Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Break

First of all, we'd like to thank everyone who hosted us, drove to see us, or altered their schedules to make this week work. Thank you!

Our Thanksgiving week was a fun and very busy one. On Saturday, we did a short walk at Betasso in between packing, cleaning, and last-minute laundry. Sunday we drove to the airport, went through security unscathed, and flew to Boston. We arrived after a quick 3-hour flight and picked up our cool Hamster-Mobile rental car. En route to Dave and Melissa's we stopped in the North End for some delicious cannolis from Mike's. We got to Medford and had a fun night hanging out with Melissa, Dave, Sid, and Bella.

Monday we went for a long run in the Fells right in Melissa and Dave's neighborhood. It was fun running up and down the Skyline Trail to a 291' hill. After a quick wagon ride with the kids, we headed to Fugakyu. There, we had lunch with 30 of Dan's co-workers who came to bid him farewell. Then we went to Raytheon so Dan could do the last of his checking out paperwork. On the way to our hotel, we stopped by our old house (everything's really growing!), got some Patriots gear at the Reebok outlet, and drove through downtown Marlborough. For dinner, Rob and Lisa hosted a huge pizza party. It was awesome to see all our friends and meet their new babies!

On Tuesday we drove to Springfield to see Dan's grandparents. We got there on the early side so we drove and then walked around downtown Springfield for a bit. We got to see the Dr. Seuss sculpture garden. After a nice lunch and visit with the grandparents, we briefly saw one of Dan's aunts and uncles before taking his cousin Amanda to the Holyoke Mall. We had a good time munching on mall food and making fun of the latest trends. Then, it was off to Enfield for dinner with Jackie and Paul at a Mexican restaurant.

Wednesday it was off to Bristol to see my grandparents. We had a nice visit complete with delicious blueberry muffins, pierogies, and cheese cookies. Yum. Then we drove to Oakville to hang out with Diana and Tim and we met their two sons, Wyatt and Hunter. Very cute! Then it was off to Norwalk to see Donna and JJ. We went out to an Indian restaurant in SoNo for dinner and then we went to Stew Leonards. It was a fun night!

Thursday we drove back Enfield for a delicious turkey dinner and some Patriots football. Later in the afternoon Dan's extended family came by for dessert. After a jam-packed week we got up at 5am Friday and drove all the way back to the Boston airport. We touched down in Denver around 2pm and were grateful to be back home!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Glacier Gorge/Boulder Brook

Today I dragged Dan up to the mountains. Since last weekend, someone flipped the switch to winter. Last weekend we were climbing in 70+ degree weather, today we were freezing in 20 degrees, wind, and snow. It was gorgeous, though, to see winter settle in to Rocky Mountain National Park.

We parked at the Glacier Gorge Trail head with the intent of following the trail 4 miles to Black Lake, about a mile from the back side (west side) of Longs Peak. However, in our excitement we took the wrong trail. We kept waiting for the trail to turn to the right, but it never did. By the time we pulled out the map, we decided to just keep going and make a loop to the Glacier Gorge Trail.

We were breaking trail in anywhere from 2-12 inches of snow for the first 2.5 miles and also when we got to the Boulder Brook Trail (another 2 miles), and the North Longs Peak Trail (2 more miles). It was beautiful seeing the ice forming on the creeks and the snow coming down everywhere. We thought we might try to go off trail and summit Half Mountain, but by the time we got there, it was too late to attempt such a feat.

We finally got to the Glacier Gorge trail and decided to head down it a ways before going back to the car. We got to Mills Lake before turning around. It was very icy on the trail and Dan and I took turns falling. It didn't seem icy enough to warrant microspikes--just a few spots. We returned to the car nearly 7 hours after we started our 10.5 mile tour.

On the way home, we drove through Estes Park and noticed the elk were still on the golf course. We drove another half mile down the road and there were dozens and dozens of elk everywhere, probably at least a hundred. They were crossing the road, making squealing noises, and generally running and doing elk-type things (sniffing each other's bottoms and the like).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mesa Trail Run

Yay! I ran 13.4 miles in 3 inches of snow this morning.

A classic Boulder trail running route. It only took me 3:25:00.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nebraska Hill

Today was a fun day of hiking in the snow with Tim. We started southwest of Tolland up a long 4-wheel drive road. On the way to the end of the road/trailhead we saw a lot of hunters and wished we had orange vests or hats or something. Our plan was to try to find an old road/trail and hike up Nebraska Hill at 11,500 or so.

Unfortunately, with all the snow (just a ground covering in some places to up to a foot and a half in others) we were not able to find any trail. The day ended up being all off trail and a good practice of our navigation skills.

On the way up, we saw many elk tracks (hence all the hunters) and a snowshoe hare in its white winter clothes. It was very cool! When we got about 500 feet from the summit the weather took a turn for the worse. Most of our morning was under blue, warm, sunny skies. However, at around 11:00 the wind was really starting to blow and we got up high enough to see big clouds forming to the west and coming our way. At 11:20 we made the call to turn around.

Ten minutes later it was really snowy and another 10 minutes down the mountain it started thundering. Yes, that's right, thunder snow! Luckily, we were back in the trees at that time and were somewhat protected. We saw the hare again and then by the time we were back at the car it was sunny and warm again. A very strange weather day, but a fun one nevertheless.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

First and Second Pinnacles

It got up to 75 degrees today! Blue skies, no wind, perfect for climbing.

We went to the Gregory Amphitheater and started out on the Southwest face route of the Second Pinnacle. It was a fun and easy route. After spending some time on the summit we rapped down and then hiked around to the interior of the amphitheater.

Instead of running the first pitch up to the top of the East Bench, I led up to the eyebolt just below the bench. It was a somewhat awkward place to belay, but we managed to get up to the summit of the First Pinnacle.