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High Park Fire Larimer County Colorado

High Park Fire Larimer County Colorado (Photo credit: Striking Photography by Bo)

It smells like campfire outside, and it’s not a good thing. The High Park Fire is burning outside of Fort Collins (about 40 miles north of Boulder), and so far has consumed over 43,000 acres (over 8 square miles). The fire was started by a lightning strike 3 days ago. It started in the late evening, only 2 acres, and as the winds picked up over night it grew and grew and grew.

What I want to talk about here is how selfish it is to even start a fire. The last 2 fires I remember hearing about in Colorado were both caused by people. 2010’s Four Mile Fire, here in Boulder, was caused by a fire pit rekindling. The owner of said fire pit was a firefighter! He thought he’d done everything he could, but the fire still won. About a month ago there was the Hewlett fire, that was started by a camp stove.

Now, I have friends who are getting married this weekend and their website claims that “in staunch defiance of the fire ban,” they will have a bonfire at their havdalah kumzitz. I want to yell and scream at them that there are TWO synagogues within 500 feet of where they want to have this bonfire, but I don’t have the balls to, so instead I’ll be passive aggressive and hope that they read this.

If someone who knows my otherwise awesome friends who are getting married on Sunday reads this, please pass along this message to them. I don’t want to bring them down before their wedding and I don’t feel close enough to call them out on this bullshit.

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It looks like we’ll be taking a road trip this summer! All we need to do is pick a week and make lodging reservations. WOOHOO, camping for 2 days near Dinosaur, visiting multiple hot springs, and Trail Ridge Road! Can someone please buy me a National Parks Pass as an early birthday present, please? RMNP is so close, but we never go because we’re cheap. What a shame.

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I’m sad. I was supposed to go skiing this morning, but my friends had to cancel on me and I hate driving up/down by myself. OH well, it’s probably better that we didn’t go since Colorado is still getting pelted with the leftovers of the wind storm that slammed into Alaska earlier this week. Thankfully, Boulder is not getting the 100 mph winds that Alaska and the continental divide got/are getting, just 60 mph gusts in Boulder. Skiing in this weather doesn’t sound fun at all. They even delayed opening this morning (they can’t run the lifts when the winds are over 60 mph).

So, today, I’m still in my PJs, cleaning the kitchen, watching Harry Potter movies on TV, and wearing my PJs at 1 PM.

Oh, and about last week’s time change: I’m not sure that I would be able to get on the 7:18 AM bus into Denver for work if the time had’t change last week. Seriously. Instead of going to bed at midnight, I now find myself passing out at 10:30 or 11 PM, even on the weekends. Thank goodness the time change lined up with my new position!

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Happy New Year!!!!

I’ve spent the past 3 days totally unplugged from my laptop, and it was AWESOME. Two days of Rosh Hashana praying, eating, and hanging out, and a bonus day of Shabbat (AKA 3rd day Rosh Hashana to some of my friends) today. We did take a tiny break from from doing nothing this afternoon and went for a drive in the mountains. It’s cool, we’re Conservative and it’s OK to drive on Shabbat. I especially think it’s OK if that’s what you do to feel more relaxed, spiritual, etc. Whatever, we wanted to go leaf peeping (Boulder to Estes Park, Estes Park to Nederland via Peak to Peak Scenic Biway), so we did. It was AWESOME!

Other cool things going on: I learned that it’s OK to cook on a chag (holiday), which is awesome because I DO cook on holidays and on Shabbat (I’m not a chef, so I don’t consider it to be working).

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When I first got there, on 10/9/09 around 3:45 PM, it was slightly gloomy out and there was a big white tent on the [ceremony] lawn. I wandered around taking photos for a while, called a friend and chatted on the patio for a good 30 minutes, saw a hawk (and took it’s photo), before heading home via the grocery store to prep and cook shabbos dinner.

The next day (Saturday the 10th), it snowed. That’s not quite true, it started at about 9 PM the night before. There were about 2″ total after 1.5″ overnight and flurries all day. The temperature never got above 24ºF and it was COLD. Just to remind you all, that new record low (17ºF) set that day was set on our -1 year anniversary.

BE PREPARED AND CHECK THE LONG RANGE FORECAST BEFORE PACKING TO VISIT COLORADO. It would be unfortunate if you say packed a sun dress to wear to a wedding accompanied by the first snow of the year, or if you packed something fall/winter appropriate only to find it sunny and 75ºF.

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Stone Mountain LodgeUm, there was no lodge. The bathrooms had showers and brown tiles. The ceremony site was gorgeous, but the reception tent was just eh. The “bridal tent” smelled like mildew.

Overall, you’d get some decent bang for your buck, but it definitely isn’t the right place for us. Though I did meet a really helpful caterer/event planner. With this venue, I’m too worried about everyone 1) getting stuck in the mud if there’s any inclement weather and 2) it being a place you have to drive too, people drinking at our simcha and then driving is a big fear of mine. I think we’re going to stick with places downtown, within walking distance of a hotel, or at a hotel/lodge that has an actual lodge and isn’t a motel.

Whatever, I sound like I’m bashing the place…. That wasn’t my goal. If you’re into cushy rustic, then this is the place for you. From the cute little cabins I saw a family of deer, and the vistas are amazing. But, apparently I’m attached to amenities like pavement and nicer bathrooms. Oh well. I’m sure it is the perfect place for the right couple.

 the cute little upstairs of a guest cabin
reception tent dance floor

the bridal tent/getting ready area (me in the mirror)

duck pond and yellow wildlife crossing sign in the background

outside of the reception tent

ceremony area

bathroom building with mini storage barn in front of it

looking down at the reception tent and duck pond from the entrance

one of the guest houses

mule deer

looking down the corridor at the motel-like rooms

the area where you’re allowed to put RVs and tents

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Here are photos of the tour the dude and I went on this morning. The minimum is $10,000, with a $500 setup fee. They only hold one event per day so there’s no need to worry about not having a weather backup plan because someone else got in the way. I’ve annotated the photos. I forgot to take photos of the day room that we would have access to all weekend, but it’s about 800 square feet and has a large bathroom. It also has a wall of windows and they’d bring in whatever furniture we want in there, we only saw it bare. The only rules for the day room: no sleeping overnight in there and no liquor. They would also provide one complimentary “superior” room for Ben and I to have the night of the wedding.

The hotel is totally OK with us using an ice cream cater (though they would rather arrange it, like most other places) as well as having a flambe station. Candles and open flames are fine. There are a bunch of glass/mirror things we can use for no extra charge to make up table decorations, and their regular china is just fine but they have an arrangement with a rental company if we want to upgrade. I wonder if we can have a bonfire too…. That would be icing on the cake.

The Pavilion, or as I like to call it, the yurt, can hold up to 300. They put down a portable dance floor out on the side where the tennis courts are. There are dark green, waterproof canvases (I think they have windows) that can be rolled down if needed. There are also space heaters they can bring out if we want to stay outside even if it’s totally freezing. The bathroom is on the right.

Here’s the covered pathway from the hotel to the pavilion/yurt. The bathroom is on the left. It was locked, so I didn’t get to check it out.

This is the lawn where most people set up their ceremony. You can see the mountains through the frees. The bridge goes over the creek and joins the Boulder Creek Path, it goes all the way out to the synagogue (34 blocks) and up to Boulder Falls (passing Pearl Street, about 1 1/2 miles away). That’s the edge of the pavilion on the far right.

The tennis courts in the background are covered in big white bubbles by mid September.

This is the indoor/snow/rainstorm option. It’s a ballroom. It has windows that overlook the courtyard where the pavilion/cocktail area/lawn are.

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