To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug. ~ Helen Keller

I recently discovered a new place to take the dogs on our weekend adventures. It has everything we love.

There are hiking trails through the woods.

Heading back down the trail

There are hiking trails through fields.

Heading down the trail

Some of the trails are quite wide and allow us to spread out.

Going down the trail

Some of the hiking trails have great views.

Sadie and Luka lead the way

View of Colorado Springs from the trail

Heading for home

The trails are well marked.

Trail marker

The hiking trails are wonderful, but the reason we first went to this place (and what keeps us going back) is this:

Cheyenne Mountain

The dogs finally have a place to swim.

Luka

Sadie

Luka

Sadie

Note that when Luka swims he does not get his tail wet. He holds it up out of the water like a flag or a sail.

Luka

When they’re not swimming the dogs enjoy exploring.

Sadie

Luka on the shoreline

They also enjoy tearing along the shoreline like maniacs.

Here comes Sadie

Luka runs

Sadie looks a little crazy

Luka looking a little crazy

Sadie barks with joy.

Barking on the shore line

Luka sits quietly and does his impression of a drowned rat.

Luka impersonates a drowned rat

The dogs also take a moment to enjoy the day.

Sadie

Luka

We’ve definitely found a new favorite spot.

Water

This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Finally, I have a finished project.

Socks

I’ve been knitting a pair of socks a month in 2010. However, I started these socks on Memorial Day and finished them a couple days ago. It’s been a busy summer and often it’s too hot to knit.

Socks

The yarn is Knit Picks Felici and I was happy with it. There were a few places where the yarn was white and a couple more where the color wasn’t saturated, but it’s cheap yarn so that’s okay. My other Knit Picks socks wear very well so I’m tolerant of color issues if the socks don’t fall apart.

Socks

More sock details and pictures are here.

I need to pick out yarn for my next pair of socks. I’ve been on a striped yarn kick lately, but I think I might want to break out of that.

I live near a school with a playground. A couple of weeks ago the school fenced in their playground. I was thrilled to see this because I finally have a spot near home where the dogs can run loose (our park is an hour from where we live and my yard is too small for the dogs to really run).

Sadie loves to run (while Luka sniffs every blade of grass).

Sadie

Luka also likes to run.

Luka

Luka also likes to run down the slide (I’ve got to get a better picture of this – it’s hilarious).

Luka goes down the slide

Sadie’s favorite part is the soft grass.

Sadie loves the grass

I will never use the word “ladylike” to describe my dear Sadie.

Sadie and Luka

I’m so grateful we now have this place so the dogs can run off leash more often than once a week. Running makes them happy. And that makes me happy.

Sadie girl

Luka

Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you. ~Annie Dillard

I finally had a moment to download the pictures on my camera and my phone. I didn’t realize it while I was taking them but most of the pictures were of Sadie.

Here she is napping in the sunshine.

Napping in the sun

I snapped many photos of Sadie running and barking at thunder and this is one of my favorites.

Sadie runs

A couple of months ago I bought Sadie a swimming pool. For a few weeks she just used it as a giant water bowl. She finally figured out what it is and she loves it.

Sadie in her pool

Sadie loves all water except for water in a bathtub. She’s especially fond of mud puddles. It’s been a rainy summer here and there’s a dirt road on our walking route that has a huge mud puddle. Each time we walk by this puddle Sadie has to take a dip.

First she walks in a circle.

photo 2.JPG

Then she finds the deepest spot in the puddle…

Sadie in puddle

…settles in…

Muddy girl

…and enjoys the water.

Sadie enjoys the mud puddle

When she first started doing this I tried to distract her from the puddle because she ends up a muddy mess. I soon gave in because is makes her so darn happy.

We’ve spent some time at our park recently. The dogs enjoyed running through the stream.

Sadie and Luka

And running along the trail.

Running

We were at the park one evening and enjoyed relaxing in the setting sun.

Sadie and Luka

Sadie did a nice job of posing on one of these trips to the park.

Sadie

Luka thought she was a camera hog so he got in on the action.

Sadie and Luka

I love this picture of Luka.

Handsome boy

He’s not looking so photogenic now, though. Shortly after I took the above picture he rolled in horse poop. The only way to remove it was to cut it out. The right side of his mane is now super short so he’s a tad lopsided.

My beautiful environment has also been putting on a show lately.

The sky continues to be a brilliant blue.

Blue sky

The flowers continue to bloom.

Flower

One morning last week there was a lenticular cloud over Pikes Peak. I’d never seen one over the Peak before and it looked spectacular.

Lenticular cloud over Pikes Peak

Finally, we were walking yesterday and a storm moved south of us. The rainbow was gorgeous.

Rainbow

Small tornado

I have over 100 pictures in my camera but haven’t had a second to download them so today’s post will highlight one of my all time favorite photos.

I took this picture on July 4, 2007. It was a gorgeous afternoon. I was lounging on my couch when my weather radio went off with a tornado warning. I grabbed my camera and headed outside. I immediately saw a storm forming to the southeast. In just a few minutes, a small tornado formed and I started snapping pictures.

