06.08.17: Welcome to Colorado

Wednesday morning arrived TOO early. I stumbled to the airport with Jim and it was then that we discovered that the security in the airport isn't even open until 4:00 in the morning. It was less than 5 ‘til, so I got in line behind about 10 people and waited. Everything went smooth as butter. They did not even look in my bags, and even of the people around me, only one person's bag got run through twice. I was surprised. There was evidence though of quiet a bit more security, which I expected since I was flying only 5 days after the London terrorist plot was foiled.

I wandered on down the concourse and was not surprised to find that the food vendors didn't even open up until closer to 5:00. I did wander back up to a newsstand to buy some gum because I knew that I couldn't last without that. Sleeping in the concourse was not possible; I was too worried I'd miss my flight. I did write a bit in my journal.

It wasn't long before the plane boarded and I was pleased to discover that there was so much empty space in the overhead bins you could have brought along an elephant if you wanted. I was also happy to see that there were lots of extra seats. As the flight attendants closed the plane door, the guy sitting on the aisle in my row quickly jumped up and took another seat in an empty row. The guy that was sitting by the window was very nice and humorous. We chatted for most of the first half of the flight. I managed to get some knitting done, plus got a bit more written in my journal as well. I finally caught some cat naps leaning against the seat beside me, but that wasn't much rest. I think I managed to bump my head when it tipped forward at some point, because I discovered a knot on the side of my head this morning in the shower.

We arrived about ten minutes early into Denver which was really nice. My gate was only about 10 down from the one I needed to leave from so I headed to the bathroom, and then sat down to make a few phone calls while I still had service. I didn't have to wait long for the next flight to board, which was nice. Again, I was delighted to see extra seats and plenty of room in the overhead bins. I was pleased that the ladies at the gate told me that I didn't need to gate check my backpack, which I was afraid of since it is rather large. So the carryon suitcase went to the gate check, and I stuffed the backpack under the seat. I was thrilled when no one sat down beside me, and in fact, there was at least one empty row that I know of. It gave me plenty of room to spread out.

We were quickly on our way, and I enjoyed the ride a lot more since I was flying in the little jet rather than the Dash airplane. Apparently the jet is faster too, because I swear we had hardly been up and moving when the Captain came on to tell us that we were only eighteen minutes out of Durango.

I went to put my journal away, and it was then that I saw Lake Vallecito that I noticed the previous year when flying over. I noticed patchy spots of dead trees surrounding the lake and was studying the random patterns of growth and dead wood when I suddenly realized that the area I was looking at was the same area that was recently burned last year. I was thrilled to note the ground cover of green that was already flourishing once more. It was amazing to see the same area a year after the fire, and see firsthand how quickly everything grows back.

We dropped down to the ground very easily and Michelle was waiting for me on the tarmac (super cool perk of working for the airport!). We headed out off Wal-Mart and grab some lunch. $96.00 later in Wal-Mart I had all of my toiletries and miscellaneous other things I needed. Thankfully I had $35.00 worth of gift cards (thanks Carole!) to put towards that.

We ate lunch at the Palace restaurant where I had very yummy lobster ravioli in a cream sauce. We ate out on the patio in the 70 degree weather and enjoyed the view of the Durango Silverton Railroad station, framed by the mountain across the river. We headed on home so that I could get my stuff settled a bit (as settled as I could with what limited bags I had) and to meet the horses. Driving through beautiful Durango was a delight; it is just so gorgeous here with rolling mountains, lots of evergreens, and scrub oaks. We arrived and stopped off first at the corral to meet all the horses. Roscoe is on the bottom of the totem pole here, so it took a bit to lure him closer to the fence.

Winston, Michelle's horse, is at the top of the line, and then Junior and Angel are next.

