On August 10, 2014, Donn’s birthday adventure began. We were awoken by the sound of cars, driving to wherever they drive. This particular spot where we “crashed” was at church  (a church we have used as a safe haven a few years now).  We noticed this spot- a row of campers parked in a neighborhood right in front of a church– the first time we passed through Boulder. When you live on the road you notice little things like that.  There are no KOA’s near Boulder(or near enough), nor any campgrounds.  This leads one to be creative and save a buck or $40.  Our safe place to lay, “the south spot” is only 10 minutes away from Eldorado Canyon. We wake early, to be sure we get the most out of our day.  We drive into the canyon to have breakfast and take in the beauty.  Next to the road, Donn climbs on top of the Milton boulder, and messes around with some point and shoot camera options.  As I’m cooking, I imagine how distracting the smell of breakfast burritos must be on the climbers above. IMG_4449 Right after the last bites are taken, we clean up, and load up heading to Castle rock, in Boulder Canyon. This is the spot we can go when everything else in the real world is bringing us down.  There is something special about this place, located between the rock and the creek, it just treats us right.

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A week prior to this day, Donn and I spent some time tapping nails into a log.  We tapped them in to create a snake.  Leaving only the head unfinished. Luckily, Donn just so happened to get some copper nails for an early birthday gift.  They were just what this creation needed.

IMG_4490    IMG_4491 IMG_4503 After we finished the snake we headed west towards Nederland for some “oh so sweet” drinking water.  We were just hanging out a few hundred feet lower in elevation, and had no idea that it was snowing in Ned. Well, I have heard people say, “if ya don’t like Colorado weather, stick around for 15 minutes it will change”.

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North of Nederland we traveled through Rocky Mountain National Park. It was either this route or I-70. Not a very tough decision there.

IMG_4514 IMG_4518 IMG_4522                                            Elk hanging out near Granby Lake. IMG_4524 After a longer drive than expected, we arrived in Steamboat Springs.  Too late for a hot soak, we opt for sleep. Pirating a restful night in a hotel parking lot, we wake early for a quick drive to Strawberry Hot-springs.  Being the first to arrive, and planning on making a day of it, we picked the best spot for an afternoon siesta. This is it!  I will cook breakfast, make cocktails, lunch, drink beers, and make dinner,  ALL here at this spot. IMG_4526 IMG_4528                 The entrance to Strawberry Hot Springs.  What a cute little front office… IMG_4545      IMG_4538         If the springs is not relaxing enough for ya, you can get a massage too. IMG_4536  IMG_4530     IMG_4534 The guest lodging is unique.  Fun little bungalows, with direct access to the pools. IMG_4543       IMG_4546 IMG_4549   IMG_4554   IMG_4535    IMG_4552 IMG_4559 IMG_4557       IMG_4565 IMG_4567                          IMG_4574 After a day and a half of bone soaking at this little slice of heaven, we set our radar for the last stage of this adventure- ROCK CLIMBING!  Headed east out of Steamboat, our trusty van climbs to the top of Rabbit Ear Pass.  Here we begin our 1.5 mile hike.  After a trek through the quiet forest, in an almost eerie solitude, we make it to our destination.  Tucked into a small canyon, we find a slew of multi-pitch domes. IMG_4577                        IMG_4603 We have climbed here twice,  both times we pretty much owned this climbing spot. Not a person to be found. IMG_4609 This 350 giant is called The Dome.  There are enough climbs on it to draw you back, again and again. IMG_4600 IMG_4608   IMG_4604

We wrap up our rock session, and began the 1.5 mile stroll back to our van.

IMG_4585 Just when you think you are “out of the woods”, there is still potential for back-country danger.  One could cross paths with a moose!   IMG_4623