Grey Rock #542

So this was more like hike #7, but I am aiming for hyperbole here.

Caleb’s friend, Josh, was in town this weekend, and you simply cannot come to Colorado without being thrown into the wilderness for a few hours. After a few days of hitting up Old Town (Crown Pub, I think you might be the winner of this particular visit — sorry Drunken Monkey, you’re still tool city), it was time to tour the other side of Fort Collins.

I have to admit, the hike kicked my butt (I really need to start hiking regularly again), but Josh was an excellent sport! He didn’t even complain when we had to walk back in almost complete darkness, save  a my headlamp that Caleb was operating in the front of the pack. It was for the best; I complained enough for a few people…

On to the pictures!

Notice the hint of past nights on the town in this picture:

I believe we had a discussion about God Complexes earlier in the day…

Between the Old Town good times and the butt-kicking hike, the weekend was certainly a nice vacation from reality for me. I only hope our company felt the same way!

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30 August 2010. Tags: . colorado, Hiking/Backpacking. Leave a comment.

Post-Graduation, Pre-Breakdown Road Trip! (Part One)

All right, I am possibly being melodramatic, but I did really need a get-a-away vaca after all of the excitement of graduation week. So… as fate would have it, Caleb needed a buddy on his own road trip to Montana. One week after graduation, off we drove into the sunset. Or sunrise. Or whatever time of day it was. All in all, we made one heck of a circle around the West. Here is the breakdown:

We first headed for Missoula, Montana. This beautiful little mountain town is full of charm and just so happens to be Caleb’s birthplace. He only lived there until he was 2, so it had been a full 23 years since he had stepped foot on his “homeland” as he calls it. Oh, and his semi-crazy, karate-fighting, Chuck Norris- and Bruce Lee-friending grandfather and family live there, too. But I’ll get to that in a second.

Our first mission when we arrived was to tour the University of Montana.

Caleb is looking into attending law school, so he thought he may as well consider UM. We really got the feel for the university as we hiked the “M” behind the school– you can see the hillside marking in the first picture above. One of the many reasons I love the West is for the letters schools put on the hills around campuses. (Side note: It’s a life goal of mine to hike every letter of the alphabet… Only 23 to go!)

Here is McCabe at the apex:

And the view from there:

While touring the campus was fun, Caleb had bigger fish to fry… or to be fried by, perhaps. He called his grandpa and spoke with him for the first time in years, and was promptly invited to meet him at the “dojo” (the name for a martial artistry school). I am truly sad to say that I don’t have any pictures of this wondrous occasion… all the pictures are on Caleb’s camera. BUT, here are a few pictures of Jim Harrison to go with the story I am about to tell you (All were pulled from his website). Keep the kiddies away, this one is a nightmare inducer!

Jim ‘Ronin” Harrison:

Did I mention he was close friends with CHUCK NORRIS? Oh yes.

“Jim Harrison saved my life once… he pulled his punch an inch from my face!”

– Chuck Norris

(Not even kidding… he honestly said that.)

Anyway, Jim Harrison is a terrifying human. He has killed more people that I wish to know about and was once apprehended by not one police officer, not two, but an entire S.W.A.T. team. And I spent an entire day with him at his Jujitsu school and in his home. I’m lucky to be alive.

All kidding aside, he is a nice man. It’s weird to think that people like Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee (yep, another friend) are actually someone’s father… or grandfather in Caleb’s case.

After McCabe got his butt kicked by his 73-year-old grandpap, we went to the Harrison house for dinner and conversation. It was a little hard to listen to at times (considering I’m a lover, not a fighter), but I am no longer in disbelief regarding the intensity of Mr. Harrison. Oh, and I LOVE his wife, Carol. An amazing woman. And their sons (technically Caleb’s uncles, but younger than him) were hilarious and very friendly–when they weren’t beating one another up. It’s hard to believe the stories when you get to know the family life of someone like Mr. Harrison…

(But then again, I am familiar with the fire in Caleb’s eyes; he had to get it from somewhere.)

So with a slightly terrifying hug goodbye to the infamous Jim Harrison (and Carol!), we set out for the next leg of our random, post-graduation journey…

To Be Continued…

1 June 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Hiking/Backpacking, travel. Leave a comment.

Graduation Weekend, Part 2

Alright… so here is the rest of the story: Graduation weekend was amazing. I got to see my family and graduate with my best friend by my side (and Bekah, my favorite/best cousin/friend in my heart). I even got to take the family to Horsetooth before the 7pm graduation.

But.

Yes, a big but appeared in the middle of this epic weekend.

First, I got a text in the middle of the graduation ceremony informing me that I no longer had a job. Irony at it’s best. Second, my mom was hospitalized for severe stomach pain and had to have her appendix removed in Rocky Mountain Regional Hospital. So I got my wish for my family to stay longer, but not quite in the fashion I had hoped.

While my mom underwent the knife, all of us kids left with my aunt and uncle to Estes for the day to relieve some stress and to avoid causing the nurses of RMRH to ignore their Hippocratic oath. I felt a bit uneasy about leaving my mom, but she assured us she didn’t want us sitting waiting on her, so off to Rocky Mountain National Park we went.

And we ended our day with a tour of the famous Stanley Hotel where Steven King penned The Shining while enjoying a stay in the mountains.

The day may have made some of us loopy-er than others…

But no fear, we didn’t leave Mom completely in the dark. When we made it back to the hospital to visit her post-appendectomy, she was thrilled to see the evidence of a day spent outside the confines of the hospital walls.

The weekend may have been flawed, but it wasn’t bad. Mom made it safely back to Missouri and is recuperating (though without the help of pain meds–yuck!)

And hey, if I hadn’t lost my job, I would have never been able to embark on this next adventure: Road Trip West 2010.

More on that later.

24 May 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . colorado, Family, Hiking/Backpacking, travel. Leave a comment.

Waving to the East

Grey Rock is one of my favorite hikes in the Fort Collins area. It offers an amazing view, not to mention a thorough workout. This was climb number four for me and the first summit for Angela. Okay, honestly, we didn’t actually go to the summit, we opted for the false one because it was better for wind protection and sunning. But it was a summit hike, nonetheless.

This time I simply waved to my family in the distance. In a month, they will be here to join me on this magnificent trail. If you look closely (really, extremely closely) you might be able to make out Springfield…

When Ang and I reached the top, we rested and enjoyed the view until our bums were numb. The view is always my favorite part of hiking.

And after deciding to take the “easier” meadow trail on the way back, we realized that it was anything BUT easier, but were at least rewarded with some more great views. It’s hard to believe it took us thirty minutes to get from the top of this rock to the meadow were this picture was taken:

I even got a bird’s-eye-view of last weekend’s hike at Hewlett Gulch!

11 April 2010. Tags: , , , , , . colorado, Hiking/Backpacking. Leave a comment.

Another Day, Another Gulch

This Easter weekend was kind of sad. I realized it was the third year that I haven’t spent the holiday with my family. So, to cheer myself up, I decided to go on a hike in the amazing Colorado outdoors. I took Caleb with me for anti-mountain lion support.

The day started out a little colder than expected but after a wonderfully steep hill-climb, the temperature seemed just right. The sun was shining and I have to admit that I felt at least a little bit better at the end of the day.

5 April 2010. colorado, Hiking/Backpacking. Leave a comment.

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