So long, farewell...

With both limited followers/subscribers and time to post -- and more of an inclination to provide updates and photos on Facebook -- I've come to the conclusion that this blog has run its course and so am making this the last post.

If you use Facebook and are interested in connecting with me there, visit my Facebook page

Auf wiedersehen, goodbye.


A Quick Trip to Enchantment Land

With our friends the Handwerks having recently moved "next door", we've been looking for a chance to go visit them in New Mexico, and were able to do just that this past weekend.

There was the usual and enjoyable hanging out and catching up, but we were also treated to two special outings... one was to the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, where we hiked thru some *amazing* terrain.  The wind- and rain-sculpted rock formations along the trail were stunning, and it was our first time walking through a slot canyon.

The second was to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.  The Handwerks have a very good vantage point from their home, but we decided to see some of the balloons up-close so drove down to the launch site area during the one "mass ascension" and were surrounded not by some, but by many balloons.  We couldn't count them all, but our very rough estimate is that there were about 150 balloons aloft. 

Here's a slideshow of pix from the all-too-brief trip.


4 Season in 7 days

Below is the Boulder weather forecast for the next several days... looks like we'll have to use all areas of the wardrobe this week.


Did Some More Leaf-Peeping Today

I headed West a just a tad this morning, and did a short-ish (5 miles) hike around a place called Caribou Ranch to see the fall colors as they are nearing their peak at the higher elevations.  This link tells you a little bit about it's mining history (if you click on the "History" tab; this link tells you a little bit about it's music history.)

As in other posts, this is a post where pictures will replace words.  Enjoy...


Fall is in the Air

With dustings of snow in the higher elevations now and then, and the aspens reaching their peak fall color, we've unofficially entered Autumn out here.  So, I took some time this morning to do some hiking and leaf peeping.  Some pix from the walk in the woods can be found here.


In Other's Words

"Go out to the West. 
Ride slowly, not to startle the wild things. 
Throw out your chest and breathe; look across green valleys to wild peaks where mountain sheep stand impassive on the edge of space. 
Let the summer rains fall on your upturned face and wash away the memory of all that is false and petty and cruel. 
Then the mountains will get you. 
You will go back. The call is a real call." 

Mary Roberts Rinehart, 1916, in "Through Glacier Park"

We saw this quote on Facebook recently and it really struck home for us, as Glacier was our first taste of the West -- with it's rugged mountains, wildlife, vast tundras, lush valleys and openness -- and planted the seed that someday we think we'd like to live out in this region.


Busing, Bike Racing, Backpacks, Bear, Burgers and Beer... A Very Good Day to be a Boulderite

Today was Boulder's day to play host for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, a 7-day stage race that makes its way through a good swath of Colorado. There's been a lot of excitement and anticipation in this town for a while (especially since the town wasn't part of the race last year), and with the finish line atop the locally famous Flagstaff Mountain, the buzz was growing as this weekend approached.

So this morning, we packed up a couple backpacks with gear necessary to make it through the day...  water, camp chairs, sunscreen, sidewalk chalk, homemade posters, bubbles, snacks, a cowbell, etc.  You know... bike-race-watching stuff.  With said backpacks on backs, we walked down to the nearest bus stop and caught the public bus that goes downtown and made our way to our first viewing point for the race.  It wasn't terribly crowded where we were -- people were just one-deep along the side of the road -- but it offered good viewing and was a quite convenient starting point to get to viewing point #2. 

Once the race cleared viewing point #1, we, accompanied by some similarly minded friends, began our quest to get up on Flagstaff and find a place well up on the hill to see the suffer-fest that was due in about 3 hours time.  The first part of this quest involved taking a hiking trail to get to the road itself.  What the trail lacked in length (0.9 miles) it made up for in elevation gain (about 560 feet, or an average grade of around 11%.)  Those figures notwithstanding, the atmosphere on the trail was jovial.  Once we reached the road, we took a break to eat some lunch and take in the mass of fellow spectators making their way up the road on bike or foot.  (The road was closed to auto traffic the previous night sometime.)  We joined them in short order, and began our own ascent of Flagstaff Road. 

