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.

Hatcher Pass and Fuzzy Cuffs

   I’m not yet finished with the Europe series, but lets face it: I’m bored easily and Alaska has provided me with ample detour material.

      This weekend I went for a hike with Stephanie into Hatcher Pass. It was a spur of the moment decision and we decided the rainfall would not deter us. Unfortunately, it also didn’t deter a certain lady ranger that made the most of showing off her “superiority.”

      We didn’t make it half way up the hill to Hatchers before my $100 car began smoking. Stephanie and I were gabbing away when a guy honked at us and let us know that we were on the verge of a major meltdown–or blowup; you decide. (Being the awesome mechanic that I am, I personally sense that it is a slipping belt… or maybe it was Levi who told me that. We will never know.)

Gloria sitting on her rightful throne... awaiting junkyardom.

Gloria sitting on her rightful throne... awaiting junkyardom.

         So we changed the plans from starting at Summit Lake to making it our final destination. As we first began the ascent, “Fuzzy Cuffs” (my coworker, Matt, informed me of this endearing title with the summation: “because she’s a pansy.” ) told us to move my car further uphill. I protested with the “but it’s gonna blowup” defense, but she made me anyhow.

Ireland!

Ireland!?

       About 500 yards up the road she told us we were not dressed appropriately for such severe weather. It is summer. It is rainy. So what. Even in Alaska, the summer temps are mild enough that you will make it out alive if only you keep moving. 

Enjoying the scenery. Fuzzy Cuffs excluded.

Enjoying the scenery. Fuzzy Cuffs excluded.

       Nearing the top, now. She stops us again: “I don’t think you understand. Are you okay? I don’t think you are. You’re not dressed right. You know people have died up here!?” Yes, ma’am. By the way, it’s summer. And warm. Just in case you have failed to actually step outside of your ranger rover in the past few months.

Summit Lake surrounded by a mysterious fog. Perfect murder mystery setting. Maybe we misjudged Fuzz.

Summit Lake surrounded by an eerie fog. Perfect murder mystery setting. Maybe we misjudged Fuzz.

Summit Lake

.

      Stephanie and I ignored her other failed attempts and began mocking her as an alternative to slaying. We did get some good pictures. One as she parked on top of the hill and hawk-eyed us all the way back to my car, and the other as she drove by once we made it. One thing is for sure: she is an import. 

See ya next time, Fuzz!

See ya next time, Fuzz!

28 July 2009. Tags: , , , , , , . Alaska, Hiking/Backpacking, travel. Leave a comment.

Young’s Gulch/River

As in most of my  backpacking experiences, this one did not follow the initial plan. We set out at about 5pm on Friday for a Steven’s Gulch but had to reroute due to an obvious “FOR DAY USE ONLY” sign in the parking lot. So down the Poudre we went until we hit a local bar. (I stopped in… to call our emergency contact and tell him the change in plans). Next stop: Young’s Gulch. I had hiked that same route in mid March and the half frozen stream that you cross MULTIPLE times was small and 80% frozen. No such luck on this trip. The “stream” was more like a small river and the stone crossings were hidden beneath the icy flow. Not wanting to get wet, the we-who-do-not-have-waterproof-hiking-boots kids chose the less obvious, less safe courses. I fell in on the third crossing. We lost a few others to the stream crossing nonsense, but the campfire at the conclusion of the day had us rejuvenated in no time. After too much food, off-key singing, and an abundance of campfire stories, my sleeping bag felt like a plush hotel bed.

The night held a storm of rain and snow and only Lauren refused to succumb to the peaceful sound. A reenactment of the morning hours:

3am  – Lauren: “Guys, what time does the sun come up? I can’t sleep.”

          – Me: “6am. Go back to sleep.”

4am  – Lauren: “What time do you think it is? Is the sun coming up yet?”

          – Laura: “Uh, ya, I think I see some light outside.”

5am  – Lauren: “It is not getting light! What time is it?”

          – Laura and I: *snore*

6am  – Lauren: “Ryan. Ryan! Are you awake?”

          – Ryan: “Mrphlph…”

           (Lauren wanders away from camp to our sleepy eyes’ delight)

9am  – Me: “Lauren, did you ever bring your bag in from the rain?” 