Small tornado

This is the first (and only) tornado I’ve ever seen in person. It was small, but it was very cool. I was insanely excited to have captured pictures of the tornado. I immediately emailed them to family and friends. They did not share my excitement. The most common response was “What the hell were you doing out in the yard? Why didn’t you take cover?”

Thankfully, my local meteorologist understood my excitement and featured my photo on the evening news.

Girls in front of waterfalls

I took this picture on June 4, 2009. Kishka, Sadie and I went hiking and our destination was the waterfalls. As always, I snapped a bunch of pictures.

I was trying to get one of the girls looking at the camera with the waterfalls in the background. I did not succeed. I did capture this shot and I love it.

Girls in front of waterfalls

When I look at this picture I’m transported back to that day: the sun on my face, the sound of the waterfalls and my two best friends at my side. Simply wonderful.

In summer, the song sings itself. ~ William Carlos Williams

I’ve snapped a lot of pictures over the past couple of weeks. Here are my favorites.

The prairie:

Prairie

I pulled off the road to take this picture. I love how the clouds and plains seem endless. It seems like many people think the prairie is boring, but I think it’s beautiful.

The stream at the park:

Stream

It’s been horribly hot here so even when we go to the park in the early morning we spend most of our time in the water. The dogs love to splash and run through it.

Running together

Monsoon season is here and that means lots of clouds in the afternoon. Here’s some over the foothills.

Clouds over foothills

The Black Eyed Susans are out in force.

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

You can also see the flowers in this picture of Luka running up a hill.

Luka

It’s been a beastly hot summer here. Luka spends most of his time lying in front of the screen door, waiting for a breeze.

Luka

Our afternoon storms don’t always bring rain, but always have thunder and lightning. If it’s thundering we don’t go for our walk. This makes Luka sad.

Luka looks outside

We’ve made a couple of trips to the park, including a trip after work. (The dogs were SHOCKED. We never go during the week.) I liked how different the light was in the evening.

Sadie

Sadie

Summer fun means a lot of naps. Sadie has been perfecting her napping technique.

Sadie Maxine

Knitting progress has been very, very slow. When it’s nearly 100 degrees I can’t bring myself to play with wool. I do hope to finish a pair of socks soon, though.

EDIT: Most of my favorite bloggers are on Blogger. Blogger has decided that I can’t comment on their blogs. Every single time I get an error message. If you’re on Blogger, know that I’m reading, but I can’t say anything. :(

Thunderstorm

I’m a weather whore.

Not the kind of weather whore who watches The Weather Channel (I actually hate that channel), but the kind of weather whore who will spot a cool cloud and pull off the road to take pictures of it.

I have eight different weather apps on my phone, including one that only shows radar.

I have the NWS radar bookmarked on my home and work computers and when a storm is brewing I obsessively refresh the screen so I can track the storm.

Many of my favorite pictures are of storm clouds and other kinds of weather.

This one was taken on June 10, 2007 from my backyard. It’s the classic anvil thunderhead. I’ve only seen a few of these perfect anvil clouds in my life and have only photographed this one.

Thunderstorm

Sam and Kish

I took this picture on October 11, 2005.

A strong winter storm plowed through Colorado. After the storm subsided I took the dogs outside to explore the frozen landscape. Samantha and Kishka climbed up on a snowdrift to survey their kingdom.

I snapped the picture but didn’t realize how cool it was until I downloaded it.

Sam and Kish

I love how the blue sky contrasts with the white snow.

I love how the two dogs are perfectly positioned and looking in the same direction.

Most of all, I love this picture because it reminds me of two very special dogs.

The mountains are calling and I must go. ~ John Muir (1838 – 1914)

Our walk looked a bit different today.

Hiking

The dogs and I were out the door very early for a hike in Waldo Canyon.

Sign

The trail gained elevation quickly and soon we were high above the highway that brought us to the trailhead.

Highway 24

We were walking on the side of the mountain. Every so often we passed large rocks.

Looking up

View

The dogs led the way.

On the trail

As we made our way into the canyon there was a wonderful view of the plains.

Looking at the plains

The farther we walked, the better the scenery.

View

After a couple of hours on the trail we rounded a bend and there was Pikes Peak.

Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak

I lingered to enjoy the scenery and to snap some pictures. The dogs came back for me.

Coming back for me.

It was a long hike (~ 7 miles) and we took some short breaks on the trail.

A short rest on the trail

We also made a longer stop in this clearing and had a snack. (Milk Bones for them, granola bars for me, cold water for all.)

Resting spot

Luka was happy to have a moment to rest in the shade.

Luka rests

It was a lovely day.

View

Thunderstorms move off the mountains. Sadie keeps watch.

When I came up with the idea to start sharing some of my favorite pictures this was one that I had in mind.

I took it almost a year ago: July 25, 2009.

Sadie, Kishka and I were at the park. I could see the clouds building over the mountains (afternoon thunderstorms during the summer are very common here).

At one point thunder rumbled in the distance and Sadie took off after it. When I turned to watch her I saw the cloud line, her looking towards it and snapped this picture. The moment was completely unexpected. I didn’t have my camera with me so the photo was snapped with my iPhone. A second after I snapped the picture Sadie took off running.

One moment, one chance, one low quality camera phone…and somehow I took one of the best pictures of my life.

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