Be Fruitaful and Springbreakify

Spring Break 2017

Another winter too quickly over means it’s time to harness all that cabin fever and plan another big family expedition for Spring Break. To top the 2015 and 2016 editions, we’d have to go really big this year… and somehow we just couldn’t muster the logistical where-with-all to plan it. So we dialed it down a bit but still had a dandy time; a nice balance of adventure, relaxation, recreation, and rejuvenation. Continue reading

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Descent Via Flattop

“I couldn’t catch a ball or do any of that stuff. I could do only what required brute stupidity.” — Warren Harding on mountaineering.

Nice view of Longs.

Nice view of Longs.

Back in the day, the Stupid Brutes were pretty active in the ascending of mountains, the scaling of rocks, the talking of smack, and the generation of weird inside jokes. Many an alpine trip was undertaken in good—or at least kindred—company. For a bunch of suburban white guys of we were a colorful and varied bunch from Fabio the gear wizard and sage pundit to Dan(imal) the enthusiastic young rope gun to people like me content to formulate obscure type-II adventures and then tag along as best they could. We had narrow escapes, triumphant victories, and lots of brutal stupidity hauling heavy packs in inclement conditions at ungodly hours of the day and night.

Most frequent for the Brutes were alpine trips in Rocky Mountain National Park since it was the highest concentration of interesting objectives at the closest distance requiring the least alpine of alpine starts. So many memorable trips! We climbed Tyndal Glacier and descended via Flattop Mountain. We climbed Dragonstail with a descent via Flattop. We climbed Taylor Glacier with a descent via Flattop. We climbed James Peak with a… at some point, all descents were de rigueur via Flattop even if we were in a different county altogether.

Over the years, the Brutes have gone dormant as we’ve matured (in some cases), aged (in all cases), and moved on into parenthood, careers, and other pursuits. But the Brutes were only sleeping (albeit pretty soundly). It was time to descend via Flattop again! Continue reading

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New Mexico for Fun and Profit

Sun goes down, astronomers get up.

Sun goes down, astronomers get up.

 

It’s been a couple of years since I last traveled for work (at least to anyplace interesting). Fortunately, I was recently awarded two half-nights on the 3.5 meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory in the mountains above Alamagordo, New Mexico.  The mission: take high-resolution optical spectra of the nucleus of the giant galaxy M87 (as one does).  Jaded egghead that I am, I was still pretty excited to put teaching, family, and all the other travails of early 2017 behind me and head for a little focused science (and play) time in south-central New Mexico. It was a great opportunity for science and a little exploration on my own recognizance in approximately equal measure.

Tuesday:

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Eleventy-eleven (2016 running retrospective)

Mile 1111: Dec 31

Mile 1111: Dec 31

As the big odometer in the sky prepares to roll over once again, it’s time for a look back on the year of running.  Yes, I’ve done lots of other stuff besides run this year, but running is the thing I keep the exhaustive stats on.  Bear with me.

It was a good year in terms of raw stats: 1111.1 miles for easily my second biggest year ever and it didn’t even feature any major races to contribute to that.  A lot of the initial push of training was in prep for pacing Ben at Bighorn.

Looking through the year, I see a lot of friends, fun, exploration, and adventures to go along with all those miles.  Thanks to all my stalwart compadres for doing what you do and here’s to plenty more where that came from in 2017! Continue reading

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Pie-burner!

Some pie-filled, spandex-clad idiot spoiling another nice view of Spruce Lake.

Some pie-filled idiot spoiling another nice view of Spruce Lake.

Turkey trots are all well and good, but what I really need is a post-Thanksgiving bit of exercise to burn off some of the pie.  In this case, it was a social run with the “Denver Run Crew” (none of whom were from anywhere near Denver) up in RMNP (also not Denver). No matter.  We ran and were a crew, and it was lovely.

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A Proper Mountain Run

We're the height of alpine fashion!

We’re the height of alpine fashion!

Normally, winter comes to the Colorado high country like a door slamming.  But not this year (or at least not yet this year).  It’s early November and highs are still in the 50s in the mountains there’s hardly a hint of white even on the highest peaks.  I can sit here and grumble about it being unseasonable or I can take these looking-forward-to-ski-season lemons and turn them into extra-late-season-trail-running lemonade.

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High times in low gears

Nice aspens on CR68J

Nice aspens on CR68J

Ben has a new cyclecross bike and I spent the summer building my gravel grinder. Instead of the traditional end-of-summer mountain run, why not get out for a little Indian Summer wheeled idiocy? Early this summer we did an all-night run from Boulder to Nederland as ultra training. So we put together a bike version of this, though in the daylight so we could actually enjoy it. Ben #2 joined us for the first half of this on a bluebird Saturday in downtown Boulder.

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