We were only about 0.5 mile from the bottom of the climb (via road) at this point, and about 3.5 miles worth of pavement sat between us and the finish.  We knew we had a too late of a start to get ourselves a spot along the finishing section, but if we could find a place in the upper half of the climb, we'd be happy.  Amidst bikes, cyclists, and all manner of pedestrians in all manner of costumes, we followed the road to a switchback about 1.5 miles from the finish, and "made camp" there.  Unlike our first viewing point, we could easily tell this wasn't going to be a "one deep" stretch of road... there was still about 90 minutes until the first racers arrived, and there were plenty of people already on the shoulder of the road, and plenty still making their way up.

In the meantime, we unpacked our backpacks and began utilizing some of the implements we brought along... Chloe and I chalked the road a little bit (it wasn't easy to do with people constantly streaming by), Chloe and her friends Evan, Olivia and Mandy blew bubbles and handed out extra bottles to other kids who passed by, and warmed-up the cow bell by ringing it for those who chose to ascend by bike.

It was amazing how quickly time flew, for it seemed in no time we began hearing the helicopter (it provides the aerial coverage of the front of the race) and seeing the very first race-related vehicles that are up the road a bit from the racers making sure the course is clear and providing updates on the race situation via a PA system.  More cars and motorcycles -- some race officials, some state law enforcement -- continued to build the crescendo. 

And then, all fun and craziness broke loose as we saw the first cyclist approaching, trying to protect his breakaway status. He was swarmed by the crowd, and given near-deafening encouragement and support.  The same held true for the next few short minutes, as those who were chasing him down for the stage win, and those contending to win the overall race, made their way through the gauntlet of spectators screaming, blowing their horns and ringing their cow bells. Racers trickled up the mountain for the next 15 minutes or so, each one getting a fine "Welcome to Flagstaff" salute. We began our descent after the "Broom Wagon" came by, and enjoyed the still-festival-like atmosphere all the way back to the trail we used to reach the road on our ascent. 

As if the day wasn't "Boulder" enough, during our way down the dirt trail, we saw a rather large bear on an adjacent hillside (about 75 yards away) and then once in town, met up with some more friends for a post-race burger and beer at one of our favorite watering holes.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a Saturday.


For a video clip of some of the action on Flagstaff, follow this link.
 - The clip is in 2 sections:  the first is us shortly after we reached Flagstaff Road from the dirt trail, and walking towards Viewing Point #2; the second section is of the first racers coming by.
 - On the topic of the racers, the first one you see is of eventual stage winner Rory Sutherland; the third racer is Jens Voigt.  Later you'll see Andreas Kloden, and a little after him is Levi Leipheimer breaking away from Tejay van Garderen (in yellow jersey) and Christian Vande Velde (shortly after they go by, you'll hear Chloe correctly state she saw Tejay, and I incorrectly dismissing her.)

We didn't take a lot of photos today, but here are some.


Summer's Last Hoorah

Wanting to sneak in a fun, family vacation before Chloe's school started and Peg's work travel ramped back up, I planned a little surprise trip for me and my ladies this past weekend out to Glenwood Springs (about 3 hours west of here.) We spent a short day here last year when we were in the area for a multi-day bike race I was doing, and kept it on the radar screen as a town and area we would want to visit again.

Anywho, with bikes on the rack, cooler loaded with our roadside picnic area lunch (enjoyed up on Vail pass, thank you very much), and back of the car stuffed with other various pieces of luggage, we made our way out I-70, arriving in Glenwood Springs around 3:00p on Thursday.

There wasn't a lot of downtime after our arrival -- we had about 90 minutes to unload/unpack, check out the house, and relax for a bit -- as I had a surprise waiting for Peg and Chloe.  It involved getting back in the car for a 20 minute or so drive to Carbondale where, on every Thursday summer night, they have a rodeo.  A rodeo is something we've always wanted to see since we moved out here, and this "local" rodeo was awesome.  It had a little bit of everything... bull riding, team roping, barrel racing, mutton busting (kids riding sheep) and some events you probably wouldn't find in Cheyenne or Calgary.  We got there a little early on purpose and lucked into a parking space right along the fence; actually, right next to the corral where the calves were kept after they had their moment of fun in the roping contest. 

