July 31, 2007


Our longest weekday training runs are now up to 8 miles. Because it is so hot every day, I choose to run before work. In order to get 8 miles in before I need to leave on my commute, I need to start when it is just beginning to get light. One of the side effects of this is the abundance of wildlife taking the same advantage of the cooler temperatures in the early morning hours. Today was a classic example of this.

While running up the Mesa Trail behind our house, Melanie was kicking my ass up the hill as usual when she suddenly stopped. She claimed she saw a Big Black Bear (BBB). I saw what she was looking at about 150 yards away, and we could 'bear-ly' make out a large black head sticking up above the grass. We watched him for a short while before deciding to continue on our way. The catch here was that the BBB was on the trail above us, around a switchback. We ran up the trail to where we could look straight up the trial at the BBB, now about 40 yards away. It looked at us, ate some more vegetation on the side of the trail, and began slowly walking at us. We slowly backed up, and the BBB wandered off the trail and up the hill.

This was the second time I've seen a black bear in the hills behind our house, and I look forward to seeing more as we continue our early morning runs!

July 30, 2007

2 Mountains and 4 Goats

This weekend I finally managed to meet up with a friend from work (Ryan) who has been trying to climb a 14er with me for some time. He brought along another coworker of ours (Kevin) who I had never met. Although the weather forecast looked menacing, the three of us drove to the southern end of the Sawatch Range on Saturday evening with the intent of climbing Mt. Shavano and Mt. Tabeguache on Sunday morning. Ashley came along for the camping outing, but due to our long weekend training run on Saturday morning, opted not to hike with us the following day.

We camped near the trailhead Saturday night and were pummeled by a vicious rain storm. When our alarm went off at 4:00 am, the rain had ceased and stars were visible. We began hiking at 4:30 on our way to Shavano's summit. After reaching the top, the plan was to descend the ridge leading to the saddle between Shavano and Tabeguache, hike to the top of Tabeguache, and retreat back over the top of Shavano before retracing our original ascent route. Shortly after beginning our descent to the saddle between the two peaks, I spotted four mountain goats ascending Tabeguache. They seemed to be showing us the way as they were about 30 minutes ahead of us on the same route. We were never very close to them, but my new camera allowed me to zoom in close enough that you can be certain they aren't just white rocks.

We topped out on Tabeguache around 10:00, and the thunder clouds began to build. I hurried back over the top of Shavano and down to treeline, leaving my comrades to fend for themselves. Apparently I have an irrational fear of being struck by lightening. I passed several smiling hikers on their way up as I was running down in fear of my life. Call me paranoid, but I've read accounts of survivors who've been struck by lightening and it just doesn't sound like fun.

We were back to the car by noon for a 7.5 hour round trip. It was nice having hiking partners, as most of my 14er hikes this summer have been solo. I'm not up to 21 of the 54 14ers in Colorado. I've not yet decided if I'm trying to climb all of them, but I'm having a great time using them as an excuse to visit different areas of Colorado.

July 23, 2007

Nice, Relaxing Weekend

With no one to entertain, Ashley and I had a nice relaxing weekend. On Friday night we went to see A Midsummer Night's Dream, put on by the Colorado Shakespheare Festival at the CU Outdoor Theater. We've seen other plays there before and have thoroughly enjoyed all of them. On Saturday morning we went for a 15 mile run up in the mountains, came home, bought a barbeque, and grilled in the afternoon. On Sunday we climbed the 3rd Flatiron (8-pitch, easy 5th class trad climb behind our house). When we got home, it was entirely too hot in the house (mid 90's), so we went to see the new Harry Potter movie in a wonderfully air-conditioned theater. The prices they're charging for movies these days really aren't worth it until you factor in the value of air conditioning on a hot summer day, then I think it's a fair deal.

July 16, 2007

More Visitors

After threatening for a few months, Jason and Kelly finally came to visit us from Seattle. They'll be here for a total of about 10 days, last weekend being the only weekend overlapping with their stay. As such, all the working members of our household took Friday off and we ventured to Buena Vista, Colorado for a weekend of rafting and car camping.

Prior to leaving on Friday morning, Ashley, Melanie, Jason and I went for a run on the trials behind our house. As all of us with the exception of Jason are training for a marathon, and this run was to fulfill the training requirements of a weekend long run, we ended up running about 14 miles on a very hilly trail. Miraculously, Jason completed the entire run with us after traveling to Boulder from sea level. He claims he's never run farther than 5 miles at once in his life, but I'm not sure I believe him.

After the run it was into the car and off to the Arkansas River near Buena Vista. We made it in time to run the "Numbers" section of the Arkansas, which included 7 cleverly named rapids over a 5 mile stretch of water: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. With Keith as our guide, we styled the Class 4 run without mishap. That night we drove around for about 2 hours looking for an unclaimed campsite, only to end up camping at the takeout of the "Numbers" section, where we began our search 2 hours earlier.

The following day we rafted the ever-so-popular stretch of the Arkansas known as Brown's Canyon. With Keith guiding, this stretch would have been pretty mundane and boring. However, he handed me the guide stick for most of the way down and I got to practice running into rocks in a consequence free environment . . . okay, so there was the consequence of embarrassment in front of all the other rafters. I slowly figured out what to do with Keith giving occasional pointers and had a great time learning how to maneuver a raft. The beer we brought with us came in handy every time we got stuck on a rock.

For a variety of reasons, the group was wanting to lie low on Sunday before driving home. I, on the other hand, thought it silly to be camping at the base of so many of Colorado's 14ers without hiking to the top of one. I woke up at 4 am, drove to the trialhead, hiked up Mt. Yale, and met everyone else in Buena Vista just before 10 am. The hike up was on the Colorado Trail for 3.2 miles before gaining a 2.2 mile long ridge leading to the summit. Perhaps the best part was when I saw a doe and two spotted fawns while driving to the trailhead.

Overall, it was a fantastic weekend in the presence of superb company.

July 12, 2007


Tis the season to visit Boulder. The weekend of July 7th and 8th, Ashley's sister and brother in law (Abbie and Tom) came to visit. We had an action-packed, extended weekend that involved hiking, the Coors Brewery Tour (The Tourey), inner tubing down Boulder Creek, and going to see the Colorado Rapids (professional soccer team who's mascot is an Eagle) among other things. The inner tubing turned exciting immediately as the tube I was riding was mostly deflated. After a period of instability, I figured out how to go over the drops, become completely submerged, and pop up downstream all while staying on top of the flaccid inner tube. While hiking back up for a second run, I traded tubes with somebody who I was unable to locate.

Aside from the low score (0-1), the Rapids game proved to be much more fun to attend than a Colorado Rockies game. I believe the main reason for this is that people attend the game to an extent that mostly fills the stadium. They also don't lose as frequently.

On Monday, Ashley, Abbie, and Tom spent the day at Rocky Mountain National Park, but I was unable to join. Apparently they didn't see any elk, which I find hard to believe.