Monday, January 4, 2021

Snowmobiling Near Turquoise Lake

We thought about going snowmobiling over the week between Christmas Day and New Year's Day, but that is something that needs to be planned and scheduled well in advance due to its popularity at that time of year. We scheduled a snowmobile tour for Monday, January 4, and this post provides some of our observations from that snowmobiling day trip near Turquoise Lake (near Leadville, Colorado).

The drive from the Denver area to the Leadville area is approximately two hours, assuming no stopped traffic. There is construction on I-70 near Idaho Springs and trafffic slowed there, but it still took a bit less than two hours to get there and a bit more than two hours to get back to Denver on the day we went.

Our "Prospector Tour" with White Mountain Tours was booked via a third-party reservation system, but we now know that reservations can be made directly with White Mountain Tours.

The parking area for the tour was just past Grand West Village Resort. The large group of participants for our two were split into a couple large group to listen to and watch an overview on how to use the snowmobiles and what we'd be doing for the day.

We drove the snowmobiles for several laps on the oval track to become familiar with the snowmobiles. This was also an opportunity for individuals more familiar with snowmobiles to go faster on the straight portions than would be done on the trail.

Our favorite part of the snowmobile tour was riding in the trails after running the warm-up laps on the track.

The trails included snow-covered roads in and around the Turquoise Lake campgrounds. We peak of the tour was a spot overlooking frozen-over Turquoise Lake with Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert also in view.

When the tour was over, professional photographs were available to purchase if desired.

Heading to Leadville and returning to Denver from Leadville were part of the adventure and that route includes a portion of the Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway. It was especially beautiful on this clear winter day and we were happy that the road and weather conditions were good that day.

Perhaps the highlight of the trip between Denver and Leadville was the gorgeous setting at Clinton Gulch Dam Reservoir.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Estes Park in October

Estes Park (Colorado) is one of my favorite places and it's especially beautiful in October. This post provides a brief summary and some photographs from our day trip to Estes Park in October 2020 (October 9).

The blog post "6 Reasons Why Fall is the Best Time to Visit Estes Park" lists the first reason as "It's Easy to See Wildlife." The article states, "Chances are high that you’ll see deer, elk, or even moose just about any time you visit Estes Park, but during the fall seasons, it’s practically a guarantee." This has been true in our experience; we see wildlife anytime we visit Estes Park, but it's particularly easy to see wildlife in the fall.

The photographs above and below this sentence were taken in Estes Park near its Visitors Center.

Elk and other wildlife reguarly walk through the downtown and the cause of the one type of traffic jam that most people don't seem to mind.

Fall in Estes Park is fabulous, but October is especially beautiful with the changing leaves' colors.

"Fall Colors are Everywhere" is the #3 reason listed in the previously mentioned blog post to visit Estes Park in the fall.

The combination of easy wildlife viewing and falls colors is a spectacular combination.

Arguably Estes Park's most recognized landmarks is the historic Stanley Hotel.

We typically go into the highly popular Rocky Mountain National Park whenever we visit Estes Park, but did not this time because there was (at that time) a requirement to register in advance for a 2-hour window of time in which to enter the park. Because it was just a day trip and because one didn't need to leave the town of Estes Park to see fantastic views, we spent our day in town. The downtown area was busier than I expected in October during COVID-19, but there were parking spots easily found, which means it wasn't as busy as some summer days can get. We ordered some take-out appetizers from local restaurant Penelope's Old Time Burgers.

Although anytime is a good time to visit Estes Park, October is an especially good time to visit this great town.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Avoiding Browser Notifications

Recently, it seems that many of the web sites that I go to want to push notifications to me. My browser is set up to ask me if I want to allow or block these notifications, but there have been times when I've selected "Allow" but later want to stop those notifications. This can occur when I'm in the middle of typing during a notification and something I type is interpreted as selecting "Allow" on the notification. It can also occur when I initially opt to allow notifcations from a particular site, but then change my mind later (typically because the site is far too pushy in the frequency of notifications).

The article "How to stop those annoying website notification prompts" describes how to disable / turn-off / block notifications from various web sites in popular web browsers Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. The PCWorld article "How to turn off web notifications in Chrome, Edge, and Firefox" describes blocking these website notifications from popular browsers Chrome, Firefox, and Edge and, at the time of this writing, demonstrates an example of a site that asks if I'm interested in notifications from their site.

Additional References

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Turtle Hospital (Marathon)

We had an afternoon flight out of Miami International Airport and so had time to squeeze in some final activities in the Florida Keys before heading to the airport. We reserved a morning appointment to visit the Turtle Hospital in Marathon.

The tour starts in the Turtle Hospital's Education Center and Gift Shop.

The "guided educational tour" of the Turtle Hospital begins with an overview of the work done there and why it's important. The tour guide uses slides and artifacts to demonstrate conditions that can lead turtles to the Turtle Hospital. It was particularly interesting to learn about their turtle rescue efforts. After the introductory overview, the tour moves onto see the patients. It was interesting to see the surgical center in action while on our way to see the other patients.

There are multiple pools for different turtles in different conditions.

One of the highlights if feeding a large number of turtles in a large pool.

It was also interesting to see turtles of different species and different sizes.

The Turtle Hospital is a facility that used to be a hotel. Obvious advantages of this include having rooms for visiting scientists and others interested in turtle research to use when working at the Turtle Hospital.

The Turtle Hospital also enjoys a beautiful setting right on the water.

The Turtle Hospital provided a nice final "major" activity in the Florida Keys. It was a nice mix of education with learning about a nice cause and spending time with interesting animals.

We also made a quick stop at the Rain Barrel Village as we headed back to Miami.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Sailing in Key West on the Blue Ice

We drove from our rented house in Islamorada to Key West on the Friday of our week in the Florida Keys to sail and snorkel on the chartered Blue Ice sailing yacht.

When we reached Key West, we drove to and parked in the Key West Bight Parking Lot to access the Blue Ice in Land's End Marina at the Key West Historic Seaport. The parking is pricey for a smaller city, but convenient for access to the Key West Historic Seaport.

The Blue Ice holds up to six passengers in addition to the captain and crew member, so our party of six had the sailing yacht to ourselves for this half-day excursion.

It had mostly been a windy week in the Florida Keys and this day was not an exception.

After sailing out a mile or two, it became apparent that the waves were only getting worse and that snorkeling at the reef would be difficult and likely not very rewarding. We discussed the situation with Captain Ron and decided to return closer to land to a snorkeling area he described that would have significantly calmer conditions.

We stopped near Wisteria Island and Sunset Key to snorkel in an area that included a small artificial reef created by a sunken boat in the relatively shallow water.

The sunken boat made for more interesting snorkeling than I expected for this area.

The boat was interesting and there were several different species of fish swimming and hiding amidst its ruins.

After we finished snorkeling and while sailing back to the marina, we were provided with a nice tray of cheese, crackers, and fruit that was especially tasty after having expended energy snorkeling for a couple hours.