Monday, December 14, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
On Friday, we headed out to San Diego to attend a wedding and for a bit of a vacation through Wednesday. My friend from Plymouth State College, Andy Taylor was getting married to Colleen Slater in Oceanside, CA.
The wedding was amazing, on the beach with sandals for the groomsmen and bare feet for the bridesmaids. They rented a condo complex with four units (one for the bridesmaids, groomsman and family members each). They had the rehearsal dinner and reception on the roof where there was a huge patio with views of the ocean and beautiful sunsets. We were all spoiled by the luxury condo as well as the great food that Colleen's Uncle prepared for us.
After a relaxing and fun weekend at the condo in Oceanside, a few of us headed over to Escondido to visit the Stone Brewery. We have been looking forward to this for quite a while. Their beers are killer craft brews and the restaurant had some delicious food to pair with the beers. The setting was very unique with a garden surrounding the restaurant.
From Stone, we headed South to Ocean Beach where Andy and Colleen (and their 13 month old son Riley) live. We checked into the OB Hotel, just off the ocean and at the end of the main strip. The hotel worked for us and was a short walk to shops, bars and Andy's house, but we would not suggest it for others. Needs a big renovation and update. If all you need is a bed, it could work, but woudl not want to hang out at the hotel much. So, we headed out each day to get a tour of the San Diego area from Andy.
We hit up many of the tourists spots including La Jolla with the seals and caves, Point Loma with amazing views of downtown and the ocean, and Old Town San Diego. We also partook in a CA tradition that should not be missed by anyone from outside the state, In-N-Out Burger. Tasty, fresh burgers, fries and shakes!!
We had a great time in San Diego and did not want to leave. Thanks to Andy and Colleen, as well as their families for all their great hospitality!!!! We can't wait to visit again and see more.
As for the trip home, we found out as we were standing in line at the gate that our direct flight on Southwest would be making a "quick" stop in Las Vegas to pick up a "few" "stranded" passengers. Everyone was pretty upset since it woudl make our arrival into snowy Denver an hour later. Then everyone was even more upset as they opened the doors in Las Vegas and let one lady off, and a stewardess and one passenger on. Really Southwest!! Just because you mess up your scheduling you should not inconvenience an entire plane for two passengers. Crazy!! Anyways, we landed in Denver just fine, even though the snow was falling sideways and there was 15-18" of snow already on the ground. We trudged through the snow up to our front steps around 12 a.m. on Thursday. Fortunately, for me at least, work was closed on Thursday because of all the snow, so I got an extra day of vacation!
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
On Sunday, Melissa and I attempt to climb Mt. Sherman 14,036' in the Mosquito Range from the Iowa Gulch trail head in Leadville. We started at 6:15 a.m. and got to the ridge line where we were turned back by wind that was knocking us off our feet. This would have been my second summit of Sherman and Melissa's first.
My plans for the top fell through, but I found a great opportunity on the way down. After getting out of the wind, I set a ring on top of a cairn (trail marker above treeline) on the side of the trail. As Melissa approached, she asked if I was going to take a picture of the unique cairn. Then she saw the ring. I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She said YES!
We are looking at about a year till the wedding. Time to start planning!
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Friday evening Erich, Tom, Melissa and I headed down to the Colorado Convention Center for the 2009 Great American Beer Festival. The festival covered three days, 450 Breweries from around the country and more than 2,000 beers on tap! We got to try some excellent craft beers that we would otherwise have to travel long distances to enjoy, a sip of Sam Adams Utopia (27%, 48 proof!!), and we met a few of the big hitters of the craft beer and homebrewing world.
Charlie Papazian, author and founder of the Association of Brewers, signed one of his hombrewing how-to books for us. I got a high five from
Saturday, September 19, 2009
On Saturday, we headed up to Estes Park and threw out the flies for a bit in a pond just up the hill. Melissa caught a 10" Greenback Cutthroat, I got skunked!
Friday, September 18, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
On Friday, my friend and old roommate from Silverthorne, Gary Waterman and I summited Mt. Massive. On Thursday evening we drove from Gary's place in Frisco, over to Leadville and up the Halfmoon Road to the Halfmoon trail head. A 4x4 vehicle is needed to navigate the top portion of this dirt road. They have greatly improved the conditions of the road this summer, so even AWD vehicles like Subarus could make it. We camped in one of the many dispersed tent spots near the trail head.
Around 4:30 a.m. on Friday we woke, made some oatmeal and tea, packed up and were on the trail by 5:30 a.m. It was a beautiful morning, crisp fall-like temps with a bright moon and stars aglow. Out headlamps blazed the trail ahead of us until we reached a clearing area around 11,200 and the trail junction towards the top.