It was what one might expect at a rodeo... men wearing cowboy hats because they wear them everyday, Wrangler jeans, pickup trucks, old bleachers filled with families, Johnny Cash's "Ragged Old Flag" being played over the PA system, and public recognition of current and past military personnel.  While we hardly blended with that (with our Keens, foreign built SUV, baseball hats and shorts) we felt part of something that was very Western America-esque.

As for Friday, well, once Chloe realized on Thursday where we were going for the weekend, I had a pretty good hunch that the lion's share of Friday's dance card would be filled by the Glenwood Hot Springs pool (and its slides and diving board.)   And my hunch came to be. We spent about 7 hours there, alternating between the 90-degree main pool, 104-degree "therapy" pool, water slides and chaise lounges.

We came into the weekend with Saturday unplanned, but once we got there and a) saw what the weather was going to be like (beautiful) and b) what potential activities were available to us, we built up for ourselves another active day.  The morning consisted of a whitewater rafting trip down the Colorado River and through Glenwood Canyon.  Even with the lower-than-average flow rate (due to the lower than average snowpack from last winter) there was plenty of fun to be had.  And right off the get-go at that, for shortly after we dropped in -- I mean within a matter of minutes -- we encountered some Class III rapids.  We survived those with smiles on our faces, and then spent a good bit of the next 2 hours on a gentle float down the river and through the canyon.  Ironically, it was during this stretch that provided perhaps the most action of the day.

Since it was calm, the guide said Chloe could be our "bow rider," meaning she could sit on the front lip of the raft, facing front with feet hanging over... as long as she leaned back a little.  A little while later, we were taking the raft between two rocks in the middle of the river and lined it up perfectly.  Little did we realize until they were upon us the size the drop on the other side of them... it wasn't huge by the day's standards, but large enough to propel a 9 year old off the bow of the raft and into the Colorado River.  She fell to my side of the boat, and despite being scared and startled, did everything right once she was in the water -- turned and faced the raft, kept her feet up, and swam towards the raft as best she could.  Within a matter of seconds, I handed the T-grip from my paddle to her, pulled her next to the raft, and hoisted her in by the shoulder straps of her life vest. 

For sure, she was pretty rattled by the experience initially.  But being the gamer that she is, said she would want to go rafting again someday.  (Big grins from Peg and I when she said that!)

There was some down-time after rafting to get some lunch and relax a bit before we headed off to our next activity... a sunset horseback ride.  Unfortunately, due to a later start than planned, our 2-hour ride was more like 1 hour.  That aside, and though I'm not as much into horses as Peg and Chloe, but I would definitely consider doing this ride again.  The views were great, as we climbed up to some high pastures and were able to look up and down the canyon as the sun was in the early stages of setting.  After the ride, it was dinnertime on a rooftop terrace near the river... a simply splendid way to end the day.

For our last day, we traveled south to Aspen to do a short hike I planned in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area.  The Maroon Bells are some of Colorado's more famous 14ers, and some of the most photographed... if one were to pick up a photobook of Colorado, there's a good chance these peaks are not only in it, there's also a fair chance they are on the cover.  Our hike, of course, wasn't taking us to their peaks; instead, it was the 1.8 mile one to Crater Lake that sits at their base.  The weather cooperated with us yet again, and the trail afforded us some great views at points throughout (and, with a lot of sun exposure the previous 2 days, some much welcomed shade at other points.)

After completing the hike, we went into the town of Aspen to grab a late lunch at a great ribs and BBQ place.  We couldn't linger in Aspen after lunch as much as hoped, so we jumped back in the car and headed East over Independence Pass, and ultimately Boulder.  The heavy traffic on the way back couldn't take away from the fun we had together for the previous 72 hours, and gave us ample time to think about what we might want to do the next time we visit Glenwood Springs and environs.

Here is the slideshow of pictures from the trip.


Has it been 4 years already?

