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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Family Visit to Boulder

October 25th, 2011 · 2 Comments

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The visit of my sister, Liz, and my niece, Julie, last week gave me good reasons to return to some of my favorite places in and around Boulder.

The visit began at Denver International Airport when I met them a week ago. This huge airport — the third largest in the world — is the one I use the most and, now that I know it, the one that I prefer above all others.

Matching the airport’s size, my family arrived with enough luggage to fly around the world.

Julie (left) and Liz Arrive at DIA Prepared for Anything

Julie (left) and Liz Arrive at DIA Prepared for Anything

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The next day I showed them around downtown Boulder, starting with breakfast at Lucile’s Creole Cafe, probably the best breakfast restaurant in the city. My friend, Nancy, joined us there. Then we went on to our famous Pearl Street Mall.

Along the Pearl Street Mall

Along the Pearl Street Mall

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That evening we went to the closest mountains, driving up Flagstaff Road as far as Walker Ranch. Along the way Liz and Julie marveled at the many cyclists climbing grades of up to 15 percent. We got back to Flagstaff House, my favorite restaurant in all the world, in time to see the sun setting over Boulder.

Boulder from Flagstaff House

Boulder from Flagstaff House

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On Thursday one of the high points was our visit to the Leanin’ Tree Museum and Sculpture Garden of Western Art. All of us loved the work of Bill Hughes the best, and this museum has all of his works in public galleries. But since the museum doesn’t allow photographs, you will have to visit the museum yourself to see his paintings. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

We lunched at Boulder’s unique teahouse. A gift of the people of Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, is not only one of the few restaurants in this country where you can get a wide variety of wonderful tea but also eat tasty food in lovely setting.

Marveen, the Sister of My Best Friend's Wife, Joined Us for Lunch at the Teahouse

Marveen, the Sister of My Best Friend's Wife, Joined Us for Lunch at the Teahouse

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Later that afternoon all four of us went to look for wildlife. We didn’t have to go far. The most reliable place in Boulder to see wildlife is the South Boulder Creek Trail from the Marshall Road Trailhead, just one mile from my apartment. The most reliable wildlife there is the least shy prairie dog colony that I know of anywhere.

A Prairie Dog Eats an Afternoon Snack

A Prairie Dog Eats an Afternoon Snack

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That evening my friend, Sharon, invited us to dinner at her home. Liz and Julie especially wanted to meet Sharon, because she is my regular hiking companion.

I would have been derelict in my duties as a host if I had failed to take my sister and my niece to Rocky Mountain National Park. We saved the trip until Friday, their last full day here, so they could get acclimated to the altitude.

We went looking for elk. We found them and more. First we found this big buck.

Boulders Surround a Buck in Rocky Mountain National Park

Boulders Surround a Buck in Rocky Mountain National Park

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We also found birds. Like this Black-billed Magpie.

My, What a Long Tail You Have!

My, What a Long Tail You Have!

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My biggest thrill of the day was to see a coyote walking right down the road in front of us from the direction of the Cub Lake Trailhead. I got dozens of close-up shots that on a normal day would have been enough. But just as the coyote came abreast of us, it spotted a mouse. With one swift motion, the mouse was in the coyote’s mouth.

A Coyote Eats

A Coyote Eats

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This wildlife was a by-product of our search for elk. The search started slowly at Upper Beaver Meadows, where we didn’t see any. Onward and upward to Moraine Park, we found two large herds in the distance. Julie and I enjoyed walking across a meadow to them, where we got photos that were okay but not impressive. After returning to the resort town of Estes Park, where we ate lunch in a restaurant right on the promenade of the Big Thompson River, Julie spotted a herd of elk on the golf course. That was better. And then just as we left Estes Park we saw a large herd in a meadow, where two bulls fought for dominance.

Three Cows Wait for Two Bulls to Decide

Three Cows Wait for Two Bulls to Decide

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One young bull then waited for the traffic so he could cross the road to where the action was.

A Young Bull Crosses Colorado State Highway 7

A Young Bull Crosses Colorado State Highway 7

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Liz and Julie had to return to southern California on Saturday. That morning I invited them to breakfast in my apartment and then we walked around the grounds of the Tantra Lake apartment complex where I live. Judging from the expression on Liz’s face, the opportunity that she had to feed the Mallards must have been one of the high points of her trip.

Liz Feeds Wild Mallards at Tantra Lake

Liz Feeds Wild Mallards at Tantra Lake

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Stanley Kim // Oct 29, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Beautiful is the scenery of Boulder with autumn turning leaves and wild animals with their warm looking coats.
    As beautiful is to see that you invite your sister and nephew to warm their grieving hearts after their recent loss of husband and father.

  • 2 David Mendosa // Oct 29, 2011 at 7:25 am

    You know, Stanley, that you and your charming wife have a standing invitation to visit me in Boulder too! Thanks for writing.

    David

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