Fall is in the air up in Southwest Colorado (although the desert is still scorching). There is a crispness to the morning and night air, even a dusting a snow on the La Plata Mountains. Field season is winding down and soon I’ll be hauling the camper home back south. Actually feeling a seasonal change to autumn is nice and I’m a bit hesitant to leave Colorado.
However, is a photo recap of some traveling and adventures over the summer. (click on photo for more photos!)
Since one of my best friends from Tennessee moved to Oakland, CA, I have tried to go visit every year. As far as cities go, I really like the San Francisco Bay Area. Blue Dog is one of those friends I can easily just fall back in with and jam out to music all night with beers, check out some city life or head to the Sierras for a nice back packing trip.
The first part of the summer was a bit of a mad house to fit in all the traveling I wanted to do. Just a few days after getting back from California, I hitched up the camper home and headed north. I ended up having to leave the camper in Santa Fe and continue on in just the truck to Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota. Lightening the load and simplifying the trip made it much more enjoyable. Early on the universe taught me a lesson to keep it simple and slow down. Thanks in that I’m forced to deal with this new situation kind of way.
I never had too many friends in Colorado despite climbing and running a lot. However, as of this summer I had several move to Colorado. Just in time for a visit! I got to visit Ben and Ramey in Boulder, Andrea in Rocky Mountain National Park (lucky gal to live here), the Hueco Tanks crew: Melissa, Adam, Colin and Cletus in Estes Park, and my good friend Mike from Tennessee and Charlie and Susan in Ft. Collins. Pretty good run in Colorado.
I had been wanting to visit Lander, WY for a several years now. After hearing great things and seeing the excellent movie “Wind and Rattlesnakes”, I had to go. I hadn’t taken a climbing specific trip in quite a while and was excited to travel with a definite goal in mind. Lander is also known for it’s sport climbing (Wild Iris and Sinks Canyon) which was exactly where I was at with climbing. I wanted to get in climbing shape without the risk and stress of multi-pitch trad or hard bouldering. Although, I still checked out some good bouldering in Lander. Lander is one of the best towns I’ve ever visited, especially for climbing and outdoors. The folks at Wild Iris Sports literally greet you with a smile, welcome and a handout with maps and list of everything a traveling climber could possibly need for their stay. The camping is wonderful at the crags but one can also camp at the city park! Unbelievable! I met several other travelers that reminded me how much I love this kind of living and traveling. Lander, I’ll be back to visit again.
I passed through Thermopolis for a soak and through Ten Sleep Canyon for beautiful views of endless rock to climb on my way over to South Dakota. Climbing and hot springs! Doesn’t get much better.
Although I had planned to put running and racing aside to focus on climbing, the 50 mile finish was still looming over me after the cancelled Jemez Mountain Runs. I’d been looking at a couple nearby races and the Black Hills 100 – 50m had been on my radar for sometime since I have always enjoyed running in the hills. The Black Hills were fairly close by and I was planning on heading back to Colorado anyway in a week and visiting friends in the Hills would be fun. Since registration was still open a few days before the race, I pulled the trigger and signed up. I hoped my Jemez training, rest and climbing for several weeks would get me through. Sure enough, I did much better than I expected and finished my first 50 mile trail race in 10 hours and 24 minutes to take 7th overall and 3rd in the 30-39 age group. I felt so good and gave this race about all I had. I’d spend the rest of my trip taking it easy and relishing in this run. Several friends from past trips to the hills were around. I got to climb and visit with Cheyenne and Adrian, Alan and Theresa, Chris, Daryl and meet several new folks. I was really happy to climb Alan’s new route, “Bong Family”, which we had attempted on my last visit but did not finish.
The trip back south was pretty chill. I stopped off in Ft. Collins to visit my friend Mike, who had just moved out from Tennessee and was adjusting to the western way of life. We did some mountain biking and skateboarding but mostly chillin and drinking beer. Ft. Collins has way too much good beer for anyones health! The Fourth of July was spent watching fireworks over Ft. Collins from Horsetooth Reservoir with Charlie and Susan (friends from Pie Fest). Although the heavy relaxing kind of wore me done, the visit was great and I’m glad to have some more good friends out west.
I had to move along fairly quick to snag my camper in Santa Fe before I owed another months rent and then get up to Silverton for the Hardrock 100. This year at the Hardrock did not disappoint, like it ever could. The run took it’s toll on many of the elites, except for Killian Jornet who cruised along all day at what seemed like a leisurely pace, stopping to enjoy the flowers (literally), take photos and hang out with everyone. What a guy! Others slogged their way through, defied death and many veterans chugged along slow and steady to finish another Hardrock 100 looking strong. I hope to always come back to this event and one day run it myself.
The summer is about over but I have a few more posts from Colorado and work on the Navajo Reservation, where I have to run off to at the moment. Enjoy the last days of summer but I’m looking forward to those cool fall days.