Wednesday, March 31, 2010


In Colorado, getting the kids outside in the Winter time is always a challenge. Some times there is snow on ground, the wind is a bit too rough, and the kids can only last outdoor for a half an hour at a time. However, there are days were the sun is shining so bright that we really have no excuse to stay indoors. The latter was the case on a beautiful crisp February morning.

Hence, we packed the entire family in the car and headed to Castlewood Canyon State Park for a glorious hike.

Once we arrived at the park (it took 45 minutes to get there), we asked the Park Rangers which of the hiking trails were easiest and shortest. After all, we had two toddlers, and their elderly "Obachan" (that's what the Japanese call their grandma), to take along with us.

The Park Rangers directed us to the Inner Canyon Loop trail, which they said was the easiest of the four trails in the park. They estimated that it would take us approximately an hour to loop around, and promised us that we would have a great view of the canyon once we got to the end. However, the hike was not easy, it took us an entire three hours to hike, and we never got to the end.

Our pictures tells the story:

Here we are at the beginning of the trail. It sure looks easy...

Daddy's turn to get his picture taken at the starting point.

First signs that we were going to have to be cautious and walk at a slower pace! Ice everywhere on the trail, and Obachan did not have proper hiking shoes to deal with the slippery surface.

We loved the rock formation in this park! Plus, we got to see a couple of rock climbers enjoying their sport as we continued our hike.

We couldn't understand why our little princess kept falling behind...

...until she caught up to us, and told us she found a "treasure"! This is why we go out in Nature, where pine cones are treasures!

The scenery was beautiful. We all stopped for a few minutes just to take it all in.

More snow on the ground. Actually, it was really iced-up. At this point we were all walking carefully and very slow.

Eek! A dead mouse! The princess was very fascinated by this, and asked if we knew what ate the poor little creature. We let her use her imagination, for we had no answer to her question. Her conclusion was that it might have been one of the dogs, since she noted that the park allows people to bring their pet dogs with them on a hike.

You can't tell from this picture, but this is actually a frozen stream! We had to stop, because it was very slippery and we had to climb a couple of big rocks to cross over.

Another picture of the frozen stream. Beautiful!

There was a part of the creek that was not frozen, and this lovely dog could not resist taking a dip!

At this point, Obachan was very tired and was feeling a bit uncomfortable walking on the muddy, sometime iced-up dirt. I had to stay behind with her, hold her at times to ensure she didn't fall down and break a bone. Our little girl was so concerned, that she found both Obachan and I a walking stick! If you click on the picture above, you can clearly see us both with our sticks. Thanks princess.

This is the obligatory, take a picture of the kids together task of the day! :-)

We made it mid point on the loop, but had to stop. Too many people that were coming from the other direction told us that we should turn around and not attempt to go to the end because the icy condition was dangerous. I guess they noticed Obachan holding unto me really tight, and knew instantly that with such an elderly person, we should not try and walk down the steep hill they all described as extremely icy, and not suitable for hiking. We heeded their warning and turned around.

Our little girl under a cute rock formation.

Back the way we came from! And look who now has one of our walking sticks! LOL

The peanut has been on daddy's back all this time. This is a picture I took of him just minutes before he passed out...which is something he usually does at the end of almost every hike we have taken. We can now actually time it!

However, the princess is still going...

Oh, and look! She found herself another treasure! What an amazing little rock. The colors are amazing!
She found another treasure!

Before we left the park, my princess noticed a little red berry-looking thing on the dried-up grass. It was a perfect opportunity to introduce the concept of "find and identify" to my lovely four year old.
We have yet to identify the fruit, and the grass species it belongs to...if any of you know what this is please let us know. We would be so appreciative. :-)

Here is a close-up of what we think is some kind of berry. As stated above, we have yet to identify the species, but since we will be going back to Castlewood Canyon State Park sometime at the end of Spring, we will hopefully be able to identify the grass that produces this fruit, with its more green discernible features.

It was a treacherous hike, and we didn't make it to the end. But really who cares? We were out in Nature, enjoying its divine beauty. And look at these two on the car ride back home: So happy! Exploring Nature definitely has its rewards!

As a side note, we ran again into one of the Park Rangers on the way out of the park. He told us that we have to come back at the end of May, when the cherry blossom are in bloom. Apparently, the smell from the tree flowers are so powerful and gorgeous, that people make it a yearly tradition to return to Castlewood Canyon State Park just to smell the air. So, we are going back at the end of May, and we cannot wait!

Sunday, March 28, 2010



Well, this blog took a long time to launch, but I did have an excuse: Life!

Sick children, Winter storms, a new relative moving in (who happens to have a disability), and a traveling husband made my regular home schedule a bit challenging these past two months. In life, you have to prioritize, and unfortunately, this lovely blog had to be put at the bottom of my list.

Not to fret, things have calmed down, and now I can share my passion of sharing my family's nature adventures with the beloved people in cyberspace! Hopefully, henceforward, life will not present me with difficult challenges and I will be able to blog, on a regular basis, the collective experiences of my family's outdoor adventures.


With my excuse out of the way, let me introduce my family: My name is Angela, and I'm currently living in Colorado (in a suburb South of Denver). I'm married to a half-Japanese/half-European (German/English), lovely man. We have been together for over 18 years...15 of those married! We have to beautiful children: Princess - a girl, age 4, and Peanut - a boy, age 2. We are a loving family that loves to spend time outside enjoying nature.
Since I'm the main blogger in our family, let me tell you a bit about myself. I was born in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic, to be precise. My family migrated to New York City when I was 3 years old. Since then, I had studied, worked, married my amazing husband, and lived in the "Big Apple", until I was 25 years old. After only being married a year, my husband's job transfered us to the UK, and we lived in London, for five years. We eventually returned to NYC, and lived there for two years, then moved to San Diego, California for four years, and eventually moved to beautiful Colorado, where we are currently in our fifth year.

Mainly, I consider myself a die-hard New Yorker -- an urbanite.

I was raised in Spanish Harlem, and my parents were very protective, and would hardly ever let me play outside. As new immigrants, they were afraid of letting their young daughter outside, in what they consider a "new world". Of course, now that I'm an adult, and a parent, I absolutely understand their decision, even if it was something that bothered me when I was young. They were very protective, and I love and thank them for being so loving, and caring. I wish my childhood would have been a bit different, but I've understood why they made their decisions.


And now I'm a parent.

I have two curly heads, who are funny, energetic, and incredibly smart for their young age. I want to love them, and care for them, the same way my parents did for me. However, I'm going to take it one step further: I'm going to give them the outdoor experiences that I never got to have.

That's actually my main goal in a nutshell.

Nature is a divine gift. There is a beauty, an order, a discipline, that we can find in everything we encounter in the natural world. We see it in the trees, the birds, the flowers, the bubbling brooks, the steady stream of water in a creek, and even the bugs some of us cringe at when come upon them. There is a representation of God (whatever that means to us as an individual), that we cannot ignore. And I want my children to experience it, love it, and to bask in its glory!

And while my goal is to provide this exhilarating experience for my children, my secret goal is that through this blog, I can inspire people out there to provide that same exact experience for their children. So, without any further notice, I will kindly share my family's outdoor adventures, in hopes that my family can inspire yours!

P.S.: Below is my photo essay (no words added or needed), of some of my family's outdoor adventures:


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