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Finishing touches

The end of summer is here. I’m packing up the house and getting it ready for winter. The weather has been awesome this week so the dogs and I have been enjoying the fall colors from the trails. I’m meeting my friend Jason on Thursday for a final climb of Yale. The next morning, the dogs and I are off to Austin.

I made a dinner so pretty last night, I had to take a picture of it. Baked potato smothered in chili with sour cream, tomatoes, and avocado on top.

Winter is here, but just a little

Winter came this week but it was much less than was forecasted. Snow didn’t stick in town, but the mountains were covered.

I was prepared with inside activities since I’d already cut all the plants down, taken in all the patio furniture, and removed the outside screens. My chore was to make a giant amount of campfire salmon to freeze. I hit a new mark with 16 foil wrappers. Even in the new oven, it took 3 loads to cook it all.

The next day, I was craving chili. I already took the giant pot back to Austin so I used the Yeti to mix all the ingredients. I used every pot I had and the crock pot to cook it and ended up with 8 gallons of chili to freeze.

Winter is coming.

Makes me want to watch Game of Thrones again. The days are getting shorter and lazier. Darby has taken full advantage of slowing of pace.

The weather is supposed to take a turn towards winter on Thursday – snow and a low of 9 degrees… I bought a lot of food to cook and a bottle to drink during the cold days. Last week, I hit the mountains pretty hard to get ready for Cactus Rose at the end of the month, so I took it easy today with a hike up to the East ridge on Mt Yale. I took a couple pictures of the trees changing color in the canyon

The dogs and I plan on heading back at the end of next week. All of us will be back for the Christmas open during Thanksgiving. I attached the video I made of Preston and my trip to Kilimanjaro that I forgot to post earlier.

6 weeks of random stuff

The last 6 weeks have been busy and fun. Tracy has been here a lot to enjoy all the great things BV does in the fall. I also made a trip to Austin to pick up Preston and take him to CalPoly. I returned to Austin for a week and Tracy drove back up to BV with me. The picture below is the start of the TransRockies run.

We’ve spent a lot of time at the local distillery, Deerhammer. The dogs enjoy it since the food truck next to it serves sweet potato fried (their 2nd favorite food behind salmon)

I’ve been slowly replacing the appliances in the house. The latest addition is a new stove. The house is huge, but the space for the appliances are tiny. This was the largest stove I could find for the space. The 2nd picture is how close I cut it to make sure you could pull out the drawer.

The dogs get walk every morning and the view never gets old. This was the beginning of September and later, there will be some late September pictures. The weather patterns in the fall bring more clouds early so the sun rising makes some incredible colors.

September weather was awesome. We spent a lot of time on the deck and Izzy enjoys sunning.

The dogs and I went back to Austin since I was going to drive Preston to college. While in Austin I was able to get a run in, do some maintenance around the house, and have a poker game. Preston and I left on a Tuesday and we took 4 days to get to SLO (CalPoly). We spent the first night in Roswell since I was excited to visit the UFO museum. The second night was in Flagstaff and we were able to have dinner with Kathy and John Eastwood (my undergrad adviser). The third night we went to one of the few casinos in California that allows 18 year old’s to play poker. Preston went straight to the tables and I didn’t see him until 5am the next morning. He had his ups and downs but came back 50% up. The last night, we stayed at one of the few hotels with vacancy in SLO. I dropped him off to his dorm first thing the next morning and left right after unpacking the truck. His dorm is pictured below – nothing special with 3 people in a room.

Tracy, the dogs, and I drove back to BV the following Sunday. It was an uneventful trip except the Eagles lost to the Lions (yeh for me). We had a wonderful time together in BV. Many trips to Deerhammer, Asian Bistro, and the Surf Hotel. We also volunteered at the 14ners festival, selling drink tickets. The pictures below are from a hike we did up Mt. Yale from the standard route at Denny Creek. Tracy did awesome and the day was wonderful.

Last week, the colors were awesome awesome during our morning dog walk.

CW’s adventures on the 14ners

CW has been in BV on and off for a month. The adventure I plotted for him this year was for him to climb 7 of the 14ners in the Sawatch Range. He would camp at the base of one, climb the following day, and then trek to the base of the next one. I met him for 4 of the climbs. He did great.

He camped in Missouri Gulch and we climbs Belford and Oxford back to back and then I ran down the backside and climbed Missouri also.,

When I was meeting him in Great Horn Basin, I ran into a pair of moose. If you zoom in you can see both of them in the meadow below.

His final peak was Mt. Yale. We went up the East Ridge which involves a lot of route finding and scrambling. He was exhausted when we finally reached the summit.

Getting ready for the High Lonesome 100

Since getting back from Africa, I’ve been hitting the trails pretty hard to get ready for High Lonesome this Friday. I’m feeling very good so I’m hoping to beat my time from last year. My expected splits are below with my times from last year.

