Longs Peak Hike Reminder

Almost 8 years ago?!  Really?!  The first time I visited my brother in Colorado I told him I wanted to do something fun and adventurous.  I wanted to sky dive, but he picked mountain climbing.  Little did I know how much I would end up loving his choice and still be doing it nearly 10 years later. 

My brother sent me a story today.  His friend took a guy up the same mountain that was my very first mountain climb.  Only they did it when there is lots of snow.  We went in the Fall.  I think we made the better choice.  Here’s the guy’s account of his trip if you want to read it.  http://footfeathers.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/raw-truth-of-nature/ His picture of the final ascent, a.k.a. Homestretch, says it all.  It’s like climbing up a ladder, but there no ladder, just a rock wall in front of your face with cracks in it to wedge your feet and hands in.  No rope either.

Reminiscing, here’s a list of my climbs and stories to match.  As you can tell by the dates, this is my Labor Day trip each year.  Kind of funny.. something about 8/31 and 9/2 must make us want to climb!  If you have some time, at least look at the pictures.  They are still breath taking to me each time I look at them.  If you have extra time, read the stories.  The first one is my account of our trip, the rest are from my brother’s perspective.  He’s a great story-teller so you kind of feel like you are there with us without the physical exhaustion part.

08/31/2001 – Longs Peak
09/02/2006 – La Plata
09/02/2008 – Yale
 
When there’s a website dedicated to the torrid history of deaths on this mountain, I think that suggests I will never climb this mountain again.  http://listsofjohn.com/Accidents/Longs.html

Colorado Adventure Day 4 – Are we done yet?!

No time to rest!!!  Last day in Colorado… what haven’t we done yet?  Oh yea, hiking!  Since I’d stolen my brother away from his family for a few days, we did a family event today.  We drove through Boulder and hit Flagstaff trail.  We had a crew!  4 adults, 2 kids, 1 soon-to-be-kid (Kim’s not mine), and 2 dogs.  We headed up a trail until we got to a part that had some really large rocks to climb on.  We played with the kids and the dogs for a bit and enjoyed some scenery. 

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I used to say “Rocks and trees… they all look the same”.  That was back in my prissy years when I thought this stuff was stupid.  Now I can’t get enough!  We stopped for a group photo op, then headed back to the car. 

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Many many many thanks to the Fuller’s of Colorado!  Brandon, thanks for hauling us around and planning such a great trip!  Kim, thanks for letting us into your home (for the last time) and taking Brandon away for a few days!  Syd & Reagan, thanks for getting my room ready and playing games with me!  Time to start planning my fall trip… what mountain(s) should we climb this time?

Check out my brother’s story.

Colorado Adventure Day 3

Today, we took Miss Sydney on our skiing adventure.  We arrived at Eldora Ski Resort a little before noon.  Just in time for the half day skiing prices.  I started skiing in 1997 at Boyne Highlands up in Michigan and have since racked up skiing in Indiana, Nevada, California and Colorado.  I counted how many times I’d been skiing in my life and decided it was time to try snowboarding.  15 times… yep, ready for something new.  Here’s Eldora.

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Brandon and Syd went off to the greens while Kyle waited with me to get suited up with a snowboard.  I got my boots and went to get the board.  The guy just hands it to me and says “have fun”.  I go…. ahhhh…. can I ask you a question.  Since I had never been snowboarding I needed to know what foot was most likely to always stay strapped in.  I’ve been told I wakeboard goofy foot, but to me it feels right.  Turns out, the way I wakeboard is the way I should snowboard.  We walked over to the easiest green lift and I strapped a foot in.  I about fell right there.  This damn board was slippery!  It took quite a while to get used to dragging a 5 foot long board around while the other foot is trying to keep traction on snow.

