Luis Valley. As you drive through this magnificent valley you will see the Sangre De Cristo ("blood of Christ") mountains on one side and the San Juan mountains on the other. This drive really makes me feel like I am in the Old West... a classic shot of a dusty, rugged and majestic landscape all around.

The destination is twofold: the city of Crestone and then further down the road to the Sand Dunes National Monument.

About Crestone:

The little town of Crestone is mainly made up of a community of New Agers, as some call this area the "crown chakra". I come to Crestone to hike and camp at the North Crestone Creek Campground. This campground is tucked away at the edge of the Rio Grande National Forest. The campsites lie just beside the creek, under a canopy of trees. There is a huge rock wall on the opposite side of the creek that makes for a nice secluded, niche of a camp. So, you can set up camp here and then venture out to some other cool sites not too far away. There are also a couple of hot springs a few minutes drive away...well...more like 20 minutes or so away....

Here are some more details regarding the N. Crestone Creek Campground:

Hot Springs Info:

About the Sand Dunes National Monument:

When I first moved to Denver I had never heard of the Sand Dunes before. Since I am originally from a beachtown, and used to seeing sand dunes, I didn't understand what the draw was....Being as how Denverites seem to make a big deal out of puddles; calling them lakes and such...I figured this was another exaggeration and thought certainly that these sand dunes would really be more like dirt piles....Ummmmmm....I was wrong--completely and totally w-r-o-n-g! The Sand Dunes National Monument should really be called The Sand Dunes Range! These dunes are massive! It took me literally 45+ minutes to hike to the top of a freaking sand dune! The tallest dune is over 750 feet! Seriously, The Sand Dunes National Monument is a spectacular adventure! Come see the tallest dunes in North America!

There are also several campgrounds nearby, including inside of the park. So, if you don't want to drive an hour between the dunes and Crestone than there are some other campground options.

Here is a link for more info about the monument:

Zapata Falls:

There is a really cool waterfall that is somewhat inside of a short cave, near the Pinon Flats Campground inside of the park. There is a trail you can take up to the falls or you can access the falls from US Highway 150. Definitely check it out!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Surprise Of The Week...

I went to BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse in Aurora with no idea as to what I might find. However, surprisingly, I must say that they have the best deep dish pizza in town--even better than Old Chicago! I am still amazed! It was absolutely perfect!

I, personally, had never heard of BJ's if you are wondering what the place is like here's the scoop...BJ's seemed like a nice, spacious restaurant that seemed half like a sports bar if you sit in the bar area (several big screens to look at) and the other half a nice restaurant. They have a small patio around back. They had a decent selection of beer and, though I had no intention of writing about them on this blog, I just had to mention their deep dish pizza! Check 'em out!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Tea House

About 40 minutes north of Denver is an incredibly unique and culturally awakening experience....Located in Boulder (another reason this is a cultural experience) is the Dushanbe Tea House. With its hand-carved and hand-painted ceilings, tables, and beams; this tea house offers a taste of scenery. They have a wide variety of selections...not only do they have the most extensive tea menu that I have ever seen...but they also serve breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. This is one of the most unique encounters I've had in my quest for the perfect coffee/tea house. This place is a bit on the classy side so be ware that just because it is a tea house, you might want to go in the morning or afternoon, as the evening or dinner setting seemed to be a little more fancier.

The tea house is a sister teahouse to one started in Tajikistan...So, the setting is authentic.

This is a great place to experiment with different teas, enjoy a nice scone or meal, and perhaps imagine you are in a foreign land....

You can check the website at:

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Denver Coffee Shops

Here are several of my favorite coffee shops:

1) Cafe Europa
76 S. Pennsylvania
Denver, CO

2) St. Marks Coffee House
2019 E. 17th St.
Denver, CO

3) Stella's Coffeehaus
1476 S. Pearl
Denver, CO

4) Paris On The Platte
1553 Platte St.
Denver, CO

Here is a cool blog all about Denver coffee shops.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Excursion Of The Week: Echo Lake

If you are looking for a fun day trip on the outskirts of Denver, check out Echo Lake. This is one of my favorite day trips because it is near Mt. Evans and Idaho Springs--so many options for activities.

Trip Details:

From Denver, take I-70 west up toward Idaho Springs. Take the exit for Mt. Evans Scenic Byway and drive up the highest paved road in North America (14,130 feet) toward the Mt. Evans Wilderness Area. The road seems to twist and turn for awhile but eventually you'll see Echo Lake on the right. There are parking spots, restrooms, picnic tables, and grills next to the lake.

