2019 Retrospective (B-Sides and Rarities!)

As we finish another trip around the sun, it’s time for reminiscences (whether you like it or not!)  2019 was a notable year with a lot of Life Stuff (a new career, planning for what is effectively a new house, a lot of Scouting activities) which got in the way of the more major Fun Stuff.  There were a lot of ski trips (20+), but a paltry number of running miles (barely 900!).  Only a few adventures were made into full-blown blog posts — maybe there wasn’t much I considered “significant”, or maybe I just didn’t have the time. 

However, 2019 was still pretty packed with adventure, fun, beauty, and good fellowship.  Thus I’m resurrecting my old “B-sides” format from earlier years to highlight some of the B-Side adventures of 2019. 

Feb 16: Hounding powder at Meadow Mountain with Brad.  Two laps in the steep and deep with freshly-repaired AT bindings.  I still don’t know how to ski powder, but boy I’m having a blast learning by doing!  https://www.strava.com/activities/2154053587

Fin took this great picture of the first ascent. I was way too gassed to break out the camera.

Feb 20: Nighthawks, Part 2.  Last year I did one of the Nighthawks uphill ski races at Eldora on my telemark skis and finished second to last.  It was stupid and fun. This year I came with a better light, better skis, and a better sense of what it’s like to ski in the dark.  This year it was 2 degrees and my ample sweat from the anaerobic uphill slog froze solid on the brief descent. I improved last year’s finish to fourth from the end.

Ah, good times.  https://www.strava.com/activities/2164003443


The area below the Sharks Tooth and Andrews Glacier is always spectacular, especially in fierce weather.

March 24: Touring Loch Vale with Matt.  We planned a little ski mountaineering of Andrews Glacier via Loch Vale.  The snow was great and the weather acceptable, but the snow conditions below the glacier (the steep slope below Andrews Tarn) were not promising and it was starting to snow.  So we turned the trip and had a riotous good time skiing out through the steep and deep only smashing into a few small trees. https://www.strava.com/activities/2238525169

What passes for a major river in Colorado.

April 19: After a visit to my work’s calibration facility out in the farmland north-east of Denver, I stopped for an afternoon run at the bike path along the South Platte River.  It turned out to be hot, flat, and mostly not near the river at all.  Probably fun on a bike, but pretty tedious and painful (not to mention unseasonably sweltering) on foot. https://www.strava.com/activities/2303211517

April 28: What do you do with an old superfund site once it’s been “cleaned up”?  Turn it into a wildlife sanctuary, of course, and put in a multi-use trail around it!  They used to make plutonium stuff at Rocky Flats.  Now there’s a nice trail which avoids the really hazardous areas.  Beautiful and windy with up-close views of some wind turbines and an old farmstead, but I was really careful not to eat any of the dirt. https://www.strava.com/activities/2326956217

May 19: April swelter brings May freezing fog?  That doesn’t sound right.  Ben O. and I encountered some unseasonably brutal conditions on a Skyline Traverse above Boulder.   https://www.strava.com/activities/2381039159

Apparently we weren’t on an official trail. Must not have officially been fun I guess.

June 8: It’s so rare when someone introduces me to new trails, so I was extra excited for Ben K to show me around some rumored routes near Button Rock Mountain.  Also to introduce me to the legendary Max.  We laughed, we cried, we dodged mountain bikers and lost the trail on at least two occasions.  Ah, the things I have to endure.  https://www.strava.com/activities/2434302682

“Sir, are you sure you’re supposed to be here?”

June 14: Looking for something new to run “on the way home” from work, I found the Westminster Hills Open Space.  It was pretty nice, all things considered. Predictably, I ended up off-trail on the wrong side of the road. https://www.strava.com/activities/2450332550

June 16: After dropping the boy off at Boy Scout camp, I did a little run up to Brainard Lake.  There’s still a lot of snow and I’m really out of shape. https://www.strava.com/activities/2456372704

June 19: Sometimes my night running crew climbs Bear Peak with watermelons and watches the sunset.  After the first time, we bring bags of pre-sliced watermelon rather than the entire fruit and a really big carving knife.  We’re crazy, but not stupid.  This year it didn’t snow on us and we reached the top in time to see the actual sunset. https://www.strava.com/activities/2464722326

What’s better than watermelon with friends on a summit at sunset, I ask you?