           – Lauren: “Too late now.”

9-9:30am: (We listen to Paul snore in the tent beside us.)

9:30am: Breakfast: the only thing that we desire more than sleep. 

———————————————-

That morning, we hiked back toward the car making a detour up a steep incline to get an awesome view of… whiteness. (See pictures below). Another great backpacking adventure for the CSU kids!

Laura assisting Lauren across the "stream." Paul nervously awaits his own fate.

Laura assisting Lauren across the "stream." Paul nervously awaits his own fate.

 

Not a bad view for a potty break :) Note the yellowish spot in the lower center. Home sweet tent!

Not a bad view for a potty break 🙂 Note the yellowish spot in the lower center. Home sweet tent! Note the white specks throughout the picture: Very unwelcome precipitation.

 

Who knew that Ponderosa pines smell like butterscotch and vanilla. Seriously! Go sniff one!

Who knew that Ponderosa pines smell like butterscotch and vanilla? Seriously! Go sniff one!

 

(Sorry, I can't make it straight) This is a funny one. Laura willingly offered up her potential dryness to try and find a decent crossing for us after we had wandered off trail. Little did we know that the rocks to her right were the trail crossing rocks. Oops.

(Sorry, I can't make it straight) This is a funny one. Laura willingly offered up her potential dryness to try and find a decent crossing for us after we had wandered off trail. Little did we know that the rocks to her right were the trail crossing rocks. Oops.

 

The Clan: Paul, Lauren, Laura, Jarrod, Ryan, and me.

The Clan: Paul, Lauren, Laura, Jarrod, Ryan, and me.

 

Gorgeous scenery even in the midst of mist.

Gorgeous scenery even in the midst of mist.

 

"Wow," says Laura, "What beautiful scenery we have today."

"Wow," says Laura, "What beautiful scenery we have today."

 

As luck would have it, the clouds began to part only moments after we began our descent toward the trail.

As luck would have it, the clouds began to part only moments after we began our descent toward the trail.

 

And the conclusion of another great backpacking adventure...

And the conclusion of another great backpacking adventure...

27 April 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Hiking/Backpacking. Leave a comment.

Reuniting with Alaska

   In late July (two days after Justin and Kendra’s wedding) I got the amazing opportunity to visit Alaska in her home state of… you guessed it… Alaska. One word to describe it: indescribable. Here are some pictures that speak for themselves:

We we able to kayak on this beautiful lake by Mariah's grandmother's house. It was cloudy pretty much the entire time I was in Palmer, but here, it really didn't matter.

We we able to kayak on this beautiful lake by Mariah's grandmother's house. It was cloudy pretty much the entire time I was in Palmer, but here, it really didn't matter.

This quaint little barn was on our way back from a biking excursion. I thought it epitomized the area quite well.

This quaint little barn was on our way back from a biking excursion. I thought it epitomized the area quite well.

Me being myself in a field of Flowers. Who new Alaska was so colorful? (The state that is... we already knew that about you, M :) )

Me being myself in a field of Flowers. Who new Alaska was so colorful? (The state that is… we already knew that about you, M 🙂 )
Picturesque :)

Picturesque 🙂

I just like this one.

I just like this one.

The baby Musk Oxen at the Musk Oxen farm, Palmer, Alaska.

The baby Musk Oxen at the Musk Oxen farm, Palmer, Alaska.
More Musk Oxen... Boxen... Goosen!

More Musk Oxen... Boxen... Goosen!

The Little Susitna River. Beauty in aquatic form.

The Little Susitna River. Beauty in aquatic form.

A distanced view of the Matanuska Glacier... This was as close as we got due to a slightly sketchy bridge.

A distanced view of the Matanuska Glacier... This was as close as we got due to a slightly sketchy bridge.

Levi (Mariah's brother) was kind enough to take me to Jim Creek for not one, but 2 midnight fishing trips (seriously... this is midnight). Fish count?  Zilch.

Levi (Mariah's brother) was kind enough to take me to Jim Creek for not one, but two midnight fishing trips (seriously... this is midnight). Fish count? Zilch.

Jim Creek at the twilight hour.

Jim Creek at the twilight hour.