Black Hawk helicopter crash near the ridge line. After meeting up with the standard North facing route, we climbed across the "massive" ridge over four or five false summits and up to the real summit at 14,421' at 8:45 a.m. It was a clear day, but a little hazy with the lingering smoke from the California fires.
We enjoyed a snack and the view from the top for about 30 min and then began the long steep descent. While traversing across the Black Hawk crash site, we picked up debris that was along the trail to help with the clean up. There were tons of tiny scraps still lying around. Most likely the debris will be up there for years.
We made it back to the trail head at 11:45 pm, 6 hrs. and 15 min. round trip. An excellent hike, with great company, on a beautiful day!
(You can click the icon in the lower right for a larger view.)
General Information & History
Mt. Massive is the second highest peak in Colorado and the third highest in the 48 states, exceeded only by California's Mt. Whitney and its near neighbor, Mt. Elbert. It's name tells all. It has five summits above 14,000 feet on a 3-mile-long ridge. Massive has more area above 14,000 feet than any other mountain in the 48 states, narrowly edging Mt. Rainier in that category. The mountain, along with Mt. Elbert, forms much of the western skyline of Leadville, which is 11 miles east and slightly north.
Mount Massive is part of the Sawatch Range with Mount Elbert. This range of mountains was formed by uplifting along the continental divide, where two tectonic plates are being pushed together. There are several glacial lakes in the wilderness area. The lower slopes of the mountain are covered in lodgepole pine forests, which gradually yield to Engelmann Spruce and Subalpine Fir. Treeline is just below 12,000 feet.
The mountain and 30,540 acres of the surrounding area were designated the Mount Massive Wilderness by Congress in 1980.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Yes, you may be saying to yourself, "What's this doing on this blog?" But hey, adventure is not just outdoors in the mountains, but can also be in the kitchen, or even outside on the grill. So, give it a try and be adventurous with your cooking. We did, and it tasted great!
Grilled Watermelon Salad
- 1/2 (5-pound) seedless watermelon
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt (specialty salt is great here, if on hand)
- 2 cups fresh baby arugula, washed and dried
- 1 cup goat cheese, crumbled, preferably a French Chevre
- Fresh finely cracked black pepper
- Snap Sugar Peas (I added this last minute to give a little extra crunch)
Stand the watermelon half cut side down on a cutting board and slice away the rind, leaving a solid block of melon. Turn the block on its side and cut it into 8 squares, roughly 3 by 3 inches and 1-inch thick.
Pour the vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to a thick syrup consistency. Set aside.
Heat a nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle just enough olive oil over watermelon slices to thinly coat and place on hot grill pan. Grill each side about 2 minutes until grill marks appear; transfer to a plate and season with salt.
To assemble the salads, put about 1/4 cup of baby arugula on a serving plate (surrounded by sugar snap peas), followed by a grilled slice of watermelon in the center, and top with a tablespoon of crumbled cheese and another 1/4 cup arugula. Add another watermelon slice and another tablespoon of cheese. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Finish each salad with a very light drizzle of olive oil and balsamic syrup. Dust with black pepper and serve immediately.
Cook Time: 15 min. Level: Easy Servings: 4
This past Saturday, Melissa, Erich, Julia, Yeti and I headed into Alma and up Buckskin St. to the Kite Lake trail head. From here you can summit four 14ers in a round trip of just 7.25 miles with 3,700' in elevation gain. The 14ers include Mt. Democrat 14,148', Mt. Cameron 14,238', Mt. Lincoln 14,286' and Mt. Bross 14,172'. These four peaks, plus Mt. Sherman 14,036' (I have summited, but Melissa has not yet), make up the Mosquito Range in Park County, just South of Summit County.
This hike is very popular due to its proximity to Denver, the combination hike opportunity and they are fairly short and easy Class 2 hikes when compared to most of the 14ers in Colorado. So you have to get here early. We stayed at the condo in Keystone on Friday night and woke up bright and early at 3:00 a.m. to hit the trail. We were geared up and on the trail by 6 a.m. as the sun started to rise. There were already many cars in the parking lot, so we could tell it would be a busy day. Many parts of the trail system passes through private property. There are a ton of mining claims around these peaks, so you have to stay on the trail.
We summited Democrat with about 20 others. Number 11 for me and 10 for Melissa. Democrat was the hardest out of the four with 2,150' of elevation gain over two miles. However, compared to our last 14er (Mt. of the Holy Cross , 6 miles, 4,500' gain to the top) this one was a cake walk. Erich, Julia and Yeti all summited with us. I think this is number six for Yeti!
