Bill and Juanita, owners of Allenspark Lodge B&B, are living their dream...

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.



Friday, February 28, 2014

And the Cleanup Continues ...

The area has worked particularly hard to get things back to normal as much as possible since the flood.  It's hard to believe that it has been six months now - and yet to realize all that has been accomplished in those six months!

This week when Bill and I did our town trip for chores and groceries, we chose to come home a different route.  Heading out of Loveland up I-34 I spotted many new signs for the businesses in Estes Park.  This is one from a business that works closely with the Livery across the street from us; taking fishing/pack trips to our mountain lakes on horseback.


Then we headed up the Big Thompson canyon itself, amazed at the cleanup that has taken place.

A little town, Glen Haven, that sits just a few miles north of Estes Park on a little winding road, was nearly wiped out.  One of our sons and his family had done a lot of volunteer work there in the weeks after the flood and we had heard - and seen many of their pictures - of just how hard they had been hit.  Many of our guests had come that way this fall and we were hearing amazing stories of the road work and cleanup that has been done; although not completed by a long way.  We had avoided that trip, not wanting to see all the damage, but decided we needed to get caught up with that area.
We saw 'new fields' (didn't use to be there before) that had been scraped clean of debris.

Piles of reclaimed asphalt ready to be used for the new roadbed, or as fill dirt.

Crossed over a temporary bridge; no, the road did not use to go here.

....and got to see some places that have not been scraped clean yet.  This is just a small idea of what these mountain strong people have been dealing with, in-between bouts of snowy weather.  That's the river on the other side of the fence, that still needs to be dredged before spring runoffs come.  It's important!  Areas above this are currently sitting at 180+ percent of normal snowpack.  We love the snow but it does seem to come at times when the area is already stressed.  We feel for all of you in the north and upper midwest that keep getting hit with storms this year.

What a beautiful view to come over the top of Devil's Gulch road and catch this view of Long's Peak (center rt.) and Meeker Peak (center left) just before spotting Estes Park at their base.

After passing through Estes and heading south on SH 7, we came to St. Catherine's Chapel at Camp St. Malo.
Notice the dark dirt spot just below the trees on the left side of the picture.  Now take a closer look; that depression was the lake that the chapel sat above.
video
 This is what it looked like a week after the flood.  Pretty amazing!
Somehow, the road crews have taken all the trees and dirt and compacted it into a semblance of a smaller pond.  Last week we saw the mound of trees and dirt they were working on.  Neither of us could believe they created such a serene looking area from the mess they started with.
Everyone has worked super hard to make our area a pleasant place to visit again.  Tell you friends and neighbors to come check us out.  Check out this site:  http://www.supportestespark.com/  It's a great way to help out the area and make it easier to travel in the summer.
Bionic Cowgirl

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Never Have So Few...

I'm dying here.

It has been over a month since I have touched a horse.  I don't think I have gone this long without bugging my equine friends in 15 years or so.

We try to winter our ponies someplace else.  Not in our home corral.  They are mustangs, and it really improves their attitudes to run free, eat grass and  not worry about the people for between two and five months.  The longer, the better as far as they are concerned.

We sent them away to an 80 acre mountain side last December 1st or so.  But then about a month ago, they had their "Forced Relocation".

The property they are on now is a 10 acre (or so) plot of property behind the property owner' s home.  We can just see our horses and the mares they are with from the highway.  Just.  But no touching.  Or giving of treats.  Or nuthin.  The property they are now on was supposed to be sort of a temporary stop-over, but all of the the fencing is down on the long term pasture, so we can't move them there.

I miss our horses.
I think my saddle is lonely.

Bill

Friday, February 21, 2014

Savory Squash Recipe

I cook dinners about half the time for Juanita and me.  I am fearless in the kitchen, and will try new things just for the halibut.  I have had some almighty disasters, and a few real winners.

This one is a winner.  It turns squash into food.

