The Story of “Unmarked Rest Area”


Each of my pieces has a story to it and one of the purposes of my blog is to share those stories. My family and I do a fair amount of hiking. We would like to do more, but the rest of “life” tends to get in the way. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about….laundry, school, helping out with family and friends, house projects, etc.

Anyway, one of our favorite parks is Lory State Park in North Fort Collins. It is hidden away and nestled in the hills near Horsetooth Reservoir. The trails aren’t as busy, so when the boys want to stop and dig in the dirt for a while, we don’t feel like we are getting in anyone’s way. Well Gulch Trail in LSP is a great hike for little ones. It’s about 1.5 miles round trip and the inclines are mild. Perfect for short legs and attention spans. The trail also has a free nature guide that follows a number system. The boys eagerly search for each post and squeal with glee at each discovery. Not only do we get fresh air and exercise, we also receive some great scientific and historical information about the area.

“Unmarked Rest Area” features the natural area along this trail. We were going along this trail, hunting for all the number posts when I noticed my blood sugar was starting to dip. For those of you who don’t know me very well, I’ve had type 1 diabetes for 30 years. Low blood sugars are a common occurrence, so I know when I need to take a minute to eat a snack. This was one of those times. I found a stump and munched on some glucose tablets while Tim and the kids played up ahead, waiting until I was ready to move on.

The spontaneous moment of pause caused me to sit still for a moment and take in my surroundings. It was simply breathtaking. I could see Horsetooth Reservoir in the background, golden grasses punctuated by groups of dark and thriving evergreens. Beauty all around me and I would have missed it if I hadn’t had to stop for my body to rest and refuel (something that usually irritates the heck out of me).

I snapped a few shots with my camera and returned to our family hike. The rest of the adventure was rather uneventful, but I snatched up two treasures: reference for a great painting and a new appreciation for the forced pauses we have to take during our fast-paced, driven days. If you are forced to take a break along the way, rather than resenting it and thinking about what you might be missing, take a minute and look around. You might find a subtle, peace-giving beauty that you would have missed otherwise.

Collage-wise, I included a nature guide brochure, trail map and a smattering of numbers to reference what makes this trail so fun for us as a family. If you look closely, you can see these items lurking in the background. And of course, due to the inspiration for this piece, I included a “rest area” sign in the foreground. There are several other northern Colorado related elements you can pick out as well. To see more images of this piece or to take it home with you, click here.

When has beauty caught you by surprise? What do you notice when you take pause, either a forced or chosen?

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