journal . stories . life

30 ~ May 2024




The flower above is a true orchid: Calypso bulbosa, or Fairy Slipper. I consider it a rite of spring to head up and find some blooming every year and photograph them. They are very small, only about the size of a thumb, but very beautiful. When our daughters were young we would hike up Wild Basin in Rocky Mountain National Park in early June to find them blooming near Calypso Cascades.












There is no question backpacking can be hard work. I manage it by training all year round, carrying a pack with a 20 pound weightlifting plate in it once a week. Trying to backpack after a month or two without at least weekly training makes it much harder.

The pleasure I get from it is unequaled though, by leaving the trail and finding a peaceful or epic spot to set up as my home ground for a day or so. The best part is always the mystery of night, and then the conversion from night to dawn.

Writer Dianne Ackermann beautifully described what draws me to backpack alone with my dogs in hidden places:

“We’re usually too hurried to savor the elemental in our lives: the reeling sun, moon, and stars; prophecy of clouds; ruckus of birdsong; moss brightly blooming; moon shadows and dew; omens of autumn in late summer; fizzy air before a storm; wind chime of leaves; fellowship of dawn and dusk.”

Dianne Ackermann from Orion Magazine article, July, 2009 ).

"We can't enchant the world, which makes its own magic; but we can enchant ourselves by paying deep attention"

Diane Ackerman, An Alchemy of Mind: The Marvel and Mystery of the Brain

I was privileged to meet Dianne Ackermann at a Tattered Cover Denver book signing and chat with her, years ago.






(click on photos below for larger image . . . - Esc or clicking outside of image will close it)



More journal notes:

June 2nd, 2024:

Some time in the hospital a couple years ago got me thinking about mortality and how much time there is left with my two older border collies, Beau, and Hayley.

I think if you have had a good life, and enjoy each day as much as me and the borders do, you love it that much more when you see the signs that you are getting near the end.

But like a gift from Heaven, golden eyed and black fur little Jess came into our lives. All three of us felt the passion and love she brought with her like a lightning bolt and a crash of thunder. Or more like a rainbow over a dark green forest.

Anybody who has had border collies can understand how the youngsters are so full of life that they affect everyone around them, in a very good way.

Me and Beau and Hayley are still old, and our days are still trailing down. But they have been made indescribably more rich because of having Jessie Jellybean by our side. That makes me very happy.


June 9th, 2024:

While I was delivering the Sunday eggs, I was still on a natural emotional high from dancing last night from 8pm until after 1 (Endorphins, Dopamine, and Serotonin!). An older man passed by when I was coming back across 38th, and asked with somewhat broken english if I had extra eggs. Absolutely I told him and ran inside to get some. I tried to give them to him at no cost, but he adamantly said ‘No, free!', and insisted on paying me the $3 for a dozen.

That is why I truly love having enough chickens that I can be very generous with my eggs, especially in summer. I have said before that they provide me with a means to have some human contact and at least minimal conversation, which is scarce for me in the summertime, when I am not telling stories in schools. Other than on Wednesday and Saturday asking ladies to dance, my only conversation is with hens and dogs. They are pretty good listeners though.








June 8th, 2024:

Dating apps don't seem to be working much for me anymore. I think 72 might be the magic number where you age out of it all. So my task is to balance out 6 days of talking with chickens and border collies with enough social life on Saturday night to keep me going. I think it might work. Last night it was 5 hours of dance and live music, from 8am to after 1am! (June 8th/9th)

The weekly band at the Rose was the Austin Lindstrom band. (link:Austin Lindstrom Music ) They were an amazingly talented band, who could play the fastest triple steps and then slow it down to scorching country blues with soul stopping powerful beats. I went to the Rose four nights in a row to hang out and dance, which is not something I don’t think I have ever done before in 30+ years at the Rose. (Friday night was a concert with Colby Acuff, who wrote the song Western White Pines; check it out and read the lyrics).

After one of the fast triple steps I said to my partner ‘doesn't that make you feel alive?’ as we left the floor. It really does, and is one of the things in my life that I am the most grateful for - long nights of dancing with many skilled and joyful partners.

#countrydance #countrymusic #ianmunsick #colorado #countryswing #denver #austinlindstrom #austinlindstrommusic #ianmunsick #ianmunsickmusic #ianmunsickeverythingiscountry



I See Country, Ian Munsick, Lyrics

#countrydance #countryswing #countrymusic #ianmunsick #colorado #denver #yolo #lifeisshort

Who don't like a little rain on a tin roof Boat runnin' on a lake in late June Cold brew with the crew on a Saturday night Who don't like shootin' stars on a tailgate Mama's cookin' after church on a Sunday Fire lightin' up the sky on the Fourth of July Whoa, this thing hits wherever you call home No, it ain't somethin' that you find Only down an old dirt road It's in the lights of New York, the hills of LA Everybody got their own honky tonk way Down to Carolina and up to Idaho They all want some porch swingin', pickin' on that banjo They like to dance to the songs we're singin' Can't get enough of the whiskey we're drinkin' All want a piece of that homegrown feelin' It ain't just herе or there, I see country evеrywhere I see country everywhere (ooh-ooh) (Ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh) Take a shot of some Hank for the bad days A little Dolly for the smiles and the good things Load up a dose of Willie when you wanna get high Woah, this thing hits wherever you call home No, it ain't somethin' that you find Only down an old dirt road It's in the lights of New York, the hills of LA Everybody got their own honky tonk way Down to Carolina and up to Idaho They all want some porch swingin', pickin' on that banjo They like to dance to the songs we're singin' Can't get enough of the whiskey we're drinkin' All want a piece of that homegrown feelin' It ain't just here or there, I see country everywhere I see country everywhere I see the tears, the first loves, the breakups Families, friends, the fights and the make-ups Home team, home runs, fourth quarter comebacks We all know that It's in the lights of New York, the hills of LA Everybody got their own honky tonk way Down to Carolina and up to Idaho They all want some porch swingin', pickin' on that banjo They like to dance to the songs we're singin' Can't get enough of the whiskey we're drinkin' (ooh) All want a piece of that homegrown feelin' It ain't just here or there, I see country everywhere I see country everywhere (ooh-ooh) (Ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh) Source: Musixmatch Songwriters: Jamie S. Kenney / Ian Crawford Munsick / Dave Villa I See Country lyrics © Carver Music, Songs Of Universal Inc., Edgehill Blue Moon Publishing, Dave Villa Publishing, Crawbaby Music

May 2024 backpacking


“Wherever you go, go with all your heart"

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