Savory Squash Recipe

1 acorn squash
2 Tbl bacon crumbles
4 Tbl finely chopped onion
4 Tbl shredded cheese (your choice)
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 (ea) 1 Tbl butter pats



Take the acorn squash and halve it longitudinally.  Scrape out the spider webs and eggs (discard).  Put the halves skin side down in an oven appropriate baking dish and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the onions, bacon crumbles, shredded cheese and garlic. Spoon mixture into squash halves.

Add butter pat to top.

Bake at 350* for 1 hour.

Eat.

You're welcome.

Bill

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Weather Anomoly

I have to say - I really, really feel for the people getting hit with the cold and snow in the east and south.  I can't whine, because you all have it worse than us, even though we are getting hit worse than we have in a few years.  Don't throw things at your computer but today it is 46*, sunny, and - SNOWING - and last night we made the news because we had 81 mph winds!  It broke my favorite icicle.

This is what winds like that do for us; this is a 3 ft. drift at the front door.  We have a 6 ft. drift at the side door but I am not going there for pictures.  So Bill and I dug out the shovels and started in.  We also called the neighbor who plows for us because it is hard for guests to park when there is 2 ft. of snow in the parking lot.
This is the pile he left us; must be time to call the grandkids for sledding.  Actually, that's only one of the piles he left us.
This was the pile Bill and I made.  See my icicle hanging in front.  It had a good start on growing into the snow pile.  It's not there any more; the wind blew it down but at least we have a walkway of sorts, into the lodge - which the wind keeps blowing shut on us.

Since this was Valentine's Day weekend, we advertised a special offer of wine, chocolate covered strawberries, fresh flowers and chocolates in the rooms.





Thought I'd show you a couple of the room pictures.  We had fun with it.  I hope our guests did, too.




Happy Valentine's Day weekend to everyone.

Our guests are all out snow shoeing.



Bionic Cowgirl

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Larger Than a Kayak

Today was our day in town, doing chores, buying groceries, that sort of thing.  Bright and sunny and early we head down Hwy 7 - the St. Vrain Canyon.  Coming around a corner we are surprised to see a huge, yellow 'steam shovel' crawling down the side of the bank into the river!
It then turned on its tracks and started crawling along the river, basically straddling it for the most part; sometimes in the water.  Now pre-flood there would not have been room for something so big, but the river bottom is considerably wider now.  It was just such a strange sight to see.
 
One of the behemoths had a huge jackhammer it was using to break apart the boulder piles; another one had the regular 'steam shovel' arm.

I watched that one take a giant scoop from the river, then turn and dump it on the bank.  Probably a hundred gallons of water poured out - then this huge boulder clunked down.  It would have been fun to just hang out and watch.  It brought back the kid in me!
After finishing our town business, we headed back home, up the same canyon - and passed SIX of these big machines cleaning dead trees and debris from the river bottom, with yet another one on the side of the road, getting refitted for different work.
Look at all those trees and rocks that were clogging the river!
 Thank you to all the 'hard hats', as the locals have nick-named them, for being willing and able to put in all this effort to help with flood control for next spring's runoff; and thank you to FEMA for awarding more money to the state to help with this.

We were also rewarded with some beautiful ice sculptures on the rocky cliffsides along the road.
This is the real beauty of our mountains.  Come up and get unplugged from the real world and let your imagination play, too.
Bionic Cowgirl

Saturday, February 8, 2014

We Got a Call

We got a call From "Compass", the gal that runs the livery across the street from us.

"You need to go the post office.  Take your camera."

Now, it's snowing.  It's been snowing for the last 2 weeks, and I'm getting kinda tired of it.

I didn't want to go. At all.  But I went.
Snow.
From a ways off I saw something stuck out of an 8 foot snow drift...


Yup.  I'm not alone in being tired of the snow.
Sometimes you just need to get plowed.

Bill

    (And no, it weren't really someone.)