Happy birthday Elaine!

46° degrees this morning. We'll have to get this stove fired up soon, as these morning have been crisp! 

Today is Elaine's birthday. 23 years young. Started the day off right with some morning Swedish pancakes and a fresh cup of tea. Decided to spend the morning exploring a trail west of here that goes through some old growth forest. The mushrooms are simply incredible right now, thanks to all the moisture, and if I knew anything about which ones are good for eating I could probably make a small fortune. Lots of moss, and found some good fishing holes too. I must take the rod up here and see what the bounty is. A dinner of a few brook trout grilled in butter wouldn't be half bad, especially if there were some good mushrooms to go with it. 

This place is certainly a hiking mecca. It's funny – the last go around I spent so much time biking the same stuff I missed some hiking gems right in front of my face! This is a decent biking town, but an absolutely incredible hiking town. You'd be hard pressed to find anywhere else where you can literally walk out your door and be on trails in minutes. North, west, south…they're all good. The Indian Peaks Wilderness and the Continental Divide Trail are a stone's throw away, and the trails leading up to them cross beautiful pine and aspen forests, meadows, alpine lakes, mountain creeks, tundra and permanent snow fields. Can't ask for much more really.

We spent the afternoon relaxing, watching the birds and opening presents. Got the girl a few doo-dads like chocolate, sage and tea, as well as a nice Fjord Flannel shirt. The highlight gift was a spiffy new pack, made in Biddeford, Maine, USA out of cuben fiber sailboat material. She's been eyeing it ever since we got off the Colorado Trail last July. Light as a feather, waterproof, and strong as they come and not a bad price either. We'll have to break that in for some good adventures soon. I suspect it will get many thousands of miles of use in the years to come. 

Time for some dinner. I think we'll get some of those Nepalese dumplings from Kathmandu. It's a special occasion after all. I couldn't be a more lucky guy. Beauty, brains, talent and adventure…in my book Elaine is the perfect wife. Happy birthday beautiful! 


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