Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chautauqua Snowshoeing

Boulder didn't just get a lot of snow for October, it got a lot of snow period. Almost two feet, more in the foothills. We went to Chautauqua this afternoon to play for a few hours.

We started up the "ski jump" hill and just plowed through the snow up towards the First Flatiron. Lots of people were sledding and riding, some had shovels to make jumps.

Pretty soon we were past the crowds and had the forest to ourselves. Since we know the area well we wandered around off trail for a while -- we only saw one person in the next 2 hours of trekking. Occasionally we would come across one of the official trails or a social trail made by a hiker, snowboarder, or snowshoer. Followed some, abandoned others.

At one point we were trying to follow a ridge and we got cliffed out. We couldn't go any higher so we had to traverse sideways, which took us into a snow-covered scree field. Not much fun to get out of. The snow was bubbling like a lava lamp here:

Once in a while we got a glimpse of a Flatiron. This is the Third:

We found the First Flatiron access trail and took it to the end of the Spy access trail. Didn't see the buck that usually hangs out in that neighborhood. We checked out the base of the First and then headed back on trails. Some of the snowboarders had constructed a pretty good ramp.

Once we got back to the ski jump hill we started running to see who could manage to fall the most (least?).

It was a lot of fun to get outside in the snow today. Next week it should be back up in the 50s-60s and we'll be on bikes instead.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Snow Day!

Yes, that's school today! It's been snowing almost 24 hours straight and we have about a foot of snow outside. I went skiing up at Chautauqua this afternoon and had a blast! Click here for more pics.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The skiing better be good this year...

because yesterday was the second time we've gotten snow in October. And I don't mean just flakes. When Adam was here we got 3 inches the day he arrived. Yesterday it snowed on and off all day and then we woke up to a pretty substantial dusting and 27 degree temps.

The good thing is that the mountains are blanketed in snow. Ski resorts have already opened a couple of runs and I have a feeling most resorts will be almost 100% operational by Thanksgiving.

The down side to having snow one day and 60 degree temps the next is that everyone is getting sick. Kids at school are coughing and sneezing all over the place. I'm pretty sure I had the flu the beginning of the month and Dan and I are both still fighting a cold of some sort. Fortunately, Dan hasn't had the 101 degree temp that I did.

Like I said, the skiing better be good this year!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Skunk Canyon

This afternoon we explored Skunk Canyon. We rode our bikes to a trailhead halfway up the NCAR hill, then hiked up the Skunk Canyon trail to meet up with the Mesa trail. There isn't an "official" trail that goes into the upper part of the canyon, it's more of a social trail that is overgrown and hard to follow in places. Probably much worse in the spring when it is full of skunk cabbage. The attraction is (what else?) some neat rocks up there. We ran into a couple who told us about some of the good soloing routes on the various slabs. Laurel and I only had sneakers so we were just exploring today. We found a cave that it looked like you could probably crawl up through and out with rock shoes, but there was another way around to the top too.

Pictures of our home

Laurel took some pics of our place this morning. Take a look.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

2nd Flatiron with Nick

We finally got to climb with Nick! The three of us have been talking about it since we were in WTS together in the spring. We met at 8am at the Chautauqua ranger cottage and started up the Second Flatiron at 9am. Our aim was to climb the Free For All route -- one we're familiar with and one that has some good climbing on it (5.6 on some pitches). The picture on the right is Nick a few hundred feet up the climb (click it to see the whole album).

We hadn't given Nick much warning about this climb -- in particular, that we'd be out on the rock for probably 6-7 hours! Oops. Instead of climbing the last few pitches we bailed into the gully (which probably had harder climbing in it) and then finished up less than 100 feet from the summit.

The day went well except for one glitch. After traversing under a roof and then climbing up around a corner, the rope got stuck behind Nick. He had to downclimb 30 feet to get it uncaught so that once he was at the top of the pitch Laurel could be belayed up. Epic averted!

The hike down and back to the car took almost an hour. We headed home and had BeauJo's pizza (yum!) that Ann and Sean brought over. Good WTS-themed weekend!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pettingell Peak

We couldn't have had better weather for our WTS reunion hike. Adam organized the trip to Pettingell Peak, an 13,500+ foot mountain not too far from Denver. There was a good amount of snow once we got into the higher elevations, but the temperature stayed high and the wind was fairly calm. We hiked up the Herman Gulch trail to Herman Lake, then headed off trail towards the summit. The last stretch of the hike, and returning on the way down, was treacherous. So much loose rock and scree mixed in with the snow made every step uncertain. You never knew where you might posthole up to your knee. It took us almost 4.5 hours to get up and then about another 3 to complete the 8.5 mile round trip.

Click pic to see whole album.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Adam's Visit

Still snow on the ground. I was sick, probably from standing outside in Denver all day. Adam and I did a short hike at Chautauqua on trails where bears had been recently spotted. For dinner, Adam cooked some wild boar that he killed in Florida.

Dan and Adam went to Mallory Cave. For dinner Adam made alligator.

After work we all hiked up the First Flatiron. For dinner, there was elk stew and elk roast. We found a butcher in Boulder that sells elk. Adam wants to hunt elk next fall.

All pictures here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


There's still snow and it's still cold. We bundled up and headed to Denver for our first trip to the Mile High City. The Pats had an awesome first half, decent second half, and then the Broncos got the ball first in overtime. They won with a field goal.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


It snowed last night. There are three inches outside. It's freakin' cold and Adam's flying in from Florida this morning.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Weekend Update

So, we haven't replaced the camera yet, so there are no pics. This weekend we spent Saturday playing in the new house--unpacking, moving furniture, all those fun things. We took a break to ride to the Farmer's Market which is always fun.

Sunday we hit the Third Flatiron. Rather than starting at the East Bench, we bushwhacked to the bottom of the rock (1 hour from trailhead) and starting climbing up with our packs (very wise decision to NOT go back to base of rock). After only 3 pitches we bailed because it was getting colder and colder. It's amazing how warm the sun actually is when it's not blocked by clouds!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

We bought a house!

Yay! We're Boulder homeowners. Pictures coming soon... (once we get a new camera and unpack some boxes).