(now with a new monkey and inkpot logo...though I wouldn't claim the two images ended up combining seamlessly)

Last week we went up into the mountains, up through Rocky Mountain National Park. Beautiful views of the mountains, the patches of snow, elk. Watched a marmot waddle off among the trees. Saw a nice waterfall. Even if Trail Ridge Road isn't the most remote and wild of places within the park, I always find it inspiring or at least invigorating to be out in places like that.

The trip back down was impressive in part for the ominously growing clouds of smoke rising before us. We'd seen what looked like haze earlier in the morning, and with how the road twisted, I thought it was well to the west of our route, but we kept coming closer and closer. The edge of the smoke filtered the sunlight in a strange way, almost as if it made a rainbow of the shades from the color of salmon through various reds until it became brown. The turned out to be a little north and west of Estes, where we came out, in a remote area that was little threat to people, even as it grew over the next couple of days. They say it was lightning-started, so the kind of wildfire that's often best for the forest if you allow it to burn itself out, though they did decide to do some fire-fighting so that it didn't spread too far. Last I heard it was still smoldering (a week later) but contained or mostly contained.

Now we're getting ready for a trip to northern California in a few weeks, to the Giant Redwoods area, so I'm sure I'll have plenty more to inspire me as we travel.