Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bike ride to Niwot

Last weekend when we drove back from a dealership in Longmont we passed the tiny town of Niwot. Today we decided today to bike there and walk around the downtown area. Fun day until I hit a curb the wrong way and went over the handlebars.

View Niwot loop in a larger map or in gmap pedometer

Monday, March 22, 2010

Brainard Cabin and Audubon

Sunday afternoon we drove up to the Brainard Lake winter trailhead, luckily found a parking spot, and snowshoed a few miles out to the CMC cabin. We got there before the weekend day-host had left, so the cabin was already opened up with fires going.

We chilled out that evening and got an early start Monday morning to hike and snowshoe up Mt. Audubon.

It was supposed to be warm on Monday -- the temperature was 30 when we started out at 6:30 AM -- but two things kept us from feeling warm. First, we kept gaining elevation, which drops the temperature. Second, the wind got stronger as we got closer to and then above the treeline.

In the beginning there were tracks to follow from a snowshoer the day before. Once those veered off in the wrong direction, there was enough fresh snow that you couldn't tell there was a trail other than by the wider spacing between trees. We followed it as well as we could but eventually lost the trail and were on our own.

We continued up above treeline and eventually found the trail again. Above treeline there were pretty constant gusts of 30-40 MPH winds. It was a blue-sky day so we kept on going up. The sastrugi were beautiful along the way.

A few hundred vertical feet of the summit we turned around to ensure we would get back in time. The winds had really slowed us down. On the way down we were careful to stay away from the steeper slopes to avoid any possible avalanche danger. Back to the cabin to pick up a few things we left, then hiked out the road to the trailhead.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring in Colorado

Happy Spring! It has been a great week in Colorado despite the mixture of spring and winter weather. Last Saturday it was sunny and 50, so we were able to ride our bikes to the car dealerships in town. We got into many cars and test drove some. No decision yet, but we got a lot of research done! Saturday evening Tim and Jill came over, then we went to Ann and Sean's St. Patrick's Day party.

Sunday the weather was more winter-like. We had planned to head up to Estes Park to hike up Estes Cone (11,000), but we got a late start and 2/3 of the way there, Dan realized he forgot his boots. The day was not a total waste, as we stopped at the Foothill Trailhead and did some trailing running in the light snow.

The rest of the week was absolutely beautiful. On Tuesday, we went for a 2-hour mountain bike ride on the Eagle trail after work. Thursday we rode to Sanitas and did some bouldering.

Then, in true Colorado form, we got a foot of snow Friday. School wasn't canceled because the roads weren't too bad -- they were so warm from the rest of the week, it was just slushy. The powder accumulated everywhere else -- including the slopes at Eldora. The little Echo couldn't make it up the icy canyon road, so we took the bus and skied the awesome conditions all afternoon. I love spring skiing! It's so much warmer!

Today and tomorrow it's supposed to be in the fifties and sixties again. Now, if we could only get one more snow storm, since we both have one punch left on our ski passes!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Pike's Peak

Yesterday we did our fourth CMC trip (it's been a while...). We registered for the trip for a couple of reasons. First, we thought it would be fun. Second, we've never been on the east side of Pike's Peak, and third, we're hoping to run up this particular trail in the Pike's Peak Ascent Half Marathon in August.

So, we got up super early (5am!) and met the rest of the group just outside of Colorado Springs. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day and by 8am we were stashing away layers at the trailhead. The Barr trail begins in historic Manitou Springs and climbs a total of 13 miles to the peak. Our objective today, though, was the infamous Barr Camp halfway up the mountain. We started at 6,800 and climbed to the camp at 10,200. There were beautiful views of Colorado Springs and the peak along the way. We were passed by dozens of trail runners on the bottom few miles of the icy/slushy trail.

At lunch time we made it to the camp. There are year-round caretakers, Teresa and Neal, who live in the main cabin and cook spaghetti dinners for their guests. There are also lean-to shelters and tent sites. Teresa and Neal were very hospitable and offered us hot drinks, a warm fire, and bird seed. The birds up there will actually eat out of your hands. It's something else!

We got back to the cars uneventfully, yet very tired after hiking 13 miles. We all went out to eat at Rosie's Diner in Monument afterward.