Summer Hiking – Little Horseshoe Park Trail

Life is really short. You just don’t realize it until it’s almost too late. My chronic migraines keep me from doing a lot of things you would consider normal. Nonetheless, I do what I can to get out of the city and into the mountains. I love living in Colorado! We can head out early for a day hike and be back in the evening.

Just recently, I went on a hike with 14 other people up in Rocky Mountain National Park. One of them was my usual hiking partner so, I actually joined her group of people over 50 years old for one hike. They had more stamina than I did and were killing it up that mountain!

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We hiked 5.6 miles of a muddy horse trail loop complete with their manure. Yuck! The horses and Rangers thought we were weird hiking on this particular trail. So what if we followed our group leader and ended up where most people don’t hike? We enjoyed the change of scenery. It was an adventure. haha

The Park Rangers were working on the trail and the dirt they got rid of was carried out by the horses. Apparently, the horses can spook easily, so we had to stand still and quiet while they went by. This guy was cute and wondering what I was doing with my camera.

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You can see the Park Rangers working in the background. They were making and installing a new bridge to replace the worn out one over the bubbling stream.

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See how worn out it is? I think it probably was unsafe for the horses. Well, actually, unsafe for anyone who crossed it.

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There were visitors in the park going on a slow horseback ride through the woods. I want to do that someday. The horses knew what they were doing. They were given no directions at all. Just follow your friend in front of you.

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The elevation gain was just over 800 feet. There were some amazing views like this one from Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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We ran into a couple Wild Turkeys, lots of different birds and a few Elk. We saw plenty of wildflowers but I didn’t even think to take pictures of them. Next time, I will remember.

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The fields we came across were growing new summer flowers after the 3 feet of snow they got the week before melted. Having a blue sky with white, pillowy clouds, an evergreen mountain side and the snow capped mountain range looming over the flat, lush green field made for a great picture.

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The horse trail itself was very well maintained. The Park Rangers were working hard on keeping it safe too. Little Horseshoe Park trail was very clear to see and there was nothing on the trail blocking anything.

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Fallen tree trunks and branches were cut down and put in piles for controlled burns later. Hey, I guess I did take a picture of wild flowers! After some quick research, the yellow one is called Golden Banner, the white one I have no idea what it is and the wood debris pile is called slash. The more we know, right? 😉

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So, we hiked up for a bit then, down too. We walked on a few plank bridges over ice cold snow melt streams a few times. Brr, that water was COLD, by the way!

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After a while, we took a break and had some lunch. All in all, it was so peaceful and a much needed rest from the city. My friend and I enjoyed hiking with a lot of other people. It was cool to learn about everyone and where they came from.

I’m thinking of making my own hiking group. A small one of family and close friends to start then expand. I love finding new trails but I really think I will skip a horse trail in the future. 🙂 Go out, enjoy the scenery, my friends!

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Supporting a Hospitalized Loved One

An empty ICU room waiting for another patient

Someone in my family is very sick. She was in the Intensive Care Unit at a local hospital for 6 weeks. She had sepsis, which is a bacterial infection of the blood that caused her organs to fail one by one. She was in septic shock by the time she was admitted.

It started with a small wound on her ankle that got infected. The bacteria spread so fast they had to intubate her. The doctors and nurses saved her life. The infection took a chunk of her calf muscle and layers of skin from the knee down on one of her legs. They thought it was a flesh eating bacteria because, it spread so fast. Thank goodness it wasn’t.

We were told that she has a 50/50 chance at recovering to go to a long-term acute care facility where she will have to do some serious, grueling physical therapy. Everyone in our family prayed for a miracle.

I sat by her bedside holding her hand while she slept, talked to her positively when she was tired but awake and tried to comfort her when she was in so much pain. I made her laugh and smile sometimes, but other times she just cried or stared off into space. She couldn’t talk with a tube in her throat. She spoke limited English, so expressing herself to her nurses or Doctors was a challenge. She couldn’t move either and had to be repositioned every couple hours. I spent on average 10 to 12 hours a day at the hospital. It’s hard to watch a loved one go from bad to worse. It was scary!

I try to imagine myself in her situation and what I would want if I was in ICU for over a month. I would want someone with me as much as possible to keep me company. I would want to have my hand held, so I could feel safe while I slept. I would want to hear familiar voices and see friendly faces. All of which I know my husband and children will do for me should I end up like this. I choose to believe that if people are there for the bedridden patient, there is a better chance at making a recovery. Even a small chance is worth trying for in my mind.

Today, she is in long-term acute care and has been there a couple weeks. She fought hard to get here. She nearly died a couple times in ICU while she was healing. She’ll be on dialysis for the rest of her life, but she is alive. She needs to learn to breathe on her own again since she had a tracheostomy and was placed on a ventilator. She needs to learn to sit upright, eat, drink, use the bathroom, walk, write, talk, etc.

What would you do if you or a loved one ended up in the hospital for a long period of time? Are you prepared? We weren’t. Try to be prepared with a power of attorney, an advance directive or have a will. Share your wishes with your family.

My husband and I use 5 Wishes. I got really sick a few years ago myself and we prepared for the “just in case”. It is a legal document and used for anyone over 18 years old. You can change it in the future too. We have several copies to share with family when the time comes. It’s worth it. It’s always better safe than sorry.

Prep yourself and your family as much as you can. You just never know…

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Cold outside? It’s Puzzle Time!

Alas, November has come and gone. In less than 3 weeks, Christmas will be here. Then New Year’s. That is a lot of indoor time with family! When it gets freezing cold outside, I tend to crank out more jigsaw puzzles. I should do a big post on all the Springbok puzzles I completed in 2016. Most of which I purchased from thrift stores. Until then, here are a few I have completed this year.

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‘Golden Sunset’ released in 2006 – 1,500 pieces

This one my husband bought me for Christmas one year. I finally got around to finishing it and find out one of my cats took off with an edge piece. No idea where it went. LOL

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‘Bear Lake’ in Estes Park, CO released in 2012 – 500 pieces

A score from one of the thrift stores I go to. This is cool because it’s complete and it’s close to home. Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park is beautiful! Perhaps one day I will show you!

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‘Knit Knacks’ released in 2010 – 1,000 pieces

A friend loaned me one her Springbok puzzles. We switch puzzles with each other and try not to get duplicates. This way we work on many other different puzzles. 🙂

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‘Snow Leopard’ released in 1979 – 500 pieces

A thrift store find that has all of the pieces to it as well. You’d be surprised how many I’ve gotten complete from there! Usually there’s a piece or 2 missing. Not this time. All that white was very tedious though. Ugh! At least it’s done now! Whew!

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‘Gotta Love Snow’ released in 2007 – 500 pieces

This one is from a thrift store too and is missing a piece. It snowed, so I decided to do a snow puzzle. It didn’t snow enough to make snowmen but it was the first snow of the season.

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‘Book Shop’ released in 2015 – 500 pieces

I got this one for my birthday this year from the close and dear friend that switches puzzles with me. We both worked in a public library, so it was perfect.

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‘Candy is Dandy’ released in the 1970’s – 500 pieces

Yet another thrift store find I finished around Halloween. Complete with all pieces. I like to do seasonal puzzles and this one was fun because, it was shaped in a circle. COOL!

That’s all, folks! Next post I will show you more puzzles. Seven puzzles in one post is long enough! See you soon!

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