Sunday, November 29, 2009

Green Mountain

We went for a hike up Green Mountain today.

Night was falling as we hiked the last part of the trail back to the car.

This was our fifth time up Green Mountain. We like it a lot.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Eldora Nordic Center

Dan still wasn't feeling well (and was trying to beat Metroid on the OLD Nintendo), so I went up to Eldora to do some cross country skiing. They've got a ton of trails, most of which were open today. They're all deep in the woods, so they're weren't many views of peaks or anything else besides trees and more trees. I still had fun and it was nice to get a way for a couple of hours. Pics are here.

Trail at Eldora

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Day

Happy Turkey Day everyone! We made the mistake of running a 5K today after skiing all day yesterday. Yeah, not the best idea. We jogged to Research Park about 2 miles away to get our numbers and chips. It was really nice out and we dumped our fleeces and hats. Dan ran a good race at 25:14 and I came in not too much later at 27:09. We walked/jogged home and got ready for turkey! See results here.

Ann and Sean came over for dinner. Unfortunately, Dan got the stomach bug this morning that I had last weekend so he stayed in bed most of the day. Poor Dan. At least there's plenty of leftovers for when he's feeling better.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Gondola lift above the parking lot
Today we drove to Breckenridge for some early season skiing. The trails were in pretty good shape and we got quite a few runs in. Peaks 8 and 9 were open and there were plenty of greens and blues to play on. Dan tried the one black that was open -- it had some patches of thin cover to avoid. Fortunately, there were plenty of bumps and trees for him to play with on the easier runs.

When Breck closed down at 4pm we headed to the other side of the reservoir for night skiing at Keystone. It was beautiful watching the sun set as we climbed the mountain in the gondola. There were two long runs open (20 minutes each) and we had fun playing on them under the lights. On the second to last run of the night a snowboarder plowed into me and knocked me down. My neck still hurts a day later -- whip lash perhaps?

We had a blast skiing all day even if we didn't get home until late. We were so sore after sitting for two hours in the car that we couldn't move once we did arrive. More pics here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Very Boulder Day

There is still a bit of snow on the ground from last weekend, but the temperatures have been more seasonable as the week's gone on. Today it was in the 50s and we took advantage of it!

First, Dan and I both went running. I went up the Cottonwood Trail and he did some speedwork in the neighborhood. Then, we got on our bikes and headed to the south of town. We wound our way up to the Kohler Mesa and then up to Chautauqua. Since one can't visit Chautauqua without hiking, that's just what we did. Northern facing, shady bits of trail were very icy and very cold, so we didn't make it to the Royal Arch, but we managed to do a nice loop. Dan even did a couple of moves on the Second Flatiron as we walked by the base. Then we hopped on our bikes and headed home.

Today we also got season ski rentals so we're ready to hit the slopes this winter! Yay!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I went for a walk down the Cottonwood trail. At 2am. Cold.

A mile and a half from home I stopped to look around. Unsure which way was east and unfamiliar with the Leo constellation, I figured my chances were slim of seeing any meteors.

A few short streaks caught my attention but by the time I turned to look they were gone. Was my imagination playing tricks on me? Or my eyes?

I had given them time to adjust. It was dark enough that I could see more stars than usual, but the airport was only a mile to the south and its revolving beacon would occasionally escape from behind the trees to hit me in the face. Certainly not ideal conditions.

A train went by. Somehow the noise made it harder to see meteors. I'm sure of it.

I had walked and watched for about a half hour each and had only (maybe) seen four short streaks. Standing still on a snowy path in 25°F air isn't much fun so I turned to head home.

A car came down a nearby road with high beams so I faced back towards the north to avoid getting blinded. Figured I may as well look up while I'm waiting... WHOA!

That was definitely a meteor! It looked like a narrow airplane contrail, two or three times as long as the shorter streaks I had seen. Unlike the others, this one lingered in the sky for a few seconds before fading into the black.

