Prairie Dogs and Magpies

We moved to Colorado in August 2018 and we’ve barely explored this stunning playground of a state. I’ve gotten to have the most adventure when family has visited. I’ve done a few things on my own, but that’s not as much fun. I’d rather have company. I’d begun searching for friends before the pandemic but hadn’t made it to any meetups yet. I’d attended a Toastmaster’s meeting but never made it back due to my work schedule.

Work interfered with my adventure time, sapping my energy, and zapping my leisure time. If I were to satisfy my urge to explore, I’d have to prioritize and make it happen. I succeeded a few times, but not nearly as much as I’d wanted. Maybe if I had an adventure partner I’d have more motivation to go out and about.

I love making memories by trying new things and visiting new places. There are so many parks here and incredible landscapes nearby that it’s a buffet of breathtaking beauty that I am eager to gobble up! I was looking forward to playdates with new friends after transitioning out of nursing, then the pandemic hit.

I believe it should be safe to explore nearby outdoor spaces though and aim to take weekly excursions, even if it’s just for a drive. I’m no longer driving much at all, so it should still have less of a negative impact on the environment.

I got to explore today and had the pleasure of my partner accompanying me, it was so wonderful! We went for a short hike at Hildebrand Ranch Park. It was amazing, the foothills, meadow, and sky were so beautiful, the wind wooshed making undulating, murmuring waves through the grass. The trees were shimmering and the grass was polka-dotted with white wildflowers and purple clovers. When we first entered the park we were greeted by a magpie and its family squawking in the trees.

The colorful grasshoppers whirred mechanically fleeing our footsteps, the crickets gleefully chirruping. Bees and butterflies swilling nectar. We airplaned our arms in the swift air, I pretended I was gliding like the large raptor above. Then I heard a chirping sound, but it wasn’t a bird. I scanned the ground looking for the source. In the distance, we saw prairie dogs!

As we walked the prairie dog yips grew to a crescendo, they were all over the meadow perched near mounds of dirt, and as we grew near they’d retreat into their holes, their tails twitching rapid-fire or they’d peek and watch us intently. I sweet-talked and waved at everyone we passed. They are so adorable! My favorite part of the hike for sure!

There were houses flanking the path in the distance and I wondered how fantastic it must be to live right next to a large, beautiful park with foothills, red rocks, and wildlife, under the expanse of the open sky. How would it be for a child to grow up there? Wonderful?

The sun beat down, the air bone dry, so vastly opposite to Louisiana. We were barely breaking a sweat, it was around 90 degrees. My butt gets sweaty here, that’s about it, lol. In Louisiana, we’d be drenched with perspiration. I was glad we applied sunscreen, wore hats, and had a cold pack with water in the car. We had the park mostly to ourselves, only a few cyclists, we were the only hikers. Nice.

As we returned to the car the magpie was in the same spot and I asked if it was okay? It pecked the ground in reply and I said good, thank you and bye delightful magpie! The car was hot despite the psychedelic koi design sunshades. We guzzled water as I googled our next destination Deer Creek Canyon Park, I wanted to scope it out to prepare for a future excursion. It was 2 miles away up in the foothills, even more, beautiful terrain, I was pleased.

We parked and I googled our next curiosity, a campsite that I’d noticed for sale on Zillow. The phone’s reception was bad, I’d forgotten that about being in the mountains. We ascended through the winding roads the rock formations and evergreen trees looming. We passed a house that had a person dressed in a furry mascot type costume in the driveway, we laughed. We passed the camp cabin, it was dilapidated and I also saw another house I’d seen on Zillow and thought how deceptive it can be, what is shown in the photos leaves out so much sometimes. They were both duds.

Then we headed home, ate Beyond Burgers and lounged in the hash brown (futon) reminiscing about our past travels together… Austin, Destin, New York, and Disneyworld as the setting sunlight bathed us through the balcony windows. It was tempting to sink into a nap but, must, blog. I pried myself out of the sweet dreamy cushiness, made a spot of tea, and dutifully flipped open the good old laptop. I toyed with the site making a few changes then set about writing.

More adventure ahead, I will make sure of it, more prairie dog and magpie memories ahead. Yay! I love living here!

Michelle Miyagi
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