End of Summer 2016

The annual mass migration out of the mountains on Labor Day is in full swing… Thousands of cars, RV’s, and camper trailers streaming out of the mountains on their journey back to the cities. Can’t say I’m sorry to see them go. I know they are supposed to be good for business in the state but not many stop here in Woodland Park. They mostly just pass through and clog up the only route through town and it will be nice to have our quiet little laid back mountain town back again as the cool of autumn settles in and the aspen leaves begin their transformation into autumn gold, which by the way is my favorite time of year for picture taking.

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Bill, Ralph & Steve on Mt. Massive

The summer is now but a blur and I can’t believe how fast it went by. I had planned to climb several 14ers this summer and collect tons of wildlife pictures… I guess it was not meant to be but I’m thankful for the wonderful memories of the two climbs we did accomplish, Colorado 14er mountains Massive and Harvard, which by accident turned out to be the number two and three highest peaks in the state, so when I include our winter climb of Mount Elbert last January I have knocked out the three highest peaks in one year 🙂

Summer started slowly enough with a new job, some new friends and a very laid back 4th of July celebration at Woodland Park’s Symphony Above the Clouds. Also got to climb the Crags for the first time in my life with my friend Debbie and hike the Dome Rock Wildlife area, both items to check off my to do list that I have been  wanting to accomplish  for many years!

Debbie Crags

Debbie & Steve at the Crags

The two climbs and the hikes were in July which now seems like a lifetime ago for some reason. Maybe it’s age, time is a funny thing when youth is behind you, days are slow, weeks are fast, and months are like a vapor… The physical demands of my new job ground me down to the point that the job was all I could do, and I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to do that… However after shedding 12 pounds and a lot of perseverance my strength seemed to bottom out around the end of August and about when I was thinking I was going to get fired for being too old and slow, I was offered full time, which may be just the blessing I need to get into some decent digs for the winter.

When I think back on the blur of chaos that was the summer of 2016 I see so many things undone, so many things lost in a harrowing outpouring of jealousy and evil that I would not have believed possible in America prior to this year. A family that I cared about was destroyed, a neighborhood ruined and several six year friendships thrown away in what was clearly a spiritual conflict that can be comprehended only by the strongest of believers. Also lost, thanks to my vindictive evil neighbors is sweet Kitsune, the little red terrier I was no longer allowed to leave in the safety of my air conditioned camper trailer while I was gone to work… Sonny the big guy came back, but little Kit is still lost. Even after three days we are still fervently hoping for someone to find her and reunite her with a very sad and lonely Sonny 😦 Perhaps I will write of all that sometime but I need to let it all bake for a bit while my mind tries to process it. Unrelated to all of that I am also saddened that my close friend Apryl is leaving Colorado on a one way journey to the east coast to start a new yet old life with a new job close to her family roots.

Biker-Chicks

New Friends 🙂

So I can look back at the summer of 2016 at what was lost or I can choose to celebrate what was not lost. I still have a solid employment situation, my health and my ability to scale the tall mountain peaks. I have not lost my place in the magnificent Colorado Rockies and I still have my climbing buddies. Most importantly of all, I have a new friend to hang with, laugh with and while away the hours of days when there isn’t much to do besides enjoy the rare company of a person that doesn’t mind the hours that are about nothing much, just time spent together.

Summer 2016 had two additional high points, my sister Alyson and nephew Brady whom I haven’t seen in about a decade made the journey to Colorado to see me in the early summer and my Cousin LeAnn and Danny came out as well. The years

Alyson & Steve Manitou Incline

Alyson & Steve at the Incline

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LeAnn & Steve

since the ’08 crash have not been kind and reconnecting with family the last couple of years has been an amazing experience! Will also get to see my parents again this fall after the lost decade so I’m pretty happy about that too 🙂

Goat-PeekingAnd I am also looking forward to my favorite two months in Colorado, when the storms of August are over and the mountain air dries and cools. The aspen trees and the high mountain tundra turn to gold as the foliage and wildlife prepare for the long Rocky Mountain winter. The pleasant weather and beautiful colors make for the best hiking, climbing and photo opportunities of the year. And with the summer hordes back in their home states I also look forward to some much needed solitude high above the treeline with the marmots and the mountain goats 🙂

 

Steve Krull is a prolific sports and nature photographer selling prints and stock images online as S.W. Krull Imaging at various sites and agencies. Click this link to view all the products and services offered by Steve Krull and S. W. Krull Imaging. Additional services include, wedding photography, portraiture and model portfolios, and event photography.

