Carl Babock and Liz Hartman getting married, June 10, 2023
Hugs from Sara, sister of the groom
We came home from vacation and adopted a kitten. Welcome, Jill! (Gotcha Day: June 16)
Jill is almost as cute as Mark –not shown here: she fetches!
Then I had cataract surgery (both eyes two weeks apart) but cats sent good healing vibes!
For the first time since age 14, no glasses for distance vision–but sunglasses are now a must!
An old cat and a new cat slowly getting acquainted
When Jill gets too annoying, Ollie will just pin her down. An unfair wrestling match: 16lbs vs. 3lbs
Wildlife at the Homestead National Monument, July 2
A beautiful dickcissel in front of the restored homesteader cabin, July 2
Happy Fourth of July!
Our friend Jay came to Lincoln for three weeks for a Black Public Media fellowship — and we got to hang out! Sunken Gardens on July 13
Jupiter and Jay Puzzling it out together (July 16)
Apollo being coaxed into eating some dinner by his Aka Chanelle
Then I went to the Dickens Universe in Santa Cruz (July 22-29) to one of the most beautiful campuses I know to help out. View from Stevenson College onto Monterey Bay
I only got off campus for one afternoon. My friend and colleague JoAnna and I hung out at Its Beach near the Santa Cruz Lighthouse and watched the dogs play on the beach!
Ever the best of friends at the Dickens Universe. With JoAnna, Jacqueline, Tara, and Jon at the Grand Party (July 27)
Some of “my” Student workers (6 all in all) who helped all week, here selling this year’s t-shirts.
Santa Cruz campus in the morning fog — I was always up by 7!
Bye, bye, soccer-playing deer (never perturbed by humans on this campus) — July 28
Meanwhile, Jupiter and Apollo went to the Henry Doorly Zoo with their other grandma (July 22, photo credit grandma Kara)
The penguins were the BEST part (photo credit Rhaine)
Surprise visit from our friends Steve and Polly from Houston. They came through town on a road trip; we had gone to see them last year and were so happy to see them again!
Starting on August 5, we took a road trip with our friends Peter and Andrea, after we picked them up from the Denver airport on August 5. They took LOTS of gorgeous photos which we are not posting here so that they don’t get ripped off! Here are some of ours, though, and here is a map of everything we did!
Reiseroute / Travel Map
Saying hi to a Fuzzy Cow on Pearl Street in Boulder (August 6)
Visit with my aunt Karin and Uncle Peter in Boulder on their porch, and adoring their house, built in 1904 and theirs since 1967. (August 6)
Boulder Creek in Eben Fine Park, Boulder (August 6)
“The Fairy Stump,” a community folk art work on our last walk in Louisville, CO on August 7 (where we were staying with our friend Kathy)
Boulder Falls on our way up Boulder Canyon (Monday, August 7)
Taking photos at Boulder Falls on our way to Rocky Mountain National Park (Monday, August 7)
We got to stop by “Elksbridge,” my niece’s home in the mountains, and I got to show Andrea and Peter one of my favorite homes in all of Colorado (Monday, August 7)
Day 1 in Rocky Mountain National Park (Bear Lake Road & Alluvial Fan)
In Rocky Mountain National Park; view from our hike near Bear Lake (Tuesday, August 8)
Taking photos at Nymph Lake (RMNP Tuesday August 8)
Lilies on Nymph Lake
Antje and Andrea at Dream Lake in RMNP (Tuesday, August 8)
We were all equally fascinated by chipmunks, but for Andrea and Peter, these were their first-ever chipmunks (Rocky Mountain National Park, Tuesday, August 8)
Rocky Mountain National Park panorama. Our day today was spent mostly along Bear Lake Road, plus a brief stop at the Alluvial Fan. (Tuesday, August 8).
Day 2 in Rocky Mountain National Park (Trail Ridge Road)
Photos never do it justice! Just one view from Trail Ridge Road
At the top of the world! 12,000 feet (4ooo m) at the top of the Alpine Meadows visitor center path to the top. We had a very clear day and could see 60 miles/100 km to the Medicine Bow Mountains!
Many gorgeous photos were taken by our German friends!
The Colorado River just past the Continental Divide (near the Holzwarth Cabins). Hard to believe this “creek” carved the Grand Canyon on its way to the Gulf of California
Exactly eleven years since our first trip to RMNP together (July 2012), and still one of our very favorite spots in all of the US. It never gets old. (Near Many Parks Curve Overlook).
