Q on the way to the car for our jaunt to Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming. She had slipped on my aviators (though I call them cop shades), and she looked so freakin cool that I had to snap a series of shots. Does she not look straight out of Easy Rider or a Kris Kristofferson clip? With her natural '70s shag and all? The last image shows you exactly what she thought of my "photo up".
 Since I moved (back) to Colorado many years ago, I have been meaning to make it up to the legendary Cheyenne Frontier Days. And yet during my decade in the Vail valley, I never managed to make it happen. 
This summer, as we quickly approach Q's next big surgery, we have been getting a bit impulsive with our day trips. Someone that my husband works with mentioned to him that, while most Denverites assume that Cheyenne is three or four hours away, it is in actual fact only an hour and a half's easy drive from downtown Denver. 
We did not really believe it. 
But, feeling reckless, we decided to take the chance.
 Heading north on I-25, ready to turn back at any moment should the trip prove to stretch on too long for a viable afternoon jaunt, we soon discovered that Cheyenne Wyoming is, improbably, really only 1.5 hours from Denver County.
And the fields of lush corn and sugar beats winnowing down to dramatic and stark high plains grasslands at the border made for a stunning and therapeutic drive.
Turns out, there are also camels in Wyoming...but I was not able to snap any photos at high speed, so you'll just have to take my word for it. 
Actual camels.
(And fireworks)
I swear.
 Our first discovery upon entering the fairgrounds at Frontier Days was the exemplary Indian Village. We got there just in time for participatory hoop dances, much to Q's delight!
 As longtime readers might remember, Q has been working on her hoop techinque since she was able to walk. She is only now really hitting her stride, and her performance in the Indian Village was impressive.
 Me myself, with my early history of horseback shennanigans, I'm always eager to find the horses in a situation like this, so needless to say I was thrilled to find an ebony-coated draft horse getting a bath at the entrance to the fairgrounds. Beautiful!
 Shortly thereafter, an afternoon thunderstorm sent us scrambling for cover in the concessions tent, where we were forced to spend a good twenty minutes. I was both astounded and amused to discover that one could have a frameable portrait of ones - ahem - posterior done on the spot for a small fee. I tried to convince my husband to pose, but he wasn't having it. Facial portraits were also available, but not nearly as novel.
 As the microburst gradually receded, we were able to venture back outside into the midway. I love the midway. I particularly love how, wherever you go, the midway concessions and rides seem to hail from another era.
 These days, you can find just about anything deep-fried. Pickles, twinkies, Mars bars. But the ubiquitous funnel cake continues to hold me in its thrall. It's so iconic, and somehow so appealing. I have to admit that I've never even tasted one. I have this irrational sense that, with my very first bite, I will inflate like a Thanksgiving parade float and instantly weigh 300 pounds. That said, I am curiously compelled to photograph them through the plexiglass windows of the frier tents every time.
 Exploring the midway before it re-opened after the rain.

 I am inexplicably fond of that couple on the left. Maybe it's his suspenders and baggy khakis. Maybe it's his hand lovingly cradling the nape of his wife's neck. In any case, I'm fond of them.
 And then there's Q, trying to decide which ride to go on first with her pawful of tickets. That one!...No, uhm...THAT one!...wait, no....That one over there!...
 Maybe really the tickets themselves are the very best part.

 Q and daddy waving from the top of her first chosen ride...which to our delight turned out to be a nearly identical model of the one from the final scene of the movie Grease, a film whose soundtrack played a large part in our early dating years (dorks that we are).
 "You're the one that I want....Ooh, ooh, ooh, honey!"
 I'm not sure whether this ride was more exciting to Q (in its first incarnation for a three-year-old) or for us (in its second or third incarnation in our personal histories).
 Mike and Q doing the Super Slide on some very ratty and flea-ridden blankets.
 And then there's this. Safety was definitely not a first priority on this midway. Check out the numbers on the height requirement chart. See anything amiss?
 Fortunately for Q, no one actually cared how tall she was, or what kind of footwear she was sporting.