I’ve been all over the course to check on the conditions. The snow is melting quickly. On Saturday, I went back with my neighbor’s son in law and we turned right and climbed Mt. Antero. The weather was great and we ran down.

The next day I climbed Law’s pass which is also on the course. There is still a giant cornice but it’s easy to get around.

I also returned to the road by St Elmo to see if the avalanche had been cleared. It had. I continued on to the Colorado Trail and ran the crest to Hancock and then back to St Elmo. The only challenging spot was the last pitch to the old railroad bed. The hill was completely covered with snow, but it was easy enough to kick steps down. It was so large, I doubt it will be gone by race day.

I took a day off and made a huge batch of Campfire Salmon.

Our gardening has turned out well. Everything is in bloom.

On Saturday, my friend CW came to visit and we sipped whiskey on my neighbor, Mark’s porch and watched the sunset.

On Sunday, I ran the Mt Harvard and Mt Columbia loop while CW hiked to Bear Lake. It was much more challenging this time since there were still huge snowfields that I had to go around. The route I took ended up 3 miles longer and 1000ft more elevation than the traditional route. The view from Harvard is the first picture, view of Columbia and the traverse is the second.

A little Climb

Today, I decided to do the Little Browns Creek to the Wagon Loop circuit. I basically climbs from 9k feet to 13k feet and then drops down on the backside of Mt Wilson. It’s about 17 miles in total, but I got a little lost so I was closer to 18. The snow is melting fast on the saddle. A few pictures below.

Preston’s Senior Trip

We just got back from almost 3 weeks abroad. First, we spent 3 days in Amsterdam. We did a lot of time walking around the city. We toured the Van Gogh Museum, took a boat ride through the canals, and the highlight was Preston got to play poker in the casino.

We then flew to Kilimanjaro airport to start our trek in Tanzania. We met half of our group at the airport and drove an hour to the hotel in Moshi.

We spent the following day getting gear ready and then left for the Kilimanjaro National Park the next morning. The picture below is our full group that would do the climb and a map of the route we took (Machame).

The first day we climbed through a rain forest almost 4000 feet over 7 miles to the first camp at Machame Hut.

The 2nd day we climbed 5 miles and 2500 feet to Shira Hut. Most of the climb was a steep rocky trail that put us on a plateau above the clouds. I led a short yoga session to relief the aches in the joints.

The next day, we only had a 3 mile hike but the goal was to get us acclimatized. To do this, we climbed to over 15,000 feet elevation and then dropped back down to 13,500 feet at Barranco Hut. We passed by a stone feature called the Lava Tower. Preston couldn’t resist climbing it. I started up with him only to be caught by a guide that took him all the way up while I rested in the sun on a rock.

When we arrived at Barranco Hut, it was beautiful. We got a quick yoga session in and then Preston and I played frisbee. The next day was a short 3 miles to the Karanga Valley. The trail was rolling with a total climb of 1000 feet and a decent of the same.

Three of us separated from the main group and arrived in the valley in a dense fog. After about 30 minutes of wandering around, we found our camp site. The next morning we had the task of climbing the Barranco¬†Wall. The wall is a rock face that the trail winds up. It’s basically class 3 scrambling for 1000 vertical feet. We needed to climb 2300 feet in total, but the distance was only 3 miles to the next camp at Barufu Hut.

We arrived at high camp, Barufu Hut, after climbing 2300 feet over 3 miles. The camp is on a steep slope so the tents had to be placed right next to each over. The following day we were leaving around 1am to try and reach the crater rim by sunrise.

The climb through the night went well. It wasn’t as cold as I expected and we moved well until about 17000 feet. We started to slow then so I put on my parka since I was cold. We arrived at Stella Point (rim) around 7:30am. Preston did great but he was a little light headed due to the altitude. We took the short walk around the rim to the high point of 19341 feet.

12 years ago I took a rock from the summit and gave it to Preston. His job was to put it back.

Because we slowed down, there were 2 members of our group that left earlier that were already on their way down and absent from this picture.

We hiked down to camp, had lunch, packed up, and hiked a few miles to the last camp. Preston and I played frisbee.

The last view of the mountain. Preston and I separated from the group and shuffled the 8 miles down to the gate. It took us a little over 3 hours to drop 7000 feet.

We tipped the 40+ people that carried our stuff, showed us where to go, and cooked our food. The next day we flew to the Serengeti for a safari.

After landing, we drove around for an hour or so and saw many animals. We then went to a temporary lodge that was comprised of several communal tents and then a tent for each of the guests. While it sounds rustic, every tent had running water, a toilet, and shower. The first night, I woke Preston up around 5am since there was a herd of zebra right outside our tent.

After spending two nights in the tents, we drove to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area which is a large crater that many animals flock to.

We saw an amazing amount of animals and birds. The great thing was one of the people in our group was an amateur photographer and with Preston’s young eyes spotting, we didn’t miss much. I added a gallery of the best animal shots below. The last night was spent in a 5 star resort halfway to the airport. The following day we left around 9pm for our long journey back to the US.