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Saturday, July 26, 2014

"Anchors Away:" A Wildflower Walk With John and Joalenn Q.

BCB regulars know of John Q's annual visits to Ouray; he's been featured every July since we landed here. Toward the end of his working life, just before he retired from the Corporate Jungle, John would spend lunch hours perusing a few RV travel blogs. When the day finally came to empty out his desk, he already had ideas about how he wanted to spend some of his free time. An A-liner pop-up camper was purchased, and Lovely Ouray was circled on his map.

Joalenn liked her job and wasn't quite ready to throw off the Corporate Yoke, so John was a "solo" camper for five years…light as a feather, free as a bird. I think a mature marriage benefits from time apart once or so a year... you know, "absence makes the heart grow fonder," and all that crap. 

But times have changed; a couple of months ago Joalenn finally stepped off the treadmill, and now John has a traveling companion…not to mention, cook, bottle washer, laundry service, and so on. Pal Boonie, being his usual cynical self, asked, "Wonder if John will get any good hikes in now that he has 'The Anchor' along?" Though rudely phrased, Boonie has a point. What if The Anchor…er, Joalenn, rather, changed the group dynamic? 

Back in the olden days of my first marriage, my best friend's wife and my wife just could not get along. The pre-marriage "dynamic" shifted the day we both said "I Do." Outings were full of tension, bared claws and smart assed remarks. Add a little alcohol and, Whamo, "verbal filters" got bypassed and off came the gloves. I digress...

Well, were all grownups now…mature, wise, softened by time and diminishing hormone levels (sigh). Joalenn has no "guns" to notch, she might not want to go as far, as fast, or as often, but she graciously encourages John to go do his thing whenever he feels like it. Cool. 

A couple of days after the Q's settled into their campsite we all got together for a wildflower walk—topping out well over 12,000 feet,  a personal best for Joalenn. It was a beautiful day to get high, and she did great!

The Q's then treated us to dinner at the Buen Tempo Restaurant. Nobody left hungry, that's for sure. Thanks, guys!!! 

Ptarmigan Pair…they are solidly white in the winter and almost impossible to spot on snow. Note the red eyeliner on the male :))

I ordered Spinach Enchiladas, topped with red sauce and two eggs over easy. Yum

Chimichangas ala Grande!!! Doggie bag please.


  1. Beautiful photos as always Mark. The Rock Ptarmigan are an added bonus today... amazing camouflage. I had to look hard to find the misses!

  2. Great captures of the wild flower beauty. The photos of your meals at Buen Tiempo (best Mexican restaurant anywhere) look quite tasty.

  3. Yep, liked those wild mountain flowers alright

  4. I love 'going along' on your hikes and the commentaries make me chuckle but the Mexican food really did it this time.

  5. Brings back memories for sure-- I am sure Joalenn will find her stride- -having the 2 best guides in Colorado should make the transition easy- If you can push an aging frail flat liner from Florida up the mountains anyone can do it-- - next summer is a must for me- big changes coming for me- enjoy-- walden creek rv steve

  6. What a great hike! Mountains, flowers, deep blue lake, amazing clouds, and friends who enjoy sharing the adventure. Joalenn is doing fine, I let her set the pace which is getting better every day with her adjusting to altitude. She keeps asking if it is normal for the heart to beating so fast. Yes, at 11,000 feet on a uphill switch back, my heart is racing. I kind of enjoy the slower pace for a change. Thanks Mark and Bobbie for taking us to this special place.

  7. We are all grown-ups?...I for one am never growing up..Getting older every day yes..And I was carded at a Walmart a couple of years ago..I told the lady she has made my day!
    Glad to hear you are feeling better.

  8. Beautiful hike. Knowing how nice John is, his wife just had to be, too. Maybe you guys inspired her to step it up a notch like you did us. Of course Jim just thinks you were trying to kill him!

  9. Wildflower season is the one time I miss the mountains most. Nothing can quite beat the CO mountains at that time. Gorgeous! And happy you all made it...

  10. You had me at spinach enchilada, or was it maybe seeing the ptarmigan? Someday I'll get to visit Ouray in July too.


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