"We're going camping tomorrow. I just can't do it any longer... I am tired and need a few days away."
Okay... It caught me off guard a little because we had planned on getting away, but I thought I had one more day.
There was so much I needed to do! Where to start... First things first, I finished the quilting on the vintage Grandmother's Flower Garden that I had been working on and then got the binding on the Sunbonnet Sue quilt ready for hand-stitching while we were gone.
I did a quick meal plan and fortunately didn't need to go to the store for anything! Win! That is one of the reasons I love my freezer meals so much. They not only make meals easy at home, the leftovers are great as well! Most of the recipes offer three meals for us.
Wednesday morning we grabbed our clothes, food, reading materials and quilting project and hit the road! We headed over Raton Pass and headed for Sugarite Canyon. It was just a short 30-40 minute drive from our house.
In 2011 the area had been part of the Track Fire and suffered some serious devastation. Large Ponderosa Pine forests and Aspen groves were destroyed.
We enjoyed a 4-mile hike and took in the beauty of the area... yes, despite the scars left by the fire, there was new growth and the trees that did survive the fire looked healthy, strong and clean from the recent rain/snow storms that have been in the area. Wild flowers carpeted some of the meadows. There were wild iris, tiny daisies and small yellow and purple flowers...
Birds were singing happily... Hummingbirds were zipping around and I happened to see one land on a tree branch right next to the trail. Turns out it was protecting its nest! (I marked it with the red arrow.)
Upon our return to our campsite we enjoyed a quiet happy hour...
Don't worry I didn't forget about the quilt binding that was waiting for me. 😉
I worked on the binding of the Sun Bonnet Sue quilt after dinner... until I could no longer see well and threading the needle was a challenge with the limited lighting.
The next morning we were a little disappointed that it was cool, overcast and a little damp... but we returned to the same trailhead as the day before with plans to go the other direction and make the large loop - 6 miles.
We hiked up to the top of Little Horse Mesa. It was a short .25 mile, up and back trail off of the main trail, a strenuous 300-foot climb. The view would have been spectacular if we had been able to see farther than 1/4 of a mile!
While we were somewhat bear aware, we were a little lackadaisical because we had not seen large wildlife the day before because it was warm and mid-afternoon. It was shortly after the climb to the top of the mesa that we startled a bear! We had not been particularly quiet, but we certainly were not making an abundance of noise either...
I was in front and I suddenly heard some loud crashing through the brush... all I saw was a large bear butt that had crossed the trail, running toward the rock wall to our left. Dave quickly grabbed me by the shoulders to put himself between me and the bear... we listened carefully to assess whether there was other activity... like bear cubs! The LAST thing we wanted to do was get between a momma bear and her cubs! We could hear the bear that was attached to that big butt and he was NOT happy. When we were certain that there was no further danger immediately in front of us on the trail, we walked as quick as we could (without running) to put some distance between us and that angry bear... calling out "YO Bear!" and "MARCO" "POLO" so that we wouldn't startle any other dangerous wildlife... Whew...
After making it to the lake we enjoyed lunch and continued on... without any further excitement! Until...
We had about one more mile to go, but I was getting tired! I needed more frequent stops to rest and water. We stopped near the top of the last hill, near where these burned out trees were...
I was feeling as hollow as these trees... despite the copious amount of water that I had been drinking! I sat and watched a busy little bumble bee that was buzzing around the tree stump there... Dave was making observations of the area around us. He spotted another bear near the rim rock of the mesa.
He lost sight of him and knowing that the trail would take us even closer to the bear he decided that we needed to hike down a ravine through the woods to the road below... He was moving fast... faster than I felt like I was really wanting to go safely... I was tripping over stumps and branches and was growing weaker... We startled some deer. At least it wasn't a bear! I would have been a goner!
Long story short... we made it back to the campsite safely. I consumed great amounts of water and we took a nap.
I was sore for days after that exciting hike! But we are already planning our next... It will be to the Great Sand Dunes. Trust me... we will be better prepared for any wildlife encounters!
Here's a peek at the finished quilt... I'll be sharing its story with you soon.
Do you take quilty projects with you when you break away from your everyday routine?
What sort of projects?
What I Made Monday at Pretty Piney
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Colour & Inspiration Tuesday at Clever Chameleon Quilting
Mid-week Makers at Quilt Fabrication
WOW at Esther's Quilt Blog
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
Melva Loves Scraps - Home of the Quilters Through The Generations series