Summer 2015

Woke up this morning stressed out about all the things I still need to do this summer but couldn’t really remember what it was that I should be doing. So I had my coffee and waffles and by 7:30 I still couldn’t remember what it is that I was stressed out about doing, so I just let the two outdoor kitties out the front door and pulled a chair into the awesome Rocky Mountain morning sunshine to ponder the matter. No sense rushing headlong into something when you don’t even know what it is yet!

So as I sat there sipping my coffee I reviewed all the things I had originally intended to do this summer and as I did so it occurred to me that I had already done all that I wanted to do and more… Including a few things that just six months ago I could not have even imagined would be possible. Of course this sounds good on the surface, but it caused a bit of a panic at first because I suddenly realized I didn’t know what to do next! As I thought about it I realized that through all the doctor appointments and cancer treatments I had forgotten how to live a normal life. I had to think back a long way to remember what a summer Saturday might have been like before all this happened. Flipping burgers on the grill and enjoying a margarita was the memory that fought it’s way through the fog of years of hardship to the forefront of my memories.

Amazingly enough as I fixed my gaze on the yard, that very same propane grill that was in our backyard in Parker has been preserved unscathed through it all, full propane tank still attached. No flame has passed through those burners in at least five years but much to my surprise it only took a couple of punches at the starter button to produce the bright yellow flame that I was hoping for. My afternoon was sealed and an odd feeling of peace that I have not experienced in a long time settled in.

But what of the morning, there were still hours to go before lunch time? I have been thinking a lot of the Thomas Trail in Green Mountain Falls. It was one of the first trails we hiked together when we first moved here. Sweet Pea had learned how to climb in the Miata and curl up on the floor when we drove to work and she quickly learned that she was going to get to have some fun on the way with a climb and a stream crossing on the lush forest trails in GMF. For the three of us our longest hike was the Thomas Trail which goes across the front of the mountainside from the Catamount Falls to Crystal Falls and I have been wanting to go back there to stitch one more good memory from the past across the gaping wound of loss to the present.

Catamount Falls

High water flow this year on South Catamount Falls

So I corralled the cats into the house and loaded up the camera and a bottle of Gatorade and headed for the trail. Unfortunately, the river was running so high this morning from all the rain this year that I didn’t want to cross the stream, but Plan B was still a go with a climb to the Garden of Eden to check on the alleged wildflowers, It was a good climb, but it appears I am too late for the full bloom in that meadow. But I got some exercise, some great shots of Catamount Falls and had a good time whiling away a few hours. As it turns out, I have not lost my grilling skills and had a great afternoon of Grillin’ and Chillin’. And now as I write this evening, the wound of loss now has another stitch towards healing.

This evening an old buddy of mine that I haven’t seen in a long time stopped by with news that he is moving to Cody. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the wildlife in Yellowstone, especially the wolves. He just happened to have an extra travel packet for me. A sign perhaps?

Quiet Time

Amazing what a little quiet time can do for the imagination. All the medical crisis we have encountered in 2014 have drained my strength and my creativity leaving me bereft of ideas for Examiner articles. I have struggled to come up with enough ideas this year to meet my one article a month minimum. However this morning I arose early to meditate, drink my coffee and pray for divine guidance. In the predawn quiet, ideas began to flood my mind.

I had been saving an article about train watching for the end of the month to stall for ideas but today’s brainstorming gave me the impetus to go ahead and submit it.

I pulled out my day planner to map out a time line for my new writing ideas and noticed that there is a quote for each week. The relevance of this week’s quote amazed me and convinced me that I was not alone in the dark. This quote from Christopher Reeve, “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure, in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” ,could not be more appropriate.