Then it was on to Mt. Cameron. We down climbed back to the saddle and then headed up Cameron. Julia did not get much sleep with her night work schedule over the past week, so she was feeling a bit sick and decided to turn around with Erich and Yeti. Melissa and I continued on to the top and bagged number 11 for Melissa and 12 for me. Mt. Cameron has a large flat top strewn with loose rock. Not that exciting of a 14er, but we'll count it.
Next up, Mt. Lincoln. The view of Lincoln from Cameron was an interesting one. Besides the hundreds of people on the trails to and from, there was a vast "wastland" of a saddle between the two peaks. We made quick time of the short hike between the two and joined another large group for lunch at the top of Lincoln. Number 13 for me and 12 for Melissa.
At the top of each peak we took photos and checked out the scenery. On each peak we got a photo of us with our WhichWich bags. WhichWich is a local chain sub shop that offers free sandwiches to anyone who hands in a photo of themselves with the sandwich bag on the top. Sweet, four free sandwiches this week!
Now on to the final peak of the day, Bross. We headed back down Lincoln and towards Cameron, just below the peak we traversed left and along the gentle decline along the Cameron/Bross saddle. Talk about cake walk, it might as well have been a dirt road, and pretty much was, once we started to ascend Bross. Mining roads were all over the place and we followed one up to the summit at 14,172'. Number four on the day and 13 overall for Melissa and 14 for me.
Time to head down and get away form all these people. There must have been about a thousand people (no joke) strewn out across the four peaks. I've never seen a set of trails so busy! The descent from Bross is fairly steep and full of loose rotten rock. I'm sure glad I had my trekking poles or I would have ended up on my ass a few times. Many amateur hikers were all over the trail falling and slipping their way down. It was nice to finally be at the car and on our way away from the crowds.
Left to Right: Mt. Democrat, Mt. Cameron, Mt. Bross. Lincoln is behind Cameron.
(Click on image for a larger view.)
We drove back to Keystone dreaming of the hot tub that awaited our sore muscles. We made a pitstop at Downstiars at Eric's in Breckenridge for some baked wings and a pint (I highly recommend the baked wings!). Great day overall, plus four 14ers to add to the list!
(You can click the icon in the lower right for a larger view.)
Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday evening, Rich, Belinda, Melissa and I headed into Boulder for a quick bite to eat and a few pints at Southern Sun, then on to Chautauqua Park (Wiki) to see Bob Weir & Ratdog (Bob Weir Wiki) (Rat Dog Wiki). Jackie Greene (Wiki) opened with some great tunes and a cool rendition of Tax Man by the Beatles.
It was quite a scene around the old venue as hippies, young and old, convened selling necklaces, posters and tie dye t-shirts. Many holding up the traditional one finger in the air looking for a spare ticket to get into the sold out show. Usually people who have not purchased a ticket can sit just outside the walls of the building, that holds about 6,000, for free and listen to the music from their picnic blankets after they open the barn-like doors surrounding the building to the fresh air. However, with a band that draws like Bob Weir & Ratdog, it was not an option on this night as they kept the doors closed and people without a ticket at a distance down the hill. Otherwise there may well have been a crowd of a few thousand more on hand.
Bob Weir & Ratdog opened with their usual jam session and then moved into a full set of Dead songs with one of their own originals thrown into the mix.
It was some great music at an awesome venue. Glad we had the opportunity to see them. Thanks for getting the tickets Rich!
It's more about the tunes!
Monday, August 17, 2009
- Charlie Papazian
Well, I guess our life has changed. We cooked up our first homebrew batch on Friday evening. Tom, Erich, Rich and Belinda came by to give Melissa and I a hand in mixing up the ingredients as well as drinking a few commercial brews (we'll have homebrew next time) and eating some beer brats.
The process can be a bit intimidating with all the tools, ingredients and instructions, but as Charlie says, "Relax. Don't worry. Have a homebrew!". We followed his advice the best we could. Fortunately, Tom was able to stop by for a while. He has brewed multiple times before, so his knowledge and experience was very valuable to our first attempt. He also brought some of the fresh hops he has been cultivating at home for us to add to the batch. It's going to be a Hoppy Mutha! More than six ounces of hops in this one, including Tom's.