Wildlife from XS to XXXL, unconcerned about the many people milling around:
Mother and baby bird (and no, we don’t know what the species is. Something yellow.)
This lovely bird was eating tiny flowers above the tree line, near 12,000 feet. For the record, we also saw the pair of Prairie Falcons that nest up here at the Lava Cliffs fly overhead, but were not fast enough to catch a photo.
Spot the pica among the rocks! Enlarge to see the load he/she is carrying in his mouth!
Baby pica. They are actually very tiny rabbits, species-wise.
Chipmunks, of course, know no boundaries. And since they die in the wintertime if they get used to people food, Mark wasn’t allowed to be a pushover and share his lemon-poppyseed muffin.
Marmot after crossing the road, having adjusted fairly well to humans in his habitat
Marmot among the rocks near Rock Cut. They sleep 6-8 months a year. Living the life.
Elks also adjusting to civilization, just about 100 feet (30 m) from Alpine Meadows Visitor Center
And a whole herd of elk a bit further down the valley from Alpine Meadows, resting.
Elk grazing near the roadside, causing a traffic jam on Trail Ridge Road. Will now star in many instagram and Facebook posts taken on August 9.
Mama moose with baby near the Continental Divide
Moose combining a swim with a snack (of whatever plants he was pulling out of the water and munching on). Also living the life, near Sheep Meadows on the way out of the park.
3 Days in Fort Collins (Aug 10-13)
On Thursday, Aug 10, we left Estes Park and drove down Big Thompson Canyon. (And on to Loveland, where we had a picnic lunch, and Fort Collins for three days)
Our friend and host Bernice took us to the Horsetooth reservoir. We drove around part of it and walked around one of the smaller sub-reservoirs, serenaded by many prairie dogs.
We had a fabulous lunch at a restaurant in Fort Collins’ Old Town called Ginger and Baker. (After a long afternoon rest, we had dinner with other friends, but no photos were taken!)
Saturday morning, we went to the old waterworks (from 1883), where docents explain the history of this public works building once a month on a Saturday — so we just had to check it out.
We also stopped by the Avery House, built by a banker in 1879, and the docent there gave us an extra-fast abbreviated tour, because we had to get to lunch with Mark’s cousin Greg.
But we still had to take time to take some photos, including of the toys in the kids’ rooms upstairs. After lunch, we took a brief walk through the city park near the Cache la Poudre River, did some shopping, and rested. We cooked dinner at Bernice’s and had a lovely, quiet evening.
Through Nebraska back to Lincoln: August 13-14
Sunday morning (August 13) we said goodbye to Bernice, to Fort Collins and to Colorado, and drove via Cheyenne to the Sandhills. Our first stop was the AMAZING Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area near Gering, NE. The views were breathtaking…
… and I was totally in my happy place.
Then we stopped at Chimney Rock, which recently got a new trail that took us quite close.
Chimney Rock with the bluff it so clearly was once part of, and an 1890s grave in the nearby cemetery. Allegedly, immigrants who took the Oregon Trail and died close by are also buried here, but there are no markers for them.
We had coffee and pastries in Alliance, and a chance encounter with the parents of a former student of mine at Hastings College meant that I was reminded that the FAMOUS Carhenge (Stonehenge “replica” made of old cars in. 1987) was only a couple of miles down the road. So we made an unplanned stop with no prior explanations. Andrea and Peter were blown away.
Our last stop before checking into our motel in Valentine: Merritt Reservoir, a beautiful 11-mile dammed lake in the Sandhills; the perfect spot for yet another picnic just before the sun went down. It was in the 60s and lower 70s all day and perfect travel weather.
Before we left Valentine on Monday, Aug 14, we walked to the BEAUTIFUL Fort Falls waterfall, along the Niobrara. It was gorgeous.
We stopped at the DeWitty settlement historical marker. Nebraska’s largest Black homestead community thrived here until the dust bowl made farming impossible.
But I bet when the first Black homesteaders settled here, at the North Loup River, it looked like this, in a wet year, on a cool summer day in the 70s, and how could the people who homesteaded here NOT have thought this was the most beautiful and inviting land on earth?
Andrea in her element! The Black-Eyed Susans were everywhere in the sandhills. I have never seen this landscape so green in August.
Our last stop before Lincoln: Hastings. Here, with our friend Rob in his sunroom. I swear the table was cleared COMPLETELY when we had Chinese takeout here before driving the last leg of our trip. Home at 9 pm on Monday, August 14