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Chautaqua hiking, flatirons trail between 2 and 3

November 19, 2015

Headed out Saturday with our buddies in from chicago, the family we own our boat with. We took lyft over to chautauqua as the parking is usually pretty tough. We headed out with another family up the main trail which quickly became very muddy. Eventually we all split off, one family with little kids turning back, family with big kids forging on up royal arch trail, and ev and I doing the middle trail less grueling, flatirons between 2 and 3. We had a great time, ev hiked a bunch and loved climbing the through, up, and over a long rocky scree field. She had a blast and so did I. We took lots of short timeouts to look up close at bugs, leaves, rocks, branches and whatever else caught her interest. Super fun daddy daughter hike. We headed to the playground to wait for our friends. Then to the amazing chautauqua dining hall, always a special experience. We ended up just sitting in the comfy chairs by the fireplace, ordered some apps, hot chocolate, and enjoyed the vine. Then got a big lyft car and all piled in and rolled home.

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High Points trip including SC, KY, and GA, attempt at NC

January 11, 2010

Lisa and I took a five day “engagement-moon” road trip to the south over New Year’s 2010. One of my projects is to summit the highest point in all 50 states, and a few continents and countries as well. We stayed with some good friends in Indianapolis the first night, then the second day drove to Asheville, NC where we stayed again with friends up in the mountains – celebrating New Years by lighting off a bunch of firecrackers with their five year old and playing dino board games, much fun and laughter had by all. Turns out that in the winter most of these southern state high points are closed to vehicle traffic, and most being drive-ups, this complicated our task.  Read the rest of this entry »


Winter Backpacking Trip to Kettle Moraine, Near Chicago

March 30, 2009

Went on an amazing winter backpacking trip on a section of the Ice Age Trail (which stretches across the entire state of Wisconsin) in Kettle Moraine State Park Northern Unit.  Incredible terrain, big rolling moraines with the trail often following the ridgelines, big sweeping “kettles” or giant rounded indentations, often with water in the bottoms. 

Hiking the second day up a moraine

Hiking the second day up a moraine

 Beautiful weather – that is if you’re into winter camping.  We had about 40 degrees and clouds the first day, snow then blue sky the second.  The first day we hiked about ten miles after a couple hours of driving up to the park.  Ten miles is a long ways let me tell you, especially in uneven terrain with thirty or forty pounds on your back and a pretty nasty cold to boot.  We finally straggled into camp, all twelve of us, ice-age-trail-backpacking-trip-015with plenty of daylight left, surprisingly plenty actually.  We had the tents set up, fire made, gear organized and were well into our dinner before it even turned dusk, around 7:30 or so.  And thank goodness we had followed Will’s suggestion and set the tents up immediately because a snowstorm rolled in – which was very fun to have.   A thick blanket of snow covered the ground and grew deeper through the night, probably six inches worth.  Ryan, the trip leader brought his Samoyed, a siberian-bred dog, big puffy white fur – he was about as happy as a dog could be, he was born for that weather and played and thoroughly enjoyed himself. 

Jason and Cirque - happy campers

Jason and Cirque - happy campers

 Food was excellent, and eventually after some storytelling and laughing and huddling around the fire as the snow gathered on our backs and hats, people retired to their various tents.  I and several others slept in the shelter on the benches along the side.  We were all perfectly warm with our winter sleeping bags.  I slept like a champ as did the others.  The next morning we gradually broke camp, no big rush, getting out of shelter #3 finally at eleven and meandered another six miles, which again is a good bit of distance.  And the second day the terrain was quite rugged, especially considering we were so close to Chicago – it was a true wilderness experience.  The trail crossed a few roads but we saw only one other hiker out there the entire trip – amazing.   The shelter was very cool – I had heard they existed in the midwest but had never seen one.

Shelter #3, fire and snow

Shelter #3, fire and snow

  It very much reminded me of the Appalachian trail shelters.  At the end of the trail a few folks had to drive the car we dropped back to pick up the others at the trailhead where we’d left them the previous day, took over an hour – no matter as we all laid down on a dry section of concrete and enjoyed the sun – many getting a good bit of color.