Today marks the 4th Anniversary of our arrival in Boulder.  Hard to believe.  So I'm taking this opportunity to look back at just some of the things that have happened to us (individually and collectively) since we began living here.  I'm *sure* there are more noteworthy events then those listed below, but these are the ones you are going to read about in this post.

If you want to wax nostalgic here's my first post of this blog and the pictures that accompany our move and drive here.

And, so, without further delay...

Since we've been here, Peggy has...
 - worked for two different companies, has been promoted and is currently a VP in her current company.
 - run a 5K, 10K, and two half-marathons, and is currently in training for her first marathon.
 - purchased a fishing license (and talks fondly of getting bait at McGuckins.)
 - hiked from the rim of the Grand Canyon, down to the Colorado River, and back up.

Since we've been here, Chloe has...
 - learned to ski.
 - run/walked two 10Ks.
 - played 8 seasons of soccer.
 - taken rock climbing lessons.
 - gone whitewater rafting and been in a glider.
 - started formal schooling, and is about to enter 4th grade.
 - had her hair cut for charity, operated a lemonade stand to benefit a local food bank, and helped sort donated, used toys for a Christmas-time nonprofit.

Since we've been here, Kurt has...
 - lost even more of his hair.
 - been in (approx.) 35 bike races, 1 Tough Mudder, and rode his bike in the French Alps.
 - had both shoulders messed up (broken collarbone on one side, dislocated shoulder on the other.)
 - "bagged" three 14ers, and will hopefully bag another one next week with Chloe.
 - regularly volunteered at Chloe's school.

Since we've been here, we have...
 - had 5 different addresses (3 in Boulder, 2 in London.)
 - hiked and skied some of the best terrain Colorado has to offer.
 - mountain biked past dinosaur footprints.
 - snowshoed to a yurt.
 - seen rattlesnakes, coyotes, bear and moose, and have been warned of mountain lions.
 - witnessed an elk rut.
 - introduced people to the joy of Christmas Eve bowling.
 - seen a live buffalo run onto and around a football field.
 - had to evacuate due to a wildfire, and have had a couple of others nearby.
 - come to know and befriend some of the absolute most caring and funny people we ever crossed paths with.
 - not regretted for one day that four years ago, we moved to Colorado.


Mt. Audubon (revisited)

It's been nearly 4 years since I hike Mt. Audubon (the first go was written up here.)  And as that post mentions, Peg and I didn't have time to make it to the top. 

So, with Peg away on travel and Chloe in all-day camp, I thought it was a good time to strap on the boots and camelbak and give it another go.  The route description from the previous post still hold... great views once above treeline.  But since I got to the upper reaches and summit this time, I do have a greater appreciation for the hike... it is pretty steep at the top, and it does require some scrambling.  But, at least in my opinion, the views from up top make that last section well worth the effort.

Here are pix from today's hike.


Lands of Sam and Rice-a-Roni

Peg, Chloe and I, accompanied by my parents, recently finished up a week-plus in the Yosemite and San Francisco areas.  And well, I'm going to invoke the "picture = a thousand words" maxim on this post, and just give you a link to follow so you can see a slideshow of some of the pix from the trip.  (Yes, I know, there are a lot of pix with Half Dome in them.)


Closing Out My 41st... Tough Mudder-style.

Yes, today's my birthday.  My 41st one to be exact.  But that's hardly the crux of his post.  Instead, it's what I did on it.  

Today was the Tough Mudder event I posted about a couple times before.  And...


It was an early morning, for sure, as I had to get up at 5:50a, dress, pack my post-Mudder bag (i.e. change of clothes) and meet my teammates for a quick breakfast before jumping in some cars and making our way to Beaver Creek for sign-in and bag drop.  At sign in, you handover their "death waiver" (their liability release), get your bib number for your shirt, and get your bib number written on your forehead and arm or leg (they do the latter for identification purposes should anything go awry.)

The "wave" I was in began at 8:20a (the first one of the day was at 8:00, and the waves went off every 20 minutes until 1:00p... at about 600 people per wave, a rough estimate of the people who signed up for this is approximately 9,600.)  When I first heard this was my start time, I was a little nervous for a) it can still be pretty cool at that time in the morning in the mountains, and b) I knew there were some cold water obstacles in my future, and wasn't sure how a "cold air, cold water" combo would play out. But, thankfully, the weather was perfect, and I started out comfortably in shoes, wool anklet socks, synthetic shorts and a synthetic short sleeve shirt.  (Cotton is not your friend in such things.)

