i went home last october.

Okay, so not a puppy post today… but organizing my catalogs this afternoon, I came across some buried shots I took of where I grew up when I was home visiting in Colorado last fall.  I spent some time alone and drove around my old stomping grounds on the the Air Force Academy.  Words cannot come close to describing how this place has changed.  This place so full of life, that holds my heart and memories is a complete ghost town now.  The streets and sidewalks that were once filled with kids on bikes and families taking walks to the park or the school, are just empty.  Our houses are blocked off with fences, and are being demolished slowly, but surely.  Our first house, off of good old, Paintbrush Drive, is now just fields….you'd never ever know that streets and cul-de-sacs, filled by families in their homes stood there, ever.  Our second house up the street is still standing, but blocked off from all public access and looks haunted and gross.  

Pine Valley Elementary School, is a place I will always love and treasure.  There won't ever be another Pine Valley.  Everyone who went there feels that way.  The friendships, the teachers, the songs, the nature trail...it was a magical school.  It's now gone.  It's a big open field too.  While it seemed eerie and just weird driving around, it's such an eye opener to the circle of life.  I'm glad to see those things return to fields of mountain desert grass in the beloved foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and not into parking lots.  I'm thankful to see the deer still thriving and doing well, and taking shelter in our old car-ports now when it gets windy and cold.  

This place will always be home.  It just looks a little rough right now.  But that's nothing nature won't take care of and make beautiful again over time!

My soul felt home and alive coming back to this old trail…I sometimes still can't believe that this is where I grew up.  What majestic beauty, around us everyday in those foothills.

There are normally horses all over here! This was the first time in all my years being here I didn't see one horse or donkey.  It was just me this time.

Yucca.  Nature's desert healing plant.

We would run, ride, or sometimes just walk along one of the many horses living free out here, up to the start of that mountain.

The Air Force Academy's "Cadet Soaring Program" is pretty incredible.  They would fly over all day, throughout the day, everyday, practicing.  Another one of those things I never realized I was blessed to have hanging out above my head all growing up!  Check them out if you're a plane nerd like me!

My sister's mountain.

If there isn't a Glider or Cessna flying above your head, there's a good chance there is a peregrine falcon chasing jet contrails.

West Bluebell Drive.  I've written that one out a few times!

Our cul-de-sac was the one straight back,  We used to hike up that little hill behind our houses and get the best view in the house for Air Force 'fly-overs' every Saturday home football game and Air Force Academy graduation.  Back then, they would bring in everything cool! Old and new… jets, heavy's and bombers.  And shoot!  Watch out when it was a service academy duel game!! They would buzz right over your head, so close that I remember being knocked over from the vibrations once or twice! Pure, awesome.

If you went up one block on this side of the street, you'd end up at my best friend Brittany's house.  But if you turned left here, instead of right on to our street on the other side, was this sign.  My heaven on earth, and still to this day every time I go back.  The Stables are actually thriving and doing better than ever!!  They have rescued dozens and dozens of Wild Mustangs and horses over the years that would've otherwise gone to auction.  They've also taken in dozens more brought in through the US Prison Program to live life out to pasture, with care, still retaining their right to be the wild ones.

Pine Valley Elementary School was once where these fields were.  This plot of land knew me from a cute five year old kindergardener to a dorky pre-teen 5th grader! 

That open field was my backyard.  My window is covered by a pine tree, but it was in that white house with the blue trim in the left.  Everyone had so much yard pride back when we lived there!  It always looks dead in the fall in Colorado at that elevation, but I remember our green plush yards in the summer.  This is the house the deer would come to feed at my window growing up.  They would graze on grass and from the pines, and come to my window for treats.  Coyotes, Mountain Lions, Bears, Deer, Foxes, and Wild Turkeys shared their neighborhood with all of us who lived around here.  

Ouch, Lookin pretty rough!

But this sight never does! The old, Santa Fe trail! 

Until we meet again old friend and "purple mountains majesty".  I fare thee well!