Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Family Circle

Welcome back to the blog for an Aspen update. Come with me as we spend the weekend honoring Captain Steve Nichols and celebrate his life among family and friends in the most photographed spot in Colorado! This blog contains several days of pics and thoughts... Thanks for wanting to be a part of this important event.

Shane, Uncle Steve's Son, and I took the scenic route out to Denver, then scenic route to Aspen, then cruised the Seventy back home, and added another 1800 miles to Ye' Ol' Trooper!!

Thursday Morning Spectacular Sunrise on the way to KC - what a start to the Trip!

Like life, without the Clouds, the view is not nearly as beautiful.

Shane Nichols and Son... Wow, what a big boy Jude Cash has become, he's almost One and walking very well!

Out on the road in Western KS, we find the classic Sunflower Fields

I liked Atwood so much, just had to return! The 36 highway to Denver is much more scenic than I-70 and it's an Official Aaron Recommended Route!

A Stormy Sky in Eastern Colorado

My home away from home in Denver was our first Stop and YES Ruskin and Lisa's Baby Abby is still cute!!

And She like Daddy Shane too :)

Bye Bye - Shane and I are headed to Aspen!!

70 west and we get the summer version of Vail along the way.

At only Day 2 into the ride west with me... Shane is Still Smilin!

Beautiful-ness on the way to Leadville, Co

Twin Lakes, at the base of Independence Pass

I am a Fan of the Rockies... Mountains, not Baseball!

Driving up the Pass, Shane loved my combination of steering and shooting pics!

The air is cooling down as we rise up around each turn.

A Stocking Cap Needed at the peak of Independence Pass - Yes is was that Cold... sorry Kansans!

The first of Many Serendipitous Mountain Moments...Fred & Linda Mitchell, Uncle Steve's long-time friends were already up in Aspen with Steve's wife Nancy. Shane and I had spoken with them about their day and it included a trip to Independence Pass... Without cell reception up in the peaks, we had no idea of our proximity to their schedule.

Close to noon, Shane and I parked the truck at the summit. We Stretched our legs and 3 minutes later, Fred, Linda & Nancy pulled-in two spots down from us at the mountain top parking lot.... Accidental?? Nope.

After deciding that the top of the mountain was too cold for lunch we found a mid-creek picnic spot.

Linda and Shane at nature's picnic table

Lunch Crew

I like Colorado :)

Nancy and Fred Relax on the Rocks

This was the beginning of my appreciation for being among such wonderful people. Stories of Uncle Steve's life were coming from all directions. Fred and Linda were so welcoming and open. They live part-time in Steamboat, Co and had put together the details of this weekend.
Thanks Again!!

After pulling back onto the descending Pass road leading to Aspen... SOME JERK was riding my bumper!! A few curves later we pull over and he Won't go around me!! Well here was serendipitous moment #2 - Cousin Brandy and Family was right behind me!! Later we found out that Stan passed us as we stood on the roadside. All our schedules were different, yet we met on the exact same road at the exact same times... CRAZY!!

While we chatted, I threw Wade up on a Big Rock.

After arriving in Aspen and getting set up at the Hotel - the whole family headed out for Dinner...

We had the McAdoo Clan including the kids and friend Blake, Brandy & Jess Nichols with 2 of their 3 kids, Stan & Janice brought granddaughter Gracie (above), Fred & Linda Mitchell, Nancy, Shane & I... Wonderful to have us all together!!

Peace Out Wade

The ski lift is right in Downtown Aspen

Back at the hotel, the Nichols Men gather for refreshments and discussions and more Stories of Uncle Steve...

Wisdom and Whisky, they go hand in hand!

Last shot before bed, early rise coming up for a great mountain morning.

Early Morning at the Maroon Bells. If you Ever get a chance... YES, you should visit here :)

Lakeside, we begin our hike up the trail...

Uncle Stan and Brandy... last, but not least!

The views of these peaks are spectacular!

Shane, a solemn morning for a Man in mourning. Love You Cousin :)

Beatiful Walk, not too strenuous of hiking... slight rise, and bursts of color from millions of wildflowers :)

We find a leveled out meadow with beautiful 360 degree views.

Stan found some Bighorns up on the rocks and then we settled in for the ceremony.

Together with these people, I feel so blessed!

We all got together, found peace in moments of silence and started a Squeeze Prayer... We gave thanks to God, to each other and to Steve and our other passed-on family members... There were tears, they were good ones though :) After that Stan and Shane shared in the scattering of ashes. Proud to see Brother and Son honoring The Man.

Moments later, a young doe walked almost directly up to our group and began to graze on the flowers. She stayed with us and we appreciated her company. A buck followed her and hung out on the edge of the meadow, keeping a friendly eye on us...

More Cousin Pics and We all enjoyed the moments and memories we were creating there...

Shane, Nancy, Fred, Linda and Steve's Spirit among the Bells

The Family Group, again with the Spirit of Steve in Us.

Enormous Spruce dwarf Cousin Brandy

Back at the bottom of the Trail

It was a special morning to all of us :)

Thanks Nancy - Love Ya!

Our ceremony concluded mid-morning. Hugs and appreciation for a job well done by all. The weather was perfect and the setting storybook. Thanks to Everyone and the thoughts of love from back home too!

Back at the hotel, we say goodbye and most of the family headed back to Kansas. Glad that they had safe travels!!

For the next day and a half, I was privelidged to spend time with Shane, Nancy, Fred & Linda. We really had a wonderful time sharing more stories. The Mitchells and Nancy were generous hosts and guides around Aspen. Meaningfull conversations and meals together. I was so lucky!!!

Thank You all so much!

Hotel Jerome was a stop for a cocktail before dinner.

"The Vapors" got to Nancy as we passed through this stunning Hotel... Luckily the couch and her sense of humor saved her :)

Shane in downtown Aspen. We had a great meal that evening, as I said, Wonderful Company!

Sunday morning Breakfast and then our time in Aspen was coming to an end. Thanks So Much to the Mitchells for coordinating and sharing this event!

Nancy's private plane was picking her up around 3, so we said goodbye at the ritzy Aspen airport.

Back out on the Road East. Shane and I discuss the weekend of family times.

Glenwood Canyon and the overlapping highway made for a nice ride back to Denver... UNTIL we hit sunday mountian traffic after the tunnel.... WHOA! Stop and Go for three hours!

Another great dinner in Denver. Thanks for the Steaks Ruskin! and more cute Abby moments...

The cruise home to Kansas went pretty smooth and with Shane Ridin' Shotgun, we had a lot of good laughs at each other's expense. Thanks Shane! Glad we shared such a great weekend!!!

I know this was a long post, but really glad to be able to share it with you all. Uncle Steve was such a wonderful guy, we miss him dearly. His spirit was with us and that was proven over and over. Thanks to Everyone involved, we are all truly blessed!!
- A
Leon Redbone for Shane and Steve

1 comment:

  1. I keep looking back at this post and it stills stirs some things in my gut every time.
    I hope you keep these coming. And I hope we can hang out soon.