Our first recipe is from a kit that Rich and Belinda got me for my birthday. It's a Northern Lights IPA and includes the following ingredients:
8 oz Cara Hell
6 oz Victory
6 oz Cara Pills (Dextrin)
6.5 lbs Light Liquid Malt Extract
1 lb Light Dry Malt Extract
1 oz Columbus
1 oz Cluster
1 oz Amarillo
1 oz Cascade
1 oz Centennial
Hops (whole from Tom):
1 oz+ Cascade
So, you mix that all together in a specific order with certain boil points and temps and you get your wort. Then the wort is chilled and transferred into a fermenter. Best to use a glass carboy. After transfer, you pitch your yeast. Without the yeast, you'll have no alcohol. The yeast feeds off the sugars from the grains and malt over the next week or so. Then it's time to bottle or keg. I think we will keg into the conry keg Melissa got me with the kit. It will go into the small refrigerator I bought and we will have delicious home brew on tap. Can't wait!
Cheers to our first brew!!
Interested in homebrewing yourself?
Check out the following links to get started:
Joy of Home Brewing
I am a craft brewer!
Saturday, August 8, 2009
See Erich's photos from our hike HERE
Yes, Hike and Ski! Yes, again! Yes in August!
We got our turns in for August today at St. Mary's Glacier (we skied here in July as well: July Blog Post). 11 consecutive months of skiing now.
St. Mary's Glacier stays around all summer and is only about an hour drive from Denver. We found out that it's not really a Glacier, because Glaciers move. This is just an area of snow in a valley that happens to stick around all year. So it's a "Glacier", not a Glacier.
This time Erich (Melissa's brother), Eric (my roommate from Breck) and Steph (Eric's fiance) all joined us for our hike/ski. Once you get to the trail head, there is a short 3/4 mile hike up to the lake. On the far side of the lake, the bottom edge of the Glacier can be seen stretching up the hillside. We made our way around the lake and started up the snow towards the top.
The weather was beautiful with blue skies (again). It didn't take us all long to make it to the top of the Glacier where we threw off our packs and clicked on our skis and boards. There was a little less snow than in July, bit we started at almost the same spot. The glacier was just a little narrower up top. The snow was still very variable with mogul like conditions to negotiate. We all enjoyed our turns in the dirty snow that was soft in areas and crusty in others. We finished with about 600 vertical feet under our belts for the month of August.
As we headed down the trail back to the car, with our skis strapped to our packs, we got quite a few inquisitive looks and comments from tourists taking a short day hike to the lake with their kids and dogs. We finished up the morning with a great lunch and a few pints at Tommyknocker Brewery in Idaho Springs.
Not sure where September will bring us for some turns, we'll have to see what mother nature brings between now and then.
See PHOTOS from our adventure HERE
See Erich's photos from our hike HERE
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
This post may make you quit your job and move to Colorado
(if you have not already)!!
For my birthday last week, Melissa and I headed out towards Aspen to hike the Four Pass Loop around the Maroon Bells. Here is a recap of our four day adventure along with photos and a compilation video. Enjoy!
Days on trail: 4
Nights camped: 3
Miles hiked: 27
Passes crossed: 4
Valleys hiked through: 8
Start Elevation: 9,580 ft.
Highest elevation: 12,500 ft. (West Maroon Pass and Buckskin Pass)
largest elevation gain: approx. 2,420 ft. (Camp Two to Trial Rider Pass)
Largest elevation loss: approx. 2,920 ft. (Buckskin Pass to Trail Head)
Approximate Route: Google Maps Pedometer
On Wednesday after work we started the three and a half hour drive to Carbondale, CO where my stepsister, Karen, and her husband Eric live. On the way we stopped in Edwards at the Gore Range Brewery for some dinner and a pint. We're always trying to add to our Colorado Brewery list! We got to Carbondale late in the evening and enjoyed a short chat with Karen and Eric before heading to bed. We woke early in the morning and headed up to Maroon Lake to hit the trail head.
Our backpacking trip around the Maroon Bells was amazing! From the awesome panorama views through the valleys filled with wildflowers, to the steep climbs up and over four passes. We only hiked about four hours each day and were able to relax at camp for a few hours each afternoon exploring the area and preparing dinner. We woke to the sunrise each morning and packed up camp to conquer the next pass. There were many other people doing the loop at about the same time we were, some the opposite direction. We would meet up with some of them at the passes and see them in the same areas for camps in the evenings. Camp One and Two were very peaceful, Camp Three, at Snowmass Lake had quite a few more people around us, but the views made us forget about that.
