October 2016 in Photos

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Round-Ups And Postscripts
October 2016 in Photos

I’m back!  I know, I took quite the hiatus last week – in fact, this is the longest I’ve gone without posting any new content in the entire history of this website.  But I have a good excuse, I promise.  See, last Monday, I shot awake at six in the morning with severe pain in the left side of my neck, and I was unable to stand up straight or hold my own head up for the entire day, which I spent lying flat in bed.  I wasn’t even able to read, guys!  That night, Kevin forced my stubborn self to visit an urgent care clinic.

And what did the doctor diagnose me with?  Acute torticollis, colloquially known as “wry neck,” because, as the doctor described it, one’s neck looks “awry.”

Okay then.

He prescribed bed rest for the remainder of the week, which I surprisingly followed (except for one brief stint whipping up some quick bread because, by Thursday, about 70% of my mobility had returned and I was bored out of my mind).  I was eventually able to read, but still, I’m happy to back at my desk, typing away on my keyboard.

On the off chance you were wondering, I finished three books last week while cooped up in bed: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (yes, that guy who played Tom Haverford on Parks and Recreation), Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera, and It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario.  I’d recommend all three of them, especially Addario’s compelling memoir that combines politics and international affairs with two of my favorite subjects: photography and travel.

Now that I’ve explained my absence, I can resume my typical monthly recap.  October was a beautiful month here in the Denver area, and in addition to exploring some new places in my new home state, Kevin and I spent about two weeks in Seattle visiting his family.

Our first adventure of the month was to Garden of the Gods, a popular natural attraction in Colorado Springs, a drive that should have taken us about ninety minutes.  Thanks to inexplicable traffic, we spent almost two and a half hours trying to get down there on an otherwise quiet Saturday.  Naturally.  So, by the time we arrived, I was hoping the park would exceed all expectations.

Our reaction to the park, which is free to enter?  Eh, it’s pretty, but definitely over-hyped.  We only spent about an hour there, and that included all of the time I spent trying to photograph a certain rock at fifteen different angles.

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Garden of the Gods is a wonderful spot for families with small children or travelers with limited mobility, but it left much to be desired as a hiking destination.  I easily could have visited Garden of the Gods wearing flip-flops and non-athletic attire, which, as an avid hiker, disappointed me.

Desperate for some exercise, we headed to Windy Saddle Park the next day – and I was infinitely more impressed with this off-the-beaten-path spot seemingly reserved exclusively for locals.  The view, you guys!  The view!

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This is certainly one spot I’d recommend to anyone visiting the Denver area.  Travelers truly don’t need to drive two hours to Rocky Mountain National Park to enjoy some jaw-dropping scenery and challenging hiking trails – the foothills are just a short drive from downtown Denver and make for awesome day trips.

Later that week, Kevin and I hopped on a plane and, three hours later, touched down at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.  Last month, I expressed some grandiose ideas about spending a night or two in Oregon, but unfortunately, those plans failed to materialize.  We did, however, visit a corn maze – an experience I thoroughly documented a few weeks ago here on my blog.  If you missed the post, you can catch it here.

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Sadly, Kevin informed me the goat would not fit in our suitcase.  Bummer.  Who knew goats were so fluffy and friendly?  I wanted to take this little guy home with us.

New hike alert!  While in the Seattle area, an impulsive look at Google Maps revealed Talapus Lake, and I decided Kevin and I simply had to hike there.  While the lake itself was nowhere near as stellar as Snow Lake, arguably my favorite spot in all of Washington state, the scenery along the way was incredible:

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Whoa, right?  I can’t wait to play some catch-up (especially after last week’s hiatus) and share a full-length write-up about this trail with y’all.

The following week, we took a break from family dinners and renovating Kevin’s father’s house (I talked him into letting me paint his kitchen green, which is going to look fabulous when completed) to hike an oldie but goodie: Rattlesnake Ledge, easily one of the popular trails east of Seattle.

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A few days later, we returned to the Denver area, leaving Kevin’s father’s house in a state of moderate disarray (sorry, Bill).  We are, however, returning later this month to hopefully finish up the work.  The fact that Kevin, a computer-obsessed I.T. guy, has impeccable carpentry skills surprises some people, while the fact I injured myself with a folding ladder shocked nobody.  The consensus after Part One of the renovation?  Kate does not belong on construction sites.

Pardon me while I digress a little more about books: while in Seattle, I enjoyed reading Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling, You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and The Seventh Book of Wonders by Julianna Baggott.  Baggott’s brilliant novel easily catapulted itself to the top of my list of all-time favorite books – if you’re a literature nerd like myself, I recommend checking it out.

Now, back to all things travel and photography related.

Our final adventure of the month was to Golden Gate Canyon State Park, a spot that has been on my radar since we first moved to Colorado back in June.  I’ve been hesitant to visit, however, due to summer crowds, but now, being mid-autumn, I suspected we wouldn’t have a problem hiking on a weekend.  After visiting, I’m happy to report October is a fantastic time to head to the park, which is roughly forty minutes northwest of Denver.  We often felt like we had the stunning vistas and well-kept trails all to ourselves:

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I know, Colorado is spectacular.

Thanks for reading, and I’m excited to check in next month, hopefully sans that pesky “wry neck.”  I have plenty of awesome articles planned for November, including a photo gallery of the Golden Gate Bridge and a list of my favorite attractions in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Happy travels, fellow wanderers!

Top Three Most Popular Articles for October 2016:

1. The Fall Colors and Quiet Paths of Butchart Gardens

2. A Haunted Hike in Bergen, Norway

3. Tracing Istanbul’s Royal Past at Topkapi Palace

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