I saw a meteor!

It was still cold so I was still heading home. I kept my eyes on the sky as I walked. Another questionable mini-streak heading towards the handle on the Big Dipper.

The path curved and I was facing almost due west. The foothills were faint in the distance, only visible by their snow cover. I saw a very bright mini-streak that looked like it was going directly down into the mountain. I thought they were supposed to be coming out of the east -- did this one make it all the way to the other horizon?

Continuing on I saw another streak, leaving the front of Orion's belt, heading diagonally down and away from the hunter.

At this point I had seen streaks in all parts of the sky. Not at all what I had expected but definitely a good show. In total I saw 9 streaks: the one long-lasting one, the bright one in the west, another shorter in length but longer in duration, and then 6 other minis.

When I got home I spent some time in the planetarium before heading to bed for a few hours.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

First Flatironette

We had another great weather forecast for Sunday (and more time since we didn't have dinner plans), so we went back to Chautauqua to do some climbing. On the way up the trail at about 11:00 we saw some other climbers coming down the trail. I commented to Dan, "Early birds, huh?." We thought we were smart by waiting for the sun to warm things up in the later morning. The early birds actually had it right...

We decided to try the ridge of the First Flatironette to see if it would be a good climb for Donna and JJ when they visit (if we got a good weather day!). The first pitch was fun and relatively warm. By the time we got to the second and third pitches the sun starting moving behind the foothills and it got much chillier. At the top of the third pitch, I asked Dan how many pitches we had left. He thought there were two and we both were getting very frustrated. He went over the next bump on lead and realized that we were actually at the summit! He untied from the rope, I coiled it up, and walked off the belay station.

The 60 degree rule has now been amended: It must be 60 degrees AND SUNNY on the rock in order to climb!

Spelunking, day 2 -- Bat cave!

Saturday was going to be our climbing day, but it turned into our sleeping-in day. Since we had dinner plans that night we decided to just go hiking for a few hours, maybe check out the Fourth Flatiron.

Halfway up the Royal Arch trail we found the turn-off to get to the "Eyes of the Canyon", a rock formation described in the climbing books. We headed off trail for a while. I'm not sure if we ever made it to the "Eyes". There were a ton of rock formations and caves that we explored along the way -- a continuation of the spelunking we did last November. One cave in particular had a surprise for us:

The cave was spacious. There was enough room to stand up, and there was another section higher up that you could get into. From there though, it seemed like the end. There was a skinny vertical tunnel but I couldn't see where it went. It seemed barely wide enough to squeeze through, and there wasn't any light coming from it, so I assume it didn't go anywhere.

We found a few more caves and tunnels of sorts as we hiked up the gully. It seemed like we could have kept going to the top of Green Mountain, but we were running out of time. We'll have to explore that area more someday.

Dinner with Tim and Jill that night was delicious!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

North Sourdough Trail

Laurel needed a mountain fix so we headed up to the Indian Peaks for some snowshoeing. Even though most of the snow had melted in Boulder, and even though the temperature was already in the 40s in Ward when we checked this morning, we figured there would still be snow in the mountains.

Instead of going to the Brainard area we headed a little farther north to county road 96. We found the Beaver Reservoir trailhead, which is the northern terminus of the Sourdough trail. There was no parking area so we pulled off on the side of the road as far as we could.

The snow was wet, sticky, and heavy. Our snowshoes would get clumps of snow stuck to the bottom and occasionally snowballs would collect on top too. It wasn't long until we reached a portion of the trail that had not yet been traveled. That increased the difficulty -- every step we took we sunk in a foot. And unlike the light fluffy snow on Thursday that we could plow through, in these conditions the only option was high-knees all the way.

Our goal was to go along the trail for almost 2 miles to a loop, but we didn't even make it to the loop today before we decided to turn back. It was nice to be able to retrace our path and not break trail the whole way back.

Click a pic to see a few more.