There are several trails in this area. I really enjoyed the Chicago Lakes Trail. It literally seems to be right on the face of the mountain for parts of the hike. The scenery is beautiful. The trail winds down into the valley and over a stream. The hike back up is a workout, atleast if you are a bit out of shape like myself. :) But if I can do it, you can do it!

Additional activities:

After you finish tromping up and down the trail, if you still have some time and energy you can drive up to the top of Mt. Evans since the entrance station is just up the road. Or, if you're a bit tired and hungry you can head back the way you came and grab a famous mountain pie (what Idaho Spring residents call pizza) at Beaujo's. Actually, I highly recommend a trip to Beaujo's just about any day of the week. They have really great pizza and they are located in the center of Idaho Springs, a cute and historic mountain town.

Then, when you are finished with dinner, you can drive two minutes to the Indian Springs Resort and soak in the hot springs. They have a huge hot spring pool, as well as, individual hot spring tubs, and hot spring caves....but you should know that if you choose the caves option, it is gender specific and your birthday suit is required. So, if you can get over being naked and aren't with anyone of a different gender, then try sitting in a hot spring in an actual geothermal cave.

Have fun!


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Best Burgers In Denver

For an updated list check out my more recent post here.

Here are my top 3 burger joints in Denver:

1) Cherry Cricket
2641 E. Second Ave.
Denver, CO 80206

A little dive joint in the heart of Cherry Creek--but don't worry, you don't have to be rich, fancy, or pretentious to eat here; just hungry! Seriously, the bun, the cheese, and the burger become one at this place.

2) City Grille
321 E. Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80203

They have a very unique burger menu. So, if you'r e looking for a really great burger with a fresh twist; check 'em out.

3) Fuddruckers
(various locations)

I know this is a chain restaurant but they serve up some of the juiciest burgers I've ever had. Plus, they have the best honey mustard sauce in town--very tasty on a burger or fries!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Excursion Of The Week.

Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Go camping!

Buena Vista. Camp along Colorado's most popular river rafting destination; the Arkansas River. There are several places to camp in and around Buena Vista. My favorites are Ruby Mountain Campground and Hecla Junction, since they are right on the water. However, there are some less expensive campgrounds in the Chalk Creek area...and, of course, plenty of BLM area; which of course means free!


The best part of this trip is the scenery! Its absolutely beautiful driving from Denver, along US 285, into the Arkansas Headwaters area. The Collegiate Peaks are stunning! There is a ton of stuff to do in this area. You are in prime rafting territory and you are only 20-30 minutes away from one of the cutest mountain towns around--Salida. The town of Buena Vista is also a good destination if you need some supplies, groceries, or grub. Also, there are several ghost towns nearby to explore, Jeep and ATV rentals, as well as a couple of hot springs in the area. And, of course, plenty of trails to explore. But even more, its a great place to just sit and relax and listen to the rushing water of the Arkansas River.

So, grab your tent, your camera, and GO!

For more information:

My Favorite Breakfast Nooks

Here are my top 5 places to enjoy breakfast:

1) Mimi's Cafe

205 Abilene St.
Aurora, CO 80012
(there are 2 other locations but this is the one I go to.)

This place is so cozy! The ambiance here brings satisfaction to all of your senses! The food is fantastic--just like your Grandma's cooking! I love their belgium waffles! The service at this location has been consistently superb and attentive.

2) Dozen's

236 W. 13th Ave.
Denver, CO 80204

This quaint restaurant located in the heart of downtown, serves the PERFECT selection of eggs! I am very picky when it comes to my eggs, and they consistently whip up the best in Denver--always moist; never too dry! Their service is sometimes hit and miss, from my experience, but I still enjoy coming here for the food and the atmosphere.

3) The Delectable Egg

200 Quebec St.
Denver, CO 80230
(They have other locations but this is the one I frequent.)

For an all-around great breakfast this place is pretty much close to perfect. Their eggs are also consistently moist, not too dry. They have really good flavored coffee and they have speedy service.

4) Racine's

650 Sherman St.
Denver, CO 80203

This restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The feel is one of an artsy, urban sophistication; but with no pretention. I like to come in, sit at the bar, order my eggs with a mimosa and enjoy being alive at this place. Their breakfast menu is not as comprehensive as some of the other "just breakfast" nooks but their quality is superb.

5) Denver Diner

740 W. Colfax
Denver, CO

This busy diner is located in the heart of downtown. I like to come here when I feel like people- watching or journaling. All walks of life frequent this little diner, from urban to suburban. The service is good and the food is great.