Sunday, October 31, 2010

Walker Ranch

Dan and I went trail running up at Walker Ranch. It was an 8-mile loop and the weather was absolutely gorgeous--sunny and in the 70s.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bear Peak

We decided to do a local hike today, so Dan picked out a route up Bear Peak. We started at Shanahan Ridge, a nice neighborhood trailhead, and then took a connecting trail to Fern Canyon. On the way, we discovered the base of "The Slab," a huge piece of rock with very little pro. As we got closer to the summit ridge, the wind really picked up and the temperature dropped 15 degrees. We were glad to have our windbreakers, hats, and gloves!

On the summit we were hanging out and two scantily-clad runners popped up from the trail. After a couple of stolen glances, I recognized one as ultra-runner Tony Krupicka. A little star-struck, I couldn't think of anything to start up a conversation about and just climbed past him.

Dan and I continued to South Boulder Peak and then descended Shadow Canyon. Later in the day, Dan found Tony's blog and confirmed that it was him. He's run up Green Mountain 282 times this year and run up Bear Peak 25 times. I, in contrast, have run up Green 5 times and Bear once.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Heil Ranch

On Saturday I went trail running up at Heil Ranch for almost 2.5 hours. It was beautiful morning with barely anybody out in the foggy morning. Then Dan and I went for a bike ride.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

St. Mary's Glacier

Today we hiked up to St. Mary's Glacier. With skis.

Call us crazy but we weren't the only ones getting a head start on the season. What we intended to ski was a lot like the trail: dirt and rocks. But there was enough snow, ice, and water to make it feel a little like east-coast skiing -- just kidding :) :)

First though we hiked to the top of the "glacier" to a point where we could check out James Peak. Beautiful day, as you can see.

I nearly did a cartwheel on my first run down, when one of my ski tips caught under a flake of ice. Somehow I caught myself and made it to the bottom without falling. Laurel had a good a run down the slope, then I did a few more runs.

It's not quite backcountry skiing but we're getting there.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Elk Rut

We saw elk fighting and heard them bugling! Sorry, this is a much delayed follow-up from Dan's post last week. After our adventures on Mount Wuh we drove back through Rocky Mountain and into Estes Park. There were maybe three dozen elk on the golf course in the middle of town! As the sun was quickly setting behind the mountains, we were able to see two 8-pointers fighting for a female's affections near the putting green. Then, we were able to listen to many eerie calls as darkness fell. At first, we thought we heard a kid crying/screaming. But then, as we got further away from the small crowd, we realized the sound was actually the elk. You would think these animals would have a low, raspy grunt. But alas, their high-pitched cries would confuse even the smartest of my Kindergartners. For such a large animal, they sure do sound strange. Nevertheless, it was very exciting. We've heard about the elk rut for two years now, and it was awesome to actually see and hear it!

On an unrelated note, I went for a quick run after school today on a new trail halfway between school and home. The trail was adjacent to cattle grazing lands and this afternoon I saw three cowboys (really!) riding their horses and round up the cattle to move them to the next field. One of the cowboys was even texting while he was working.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mount Wuh

We decided to climb Mount Wuh just because it had a funny name. It turned out to be a great hike. (See our route.)

Starting at the Bierstadt Lake trailhead, we hiked up switchbacks to the top of the moraine, then west towards Bear Lake. The aspen along this stretch of trail were beautiful. Some were just starting to turn, others were completely yellow, and a few had bright orange leaves like I've never seen on an aspen.

After a mile and a half we headed off trail through thick forest towards Wuh's southeast ridge. In the swampy terrain on the other side of Mill Creek I found a single Hi-Tec hiking boot that looked brand new aside from being aged in the muck. How did someone lose one boot?

As we scrambled up the ridge, we stopped at a few places that we thought were the summit. Wuh was much bigger than we expected! At one of the false summits we were pretty sure the next peak to the west was Joe Mills Mountain, but after checking the map we realized it was probably the true summit of Wuh, and Joe Mills was the one even further in the distance.

The rock scrambling was tough because there was about a quarter inch of snow covering everything -- just enough snow to make that crunch sound under our boots. And more was coming as we hiked. We were in and out of the clouds all afternoon.

At 2pm we summited Wuh and began heading down the west side. It was getting too late to ascend Joe Mills Mountain, so we set our sights for Round Pond instead. This tiny lake is buried in the forest between the two mountains. We didn't have the GPS with us, so our hopes were not high of actually finding it, but somehow we did!

After stopping at the pond for a snack we headed south and reached the trail at around 4pm. In 5.5 hours of off-trail hiking, we probably only covered about 3 miles. Back on the trail we were able to pick up the pace. We hiked back to the Bierstadt lake trail system and decided to go around the lake before returning to the trailhead.

We probably covered over 9 miles with the zig-zagging we must have done while off-trail. Not bad for a 8.5 hour day! What came next is a whole other story that I will let Laurel tell...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Quiet Boulder Weekend

It's been a quiet weekend for us. I ran up Green Mountain on Saturday and then we rode bikes to the farmer's market. Did some other errands on the bike and hung out with the neighbors.

Sunday we volunteered at the Boulder Marathon. It was really fun running our own aid station and cheering the runners on. We so appreciate all the people who have helped us in our races, it was time to give back a bit!