The weather for our trip was the best we could have hoped for. Blue sky days for day one through three. As we headed into the tent on night three at Snowmass Lake, it began to rain and poured off and on during the night. Fortunately it had stopped when we woke up and we were able to pack up camp without precipitation. The sun was in and out as we headed up to Buckskin Pass and as we rolled over the top, the clouds moved in quick and it began to rain and hail. The rest of the hike back down to the trail head was off and on rain, but it didn't bother us too much since we were headed for the car and not another camp.
After throwing our gear back into the car, we drove into Aspen to enjoy a juicy burger with fries. Boy did that taste good! We hit the road again, Denver bound. Little did we know that the anticipated four hour drive would soon turn into an eight hour trip. Unfortunately for us, ready for a shower and a comfortable bed after four days on the trail, a semi tanker truck had rolled over on I-70, shutting it down Eastbound for hours. We ended up taking an 80+ mile detour North through State Bridge and Kremmling and back down to Silverthorne to get back onto I-70. We ended up back at home around 1 a.m., dirty, tired and not wanting to head into work on Monday morning.
Surprisingly neither of us were too tired or sore on Monday. No blisters, no cuts, a few bug bites and a little sunburn were about all we had to show for our trek around the Maroon Bells. Oh yeah, and also about 400+ photos and some video!
I've cut down the photos to 241 for you viewing pleasure HERE. I think the photos tell a better story than I do, so have a look when you have a few minutes.
I also took 360 degree video at the top of each pass along with a few other clips here and there. You can view the compilation video HERE. It's about 6.5 minutes.
Start Elevation: 9,580 ft.
Left trail head: 9:15 a.m.
Miles to Camp One: approx. 5.75
Moving time to Camp One: 4 hrs. 7 min.
Camp One Elevation: approx. 11,367 ft.
Passes crossed: None
Start Elevation: approx. 11,367 ft.
Left trail head: 9:04 a.m.
Miles to Camp Two: approx. 6.5
Moving time to Camp Two: 4 hrs. 26 min.
Camp Two Elevation: approx. 10,000 ft.
Passes crossed: Two - West Maroon Pass 12,500 ft. & Frigid Air Pass 12,415 ft.
Start Elevation: approx. 10,250 ft.
Left trail head: 9:17 a.m.
Miles to Camp Three: approx. 6.25
Moving time to Camp Three: 4 hrs. 40 min.
Camp Three Elevation: 10,990 ft.
Passes crossed: One - Trail Rider Pass 12,420 ft.
Start Elevation: 10,990 ft.
Left trail head: 9:50 a.m.
Miles to trail head: approx. 8.5
Moving time to trail head: 4 hrs. 21 min.
Trail head Elevation: 9,580 ft.
Passes crossed: One - Buckskin Pass 12,500 ft.
Approximate overall elevation map:
Monday, July 20, 2009
See PHOTOS from our adventure HERE
See a sort VIDEO from our adventure HERE or at end of post.
Yes, Hike and Ski! We got our turns in for July this past Saturday at St. Mary's Glacier. 10 consecutive months of skiing now, hoping to hit 20 at some point.
St. Mary's Glacier stays around all summer and is only about an hour drive from Denver. Once you get to the trail head, there is a short 3/4 mile hike up to the lake. On the far side of the lake, the bottom edge of the Glacier can be seen stretching up the hillside. We made our way around the lake and started up the snow towards the top. There were a few other people hiking up and one guy on skis just finished his descent as we climbed.
The weather was beautiful with blue skies and a bit of a breeze to keep you cool as you hiked. It did not take us long to make it to the top of the Glacier where we threw off our packs and hiked up a bit more over the ridge line to see what was on the other side. You could see the top of James Peak (13,294 ft.) in the distance.
After a quick snack, we strapped on our skis and headed down negotiating the variable and wavy snow conditions. As the snow melts during the summer, wave like patterns are created across the surface of the snow. Tricky to negotiate, especially on teles. But we enjoyed our turns in the dirty snow that was soft in areas and crusty in others. Towards the bottom we saw a large group of snowboarders headed up with rails, shovels and coolers in tow. It would be a great spot to hang out for the weekend and build some jumps. We finished with almost 900 vertical feet under our belts for the month of July.
As we headed down the trail back to the car, with our skis strapped to our packs, we got quite a few inquisitive looks and comments from tourists taking a short day hike to the lake with their kids and dogs.
"Did you go skiing!?", one man asked, "You guys are hardcore!", another women stated. Guess we are hardcore, but we just think of it as a nice walk in the mountains with the opportunity to enjoy where we live.
We are thinking we may head up there again for our August turns. It should still have some pretty good snow pack then as well.
See PHOTOS from our adventure HERE
See a sort VIDEO from our adventure HERE or below.