Crashed out waiting for the shuttled cars to arrive

Crashed out waiting for the shuttled cars to arrive

  A great time was had by all.  We all met up at Perkins a few miles down the road for a well-deserved late lunch, and then made our way back to the city, refreshed, tired, sore, and generally refreshed, mentally, spiritually, and physically.  I left my blackberry off the entire time, what a great feeling.


Things to do in Denver if you’re alive

March 10, 2009

Lots to do in Colorado in early March.  It gets quite warm and sunny in Denver, and the snow is often the best up in the mountains.  See below for some ideas:

Ski the steeps at Snowmass with your brother-in-law and the brother of your brother-in-law (did I say that right?).

Scott and Mark Baby about to go big

Scott and Mark Baby about to go big

Watch Big Air Friday at Snowmass from the best Apres Ski bar in Snowmass, the Cirque

Big Air Friday from the Cirque bar

Big Air Friday from the Cirque bar

Go Rock climbing in Morrison Colorado, outside Denver.

Bouldering

Bouldering

Do some backcountry skiing into Francie’s Cabin near Breckenridge

Francie's Hut in the backcountry outside Breckenridge, Colorado

Francie’s Hut in the backcountry outside Breckenridge, Colorado

Go mountain biking at Matthews/Winters Park near Denver

Mountain biking Matthew/Winter Park with my friend Pete who lives out there now - lucky bastard

Mountain biking Matthew/Winter Park with my friend Pete who lives out there now – lucky bastard

Apres Ski with a ski bunny or two

Apres Ski in Snowmass

Apres Ski in Snowmass

Take your little nieces sledding

sledding with my amazing nieces

sledding with my amazing nieces

Take your nieces sledding at the Snowmass Club

Take your nieces sledding at the Snowmass Club

Ski Breckenridge

Skiing Breck with Ryan Weaver, in from Chicago for the weekend

Skiing Breck with Ryan Weaver, in from Chicago for the weekend

Ski Arapahoe Basin

The fabled Palivicini at A-Basin

A-Basin

Snowboard Loveland Pass and hitchike back to the top of the pass.

Hitchiking up Loveland Pass after an embarassing attempt at snowboarding

Hitchiking up Loveland Pass after an embarassing attempt at snowboarding

Stay and visit with old friends in Denver and eat a yummy meal

Hang out at the Hotsprings pool in Glenwood Springs

Hanging out at the Glenwood Springs pool, late February

Hanging out at the Glenwood Springs pool, late February

Eat lunch up on the mountain and watch people compete in skiing off cliffs freestyle at Snowmass

Snowmass Freestyle cliff jumping competition from Gwyn's

Snowmass Freestyle cliff jumping competition from Gwyn’s

Go to the greatest mountaineering store ever, Neptune Mountaineering, in Boulder, check out their museum and talk about famous climbers with the famous staff and owner Gary Neptune.Incredible Ice Axe selection at Neptune Mountaineering in Boulder

Party and grill out with thirty  new friends at the amazing Blue Sky Basin at Vail, gorgeous view of several 14ers including Mount of the Holy Cross and Mt Elbert.View from Blue Sky basin in mid March, 2009, lots of folks grilling and enjoying

Go bouldering in Morrison, Colorado.Bouldering

Stay with some old friends in Boulder that have become quite a bit more successful than when you knew them a few years back!The super fun and terrific Teegarden family from Boulder!

Take your girlfriend snowshoeing in the backcountry after spending the night in a backcountry cabin

Backcountry snowshoeing and telemark skiing

Backcountry snowshoeing and telemark skiing

First day, hiking in to the cabin

Leave a Comment » | Aspen, Brooke and Courtney, Colorado, hiking, Lisa, Mountain Biking, Partying, Skiing, Traveling | Permalink
Posted by Adventurer


