Nine More Wild Basin Lakes

Lake #1: Thunder, though from an unusual angle.

It’s the end of July and, predictably, I’m all in a tizzy about how summer is half-over and I haven’t gotten to do nearly as much in the mountains as I’d hoped.  I go through this every year and each year it leads to some ill-conceived, hare-brained fit of exploration.  This year’s indiscretion was a quick run up to the familiar environs of Wild Basin in RMNP and the hare-brained part of it was to see if I could connect the Thunder Lake and Bluebird Lake drainages, the two major valleys within this section of the park.  In the process, I saw a total of nine lakes, six of them off-trail and four of them new two me.  I also learned the perpetual lessons about hydration and sunscreen and what the lack of either does to your athletic prowess. Continue reading

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Broken Halo

Mt. Holy Cross, everyone!

It goes without saying in Colorado that mountains are only interesting once they reach 14,000′ in elevation. If you take a boring old 13,999-foot-tall pile of rocks and stack on a few more, well, just watch what happens! Boom! The clouds part, out come the trumpet-wielding cherubim, and you’ve achieved mountaineering nirvana. It’s all about the altitude! I’ve climbed a fair number of 14ers and a fairer number of 13ers, 12ers, 11ers, and (shhhh!) even a few 10ers (not even above tree line! How shameful!) and found that some of them are really nice too. And some of those vaunted 14ers? They’re really pretty dumb and a waste of time (I’m looking at you, Mt. Bross!) Continue reading

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Ski Big or Go Home

Our first Winter Park expedition was a HUGE success!

Several different sets of friends just sent me some amazing photos of the huge powder dump they were skiing in during an early-April blizzard.  My first reaction was “Wow, that would suck to run through!” That was the moment I realized that the 2017-18 ski season was over.

But boy howdy, what a season it turned out to be! The last two winters have definitely been “investment” seasons largely spent on the bunny slope or in the lodge with the kids; getting them toughened up and skilled up enough to really ski.  After a total of eight days at Keystone (four each winter), Joe (then 8) was tentatively tackling the easier blue runs while Ellie (then 4) was gamely snowplowing her way down the easy greens.  I (then 40-mumble) would sneak out now and then for an ambitious descent or two between shifts on the bunny slope. The investment has paid off in a big way! Continue reading

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Stupid Fun

Hey, let’s go race each other uphill on skis in the dark!

Top of Eldora in the middle of the night. If I look a little loopy, it’s because I am.

Some people (probably most people) would say, “No! That sounds stupid and painful and why would anyone do that!” A much smaller group of people would say, “Okay, that sounds like a logical and enjoyable way to spend an evening.  Where do I sign up?” Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you’re in the latter tribe. But to those in the former, you are also correct.

Please, hear me out. Continue reading

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2017 B-sides and Rarities

Photo by Muzhou Lu

2017 featured some great adventures written up here previously.  Most significant (to me) were probably my spontaneous trip to South Africa, a big family trip to Yellowstone, and a series of adventures associated with my home-grown ultralight backpacking gear.  But there were lots of other little(r) adventures which may not have warranted their own posts.  I’ll spotlight a few of them here. Continue reading

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145 rocks: 2017 Running Retrospective

Rocks of 2017

Once again, another year has come and gone (and faster than ever!) and it’s time to get retrospective in every way.  2017 was a strange year, but there was some wonderfullness amidst the strange. It was a year of niggling injuries and various unexpected excitement in my non-running life. Perhaps I can pin the blame on these extenuating circumstances for this being my lowest-mileage year since 2013; I didn’t even hit 1000 miles (though it was close).

 

For some reason, I decided it would be a good idea to collect one small rock from each run of 2017 and would do one push up per mile (rounding up) immediately following each run.

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Season Finale

Mt. Alice’s imposing northeast face.

My Night Run friends were headed out to do a big run in the mountains and I couldn’t go. Sadness!  The weekly Boulder Trail Runners Night Run (Wednesdays at 8:30, check your local Yahoo Group emailing) is my main social life these days, so I was excited to see my pals getting out and going big in the mountains (some for the first time).  But then plans changed and I could go.  Hooray!  One last hurrah in the mountains before winter kicks in. One last chance to salvage something from a scattered summer season.

The plan was to run the 18-mile loop up Mt. Alice (13,310′) via the Hourglass Ridge in Wild Basin, Rocky Mountain National Park which I ran with Eric and Clem ten years ago.  That time, it took six hours.  We figured maybe seven this time if we stopped to take a lot of pictures.  Hmmm.

Continue reading

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