After getting some instructions and motivation from the starter, away we went.   The first couple hundred yards were downhill, but after a turn it two, it was up, up, up.  Through a water-slicked, grassy hillside... fun, fun, fun!

Luckily for you, dear reader, I don't remember the exact order of the many obstacle, and won't plan on boring you with a description of each... I'll just bring up some highlights.  If you're interested in getting a rough idea of what the course looked like, and some names of the obstacles, look at this *.pdf document.

Some of my favorite obstacles
- Electroshock Therapy. Why?  Well, for one, it's the last obstacle.  Two, it's not very often one gets to run through wires carrying a 10,000 volt current.  Unfortunately, me doing this obstacle is not on the video clip below.  But here's a video from the Tough Mudder folks about it.
- Berlin Walls.  These are wooden walls anywhere between 8-10 feet high, and their in sets of 2.  I put this one as one of my favorites not because of my off-the-chart upper body strength allowed me to clear these walls easily (hah!).  Rather, it's because these are ones where being one team really paid off.  I helped my teammates over, they helped me over.  Heck, you get into a rhythm and start helping anyone who comes buy.    

Some of my "proud" obstacles
These are ones where I wasn't sure I could do completely or unassisted.
- The Rings/Hanging Tough.  Given what I wrote above about my upper body strength (or lack thereof), I was pretty darn proud to have made it across this obstacle without falling into the murky, cold water below.
- The Quarter-pipe.  I'm not sure of the official name of this one, but it's essentially an arched ramp, about 10-12 feet high, vertical at the top, and you need to make your way to the top of it.  Because of the mud on people's shoes, it's a slick one ramp that.   I'm proud of this one because I did it unassisted (this one is on the video clip below.)

Some of my least favorite obstacles
None.  Honestly, I enjoyed them all in some (perhaps) small way. But, if I were to name some that hurt a bit, or one's where I didn't do so well on, well then I'd name:
- (Name unknown.)  This one also involved electrified wires, which didn't bother me so much.  Rather, to negotiate them one had to be completely prone and crawl your way through or underneath them while traversing a snowfield.  To call it "snow" though, is a misnomer... think "shards of ice."
- Funky Monkey.  The Tough Mudder term for monkey bars.  These are no ordinary monkey bars, though: instead of being laid out parallel to the ground, these are arranged on a slight incline for the first half, and then a slight decline for the last.  I think I made it to just the 3rd rung before falling into the cold, muddy water below.

The exact figures are elusive, but it ended up being an approximately 12.5 mile course, with 23-ish military-style obstacle thrown in.  It took place all along the hillsides of the Beaver Creek ski resort, so a rough approximation of elevation gain during the event was 4,250 ft.

As a rookie, I was often asked afterwards, "Would you do it again?"  And my unequivocal reply was "Yes!"  In fact, I'm already pre-registered for the 2013 edition... it's June 15th and 16th.  You busy?


Here are the things you are probably more interested in viewing.
 - A 10-ish minute video clip.
 - Pictures.

And hey, it's not too late to donate!


One Week To Go (gulp!)

[This is essentially a repeat post from a few weeks ago... but slightly updated.]

At this time, one week from now, I'll be lining up with several hundred other people to run up and down the hills in Beaver Creek, CO, going over, under and through various military-style obstacles along the way.  Here's a map of the course, as long as the names of the various obstacles I'll contend with along the way.  (You'll need Adobe Reader to view that map, as it is a *.pdf file.)

The event is called The Tough Mudder, and it benefits The Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit whose mission is to aid injured military personnel.  If you'd like to make a donation on my behalf, follow the link below to make an online donation, and thanks!


Omega. 3.

Well, Chloe wraps up 3rd Grade today.  And while the report card is not in hand as of this write-up, we suspect she had a pretty good year (if the other reporting periods are any indication) and will be joining the upper ranks of elementary school next year.

