August 8th, 2007

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Jenny's, Empire, CO



I have just come back from spending the last five days in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. A dear friend, TL, invited me and three other friends to vacation at her family's place in the Granby area. What a delicious vacation. We flew to Denver, picked up our rental car, and drove to the mountains. We turned off the interstate highway at Empire and ate lunch at Jenny's. Note to Owlfish - great green chile and cheese soup there. The place was packed. Midway through our meal, the man in the corner came in to eat.
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Deck on the Colorado River



The house where we stayed is located along the headwaters of the Colorado River, where it is a clear, shallow, rushing, rocky stream. I drew this on the deck built out over the river itself. The bright colors are beanbag chairs. It was raining lightly when I drew this, so some of the lines are blurred. A pine borer is decimating (that means 1/10th, so what word do you use for killing 50% of the trees?)the lodgepole pines. The red brown color on the trees = dead pine trees. The situation is dire.
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tundra plants



One day we drove up to the Alpine Visitors Center on Trail Ridge Road (longest, highest highway in the USA) in Rocky Mountain National Park. We drove through dense clouds and emerged to a different world from the forests below. From the visitors center, a trail led to the highpoint at 12,005 feet. I drew the tiny tundra plants as I walked breathlessly up the hill. On the drive down to Grand Lake, we passed a herd of elk in a meadow. Since I was watercoloring the plant drawings as we were driving, I quickly drew some of the elk in the color on my brush at the time (upper right). I don't recommend painting while driving on a mountain highway though.
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The Lariat Saloon, Grand Lake, CO



We hiked 9.6 miles round trip from Grand Lake at 8300 feet to the Shadow Mountain fire lookout tower at 9900. The views from the top were sublime. Afterwards we went to the Lariat Saloon in the town of Grand Lake.
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lunch



We had a quest - rainbow trout for lunch. A volunteer park ranger at a lookout told us to try the Sagebrush in Grand Lake. He was right, and the trout was delicious. The yellow dots are peanut shells on the floor. the black blobs are the cow-hide patterns on the tablecloths.