Moonlight and Microspikes

Milling about on the summit while I dork around with the camera.

Milling about on the summit while I dork around with the camera.

It’s been a snowier-than-average winter so far and, while this is good for the skiing now and the fire danger later, it’s made trail running a very muddy affair.  The Mesa Trail, axis mundi of the Boulder trail scene, is a sloppy disaster that almost (almost!) makes pavement running seem like a reasonable choice.  The only options for minimal-mud running are either flat gravel paths east of the mountains or getting up high where there is more snow and less mud… at least so far.

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Piste On, Piste Off

Riding the lifts with my boy.

Riding the lifts with my boy.

Back in my halcyon days of youth, a four-day weekend meant four days dawn-to-dusk (or more) of rigorous outdoor fun.  Work and family commitments (not to mention old age and treachery) have taken their toll, but I can still manage a good showing every now and then.  In this case, it was a brace of ski trips: an in-bound trip with my family on Sunday, then an out-of-bounds jaunt on Monday.  It’s all good.

On Sunday, we ventured to the local ski hill with some friends for some father/son skiing and lodge-hanging-outing.   In total, Joe and I managed 12 runs together (9 if you don’t count magic carpet riding which would be understandable), many of them with Dave/Ben also leashed on various green runs.  Joe and I tandemmed through Fun Gully (read “tree skiing for people who ski green runs”) which was, as advertised, super fun.

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Hut Trip! (also Ice Castles)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Team Dan4th on the trail!

Team Dan4th on the trail!

Oh stop it!  I not Dickens, and Dickens didn’t take winter hut trips with his kids in the Colorado mountains.  But if he did, I’m sure he’d say the same about this particular adventure.  In the “best of times” column was the 24 hours spent amidst snowy trees and falling snow along the Continental Divide, the very homey Point Breeze Cabin, some kindred company in the form of the Jason and Meggan and their two girls Rachel and Ava, and various other mountain fun.  Under “worst of times”, who could overlook the six hour trip between Louisville and Tennessee Pass (normally three hours), the white-out conditions over Fremont Pass (in both directions), and the half hour it took to get between the “Silverthorn Exit One Mile” sign and said exit? Continue reading

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North Table Mountain

I've driven past this sign hundreds of times and never stopped.  For shame!

I’ve driven past this sign hundreds of times and never stopped. For shame!

How is it that I’ve lived 30 minutes up the road and must have driven past well over a one hundred times and yet never visited North Table Mountain down in Golden?!  It’s inexcusable!  First of all, I’m a sucker for geology and there’s a lot here—it turns out NTM and it’s neighbor South Table Mountain aren’t old volcanic cores like I’d always thought.  No, they’re erosion-resistant lava caps left over from the nearby Ralston Dike (which is a volcanic core) from 60-odd megayears back.  But more importantly, it’s some really spectacular trail running! Continue reading

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Photos of 2013

I don’t know much about photography and have a pretty crappy camera, but I visit some amazingly beautiful places and occasionally get lucky.  Here is my “best of 2013″ collection.  Enjoy!

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Knee-deep in the Eldora Backcountry

Plenty of snow to go around despite the dozens of people.

Plenty of snow to go around despite the dozens of people.

After the madness of the Holiday Season, several months of frantically trying (unsuccessfully) to finish a huge paper, several weeks of (successful) intensive trail running, and a several days of prep work for teaching this semester, it was definitely time for a quick mental health break.  As usual, for the first trip of the season, I had no idea what to expect.  Thus I stayed local and erred on the side of generality with a quick recon of the Jenny Creek area (behind the Eldora ski area) on the mid-weight backcountry skis.  I’ve been up there a couple times before, but never up to the Årestua Hut in the winter.

The good news was there were several inches of new snow and more was arriving every minute.  The bad news was that it was arriving horizontally borne on a sustained 30 mph wind.  It was an efficient reminder of how full full winter conditions can be.
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2013 Year in Review

Last year I set myself some goals… and none of them actually happened.  I came close, but, well, life happened.

Finally, some good views!  Gibraltar, Middle and Little No-Name Peaks (L-R)

Finally, some good views! Gibraltar, Middle and Little No-Name Peaks (L-R)

The running goal was 1000 miles, but I only managed 810 (November/December total: 135 which is pretty good, considering), my third-biggest year to date.  Had it not been for my month-plus of convalescence in June and July and the floods in September, perhaps things would have been different… or perhaps not. Continue reading

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