Below is a picture of her as we went to the bus this morning.

A soon-to-be ex-3rd-grader.


Another 13.1 in the books...

Peggy here, your guest author at KnPnCnC.  Some of you may recall that I did a half-marathon in Fort Collins, CO shortly after moving to Colorado.  Since then, I've kept up with the running, more or less.  After all, it's impossible to lay on the couch, eating chips and drinking beer when you live in BoCo.  You either swim (which is a great weakness for me), bike (too scary...I sold mine) or run (BINGO!).  Right around Christmas, I was itching to do another half when my sister Jess mentioned that Lansing, MI, her current hometown, was putting on the inaugural Lansing Half Marathon in April.  And after much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth, I was able to persuade both Jess and my other sister, Cathy, to sign up as well.

Training began in January and I have to admit, I gave it my all.  I didn't care what my time was but I was NOT going to be beaten by two YOUNGER sisters.  Race weekend came fast and Chloe and I flew to Detroit and then drove to Lansing the Friday before the race to spend time with my sister Jess and her family.  As is typical, I slept very little the night before the race and felt nauseous with anxiety when I woke up.  Cathy, Jess and I lined up and off we went on this mostly flat course.  It was crazy cold and windy but I warmed up fast and at mile 5, I KNEW this was going to be one of my best runs ever.  I felt so strong and when the first of the two big hills came, I powered up it, barely breathing hard.  Mile 10 was a little tough as I was starting to tire but I cranked up the Eminem on my MP3 player, thought of Kurt and how hard he pushes himself when he trains and fired it up.  Mile 11 and 12 flew by as I sang and smiled...I HAD THIS.

I always make it a point to turn off the music the last mile as the crowd energy and support is overwhelming; you have to hear this.  I ran across the line SMILING...what a truly awesome time.

Cathy came by next and then Jess.  We all rocked it and I was so proud of all of us.
The three Walls sisters with their shiny medals.  YEAH US!
While both of my sisters had a few choice words for me as they came across the finish, along the lines of "Who's ideas was this?!?!? Never again!", I am already hearing rumblings of doing another one from Jess and I am confident that Cathy could be talked into it again as well.


Some Racing Pix

The bike racing season is in full swing, and on Saturday I participated in my 5th race of the season.  There was a photographer out on the course and he snapped some photos of me... follow this link, this link and this link to see the 3 photos with me in it. 

And, just in case you were wondering, I got 13th place out of 31 racers in my category.


Tough Mudder Donations

Apologies for the delay in posting this, but some people were wondering about how to go about making a donation on my behalf for the Tough Mudder event I'm in come June.  Well, follow the link below to make an online donation, and thanks!  (The event benefits The Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit whose mission is to aid injured military personnel.)


Happy Birthday, Dad!

Hey Dad~

I know the custom is for the birthday honoree to receive gifts on his/her special day.  But you know me pretty well, and sometimes I don't always follow custom.  So, as you tick off another birthday, I want to thank *you* for some incredible gifts you've given me over the years.

Sure, there were...
 - the times you, Eric and I had our friendly claybird shooting competitions in the State Game Lands.

 - the baseball gloves and bats (and sticking with me and my 0.119 batting average in Little League), and countless trips to soccer, band and track practices and games/meets.
 - the various family get-togethers where you kid around with Chloe (I love that.)
 - the little moments, like 1) the "thrill ride" we took in your (I believe old Red F-150) pickup down that hill North of Claussville on Route 100, to see if we could hit 100 mph before turning onto Lyons Valley Road, and 2) not being upset with me when you took me deer hunting and I (repeatedly) fell asleep in the sun, leaning up against trees.  (You had your giggles one time when you found me this way and took my rifle.)
 - the many family summer vacations.
The list of tangible things and memories could go on and on.

But, as I look back on things, I think these are the two greatest gifts you've given me.
1)  The example, and importance of, being oneself.  What I mean is, you are you no matter where you are, or who is around you.  And I really admire that, and have tried to live that way and set that example for Chloe as well. 
2)  Unconditional support.  Sure, we had our wobbles here and there (remember AFROTC?) but by and large, and through my many moves and events, you stuck with and by me.  And never stopped being my Dad.

