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i fell in love with italy

I fell in love. This was my first trip abroad (Canada doesn't count) and I haven't been able to stop daydreaming about it. The photo above is my first view of Florence on my first day of walking around.

Scooters everywhere. Men, women and youth all rode them. Some with groceries or a plank of lumber sticking out the back. I want one.

First view of Ponte Vecchio, right around the corner from our hotel. My eyes were so BIG!

Out to see the Tuscany countryside. Peaceful paradise.

Walked the streets of Monteriggioni. I could live here for a long time...sigh.

Italy, I love you!


colorado: midland railroad

A few weeks ago a neighbor introduced me to a local trail, that used to be an old railroad bed with tunnels, just outside Manitou Springs, Colorado. There's no official trail head or even any indication of where to begin from the road. We drove about 2 miles up the Hwy 24 pass and doubled back just a bit. It's actually just across from Waldo Canyon Loop.

The first leg of the trail was rough going. Steep and rocky with lots of loose dirt thrown in. Good traction required! I was thinking (okay, worried) about the way down later on...

Once on level ground I found the views amazing and the trail very pleasant. Wasn't far before we were no longer following the highway pass (and the noise), but walking along a quiet railroad bed.

The two photos with the views are taken standing at the outside entrance, looking in. We passed through four or five tunnels and only needed flashlights in the last one, which was in almost total darkness. We notice that the tunnel was impassable beyond that point.

The way down wasn't quite as bad as I expected it to be. I found more information about the Midland Railroad Trail after returning home. The beauty of the web!

This little river stream is just down the road, driving East toward Manitou, in a pull out section. Nice spot to end a hike!


colorado: devil's backbone

My long time friend introduced me to a wonderful, scenic trail along
Devil's Backbone Open Space in Larimer County. The blue sky stretched out before us and a large variety of wildflowers sprinkled everywhere were either blooming in glorious color or about to bloom.

Ready for a great new adventure, we got more than we bargained for right at the start of the trail, when a hiker ahead alerted us to the presence of a rattlesnake. We couldn't visually locate it until hearing it's rattle and realized we were closer than we should be!

The rock formations are incredible and the overall view pretty fantastic. We had a great day!

If you are ever in the area, I recommend this as a great day trip!
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