Due to some unexpected expenses this month and a depletion of my savings while I was laid off for a few months, money has been tight. July 24th was a state holiday celebrating the day the pioneers made the trek across the US and settled in our state.
Local celebrations for this holiday are celebrated much like the fourth of July independence holiday is across the US. Fireworks, picnics, camping, and other summer activities. This year it fell on a Friday making it a long three day weekend.
A friend invited us up to the small town (pop. 275) that she lives in which is hidden in a small valley in the Rocky Mountains.
They were holding a town celebration complete with parade, picnic and rodeo. Being that I have little time off in this first year at my new job, I was a little slow getting moving. After relaxing with a couple cups of coffee, checking up on e-mail and cleaning up a little around the house, we threw some drinks, hot dogs and fresh fruit in a cooler with some ice.
By the time we arrived at the festivities, the parade was over, the entertainment (a local singer) was just wrapping up and burgers were on the grill and the kids old town races were just about finished. We grabbed some water and headed to the rodeo stands. It was a warm day but not unbearable, at least to me.
The rodeo began with a chase, kids chasing fowl, chickens and roosters. If you catch one, you keep it. Being that I am a suburbs girl, I was grateful that my children were too old to chase. However my friend who has a coop full of fowl was less worried.
Although she had the means to care for fowl captured by her boys, she stated as the race began... " They probably wont catch anything so we wont have to worry."
Famous last words as they say- As two of her four boys came away with a prize. One with a rooster, one a hen. This left but one issue. They already owned a rooster. And you cannot have two roosters. They fight. Thus, he will (and possibly the hen too) become dinner.
Next was the bunny race. My friends words coming back to haunt her, as a third of her boys captured a bunny. This one would be going to their fathers house, with permission.
There was more rodeo to follow however with the newly obtained critters, sitting still was not a healthy option. We headed back to their small farm to drop them off.
The birds were placed safely in a shed away from the other rooster and the bunny was placed in a small cage awaiting his ride to his new home.
My daughter and I hung out for a moment chatting with my friend but I was stir-crazy and we headed out for a ride through the mountains.
An absolutely beautiful day it was in the mountains that day.
While driving through another small town (pop. approx 1500) a little further into the mountains, it was apparent that they too were holding their own city festival. Although it was late afternoon, a parade was about to begin through town. We stepped into a few of the local shops, walked a little through the town then hit the road once more.
Driving the winding mountain roads, a good soundtrack playing familiar tunes, snacking on fresh summer fruits, windows down just my daughter and I. It was so relaxing. I was tempted to get out and hit a trail or two but my daughter wasn't up for it and did not come prepared with appropriate footwear so we drove.
We passed by a couple reservoirs, some great scenery, some beautiful forests of quaking aspen trees, and a few more small farming communities. There were a few small rock monuments placed along the roadside commemorating pioneer travels which I found appropriate for the occasion.
While driving up one road, well into a thick forested area away from the small populated towns, I noticed (and almost missed) a small marker sign pointing to another historical marker.
We turned off where the sign pointed and saw a small gravestone.
Upon reading the stone, it belonged to a Japanese pilot who had crashed approx. 3000 feet from where we stood. He was an amateur pilot on route from Europe. It is a strange feeling looking down into the deep valley below imagining this mans decent. Strange that he died in 1928 and there were flowers on his grave- albeit dead flowers.
I love history- I love biographies- I love finding small tokens of appreciation and tribute.
After a short drive, we headed back to the second towns celebration for something to eat and a rodeo.
We purchased some hats and played dress up for the evening.
Then settled in to watch the show.
There was bull-riding,
wild cow milking (hilarious), and a thing called hide racing.
Crazy stuff where a piece of leather hide is pulled by rope behind a horse and rider and a second person chases and then jumps onto the hide and rides as long as they can.
Fastest time wins.
The rodeo was an absolute great time. Perfect weather, beautiful scenery as a backdrop.
Who says you cant have fun in a small town?
It was a long day and we were ready to head home.
We left before the rodeo was over as we were dressed for hot weather and the mountain air was cooling quickly.
Just after we climbed into the car, the rain began.
Ahhh the smell of summer rain in the country mountains.
was late when we arrived home but I slept very well.
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