So, from a very appreciative and loving son, Thank you, and Happy Birthday!

The Birthday Boy


... then wait 15 minutes

A headline in the local paper today...

Boulder weather: Sunny, warm today; freezing rain, snow possible Wednesday

Crazy weather here... highs in the mid- to upper-60s today and plenty of sun; tomorrow the high isn't expect to get out of the 30s and some wintry precipitation is expected.


A Telluride Weekend

With it being both (close to) Peg's birthday and a 4-day weekend for Chloe, we loaded up the car and traveled to the southwest part of the State, a part we've always wanted to check out since we moved out here as we had heard the San Juan Mountains were absolutely spectacular, and the skiing could be pretty good, too.  A trip to this part of the State is no small undertaking... we luckily had great driving conditions, and it still took us over 7 hours of moving time to get there.  We knew within moments of arriving, though, that those 7 hours in a car seat were well worth it (and he hadn't even put on our skis yet.)

I could sit here and give you a detailed day-by-day recap, but each day was pretty much the same:  wake up, eat breakfast, take the funicular down to the slopes, ski until the lifts close, grab a drink and/or bite to eat, head back to the condo and its hot tub, then either eat dinner in or go out.  Sure, there are subtle differences on some days, but that was basically the (glorious) routine.  We had 2 perfect days of skiing weather-wise on Saturday and Monday (with the latter being a blue bird day), whereas the weather on Sunday was cold and windy -- highs in the low 20s and 25+ mph winds.  The warming huts were very popular that day, and the gloves stayed on a lot that day, too, so few pictures were taken.

We didn't stay in the town of Telluride itself, rather, in the nearby Mountain Village (the newer part of the ski area) with it's often-times huge single family homes, and larger hotels and condo complexes.  The two areas, though, are connected by a free, public gondola system that allowed us to get into town in about 20 minutes time without having to get in our car or worry about parking.

And last, but not least, HAPPY 29TH PEGGY!

Here's a slideshow of pictures from the weekend.

Here's another cool picture I found while writing this post and researching some of the details of the town, mountain, etc.  It annotates the visible peaks and their elevations.  (Click on the image to enlarge/magnify it.)  It was taken near the same spot where Chloe and I had our picture taken atop Chair 14.


Going GaGa

It took several weeks for me to get around to this one, but here's a video clip of Chloe's recent performance at her school's talent show.

What Did I Get Myself Into?

Stepping out of my comfort zone, I just registered for a Tough Mudder event here in Colorado in June.  Basically it's a 10-ish mile run through the woods that requires navigating several obstacles, designed by British Special Forces.  The proceeds from the event benefits the Wounded Warriors Project, a nonprofit that provides programs and services to injured service members.

If you would like to donate, click on the picture below... thanks!


Girl. Friend.

And Valentine.

The Face Looks Familiar...

I recently received an email from a nonprofit that we help out on occasion.  It's the one where Chloe and I get our hair cut short (Chloe) or shaved off completely (me) to raise funds for families in medical crises.  In this email was a promotional flier for this year's event, and one of the photos caught my eye...
Unfortunately, it looks like Chloe and I won't be participating in this years event.  But if you're still interested in making a donation, follow this link.


31" + 48 hours = Smiles

Skiing at the local mountain today and there is gobs of snow... and many happy skiers (Peggy included)


9 Years Already?

This little gem entered our world and changed our lives 9 years ago today.

Here she is fully enjoying cake at her first birthday party.


Yurting It

We were supposed to do this overnight trip back in December, but a nasty head cold hit Peggy and we had to reschedule for this weekend.  So we had a month to wonder what awaited us at the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse near Leadville, CO. Good friends of ours told us about it a while ago, and I happened to meet a co-owner last summer, so there were some preconceived notions and mental images about what awaited us.  But we were absolutely blown away with what we experienced.

