Apologies for our absence, but we took a rare free moment to scramble up to the Vail Valley for a few days of R&R.
This is Arrowhead, where we stay while in town.
As you can see, there is quite a lot of snow in the Valley this winter. An  aspect much different from Denver this year!
A couple of iPhone snapshots of my hike with the dogs up Arrowhead mountain the first evening. During the day in winter, these slopes are filled with skiers, but in the evening one can hike or snowshoe or skate-ski directly up the slopes, and many people (and their dogs) do, especially when the moon is bright.
 The snowdrifts in Minturn (where we go to visit our favorite fabulous retail store, Holy Toledo) were several feet above Q's head...quite impressive considering she is very tall!
I lived in the Vail Valley for upwards of 16 years, and during those years I lived a very fortunate life. I love hiking, and while in the mountains I hiked, on an average, three or four hours a day every day of the week. 
I loved these mountains and trails deeply, and counted on my hiking time for sanity in both body and mind.  So when my husband and I finally decided to move Denver (with the intention of starting a family) my greatest misgivings lay in the idea of leaving behind my backyard hiking trails, my instant and easy access to so many miles of wilderness backcountry.
So I am very, very lucky that my husband understands, and is generous with my hiking time when we (more and more rarely) escape to the mountains where we first met. He always lets me take off for a couple of hours during Q's naptime to revisit the wilderness that I loved so deeply.
It does my heart good to set foot to these trails, and spend a couple of hours burning my muscles and sweating into my parka on these high-altitude climbs.
These days, I spend so much time in my studio, fighting the urge to go out and absorb the sun and test my legs on a mountain trail, and at times I feel that my peace of mind suffers for the lack of this daily ritual that I enjoyed for almost two decades.
 These are stunning mountains, some of the most amazing terrain in all of our varied and spectacular country. I feel lucky that we still live close enough to enjoy this splendor, if only just occasionally.
But these views are still what I miss most, having moved down from the mountains. It's always a tradeoff, we make our decisions in life as we need to. But it is sometimes difficult to know that you can't always have it all.
 The stunning road home, from the Vail Valley up the passes, through Summit County and up the big pass toward the Continental Divide, and down the great slide of highway toward the high plains of the Front Range that we now call home. 
But as much as our little Q loves her "other home" in the mountains, all the deep snow and the hot tubs, she always breaths a sigh of comfort when we return to our "QQ home", with her room and her bed and all her books and toys, all the comforts of home.


Yoli said...

How sweet and conforting for a child to know that home is not far away.Beautiful images Maia, I hope you have a great weekend.

lightning in a bottle said...

yay you're back! looks like a wonderful little getaway!

Yanyan said...

what a nice getaway! So incredibly beautiful place... Welcome back!!

kenza said...

Beautiful! and I love what you write. Thanks for sharing all this sweet Maia!

alliot / iza said...

Stunning images!
Such a beautiful place.
Have a nice weekend dear Maia and sweet QQ.

Rubber Ducky Chronicles said...

Maia, I must say I live vicariously through your posts when you visit the mountains, especially Summit County. My most precious memories (I fell in love for the first time)are from the time I lived in CO and the mountains I climbed in RMNP. My retreat was to Summit Co. as I escaped the tourists of Estes Park. I have always desired to return to CO to raise my family. I never thought I would be living in the MW, but have grown to love the simplicity of the flat land and bring hope to my depressed community. It is my prayer, that one day, when the time is right, my family will be back to the land that I love, where a piece of my heart was left.

Natalie Thiele said...

What a breathtakingly beautiful area! Hope you got all the hiking time you needed.