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.


(February-April)  We skied at Keystone four different times.  During several of these, Jeremy and I would sneak out for an hour or two of “dad skiing”.  Since our time was limited, we went straight for the up-hill hiking (my choice) or the steep-and-deep trees (Jeremy’s).  We survived with all but our egos and calf muscles in tact, so I guess it was a good time.

April 9, mile 281. Button Rock Reservoir.

(Ralph Price) Reservoir Dogs

(April 9)  Ben and I headed out for a nice exploration around Ralph Price Reservoir west of Lyons (better known as the Button Rock Dam).  Nice trails and tougher than we expected.  It looks like these trails must connect up to a series of others farther west.  I wonder if a connection all the way to Allenspark is possible?  Hmmm.

April 16, mile . Denver city bison herd. Gennessee.

Beaver Brook and Bison

(April 16) A solo exploration of the western end of the Beaver Brook trail.  Usually I get here after a stiff climb up Chimney Gulch in Golden (past the big “M”), but this time I started on the west side in Genessee.  The weather was warm and beautiful but I bonked pretty hard a couple times.  Rather than tacking on a few more thousand feet of brutal climbing, I explored my way out through some neighborhoods and past the famous bison overlook.  There were lots of bison!

June 25, mile 540. Slopes of Fairchild Mountain, RMNP.

Slogging to the Saddle

(June 25) My seemingly-annual early season mountain run with Brian.  Both of us were under the weather and sloggy, but the scenery up at Lawn Lake, Crystal Lake, and the Saddle were spectacular as always.  The original plan was to summit Fairchild, but weather concerns proved an easy excuse to turn around early.

Audubon by Moonlight (2017 edition)

Why stop now?

(July 7) Every year or two we attempt a night ascent of Mt. Audubon (a high peak in the local mountains).  Sometimes it’s spectacular, sometimes horrific, sometimes in between.  This year was the spectacular version.  We had a pretty big crew this time including both runners and “hikers”.  Correspondingly, it took a little longer than usual to summit, but everyone had a spectacular time.  My own photos are mostly not very good, but Muzhou Lu captured some really spectacular ones.

Entertaining Italians

August 2, mile 642. Eldorado Canyon State Park.

(August 2) In late July, a visiting scholar from Italy arrived and discovered I was a trail runner.  He was interested to see the local mountains, so we teamed up for a couple of cool, local runs.  The most interesting was a jaunt up Rattlesnake Gulch and exploring some viewpoints to the west.  Paolo was a strong runner and definitely someone with a shared sense of adventure.

Oct 14, mile 798, Dinosaur Mountain summit on a windy day.

Dinosaur Mountain and Skunk Canyon three different ways

(October/November) This was the season of adventures in and around Dinosaur Mountain, a small sub-summit of Green Mountain behind NCAR here in Boulder.  I lead a night run to the summit via the scrambly east-face route and managed to get about 9 people on the precarious summit of “Dum” (a broken-off flatiron which marks the honorary summit).  A week later, a daytime exploration of Skunk Canyon with Michele, Ben, and Jessie brought us unexpectedly to the summit again.

November 20, mile 868. East Green Mountain.

Finally, I fought my way through the rock falls and scree up into Skunk Canyon itself and summited the surprisingly cool East Green summit.  Interesting times in a local, vigorous playground.

Button Rock Redux (Type-II remix)

(November 5) The weather didn’t look great, but we needed a nice run.  What Matt, Ben, Michele, Kate, Steve, and I got was hypothermic conditions and some good type-II fun.  Snow, sleet, and a constant, unwarranted sense of optimism around the Sleepy Lion trail and up to Button Rock dam.  Brrr.

Mercedes and the Bens

(December 22) A nice 10-mile loop with a pair of Bens.  It wasn’t anything super-unusual or noteworthy, but Ben (K) shot this nice picture and I wanted to show it.

Marshall Mesa.


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