The waterfall of Thunderbird Falls. We had to venture slightly off trail to get this shot. Good thing it was the perpetually wet summer and we were already soaked, so trudging through the water and mist was forgivable.

The waterfall of Thunderbird Falls. We had to venture slightly off trail to get this shot. Good thing it was the perpetually wet summer and we were already soaked, so trudging through the water and mist was forgivable.

These are Bluebell flowers (not to be confused with the fatal Blue Monk's Head). Alaska's elementary teacher used to bribe her students for bringing these flowers to school. Way to encourage destruction of wildlife. I kid, I kid, ;)

These are Bluebell flowers (not to be confused with the fatal Blue Monk’s Head). Alaska’s elementary teacher used to bribe her students for bringing these flowers to school. Way to encourage destruction of wildlife. I kid, I kid, 😉
We've made it to the top of The Butte!!! For the second time thanks to my uncanny ability to delete pictures from my camera. It was worth it though...

We've made it to the top of The Butte!!! For the second time thanks to my uncanny ability to delete pictures from my camera. It was worth it though...

Toto, I don't think we're in Colorado anymore. This is the view of Palmer, AK from the top. It amazes me how the mountains seems to just shoot up from the earth with no foothills.

Toto, I don't think we're in Colorado anymore. This is the view of Palmer, AK from the top. It amazes me how the mountains seems to just shoot up from the earth with no foothills.

And our virtual tour de Palmer ends with Summit Lake on the far side of Hatcher Pass. Too bad I won't be getting to go back anytime soon. Oh wait... :)

And our virtual tour de Palmer ends with Summit Lake on the far side of Hatcher Pass. Too bad I won't be getting to go back anytime soon. Oh wait... 🙂

22 February 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , . Alaska, Hiking/Backpacking, travel. Leave a comment.

“Revenue” Mountain

     Alright, alright. We aren’t really sure if it was, in fact, Revenue Mountain that we climbed, but it sure was fun! Just the the getting there made for some great pictures and amazing memories. One of my personal favorites was created during the drive back to Colorado with Bekah. Because we had stopped to smell the sunflowers, my car was left parked on the far side of the interstate. A cop just happened to drive by, become suspicious, and begin questioning. Luckily, I was able to sweet talk myself out of any trouble (okay, there was no trouble, but it just sounds more interesting…). Here are some of the best pictures from the week in the Mountains with Bek and Ang:

 

Such a nice surprise after 8 hours of driving. Some where between Salina and Colby, KS.

Such a nice surprise after 8 hours of driving. Some where between Salina and Colby, KS.

 

Our lovely campsite. Bekah was amazed by how "cold" the mountains get in August. The answer to the chills? Hot tang!!!

Our lovely campsite. Bekah was amazed by how "cold" the mountains get in August. The answer to the chills? Hot tang!!!

It's not as gross as it looks... but it's not that tasty either.

It's not as gross as it looks... but it's not that tasty either.

 

There were several little mines around the area. The water was coppery and had a slightly pungent odor. (Well, it may have been the bear scat found surrounding the area. Leave? No way!)

There were several little mines around the area. The water was coppery and had a slightly pungent odor. (Well, it may have been the bear scat found surrounding the area. Leave? No way!)

 

Another cute little mine. What is left of it, that is.

Another cute little mine. What is left of it, that is.

 

The view from the (almost) top. We actually never made it due to poor signage/directions, a disgruntled goat, and about 2 hours worth of climbing up the crumbling scree.

The view from the (almost) top. We actually never made it due to poor signage/directions, a disgruntled goat, and about 2 hours worth of climbing up the crumbling scree.

 

We came this far... and then we headed back down the chute of death.

We came this far... and then we headed back down the chute of death.

 

After a great day of hiking, time for some exploring on the front range! Here is quirky, quiet Georgetown, Colorado.

Me and Bekah after a great day of hiking, time for some exploring on the front range! Here is quirky, quiet Georgetown, Colorado.

Idaho Springs, Colorado. Just in time for Beau Joes Mountain Pies!!!

Idaho Springs, Colorado. Just in time for Beau Joes Mountain Pies!!!

On our way out of town. This is why I love Colorado ;)

On our way out of town. This is why I love Colorado 😉

3 February 2009. Tags: , , , , . Hiking/Backpacking. Leave a comment.

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