Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Week in Florida

Sunday: We flew into Miami and it was cold! Well, cold for Florida anyway. It was probably 60 degrees and sunny. Mom and Dad picked us up and brought us straight to the Dania Beach before heading to their place for a tasty home cooked meal. Then we went over to Adam's for the night.

Monday: After a nice run over to the airport greenbelt park, Mom took us to a scary grocery store called Penn Dutch. In the afternoon we bundled up for a walk on the Hollywood Broadwalk. Another tasty home cooked meal followed!

Tuesday: After a morning rollerblading trip (L) and run (D), Mom and Dad drove us down to an area outside of Homestead called the Redlands. We stopped at many roadside farm-stands and tasted fresh picked strawberries, tomatoes and even got some boiled peanuts. Then we drove down to Everglades National Park and did some walking around. It was pretty and very cool to see the natural side of Florida. Adam cooked duck for dinner.

Wednesday: Beach day! It was finally warm enough to head to the beach. We hopped on our borrowed bikes and rode down to the Dania Beach. It was too windy for good sun-bathing, but it was nice walking along the water. We rode our bikes down to Hollywood, rode the whole Broadwalk and then rode to Mom and Dad's. We spent the afternoon hanging out at the pool. We got back to Adam's and watched Rogue -- a stupid movie about a 2-ton Australian crocodile that lives in a tree-cave and eats people. Then we went to watch Adam at his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practice.

Thursday: Adam took us for a boat ride in the Everglades. We saw tons of alligators on the canal banks. There were lots of birds, too. In the afternoon Mom and Dad came over and we made lots and lots of pierogies. Yum!

Friday: We ran in the morning with Adam, went to the beach twice, rollerbladed, and had a Christmas feast.

Saturday: Race day! Yes, we found a 5K in Fort Lauderdale. We all ran it and Dan and I got PRs. Well, I guess Adam did too, since it was his first race. Dan ran it in 22:30, Adam came in at 23:59 and I finished at 26:03 (it was a fun run and not officially timed). After lots of free munchies we crashed at Adam's for a bit before heading out to kayak 5 miles in West Lake Park. Then it was back to the beach for an evening walk.

Sunday: We met Mom and Dad on the beach for breakfast after rollerblading a bit. After eating we bladed some more and walked on the beach a bit. Then we headed back to Adam's to pack and say goodbye. Mom and Dad drove us down A1A to Miami where we walked around on Lincoln Street. It was like a huge Pearl Street with shops, cafes, restaurants and vendors everywhere. Very fun!

We had some time to kill at the airport, so Dan read about half of the Foreverglades text engraved in the floor of the J concourse.

Back to Denver and the cold.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Exploring Shadow Canyon

We had an adventure today.  Our plan was to hike up Shadow Canyon, summit South Boulder and Bear Peaks, then return via different trails.  Part way up the Shadow Canyon trail, we saw an unmarked side trail.  It took us to a clearing with great views and from there we could see this great looking rock (we didn't know it at the time, but the rock was probably The Matron).  We decided to hike up the big hill to check it out.

The hill was steeper than it looked.  Once we got up it, there was a scree field preventing us from getting over to the big rock, so instead we continued up along the ridge thinking we could cut across above where the scree began.  The higher we got the more we realized it would be difficult to get to the base of the rock.  We scrapped that plan and instead decided to try to gain the south ridge of Boulder Mountain and traverse north to South Boulder Peak.

The snow was getting deeper and eventually the boulders were too big to navigate.  We dropped down into the trees -- not much easier since half of them were laying down.  We tried to parallel the ridge we had been following as best we could.

Eventually we made it to the south ridge of Boulder Mountain.  There was no trail in sight, and our "summit" didn't look anything like South Boulder Peak.  We spent a little time looking at our map (for the first time since leaving the trail) and realized we were too far south.  Making the mile trek north to get to our intended summit was going to be impossible due to steep cliffs.  Our only option was to retrace our steps back to the trail.  Fortunately the way down was easier going.

Looking at the topo at home tonight, it seems we gained 1000' feet after leaving trail.  To get to our intended summit, we would have needed to gain another 1000'.  Regardless, the view from 7570' was pretty good! Click a pic to see the rest.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sandbeach Lake

Dan snowshoeing down the trailOur original plan for the weekend was to snowshoe out to the Guinn Mountain Hut and overnight there Saturday. When we checked the weather though, the low was predicted to be very low and the wind very windy.

We skipped the hut and instead did a 9 mile snowshoe in the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park. We followed the Sandbeach Lake trail to ... take a guess ... Sandbeach Lake. On our way up the trail we ran into three guys returning to the trailhead. They said they broke trail to Hunter's Creek and turned back there. Breaking trail beyond that point would be fun.

We had a late start (10 AM at the trailhead) and we had made a few detours along the way. First, a big rock not too far off trail. Second detour: Hole-in-the-Wall Campground. A bit before 1 PM we were still on our way up and wondering if we would even reach the point where the other party had turned around. Very soon after we found the Creek. There was a split-log bridge going over the frozen creek. Just in case the creek wasn't frozen enough to cross, we took the bridge.

Needle rock formation
Sure enough, there was the end of the broken trail. Beyond that point was fresh snow for us. We stopped for a bite to eat before continuing on.

Not two minutes after we stopped, a train of 12 CMC snowshoers approaches across that fresh snow we were eying. So much for breaking trail! As the last of the group was passing we hear someone say, "Is that Laurel and Dan?" It was Adam from WTS! We only had a minute to chat before he had to continue with the group.

By then it was 1:30 and we weren't sure if we'd make it to the Lake. Or if we did make it to the lake, if we'd make it back to the car before dark. We decided to give it a shot and turn around at 2 PM.

Sandbeach Lake
Snow stuck to trees from strong winds blowing off the lakeThe trail from that point on was very steep. By 2 PM we were still climbing and were not yet at the lake. We took out the topo to try to figure out how much further it would be. The trail had just started to level out a bit. It didn't seem like there was much left to go so we continued. Sure enough, about 5 minutes later we were at the lake.

It's called Sandbeach Lake because there is a sand beach, and there is a lake. Honest. There was also ice and blowing snow. With nothing to block the wind we didn't want to stay long.

It only took us half as long to get back to Hunter's Creek, so we were feeling pretty good about getting back before dark. Sure enough, with no detours and most of the way downhill, we made the trip back in only two hours.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Skiing out the front door

Cottonwood rail
It snowed again last night, so of course my skis were begging to get out. Despite the 15-degree temperature I pulled out my boots, poles, and skis and headed out the door. I skied the Cottonwood Trail. Click for pics!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Colder Boulder

We were invited to run the Colder Boulder on CU's campus today because we had qualifying times from the Bolder Boulder in May. Dan and I ran in the same wave and he kicked butt! Despite the 20-degree temps and the icy course, Dan ran 23:17. I rolled in a few minutes later with 27:13 (four seconds slower than the Turkey Trot). Yay Dan! Official results here.