Friday, August 29, 2008

DNC Obama Acceptance Speech

(Click on the headline to see photos from this blog)
Melissa, her friend from work TC and I were fortunate enough to get tickets to Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the DNC. The speech was at the Denver Bronco's Invesco Field, about three miles from my house. The stadium holds 76,000 people and there were upwards of 80,000 there for the event. Many celebrities and media from all around the country.

The line went on forever and it took us about two hours to get in through security. Only one entrance for 80,000 people! The security was similar to what you find at the airport, but with many more police and snipers around the top of the stadium. Our wait was much shorter than it was for many others who stood in lines up to six miles long! Click here to see the route of our line to get inside.

Once inside we found our seats in section 526, but soon were upgraded, thanks to Melissa's connections, and found ourselves in section 135 about 10 rows up from the floor level. Were were behind the news tents for NBC, CBS and ABC, so the view was a bit obstructed, but the atmosphere made up for it.

Click here to see a video of the crowd doing the wave.

We saw Sheryl crow and Stevie Wonder play and heard speeches from Al Gore and Joe Biden. There were celebrities all around on the floor and we saw Martin Luther King III walk by and Samuel L. Jackson was seated just a few rows in front of us.

Click here to see a video of Stevie Wonder.

Then Barack came out to a huge roar. Click here to see a video Barack entering. He is an amazing speaker and goose-bumps came more than once during his talk. Personally, I feel that we need an organizer like him to change this country for the better. As he said, "8 is enough!"

Click here to see a video after the speech ended.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Longs Peak

(Click on headline to see my photos from this post)

On Sunday, August 24, we climbed Longs Peak (14,255 ft). The hike was 15 miles round trip and took us 13.75 hours to complete. We started with five of us (Erich, Wes, Jaimee, Melissa and myself) but Jaimee and Wes had to turn back at the Keyhole due to some altitude sickness.

We camped at the Longs Peak campground on Saturday night. Melissa and I headed over to Lilly Lake on Saturday afternoon to fly fish. I caught a 16 inch Greenback Cutthroat Trout on my fourth cast. It was a beautiful fish.

Our climb started bright and early at 3 a.m. on Sunday. Due to hiking in the dark, I did not get many photos until the sun came up. We watched the sunrise at about mile four, just before the Boulder Field. The Boulder Field is a place where you can camp, prior to making your ascent on the peak, if you want to lug in a 40 pound pack the five miles. From the Boulder Field you can see the Keyhole, where the trail heads through and out to the North West side of the mountain. From this point, there is much more exposure and mostly third class climbing (you need to use your hands to negotiate the trail).

The Trough is one of the harder spots, because there is no noticeable trail and loose rock everywhere. At the top of the Trough you head over a crux and onto a narrow ledge for a while before the Homestretch. The Homestretch leads you up a smooth rock face to the top of Longs Peak.

Once over the top, the peak flattens out into a massive area about the size of two football fields at 14, 255 feet. The views were amazing and the weather was great. Sunny and barely and wind. We enjoyed the peak for a bit and had a quick lunch before heading back down.

The route back is the same as the way we came. However instead of pulling yourself up over all the rocks, you are lowering yourself down and sliding on your rear a bunch. As we came back through the keyhole, we saw the dark clouds heading our way. Erich stopped at one point halfway to the Boulder Field and put on his rain jacket. We joined him, and just in the nick of time. It started to rain and the clouds quickly blew in.

As we got to the campsites at the Boulder Filed, it started to hail and the lighting crashed down all around us. The thunder was so loud that it made you fall to your knees and shook your body. We found shelter with five others and sat out the hail storm for about 20 min. Check out the video of our experience here: Hail Storm Video.

The video only shows the very beginning of the storm. It got worse as the pea sized hail hit our backs and the lightning struck all around. By the time it passed there was about two inches of hail on the ground and covering all of us.

We then headed out to complete the rest of the five miles back to the trail head. Moving as fast as we could we still ran into a few more downpours and a little more hail. Our bodies and feet were aching as we willed our wet bodies down to the car. Our goal was to get to Oskar Blues Brewery and Restaurant as soon as possible to reward ourselves with a pint and burger. Boy did those taste good after that long day!!