Stepping back a bit... The Tennessee Pass Cookhouse is actually a decent sized yurt on a remote plot at 10,800 feet in the middle of the Rockies.  It's "off the grid" as they say:  lighting is provided by candles and propane lamps, heat by a wood stove, and bathroom facilities by a nearby outhouse.  During the winter, the more popular ways of getting to it are via cross country skis or snowshoes as it is about 1 mile back in the woods from the parking lot.  (They do offer to shuttle guests to and fro via snowmobile, but, honestly, if one is able-bodied what's the fun in that?)  Just this past summer the owners added two "sleep yurts" nearby so guests would not have to make the 1-mile trek back to the parking lot -- and then deal with some so-so lodging in the area -- and linger over dinner and enjoy the experience and area.

Now back to our experience... we made the approximate 3-hour drive out to the the check-in desk for the Cookhouse on Saturday, arriving around 2in the afternoon.  We got the low-down on both the dining and sleep yurts, were handed some snowshoes, and began our slow, leisurely walk through the woods.  To "get back" a little bit and stay off the groomed nordic ski trails, we opted for the snowshoe trail and gained the 300 feet in elevation to the Cookhouse in about 45 minutes.  Along the way we enjoyed the silence of the woods (save for the snowmobile going by to ferry our overnight bags to our sleep yurt) and enjoyed the limited views (a snow storm was approaching for that night so it was quite overcast.)

When we made it to the cookhouse yurt, we happened to cross paths with the one owner I met over the summer.  After chatting for a bit and using the adjacent outhouse, we continued on for the remaining three-tenths of a mile to our sleep yurt.  And to our surprise and delight, it was not nearly as "primitive" as we had imagined.  Inside there was a (very effective) wood stove, 2 low-wattage lights (powered by solar) and "running water" provided by a tiny submersible pump (with solar-rechargeable batteries) in a large reservoir under the sink.  It can accommodate six, and has down comforter bedding.  "Nature calls" were answered via a 30 foot walk out the door to the outhouse which is shared with the other sleep yurt.  The first flakes of snow of the arriving storm began falling shortly after we arrived, putting a nice glaze on the trees.  We, meanwhile, unpacked and relaxed inside our little piece of serenity in the Rockies before making our way back to the cookhouse for dinner. 

As we left for dinner, outside looked slightly different then it had 90 minutes prior – about over an inch of snow had fallen since.  We trudged along through the snowflakes to the cookhouse, and entered a wonderfully dim candle- and propane-lantern-lit dining room.   Over the next 2-plus hours we dined and chatted, enjoying courses containing elk and rhubarb, and chats about future travels.  It was well dark by the time we left dinner, and the snow was still falling, so our headlamp-guided walk back to our yurt was a nighttime spectacular.  We got back to the yurt, filled the stove with as much wood as it could take, and climbed under the down comforters for (what we thought would be) a quiet night's sleep.

I say that because as we lay there in our beds, the snow piled up on the roof.  Then every once in a while snow slid off the roof, making a sound as if it was ripping through the roof material.  Obviously it wasn't, but it was startling enough to wake us up throughout the night.  No complaints from us, though, as it meant there would be a winter wonderland awaiting us at daybreak.

Sure enough, as we and the sun rose, we noticed about 10 inches of fresh snow around the yurt, with more snurries falling.  We would have loved to linger around the yurt and/or trekked around the trails for a while that morning, but we needed to pack up and head back to the car as Peggy had a flight out to the UK Sunday night.  We were the first ones on the trial that morning so were breaking trail from the get-go.  It snowed enough overnight that at one point we lost track of our footprints from the night before and went (using the skiing term) "off piste" slightly and had to trudge about 75 yards through a knee-deep snowed meadow to get back on the trail.  We were eventually able to link up with the freshly-groomed nordic trails (our interest in breaking trail for the entire 1.3 miles was low) and had a nice, family walk on a quiet winter, Rocky Mountain morning back to the car.

Click on the photo below to see the online photo album of our visit.
TN Pass Cookhouse (Jan 2012)


On the 8th Day...

... he looked back at Colorado and the Rocky Mountains, and thought, "Boy, I really outdid myself."
Breckenridge, CO

Out in Breckenridge for the weekend to do some nordic and alpine skiing, and spend some time with some friends of ours who love the mountains just as much as we do.