Blaine Basin

Blaine Basin

Looking for a more challenging hike? This one is good for your older kids, with a round trip of 6.4 miles and an altitude gain of 1400 feet.  To get to the trailhead, start heading up Dallas Divide on Highway 62 towards Telluride. Turn left at the National Forest Access – Dallas Creek, onto County Road 7. Park and at the trailhead, Blue Lakes heads to the right and Blaine Basin goes to the left. The first two miles of the hike are pretty easy and flat, though there are multiple places where you need to cross over a creek. Younger children may struggle with this, but it’s do-able.  There are lots of wildflowers along the way to admire. Check out our guide on local wildflower and how to photograph them. The last mile or so is pretty steep, but the views of Sneffels and the other surrounding peaks is worth every step. There is also a gorgeous waterfall that you’ll hike past! Here’s a fun read about skiing up there from back in June, 2005. I think I’ll stick to my hiking shoes.   Photo credits San Juan Parent and...
15 Ways to Get Your Kids Outside this Summer

15 Ways to Get Your Kids Outside this Summer

By now everyone is in full swing with summer activities. I am not sure what happens between the last day of school and the first of July, but all of my grandiose idealistic plans about the perfect summer somehow come crashing down around me. I was going to be so organized. I was going to have a full calendar and charts! They were going to have days filled with clever activities, day trips and fun. I had visions of schedules that the children could be involved in making for each week, excitement, calm lazy evenings. Here I am mid-summer and I am going crazy. My boys, age 3 and age 8, are arguing with each other like crazy. They are used to a certain amount of time away from each other. Their rooms are ripped apart from the afternoon play date they had. My refrigerator has been raided nonstop and my once a week grocery shopping excursion now has to be supplemented with a midweek restocking. My evenings are not calm; they are haphazard and stressful trying to create a fun atmosphere for my kids. Am I the only one who is drowning this summer without enough to keep my kids busy? After talking to a few of my friends, I found, I am not alone. Everyone is looking for things to keep their kids out of the house, out of their fridge and happy. No chart system can create the perfect summer, you just have to get out there and do it. Here are some ideas to keep those kiddos away from the TV, out of the house...
Photographing Wildflowers in the San Juan Mountains

Photographing Wildflowers in the San Juan Mountains

If you are out in the mountains this summer, exploring and hiking some of the beautiful trails that the San Juans have to offer, chances are you will be dazzled by the multitude of wildflowers decorating the landscape. The San Juan mountains are home to many different wildflowers; here are a few common ones that you are likely to see. Wild Iris Field Chickweed Kitten Tails   Blue Columbine Rosy Paintbrush Lupine Bluebell   Bluebells Shooting Star Columbine Phlox When is the best time to go looking for these mountain beauties? Usually, mid to late July through early August is best. The last week of July is usually peak. Some popular wildflower locations include Yankee Boy Basin, Governor Basin, American Basin, and Stony Gulch. For more information on these 5 areas, go to http:// mycolorado.org/wildflowers.html. If you are handy with your camera, (and even if you are not!) you can get beautiful photos of the wildflowers. Here are some tips for photographing wildflowers: 1. Use a tripod- you will get sharper, clearer images. 2. Photograph on an overcast or cloudy day. 3. Aim your camera’s sensor so it is directly in line with the part of the flower you are wanting to photograph. 4. Set your shutter speed (if you are not using your auto mode) to 1/200 or faster 5. Look at your background before snapping your shot- avoid distracting backgrounds. 6. Find healthy flowers at their peak. 7. Use your telephoto lens setting A great way to involve your kids is to hand them the camera and let them experiment with their photography skills. You may be...
How Healthy is Your Gut?

How Healthy is Your Gut?

I’m not talking about a six-pack, or a mini-keg for that matter. Save that for another time. What I want to focus on is the inside, more to the point – the intestines – and its bugs, the good bugs. It really matters if you have enough good bugs, or bacteria, in your gut in order to facilitate all the right stuff to happen, i.e., digestion and absorption of nutrients. You can eat healthy and get enough exercise, but without a healthy gut, you won’t get optimal nutrition, period. There are some key ingredients that you should be incorporating into your diet to make sure that you achieve the right balance in your intestinal flora. Probiotic in Greek means “for life”. Good health starts with healthy intestinal function. The most common bacteria is lactobacillus or l. acidophilus. These little guys produce lactic acid in the intestines and help to promote a favorable pH on the acidic side. This helps to inhibit the bad bugs from growing and helps the absorption of protein and minerals like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, and manganese. Who doesn’t want their manganese absorbed? I know I do. Good sources of probiotics can be found in fermented food like kefir, kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, and yogurt. It is also important to give your good bugs fiber, this is like fertilizer for them and is vital to achieving a healthy balance in the gut. Good sources of fiber can be found in wheat bran, beans and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and chard. There are numerous probiotic supplements on the market today. If you find it...
Milk Can Dinner

Milk Can Dinner

Recently, a friend introduced me to the Milk Can Dinner, a tradition in her family. The Milk Can Dinner is food for a crowd cooked outside in an old milk can.  Her family has catered family reunions, engagement parties and more with this unique and fun way to make an enormous amount of food for a crowd. First is the tricky part. You have to find an old milk can, probably at an antique shop.  Of course you want one that has no rust on in the inside, but it doesn’t matter what it looks like on the outside. One that looks like this:   Once you have your milk can, you need to decide how you are going to do the cooking. You can set the milk can right into a campfire (but be ready to burn a hot fire for at least 90 minutes), or you can hook it up to a burner connected to a propane tank.  We did this Milk Can Dinner with a propane tank. Ingredients and Supplies: Rocks Potatoes in Foil Carrots – baby – single Onions – single Corn on the cob – double, 6 halves per bundle Broccoli or other vegetable- single Cauliflower or other veg- single Skinless Chicken Tenders/Pieces – double Sausage – whatever kind you like – double 1 Gallon of water You will also need several packages of cheese cloth. To prepare your food, you will wrap each type of food into a little bundle with cheese cloth. So wrap your baby carrots together, your chicken together, sausages together, etc. Where it says single – wrap once. Where...

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