Mondays at the majestic Maroon Bells. With Donna Grauer

Last Monday I was at the Maroon Bells watching as tourists disembarked from the shuttle bus that brought them the 8 miles from Aspen Highlands to the magnificent Bells. More than 300,000 visitors come to be awed by our 14,000-ft. towering peaks every summer.

A little boy, maybe 7 or 8, walked over to me and said very seriously, “I would like to see a moose.”

A young moose, cooling off, on a hot day.
If a moose raises its hackles, threatening to charge, it’s sometimes called a “bluff charge,” a warning to back off. Always be wary. This young moose meant business.

“You may see a moose today,” I replied while pointing out the grazing area along the Scenic Trail where sometimes Mama Moose and her baby hang out. “If you do see a moose, what are you going to do? Are you going to move closer? Will you try to take a selfie?”

“No,” he shook his head resolutely, promising not to do either. I continued with our Q&A which I could see he was liking. Just as I was into ‘Be alert,’ ‘Stay a football field away’ and ‘Moose know you’re there whether they look at you or not,‘ Dad shows up, turning our Q&A into a father and son duet.

This Mama Red Fox is on alert, searching for food to feed her four kits hiding nearby. Note her gorgeous tail.
A Mule Deer and Great Blue Heron

I don’t know whether during their day at the Bells, this little guy found his moose or spotted the Mama Red Fox and her 4 kits or did a stare-down with mule deer or heard the whistles, screams, and tooth chatter of Yellow-bellied marmots or found the beaver lodge at Maroon Lake, but I am hoping it will always remain an unforgettable childhood memory for him.

Mama Mallard Duck and her Brood of Ducklings and a Great Blue Heron
A Yellow Pond-Lily is ‘an aquatic wildflower which produces beautiful flowers that grow in the shallow parts of marshes/ponds in the cool, high mountains.’ I’ve only seen them in June at Aspen’s North Star Preserve.


Desperate for a tasty summer salad option to replace all the tried-and-true’s in your back pocket? Here’s a tasty recipe with oodles of variations by Julia, a Colorado food blogger. We served this at a special birthday party with Cathy O’Connell’s Crab Cakes, Dorie Greenspan’s So-Good Miso Corn and Dorie Greenspan’s Marie Helene’s Apple Cake.

My favorite photo in this Post. The Birthday Boy wanted Dorie’s Apple Cake, his favorite, for this very special celebration. His wife obliged. Dorie, my friend, thank you for playing such a special part in our festivities. And, Donna, may your days always be filled with the joy and delight expressed above.

Broccoli Walnut Salad with Apples, Pears and Dried Fruit, adapted from

Servings: 8


6 Cups Broccoli florets, chopped into small bites
1 apple, cored and diced or sliced
1 firm pear, cored and diced
1/4 Cup red onion, chopped
1 Cup toasted walnuts, pecans or nuts you prefer
1 Cup or Combination of dried cranberries, golden or regular raisins,
craisins, dried cherries and blueberries

Creamy Dressing:

1/2 Cup Greek yogurt
1/2 Cup olive oil Mayo,
2 Tbsp Lemon juice
1/3 Cup Honey, softened or warmed up
1/4 tsp salt


  1. Gather all your salad components in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whip up your dressing ingredients until perfectly blended. Introduce half of your dressing to your salad, giving it a toss to coat everything.
  1. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour to let the flavors meld together
  2. When you’re ready to serve, reinvigorate your salad with the remaining dressing. (I think Less is More and saved some Creamy Dressing as dip for veggies the next day.)


Cauliflower – Want to mix things up? Replace half of the broccoli with an equal amount of cauliflower.
Nuts – Use pecans, peanuts, walnuts, pine nuts, or pistachios instead of cashews.
Dried fruit – Replace dried cranberries with dried cherries or blueberries, figs, dates or dried blueberries.
Fresh Fruit – Go just with apples or just with pears.
Salad dressing – You can lighten up the dressing by replacing some of the mayo or sour cream with kefir or Greek yogurt.

Sending Love and Appreciation to Leslie Friemuth, who loves this Valley as much as I do, for generously sharing some of her wildlife pictures.