On September 16th, Mark and I left our previous house sit in Santa Fe, New Mexico early in the morning for a decent drive to northern Colorado. While taking care of a pet-less home for one month provided us with more flexibility, we were both looking forward to furry company again. Arriving in Rollinsville, 40 minutes west (and up) of Boulder, we were immediately greeted by Oscar, a big and fluffy Golden Retriever. At eight years old, he is a ball of energy with a very high cuddle factor. The owners gave us a warm welcome as well, quite appreciated in the chilly air of our new home at 8500ft of elevation.
The contrast with New Mexico was grand – temperature, scenery and activity-wise. Our new neighborhood was very picturesque. After unloading Zesty, the camper van, we spent the next 24 hours with Oscar and his “parents”, getting to know them, the area, the schedule and the house. Then, we settled for a month in the mountains.
Oscar’s schedule required three walks a day. I would usually take him for an off-leash stroll around a couple of hilly blocks in the morning, Mark and I exercised him (and ourselves) for an hour or longer in the afternoon, and after dinner, Mark walked him down to the post office, to pick up the mail. Sometimes, I joined them.
When our schedule and the weather allowed, we took Oscar further afield. Otherwise, we remained in the neighborhood, where certain trails brought us further up in the mountains, or into the meadows and valleys.
Our first full weekend, the weather didn’t agree with us for a visit to Rocky Mountain National Park, the one bigger excursion we had “planned.” Instead, I researched which place within an hour and a half drive had the best weather that Saturday, we loaded Oscar in the van, and took off to Denver, where we explored the town and met up with a friend in a pleasant 70 degrees (21°C).
“Fall in Colorado is splendid! It is the best time of the year for a visit. The leaves turn, the crowds are absent and the weather is pleasant.” We heard and read this statement a lot and liked every word of it. Imagine our surprise when, one week into our four-week sit, rain fell out of the sky in buckets and it froze at night. Luckily, we realized the water in our camper would freeze and the lines crack, so we emptied the tank. We were mostly home-bound, except for our muddy walks in the neighborhood and briefly venturing into Boulder.
When a dusting of snow covered the camper, mountain tops, forest floor and trees, I had mixed feelings. It sure was pretty and we knew it would melt; it was only September after all. But, how were we ever going to make it to the National Park? As luck would have it, the sun came back for a few days and the mercury reached a whopping 50 degrees (10°C). The new high-altitude pump we ordered for our heater, so it would work here and during our upcoming trip, arrived Friday afternoon and we installed it during a freak wind and snow storm. We explored some trails in the area with Oscar during the week and set out for our weekend in Rocky Mountain National Park on Saturday morning. I wrote about that experience in a previous post.
We made it back home from our weekend trip to Rocky Mountain NP right in time for…
Our last week in Rollinsville started with a very white view. Five inches of snow blanketed everything, even the roads and the driveway. Our boots sank in deeply and the wind was icy when we took Oscar for walks. He was happy in the snow, shoveled it with his nose and rolled around in it. I was happy with my two hats, winter coat, and three layers of long sleeves underneath. In our attempt to secure a warm sit over the winter, we had obviously underestimated autumn, despite it being a rare one in Colorado. Every morning started with a wood fire in the living room to warm the house up. We did go through quite a bit of wood to stay comfortable and plans to hike certain areas in the surrounding mountains had to be abandoned. The last days of our house sit, the sun happily returned.
The area we stayed in was very beautiful under a blue sky, the house was comfortable and Oscar was an adorable pup, but, when the owners returned and we had a chance to catch up, Mark and I were ready to head to warmer climes and live in Zesty, the Westy, for a 10-day adventure in Utah.
Best feature(s): The area is a hiker’s paradise with views that are hard to match.
Best gadget(s): An electric wine opener that did the job in seconds, an efficient Bullet blender for our fruit shakes, a wood stove that warmed us up and distributed moist air from a pot full of water on top.
Surprise(s): The owners took us out for dinner on the first night and left us a bottle of wine. And, they brought back useful gifts from Portugal (a bottle of wine and a jar of marmalade). Thank you!!
Downside(s): That has to be the freezing weather, of which nobody is in control. When Oscar was playing with and carrying his ball, he had a harder time listening.
The owners’ review of us for this house sit can be read on the top of this page.
Have you experienced snow yet where you live? Which season do you prefer and why? If you have a dog, does he/she likes snow?