Tuesday, August 31, 2010

08_31_2010 Pente is perma-drunk

While we were in the Sierra, Leslie Dittle brought Pente a gift - California catnip. Prior to this gift, she was pretty uninterested in catnip. To our surprise, she went nuts over this special California Herb.

She has not given it a rest since she received this toy. It is non-stop play play play play play.

After a lot of play, she ends up in a position that can be nothing other than the position of a very drunk cat. Tonight was a great example. After some intense attacking, she has been sprawled on the floor watching shapes in the ceiling morph. It was so sunny that I grabbed a couple of photos of her. (It was dark, the photos are marginal. She is one happy cat! Thanks again to Leslie for the toy and the fun it's been!

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08_30_2010 Third Flat Iron Sushi at Sunset again!

We did it again. We headed up the third flatiron for a sushi dinner on Monday night. It was a gorgeous evening - very clear.

With the crystal clear air and from our perch (at an elevation of 7,400 or 7,500 feet - sources vary) we could see a loooong way. We could see the skyscrapers in Denver. We could clearly see Long's Peak (Northern most 14er in Colorado) and it's distinctive flat top. The sky was decorated with pretty clouds. And we could see our house! Very exciting!

Why is it so fun to see one's own home from the sky? Universal thing it seems.

Again, we roped up for this climb. My feet did well but even so, I wonder if I'll solo it again. For right now, it seems a silly risk. And a 1,000' fall would be such an unpleasant event even if unlikely. Important stuff to consider.

Perhaps we'll make it a weekly hike/climb until the weather gets too cold. For now, enjoy the view!

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Monday, August 30, 2010

08_19 & 20_2010 Rawah wilderness solo backpack

Dave here... I decided it would be fun to do a quick solo backpack trip to somewhere new in the high country. I decided on a 21 mile loop in the Rawah wilderness area, about 50 miles WNW of Fort Collins. I packed up my gear and photo stuff and headed for the West Branch trailhead to begin the trip.

The weather was dark and funky on the morning drive up there, so I was wondering what the conditions would be like... The weather forecast was a very common 30% chance of showers, so nothing really out of the ordinary. However, when I arrived at the trailhead at 8:30am, it was raining lightly with no real sign of improvement. I mulled around the trailhead for about an hour with no improvement in the weather and I finally figured I would just go for it, I had everything I needed to deal with sketchy weather...

Well, over the course of the day's 12 mile hike, the weather went from sketchy to downright wet! Hiking with a full pack in the rain for hours is like fun, but different... By the time I reached one of the upper Rawah lakes where I would camp, I was pretty darn wet.

Luckily, I got about a 30 minute reprieve from the rain while I set up my tent under some pines at about 10,800' - a nice place to sit and hang out if it wasn't raining... After setting up my tent, I immediately got inside my sleeping bag trying to warm up and dry out. It continued to rain for most of the night. I only took a few photos on that dreary first day - they should be pretty obvious. I did see a momma moose and her calf on the rainy hike, but no photo due to the pouring rain...

I awoke, thankfully, to clear skies in the morning. Instead of an early start in order to catch the best light up on the high pass, I needed to dry out a bunch of gear before I could take off for the day. I enjoyed warming up and drying out under the sunny morning skies.

After a while I packed up and began the rest of the hike, up and over a pass, through some valleys, then eventually back to the car. I snapped a few more pics this day and the camera was happy to be out of the rain. The loop was pretty and there were many nice wildflower displays, although the flowers were a bit after their prime for sure.

I also saw a cool bird that Callie and I have been unable to identify... (Dave's Jay?? :-) Near the end of the hike, I had a big surprise... only about 1/2 mile from the trail head I saw what looked at first to be a large dog waiting under a tree in the shade for it's companion. After I got a little closer, I could see the critter licking it's paw, kind of cat like... and as I got a little closer I could see that it was indeed a cat - A BIG CAT!

Yes, a full grown mountain lion was sitting in the trail, taking a 'bath'. Wow! He didn't notice me at first, but then he turned his head towards me to take a look. We met eyes and I slowly took a few steps backward as I lowered my eyes a little and tried to get my camera out for a picture. At this point I was about 75' from "kitty"... Before I could get the camera out, the big cat decided I was of no interest and bounded into the trees on the side of the trail. Very cool to watch! I have never seen a mountain lion in the wild before, so this was quite a treat, especially since it didn't seem like a dangerous encounter.

All in all a fun little trip with a very cool ending!

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

08_25_2010 Garage Rennovation Begins!

Okay, it may not sound very exciting, but it is! We are renovating the garage.

We are turning a shell of a garage with assorted shelves put here and there, piles of dust and a small population of mud dobbers into a masterpiece...well, "we" being Guy Kenny with the assistance of Dave and me.

The first big task was emptying the garage out. We must have had 70 bikes in there alone. And lots of other stuff. Our original plan to throw stuff out was quickly abandoned as we instead just loaded everything into the trailer. We'll sort when we put it all back into the new cabinets and shelves.... Hey! We really will!

For now, it's involved a lot of prep work in the way of electrical work and insulating. Tomorrow we'll start with sheet rocking (look out deltoids) and other stuff. Also, not pictured is a shed going in the back yard too.

Enjoy as this place goes from a big mess to perfect organization. We're psyched!

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08_24_2010 Moonlight Ascent of Third Flatiron!

Full moon! That means it's time for a full moon ascent of the third flat iron!

Quinn, Mike Munger, Dave and I headed up for this event. We all had lots of goodies in our packs. And we had nice weather.

Climbing went well (my feet hardly whined). I did end up climbing a bit of it in the pitch black darkness. It was the first time not to solo this climb and I was happy to have a rope! Given my feet and the fact that I could see nothing, it was nice to know if I made a misstep I wouldn't fall a. long. damn. way. to the bottom!

We got to the top and enjoyed the perfect weather with sushi, wine, beer, and other assorted goodies. Better than the food was the company.

Heck, all the good food made be forget about my black eye. It was almost gone (it is STILL almost gone) but it is still clear in many of the photos (it's a long story that doesn't involve violence or a bike crash. No worries).

We are fortunate to have such awesome friends. Thanks for coming along with us!

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