Monday, January 30, 2012

Hanging out in Boulder

Here's a little update on what we've been up to here in Boulder.  We went up to Fort Collins this weekend to wander the downtown and get a feel for the area.  Thanks to the great downtown and local artist's collaborative (and the views) it has now officially been added to our "I could live in this town" list.  And that's an honor since after all these miles that list is surprisingly short.  We popped into this store just because of the name--one more reason to like this town:

We headed up to Estes Park next on our way into Rocky Mountain National Park.  Most of the park is closed for winter, but we were still able to see the eastern side of the park and even that little bit was mind boggling.  My pictures don't even come close to capturing how beautiful it was, so you'll have to use your imagination a little.

It was absolutely freezing that day with wind gusts around 70 mph, so a lot of the photos were taken from the truck or I braved a very quick dash out to snap a picture.  

Curtis was excited to see the Diamond, a famous climb on the eastern edge of the park.  I was happy to view it from the warm comfort of the truck:

Can you see it?  It's that dark diamond shaped wall smack in the middle.

Curtis and Brandon went climbing at the Flatirons on Sunday while I ran errands and worked on some artsy projects.  I saw something pass by the window, and went out to discover these guys loitering in the yard:

The deer here are eerily tame.  I went out to the truck the other morning and found a dozen hanging out just on the passenger side; they didn't even care that I was there.  It makes me feel like they are plotting against me . . . 

Anyway, that's the latest excitement.  I'll leave you with a tip: when living at 7000 feet it is best to follow the "high altitude" changes for a cake recipe.  Those things aren't just suggestions.  My cake came out more like a half fluffy cookie than a regular cake.  Frosting repaired some of the damage, but it wasn't pretty.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Prairie doggin'

We've been all over Boulder this week, exploring the downtown, checking out all the gear shops and art supply stores and we even went down to Denver yesterday to stroll through the historic downtown.  The weather has been gorgeous, if a bit windy, but I won't complain since I got to go for a run in 60 degree sunshine this morning in shorts and a tank top.  Not too bad for January 19th!

Speaking of my run this morning, in my quest to find flatter terrain I went to a nice park at the base of the "hill" we're staying on and met these little guys:

They were everywhere!  I had the park mostly to myself this morning so I got to hang out with these guys and stop to watch the coyote that was looking for a little breakfast chomp.  I have to admit they were the highlight of my time here in Boulder so far.  That and the fact that I've realized I don't need to run the steep hill anymore :)  

Plus, you can't beat the views:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

14,175.5 Miles

We've been checking off some big time "to-dos" this week!  We made it to the Grand Canyon and spent two days with our jaws hanging open at how ridiculously huge the place is.   I had wanted to hike down to the river to get the full experience, but the chilly temperatures convinced me otherwise.   Instead we walked along the rim and hiked down South Kaibab trail 3 miles to Skeleton Point.  

We were a little disappointed that we didn't do a rim to river hike.  All the signs explicitly said to not even try it because it is such a huge elevation change, but it was totally possible. I guess we'll save that for next time.  

We stayed to watch the sunset from a nice viewpoint on the western side of the park before heading out to find our campsite for the night.

We spent one more day in the park by car (way to cold to bike), stopping at all the viewpoints along the way.  Our favorite was definitely Lipan point:

We drove to Kanab, Utah next to get a permit for "The Wave" and visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary for the day.  We got a tour of the whole place and played with the cats and checked out the dogs in dog town.  After our tour, we walked over to see the horses and goats and pigs and take a few pictures of the place.  It's about 3800 acres, all for rescued pets that they adopt out or provide a home forever if no one wants them.  I'm hoping to volunteer for a day when we come back through Utah (once it warms up a bit more).

A little glimpse of Best Friends (that's the visitor center on the left)

We got to watch the moonrise over the hillside from our campsite and played with our telephoto lens a little more:

So back to this "Wave" thing.  We had to go to Kanab ahead of schedule in order to apply for a permit to hike into this one area in Arizona.  It's a lottery system, so we showed up at 8:30 to enter our names and then had to wait for the drawing to know if we'd be hiking the next day.  Only 20 people are allowed in each day, and 10 are from online applications months ago.  We lucked out and were the first to be drawn, but our permit was for the next day--hence our trip to Best Friends for the day.

Here are some pictures from our hike into the Wave:

On our way out from the wave, we hiked into Wire Pass and Buckskin Gulch too:

We headed out of Arizona for good the next morning and made a pit stop at Four Corners.  Not what we expected, but we were there so we figured we might as well take some photos

We hit up Shiprock, NM next to see the big ol rock.  I couldn't get the photo from the one angle that it actually looks like a ship, but here it is anyway

Then finally, we moved on to Colorado!  We spent a very chilly night camping out before heading to see Telluride.  We planned on just passing through to check it out, but I liked it so much we stayed for the day.

Our first Colorado views from the campsite

Downtown Telluride

Bridal Veil Falls

We took the free Gondola from downtown Telluride up to Mountain Village where all the skiing is.  Not nearly as cool as Telluride.  We spent the afternoon at the library working on job applications and waiting for a slideshow from a visiting ice climber/author.  When that got out at 7:30, we had a rude awakening walking out into the cold from the cozy library.  I convinced Curtis that we didn't need to go out to dinner (just to have a warm place to be) and we started heading for our campsite, but I was secretly looking up cheap hotel rooms for the night.  We'd made it comfortably down to about 10 or 15 degrees, but 5 degrees with extra windchill was more than I could stand after being warm and toasty all afternoon.  So I found us a cheap hotel about 1.5 hours away that let us cut down on our drive the next day and still be warm.

So we woke up clean and rested and wound our way up to Boulder.  Here are a couple shots from the drive:

So now we're here in Boulder visiting friends and planning to hang out for awhile to get a feel for the place and wait for things to warm up a bit before we finish our tour of the west.  We wandered around downtown today and I think Curtis is hoping to go climbing tomorrow if it's as warm as today was.  We're right near Rocky Mountain park too so we'll be checking that out soon and we'll probably visit Fort Collins and Denver just to really scout out the place.  Lots to see!  Colorado is just as beautiful as I had hoped so we're pretty happy to have our pitstop here :)