 As an amateur photographer, I have to say that it was the perfect weather for snapping dramatic shots of the vintage midway rides.
 On the way back out, we came across this hyped up desert-slash-snow buggy. Q was instantly enthralled. Looking back at these photos, I have to say that this is probably the sort of vehicle that she would choose for herself, and also probably just the way she will drive when she's of driving age - hanging out the side door, and belatedly snapping in the safety net while in motion.
 I love both the utilitarianism of the Frontier Days sign, and the sign on the stalls of the draft horses. Really, someone should make signs for every animal from county fairs to petting zoos to pet dogs on the street. 
Because obviously most people just don't get that animals are animals, not human beings. There's no "Miss Manners" for animals, even pets. Any and every animal might bite, if they are not well acquainted with you. And really, that should go for humans, too.
Stay tuned for photos of the spectacular Indian dances - easily the best part of the day - coming up soon!
 I am still trying (in Vain) to wade through half a summer's worth of I present you with a hike I took on my favorite Lionshead Trail while we were up in Vail. 
The runoff was particularly high this year, so that the stream crossing was a bit more dramatic than usual!
 Dogs in the dappled sun.
 Along with increased runoff come intensified wildflowers. It's like an Easter egg hunt!
 Overlooking Minturn.

 View of Holy Cross, one of the area's famed 14ers.
 Dogs cooling off in a patch of lingering snow.
 This hike was my retreat, my solace, my meditation, my constant companion when I lived in the valley, and it always does my heart good to set foot to this familiar and beautiful trail.

The pups got bold with the makeshift bridge on the way back. Go, Mathilda, go!


Q came to me this morning and asked that her room be made over like this. 

Shouldn't be too difficult, do you think?


 ...when your daddy is in his chef's whites...
 ...this is how dinner comes out of the kitchen.
And then, oh, then life is sweet!

(Curried tomato soup with a balsamic smile by Daddy. Liberty print playsuit by Le Carrousel.)
Some announcements in my shop today...introducing our new limited dip-dyed Royal Blue collection, and a week-long summer sale!! See The Voyagers Blog for details on the summer sale AND a little giveaway!

Meantime, watch our summer blue slideshow here:
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 I have been saving these climbing wall photos since the local summer fair a couple weeks ago. 
This is Q on her first ascent of the (very high) wall.
 Not only did she never hesitate, but she made it to the very top of the wall on the very first try...and then went on to climb the same route four more times before consenting to take a break.
 Proud and ready to enjoy the pleasures of the midway for a while before climbing again. Can you just see the pride of a job well done in her face? I love it.
 Setting off for new and bigger adventures with a fresh confidence in her step.
 By the time she had climbed the "easy" route four or five times, and then the intermediate route several times with equal confidence, the climbing wall staff were all big fans of hers. This guy was so impressed by her gusto and enthusiasm that he offered her a chance to attempt the hard route free of charge. I'd venture to say that the offer was made because she was not only the youngest child to climb to the top of the easier routes, but also the fastest. Here he is explaining to her what she's taking on, and giving her the chance to back out.
 She listened, she nodded, she girded her loins.
 She did not back out.
 In fact, she kicked off her shoes and attacked the "difficult" route with gusto, glee, and bare feet.
This is maybe my favorite picture of all.
 And this is the point at which it started getting really tough.You can see it in the tension of her body.
 At about the halfway mark, she slipped and started over three or four times, of her own accord.
 Ultimately, she made it about 3/4 of the way up the hardest route before the staff called it. She herself was not ready to give up, but she graciously admitted defeat when the staff called her down.
 I can tell you that she was very, very disappointed in herself for not making it to the top of the hardest route, no matter how many times I tried to tell her that even most of the bigger kids hadn't attempted it. But after her free round on the tough route, she got back on the horse for one last go at the intermediate route...
 ...and nailed it in record time.
 Worn out and happy after a long afternoon of many climbs, she was rewarded with a bubblegum-flavored snow cone.
As much fun as was had by all, she still insists that she will not be happy until she's able to conquer the tough climbing route from bottom to top. 

So...I guess rock climbing classes are next on our sports agenda.

All this and she's not yet 4!!