Friday, September 4, 2009

A Colorado Wedding

On August 1, 2009, Julia and Erich (Melissa's brother) got married at the Hanke Farm in Boulder, Colorado. It was a perfect little wedding with the blue sky, majestic mountains, tall grass and meandering cows as the backdrop. Melissa was a bridesmaid, I was a groomsman, our mutual friend Mario Arce married them and then it was off to the reception at the historic Hotel Boulderado in downtown Boulder. The food was excellent, the beer selections were delicious, the speeches were heartfelt and the dancing was off the hook. The day was one to remember for all. I wish all the happiness and adventure to Julia and Erich for the rest of their lives together!

A slide show, with music, by the photographer can be viewed here:

Melissa Beck Photography

You can view all the photos from the wedding taken by Melissa Beck, as well as order prints and other merchandise HERE. Password to enter the gallery is: Uban-Hanke

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Grilled Watermelon Salad

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


Melissa at the top of Mt. Lincoln (14,286')

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.

Map of the route. We traveled clockwise from the blue arrow.

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!

Melissa and Jason at the op of Mt. Democrat 14,148'

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.

View from the top of Mt. Cameron over to Mt. Lincoln.

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!

Melissa with her WhichWich bag. Free sandwich!

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.

Panoramic view from the trail head.
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!

Check out the slide show below for more photos from the trip:
(You can click the icon in the lower right for a larger view.)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Bob Weir & Ratdog

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.
Jam > Casey Jones, Easy to Slip > Stagger Lee > Dire Wolf, Candyman@, Corrina@, I Need a Miracle > Playin in the Band > Mississippi Half-Step > Samson and Delilah > Stuff, Black Peter > Touch of Grey

A taste of what we saw (different venue)

It was some great music at an awesome venue. Glad we had the opportunity to see them. Thanks for getting the tickets Rich!

Took a few photos, not that great on quality, but you get the idea.
It's more about the tunes!