Hustle Up the Hancock 2009

February 23, 2009

I raced in the Hustle Up The Hancock on Sunday.  It’s a race up 94 floors to the top of the Hancock building.  I really enjoyed it – similar to mountain climbing.  They start a racer every eight seconds from 7am to about one in the afternoon.  The stairs didn’t really get that crowded, but I had to pass people every so often, which takes extra energy as you generally have to pass them on the outside, and need to take the stairs two at a time to get enough speed during the half-flight of stairs before the turn.  I did it as a team member through Lakeshore Athletic Club where I work part-time as a climbing instructor (and they sponsored part of the race).   They actually have water stations in the stairwell.  Timing chips on your shoe and the whole deal.  Very cool experience.  I hadn’t counted on the hand rail being such a help – I pulled myself up, probably 20-30% of my weight with my arms – mostly left arm.   I began running them two at a time but all my training was on the stair machine, and I did them one at a time in training so went to single steps – still made good time, besting my goal of 18 minutes, coming in at 17 minutes, 30 seconds.   Below are some videos I took with my Blackberry on the way up – gives a feel for it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJpWCux7t18

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu0arx88heI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8PlAOle9oQ

Apparently a fellow with a double lung transplant does the race each year – one of the happiest men around I’m told.  As would most of us be I suspect, were we given a new lease on life and been blessed with that forced appreciation of every minute and day on this earth.

I went to a free carbo-loading dinner the night before the race generously sponsored by the Signature room on the 95th floor of the Hancock and met the fellow who runs the race, terrific fellow and very committed to the Respiratory Lung Association of Metro Chicago whom the event benefits.

A couple points to note.  My friend owns the company that sells Better Whey of Life yogurt -it’s delicious low sugar all natural yogurt with 15-17 grams of whey protein in it.  I ate one before the race and two after.  I had right around zero soreness the day after the race and none two days after.  I did eat a bunch of other good food but I wonder if there’s a connection…

Hustle Up The Hancock Medal 2009

Hustle Up The Hancock Medal 2009

2 Comments | climbing, hiking, Mountaineering | Permalink
Posted by Adventurer


Hiking at Yankee Springs

February 17, 2009

Went on a winter hike at Yankee Springs over the weekend.  It is in central Michigan near Hastings, a large state park with a number of lakes inside.  They have all sorts of activities available including mountain biking, hiking, snowshoeing cross country skiing, and more.  I was quite impressed with the park.  Many more hills and larger ones than I expected.  Worth the trip if you have a chance.  Also a much larger park than I remembered, plenty of space to get lost in.  Click here for a map or see below.  We hiked for about two hours and got a pretty solid workout, moving fast.  Saw the “devil’s soupbowl” which is a huge pit created by glaciers and climbed Grave’s peak, the highest point in the park.  We spent the night at a B&B called Androunie House in Hastings – loved it, delicious breakfast and very friendly hosts.

Leave a Comment » | hiking | Permalink
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Ice Climbing in Illinois

January 19, 2009

Went ice climbing at Starved Rock State Park on Saturday.  It was quite a bit more difficult than I remembered, and pretty fun excepting the fact that we were climbing up a waterfall that had a bunch of ice under it – making it quite wet.  Call me stupid but I never quite put two and two together to realize ice climbing is most often done where waterfalls used to be – on icefalls, and this means on lots of days water will still be running down them.  Duh.  Went with good friends and had fun – got pretty cold, of course.  Climbed “Wildcat”

Ice climb "Wildcat" at Starved Rock

Ice climb "Wildcat" at Starved Rock

and hiked down to the icefall Tonti and checked it out – quite a cool formation this year, see the photo – it’s like it broke off, but didn’t fall all the way down.  We watched some guys lead climb.  It seems  so nuts, screwing ice screws into the ice and clipping the rope onto them as they went.  I’ve heard the best ice placement is worse then the worst rock climbing placement, not sure if that is rumor of fact.  Still seems scary for a guy to fall off and hope to be held by a screw in ice.  But that much more exciting.

Ice climb Tonti with lead climber

Ice climb Tonti with lead climber

On a different note reading a book called “Deep Survival” – excellent study of the commonalities survivors of plane crashes, boat sinkings, mountain mishaps have.  I love that stuff.

Leave a Comment » | climbing, hiking | Permalink
Posted by Adventurer