Monday, July 1, 2019

Denver 2018 day 10 Rocky Mountain Canyon Hi (ke)

August 5, 2018

Anabelle continued her Disney Menu list and expanded it to Disney Hotels, and what Disney Shirts she has to choose from, because she’s a McGinley.

Everyone got ready to go out to lunch before church at the Mother Cabrini Shrine, or as ready as we can ever get.

One lost keys emergency later and we were out on the highway.

El Rancho was fairly empty, but yet we still had a thirty minute wait because of kitchen capacity.

Here’s hoping the El Rancho owners never subject themselves to New York clientele.

Displaying Colorado weather in a Murder By Death like fashion, it was pouring beyond visibility out one window, and sunny out another one.  Everyone got enjoyable food, my family stayed with Buffalo burgers, because they are astonishingly good!  We got some buffalo sauce as well (no relation) but I didn’t want to take away from the flavor of the meat and used it for sides. Our Mexican waiter conversed easily with the Spanish speaking portion of our table. As for old Mr. Gringo here, when I asked if the Diet Coke machine was “off” he told me he thought I ordered Doctor Pepper. I guess I'm not the only one who files everything in his head alphabetically.

We finished eating with just enough time to drive to the Spanish mass in the nearby Cabrini Shrine. Everyone involved with the service- cantors, lectors, altar servers, etcetera- clearly were native Spanish speakers, as expected based on the large Latin population of the area.  The priest, forgetting the Spanish word for blood every time it came up (fairly frequently in the Catholic Mass) was clearly not.  The Peruvian contingent of my family couldn’t understand him at all.  I, on the other hand, found it the most understandable Spanish mass of my life.

After church, Rosa took Abuelita back to the car and Anabelle and I braved the mobbed gift shop to locate the hidden stash of holy ice cream in there for her and Rosa.  Then it was back to Titi Luzma’s for a footwear swap to get our hiking boots.

The afternoon goal was one of our longest hikes, Waterton Canyon.  Given I knew the length of what we planned; I figured it should have been a first thing in the morning adventure.  I didn’t understand local issues like the wide, uncovered dirt roads should NEVER be hiked mid-day, and starting first thing in the morning would mean coming back under the blazing noon sun.  Starting after three in the late light of summer meant a relatively cool walk out and back.  This is another prime reason there was no Denver grid.

Carrot the Bunny welcomed us to the road surrounded by gorgeous scenery of mountains, woods and a river.

The river could get a little uppity at times, as evidenced by the flash flood warning sign on the outside of the outhouse provided in the “Bear” rest area. (They’re all animal named. I don’t believe the creatures are required to stay near the appropriate ones.)  I hope there was a warning on the inside too, that’s not something you want to be surprised by in there.

Deeper into the canyon, we spotted a couple female bighorn sheep up on the crags. Also known as ewes, or “ewe'ts” back east to make a second My Cousin Vinny reference in one trip.  Rosa played the lens swap cha cha game for a bit before we continued inward. 

The biggest problem with photography when walking through Waterton Canyon is absolutely everything in every direction is both pretty and nicely framed, leading to an overload.

It was on this trip that Anabelle informed me our phones both were constantly counting steps and miles on our journeys.  Yet another case of me having no idea of the capabilities of my tricorder.  Although we traversed the same paths every day, hers always showed up to a mile more. She must shun linear, fidgetless travel more than I do, which is impressive.

Nearing the next picnic area, we all could “smell the nature.”  A debate sprang up as we tried to ascertain if it was a nearby hidden skunk, a nearby out in the open outhouse, or a nearby resting gang of long haired cyclists enjoying a local herb break.

We saw a Mountain Lion warning sign and turned around to head back.  There was also distant thunder, making us look less wuss like over the Mountain Lion sign.  We bid farewell to the caretaker’s home at the three mile point of this wilderness bound, unpaved road, which wins my personal prize for “House that Has No Hope of Being Plowed Free After a Snowstorm.”

Yes, there was both a house, and a power station, explaining how they could keep the land protected easily.  Yay, technology.

Sightseeing continued all the way back, though exhaustion and dehydration may have affected our cognitive functions. 
A large bird of prey circled a nearby peak. Before anyone got to “Hawk” several of us (my family, naturally) called it a “big flappy thing.”

Back over at the Bear picnic area was a small Snake. I do not know what kind it was, as Titi Luzma saw it before I got there. If her scream startled me, tens of yards away, imagine what it did to an impressionable young reptile.

While everyone was recovering, we met a woman who told us she encountered some Bighorn Sheep with their young on the road a week or so before and was chased by the overprotective mother.  So much for worrying about Mountain Lions and Snakes.

In her continued quest to unlock all the secrets of the super deluxe magical camera, Rosa hung the strap around my neck. Then she ran back behind me and attempted to use the remote to take shots of her and Anabelle laughing and goofing around while my field of vision slowly narrowed due to asphyxiation. Maybe she wasn’t trying to learn anything about the camera after all?

There were some more Sheep strolling about the top of the same cliffs we spotted them at on the way in.  This led to more lens changing, but at least I could breathe again.

A large Deer greeted us in a field at the end of the trip, before we piled into the car, and I absorbed an entire bottle of PowerAde instantaneously.  With the cardiac pills I’m on, I can choose between “be shriveled and desiccated” or “pee every five minutes.”  On a six mile hike, it wasn't much of a choice.

A local gas pump sensed my Jersey heritage when I tried to fill Silvermist the Fabulous Monkey, and malfunctioned in every way possible, just short of vaporizing all of us in a gout of flaming death.

At home, we washed the road bits off ourselves and had some leftovers in sandwiches. We looked to plan a route up to the Rocky Mountain National Park the next day that took into account my new blood pressure lowering pills that would minimize chances of my dream of driving the family off a cliff coming true.

Titi Luzma wanted to continue her horror education, leading Anabelle to suggest Coraline. Titi’s wants didn’t coincide with her stamina after the long hike, leading us to watch the last ninety percent of the film without her.

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