Walk on the Platte River Trail, acres of Iris and lunch in the mountains. Great day!

Hello everyone!

The river, hundreds of Iris, and the mountains…I don’t think we could have packed more into the day.  It’s a good thing we didn’t try because everyone arrived home about 45 minutes late as it was!

We had a really beautiful day out​door s​starting with our customary fruit, nuts, and lemonade​, and today we were ​alongside the Platte River at River Run Park in Englewood.  River Run is a man​ ​made  playground in the river for body surfers and tubers.  We visited there several time last year​. It​is a great place to watch people  playing and cooling off in the summer sun.  However, the Platte is very low right now, so no one was surfing but we sure enjoyed  our short walk along a curvy path watching the ducks, a fisherman and the swallows.  E was fascinated by the hundreds of​ swallows’ ​mudnest​s ​on the bridge and many hundreds of ​the birds ​diving for insects ​and ​then​ feeding them to their hungry offspring.  

We took a short drive to the Iris4U Gardens off of Federal near the old Loretto Heights campus. None of us had been there

​ before, ​and when we rolled up along side the gardens we could believe the color.  The gardens were started by a man 25 years ago.  He had the idea that if he went to a similar garden to by Iris on the Western Slop why wouldn’t people buy them from him in Denver. ​Now ​he has a successful business and is creating new varieties of Iris every year. 
We leisurely walked among the 400 varieties moving from shady spot to shady spot, relaxing in the slight breeze, and taking it all in.  C watched the fluttering of the awning and commented that it was somehow soothing. I sat next to J and at least twice I watched her close her eyes and breath deeply.  Soothing, relaxing, colorful, unbelievable, beautiful, were all words used ​by the ladies, ​over and over.  We had two wonderful conversations with the owner of the gardens, a very kind and gentle spirit who obviously has as passion. 
From there we loaded up and headed to mountains for lunch. Driving up 285, th​r​ou​gh ​Indian Hill,​ ​and over to Kittridge for lunch at the BlackBird Tavern ​which is ​right next to Bear Creek.  We enjoyed a wonderful lunch, watching the water, and more ducks, but the highlight was a man and his dog playing in the river. This dog didn’t want anything to do with fetching​a ​stick from the water, he literally rolled rocks out of the river and dropped them at his owner​’​s feet then patiently waited for him to throw them back in the rive​! ​None of us had ever seen anything like it. 
​Happy to report that they all ​feel safe and connected​ on our outings, ​which gives me great joy.
Have a good holiday week everyone!  
See you next week!
Brian and I were 100% happy with how today turned out. When I originally made the plans, the forecast was for 40% of precipitation and 61 degrees, but boy did that turn!
We were lucky at the last minute to be able to reserve a private tour of the Highlands Ranch Mansion.  Otherwise we  kept basically to our original  plan, including a late lunch at “Toast” in downtown Littleton, and a coffee stop in the morning at LaMars.   We think the guys all had a really good day.
Welcome to D, as we enjoy getting  to know him better. He was especially kind to V today at lunch, I was seated at their end of the table when V got frustrated because he wanted something but couldn’t bring up the word. He and S and I were patiently listening and waiting, trying to help, but couldn’t get it right. D said to V, “it’s ok,  I struggle like that too. We understand.”
(turns out a side order of fries did the trick!)
S and D had some good conversations at lunch, – we went from Tina (as in Turner) to Leena  –  the name S had given to his sailboat, to dancing (who dances, who doesn’t, who shouldn’t!), basketball, music (J said he saw Niel Young live once and called him “crochety” Ha!), and go carts!
Everyone easily  chatted through our morning coffee break too – there were a lot of interactions between everyone.
One of my favorite moments of the day was when we were getting up to leave LaMars. All the guys had  chipped in to help clean the table, we were sort of circled up, gathering our coats and things. T complimented D on his red Cardinals cap, D said, “yes, well you know he’s coming..” and I said “who’s coming?” D told me a player’s name, which meant nothing to me, I shrugged and said, “I don’t know who that is,” and J started teasing me! It was so darn funny! And Brian said, “she deserved it.”
I really like  when people in our groups feel comfortable enough to joke around with each other – me included! – yay!
The Highlands Ranch Mansion  is absolutely amazing, 21,000 square feet of this former stone cottage turned castle turned mansion turned event center, surrounded by acres and acres of well manicured lawns and open pasture. Fortunately for us our docent was experienced in dementia care – that is always a bonus for us, because they know we aren’t here to learn every tiny detail, as much as we are about enjoying companionship, time together doing something different, reminiscing, studying a bit of architecture, a bit of local history, admiring the beauty, and enjoying our adventure.  She was really great about  going with that, keeping us engaged and laughing along with us.
Thank you to Deb, and all the staff, for our tour, and thank you to our families for once again entrusting us with the care of your loved one. We so appreciate our time with them.