July 7: Are you looking for a little midsummer alpine running adventure, but everything up really high is still shut down with snow?  Mt. Orton in RMNP is the place for you!  Challenging on/off trail and then a bushwhack down to the Lion Lakes trail for a good long bit of miles. https://www.strava.com/activities/2513417601

July 19: Seriously, it’s late July and there’s still a lot of snow in the high country!  Nevertheless, Matt, Keith, and I tackled the well-trodden Mt. Audubon and did the rarely-done traverse over to Paiute Peak before a long series of fearless glissades almost down to Blue Lake.  Gorgeous day out there on some gorgeous peaks. https://www.strava.com/activities/2546357541

July 26: A solo run around the Springbrook, Gosshawk, and Old Mesa trails south of Boulder.  No big deal, I just wanted a chance to share this picture of what it’s like to be armpit deep in wildflowers. https://www.strava.com/activities/2564903516


August 11: Why is it that no one wants to come out and explore wildflower-infested Coulson Gulch?  Could it be the thunderstorms to the west and the sustained gunfire and ORV fumes?  Nah, that can’t be it. https://www.strava.com/activities/2611184662

August 13: A special edition night run featuring Jason and a lot of other past and present friends.  What a great time.  https://www.strava.com/activities/2617339502

August 18: It was hot and I needed some mountain time.  So I did a quick blitz up to Arapaho Lakes (full of fisher-folk), then grunted up and over the ridge to Crater Lakes (full of hikers) and descended.  The Arapaho Lakes trail isn’t on the maps anymore, but it’s pretty easy to find if you put in a small amount of effort.  Spectacular all the way!  https://www.strava.com/activities/2631178435

August 25: Another hot weekend, another expedition to altitude to cool off.  This time we joined Peter and Audra and their kids for a circumnavigation of Long Lake.  The girl and I got in a mile or two of lovely trail running.  https://www.strava.com/activities/2651956159

Sept 1: Snakes and Lakes.  Once more with Peter and Audra’s family, this time the popular (and difficult) hike up to Crater Lakes.  The kids found a garter snake and then a moose swam across the lake. https://www.strava.com/activities/2672134537

Sept 22: The West Magnolia trails were super confusing last time I was up there.  They were slightly less confusing this time when I dragged Matt along.  Great, peppy running in peak foliage.  We discovered a mine, hot lava, and another moose. https://www.strava.com/activities/2731813830

Sept. 28: If you did it last year, it’s a tradition, right?  Once again, we did a fall colors bike ride from Copper down to Frisco.  This time we added in a little single-track mountain biking adventure which turned out to be a bit more challenging than we’d expected.  After a well-deserved dinner, we caught the bus back up to Copper. https://www.strava.com/activities/2747873451

Sept. 30: I’ve got a hard trail marathon in the desert in a month!  Clearly I need to run a hard alpine route now before it’s too late.  Coworker Jim and I got out and ran (his suggestion!) a nice loop from the Longs Peak Trailhead up to Chasm Lake (always worth the detour), over Granite Pass, down to Glacier Gorge, then the long grueling climb up over Storm Pass.  Total of 22 miles and about 5000′ of gain, utterly spectacular for well over 50% of the way and a fair bit of trail I’d never been on!  https://www.strava.com/activities/2753095187

Cruising Walker Ranch with the Bens.

October 12: One more training run before the taper for the marathon.  Time to run the Eldorado Canyon to Walker Ranch and Back lollipop.  Time to remember how hard this route really is (especially that completely unnecessary fourth climb). https://www.strava.com/activities/2783640279


October 26: How have I never been to Rabbit Mountain Open Space?  It made a good taper run before the marathon shortly before the snow moved in.  https://www.strava.com/activities/2819239215

November 10-11: Hut Trip!  Troop 78 took a really nice overnight trip to the Shrine Mountain Inn huts up near Vail Pass.  It was borderline, but I dragged along the cross-country skis anyway and didn’t regret it.  In fact, I was downright giddy!  Great food, fellowship, and scenery.  https://www.strava.com/activities/2858447434


November 15: For reasons it would take too long to explain, I have a professional interest in skyscraper construction materials.  So coworker Dave and I took a field trip down to Denver to “ground truth” some towers.  It was surprisingly fascinating and arduous.  We walked at least seven miles and only got accosted by one security guard. https://www.strava.com/activities/2867428332

I never appreciated skyscrapers until I had to.

One of the few times I was ahead of Brian.

December 20: In my old life, early-mid December was a crazy hell time of grading final exams.  In my new life, it’s an only-slightly-less crazy time of finishing projects.  So when the release finally comes, I chose a day in the mountains over doing the much delayed holiday shopping.  Brian and I did a bluebird day tour from Allenspark up to the site of the old Rock Creek ski area.  We saw no signs of any old trails (unsurprising as they’d be 60+ years old), but we found some great powder in the glades above 11k and steep, deep tree skiing down lower.  https://www.strava.com/activities/2945561570

Blissful low-angle powder glades (with steeper dense trees below)

Happy New Year everyone and may your 2020 be (even) better than your 2019.  I look forward to seeing you in whatever your own Outer Sanctum may be, or at least hearing the tales this time next year.  Peace.

This entry was posted in biking, exploration, family, night, retrospective, running, scouts, skiing, solo, winter and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to 2019 Retrospective (B-Sides and Rarities!)

  1. Diana says:

    Sounds like a pretty darn good year to me! Plus some new trails for me to add to my to do list… thanks for sharing!

  2. Kate Davis says:

    Hey, glad I made it on a few adventures. Here’s to more next year!

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