Angel is a beautiful cremello horse with pale, pale blue eyes with long white eyelashes. It is startling to see her face due to the difference in color around her eyes. Junior is fun with a dark head and a light bay roan body with lots of flecks of bay like he was splattered with paint drippings, and dark legs. Roscoe is just awesome with a light paint coat and a three tone mane. He's not very tall, but he is stout and will make an excellent horse for me to work with. He is rather laid back, which is a great thing (He reminds me of Pi!), and he'll be lots of fun to work with.

We headed on up to their GORGEOUS house which sits on top of the hill facing south. It’s built like many houses here with a distinct western flare. The living room has a high wall of windows up to the roof point which overlook
s the whole valley below them.

Everywhere in the house there are windows. And the fun thing is that there is no air-condition. Being on the hill the way they are, the breeze just blows through the house. She showed me to my bedroom, and the bath that I would have, which has a steam shower in it. She also showed me her bedroom and bath which has a rain shower which is just neat.

They also have a loft den which overlooks the living room and out the big windows beyond. They have a beautiful deck with a humming bird feeder on it and the hummers were chittering away and zipping back and forth between two trees.
There seemed to be close to 6 of them total, and they were just having a ball out there.

Their house overlooks the beautiful valley facing west. It’s nice and quiet up on the hill, with the closest neighbor being at the bottom of the hill. There are so few human sounds that what is heard is crystal clear. It’s a relief to not hear the hustle and bustle of city noises.


She and I just hung out for a little while, drinking some
water since I was already thirsty in the thin dry air. It was good to just rest for a bit. She got a call from Ralph and we decided to head down and play with the horses before Ralph got home so we could all go ride. Roscoe is a delight to play with, very light and sensitive to what I ask. When he doesn't understand, it only takes him a minute to puzzle out what it is that I'm asking for, and we move on. It will take me a little while to solidify our language together, but that should happen very quickly.

Not long after we started playing with the horses, Ralph got home so we took all the horses back up and tacked up.
Since my saddle is not here yet, Michelle rode Winston bareback and we put her saddle on Roscoe for me. It was really comfortable other than the fact that the stirrups were too short. I didn't worry too much since it was only a short ride. We rode up and around the neighborhood as they call it, which beats any definition of neighborhood that I've seen. I'd love it if my neighborhood looked like this! The ride was delightful through the pine and scrub, with a really fantastic breeze blowing taking the edge off of the suns warmth. A storm began to roll up as we rode, but it never properly rained on us.

We finally arrived back home and Michelle and I rode around the arena a little more, including her cantering on Winston with just the bareback pad. She did really well, and Winston was great. I worked a little with Roscoe just getting his feel down, he has a terrific jog that is easy to ride, and a nice trot that is easy to post to.

It started drizzling just a bit, so we took them back up the hill and un-tacked and turned everybody out to graze for a while. Michelle told me while we were cleaning up the coral a bit th

at in the winter time, the horses will go lay on the manure pile which is in the pasture. They're smart to go lay on the heated pile!

About the time we started fixing dinner, it did begin to rain. Nothing hard at all, in fact the sun was still out half the time anyway. The chicken and shrimp kabobs were fantastic. I ate so much food it wasn't funny. The mountain air will do that to you. After dinner we had blueberry cheesecake ice-cream which was very yummy.

I don't know how, but I managed to stay up to a reasonable time, and then finally crashed into bed. Happily my cell phone does get some service up here so I won't have to worry as much about using minutes on my phone card when I call back home (So Mom you can expect a call probably on Saturday some time!).

Today I'll go play with the horses for a while. Ralph isn't home right now, and Michelle is at work too. This afternoon we have a lesson with their instructor which should be a lot of fun. Tomorrow my boxes should arrive, and I think Michelle and I are going to go ride out somewhere. Saturday is a ride around the neighborhood again, and then Sunday it’s to the ranch! Oh yeah. It’s cold here in the morning. According to AOL its 51 degrees right now. I'm chilly in the house at the moment, but that’s typical of me. Lesson learned this morning: Shower at night so that you don't have to get out of the hot shower into the cold air!

Next Page: Friday, August 18, 2006: Learning Lessons