Getting off the chair was fine, but maintaining my balance on one foot was not.  I think all day I successfully got off the chair lift without falling 5 times, but luckily you have to sit down to strap in your other foot so you can kind of play off the fall if it’s graceful enough.  After a few falls on my first two runs, I was ready for some bigger greens and blues.  I think I did pretty good for my first time out.  My only falls later in the day were because there was a 15 kid pile up for ski school and I didn’t want to make snowballs out of any of them.  Kyle stayed with me for some runs until he was bored and ready for more challenges himself.  I went back to find Syd and B.  When they were done, I went back to the blues to find Kyle.  I could have stayed up there all day, but everyone in my party was ready to leave.  I think I found my new winter hobby.  If anyone is looking to buy me a gift, I’m a size 9 boot and about a 150 board!

Check out my brother’s story.

Colorado Adventure Day 2

Today’s adventure… 4 wheeling.  We took the Hummer over to my brother’s “shop” (storage shed) to pick up the ATVs.  We headed up to a trail in Roosevelt National Forest.  Usually, when my brother has company, he takes one person at a time and leaves the other person to sit waiting for their turn to ride.  He was bored with that, so he brought his other kids, Dakota and Wyatt, along.  He was going to run them around the trails while Kyle and i went off adventuring.  Here’s where we started.  The trailhead is just in front of the truck.

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There used to be a shooting range on this trail too.  I got the pleasure of driving right through it one time without knowing what the hell was going on.  My brother forgot to tell me about that part.  This time, it’s been closed down.  Smart move I think.  Kyle and I got moving pretty well up the trails and got to a steep part.  My ATV didn’t seem to want to gas it up there.  It was stalling on me.  I gave it a third try and off we went.  I got out the video camera to take some shots and when I slowed to put it away, my ATV stalled again.  We couldn’t get it started.  We got into the packs on the ATVs and fashioned a pretty good tow system to get mine down.  On our way, we ran into my brother.  With one pull of the manual start cord, my ATV was running again.  Kyle and I felt pretty stupid but we’re pretty proud of our towing skills.  Kyle and I wound our way up the mountain and took some stops to check out the scenery.

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Day 3… here we come!

Check out my brother’s story.

Colorado Adventure Day 1

I have the luxury of my brother living in Longmont Colorado.  Easy access to a ton of adventures.  My winter trip was approaching, so Kyle agreed to come with me to see what Colorado was all about.  We arrived Wednesday night and went straight to rent Kyle’s skis and get our lift tickets for first day of adventures — Skiing at Breckenridge.  

The alarm clock (a.k.a. Sydney and Reagan) went off early Thursday morning so we all got ready to go our separate ways.  Kim took the kids to their daily routine, while Brandon took us to the mountain.  Since we all had our gear, we went straight to the gondola and up to the slopes.  Kyle got his “ski” legs last week in Indiana, but this doesn’t even compare.  He and I went to hit the bunny slope so he could practice, and B left to grab some food.  

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The bunny slope sucked, so we decided to head for the greens and work on some fundamentals.  Kyle excused me to go on my own way then check back.  I went to look for B at the lodge, but couldn’t find him.  I was itchin’ to ski, so off I went.  I hit some blues and blacks then managed to find B again.  I’d been eyeing the bowls at the top of the peak, so he agreed to go up with me… up to 12,830 feet!

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You could go up a little further but you had to walk with all your gear… no thanks.  We both got down the double black diamond and decided while we were up there, to do another one then we’d meet up at the end to find Kyle.  Well, I had a little trouble the second time.  I hit a rock, gained control, but then hit another one.  Apparently even though you are so high, there isn’t enough snow cover for everything.  I slid about 30 yards and lost my skis.  The nice skiers around me collected my belongings.  It took me about 10 minutes to figure out how to get 2 skis on while not sliding down any farther and maintaining my balance on a 70 degree slope.  I made it, lost Brandon, but headed down to find Kyle.

He was still mastering the greens and working on his “S” skills.  He was doing really well, but was ready to call it a day.  We caught back up with B and headed to the car.  It was a great sunny, clear sky day full of skiing.  Just what I ordered!

Check out my brother’s story.