Friday, December 21, 2012

Snow

Yesterday Ian & I decided to hit the slopes for the first time this season since it's been snowing fairly consistently all week in the mountains. We decided to go to Breckenridge & were planning on just parking in the free lot, but it was kind of a hassle with the shuttle so we figured we'd bite the bullet and see how much paid parking was. Given it was a Thursday, it was only $5 AND because of our timing, we somehow got ushered up to the very front of the lot that is right next to the gondola. Totally worth the $5.
On one of the runs we ran into this tree that was covered in snow that was encased in ice, which was really beautiful.
It was an exhausting, but satisfying day out =) As for our weekend plans, we're considering doing some snowshoeing to break in our new snow shoes that we go at the end of the season last year. 

Work is mostly wrapped up for the year so I'm trying to get Christmas stuff done while I still have a little bit of time before the big day =) Other than that, I think we're planning on a quiet holiday with some possible guest-room-painting. Hope everyone has a safe & happy holiday!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Famous last words

L: I'm going to stay [clipped] on your rope so I don't land in the cactus.
Me: OK

2 seconds later...
Me, swinging into the cactus: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I was lowering L off his last climb and he was cleaning as he came down. While cleaning on the way down, it's often standard practice to clip into the other side of the rope, especially on an over-hanging route since you would otherwise swing out from the wall and not be able to reach the clips on the wall. In this particular scenario, the climb tops out nearly directly over the cactus and I was belaying between the cactus and the wall. Before L. unclipped the last draw he had to clean, he tells me he's going to stay clipped into my side of the rope so that he doesn't get lowered into the cactus. That all made sense for about two seconds before I remembered he's about 30lbs heavier in addition to the momentum of swinging out from the wall. As a result, I was pulled into that bush of cacti you see on the left. The bush was about chest high when I got pulled in. And if you know anything about cacti spines, you'd know that I felt every one of them that went in and every one of them that got pulled out. Luckily I was using a Grigri to belay L, which helped catch him during all the cactus madness. Though my whole body was so tense bracing for the impact that I don't think belaying with an ATC would've been an issue since Ian had to tell me several times to relax my grip on the break end of the rope. My climber's safety is #1, of course =p

I just can't get over how ironic the whole situation was.

On a more positive note: I led my first 10's outdoors!

Monday, October 15, 2012

October

The month isn't over yet, but I felt like I needed to write a little update because I feel like we've done so much already!

At the beginning of the month we drove up to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and I gave mountain biking a try after resisting to adopt another hobby for a while now (I think I have enough?). Well, kids, you can't say I didn't give it my all because I ended the day picking out cacti spines from my right hip/thigh! I came up to this dip and curve in the path and going by Ian's mantra of "just go for it!" I did and I ended up going into it a bit too quickly and ended up hitting the left side of the path where it curved up and bounced off the right of the bike into a field of cacti. I was really surprised how "softly" I seemed to land though, aside from the cacti of course. One minute I was going for this difficult section on my bike and the next I was half-lying in the field assessing what just happened to me. Ian & P. split off to a more difficult trail while R. accompanied me back to the car after my fall. Naturally, Ian ended his day a lot more gracefully than me.
Later that week we celebrated our 3rd anniversary & Ian took the day off to spend with me. Of course, we had to take advantage of the fact he had spare time during work hours so we made ourselves productive and finally took the carpet we ripped from the office and other construction waste from his garage reno to the dump. After that, we went climbing in the canyon for the afternoon and came home and ordered some Thai delivery for dinner. Incredibly romantic right? Well, being the practical people we are, we were really happy with how we spent the day =)

As of late, Ian's been wrapping up his garage reno and has begun moving things back into place! It's all very exciting. *cue the oooh's & aahhh's*
Yup... those are all his new-to-him toys =) There are still things that need to be done, but the bulk of the work is complete so this past weekend we moved on to our bedroom closet! We've been waiting for so long to re-do it and originally we had talked about enlarging the opening to the closet in addition to adding an organization system, but after noting all the things we'd have to do to achieve that and what we'd actually even gain from all that work, we decided it was best to leave the opening as is and just patch up and paint the interior and install a closet system to better utilize the space. This is what it looked like before we emptied it and gutted it (and before we painted the bedroom):
Luckily we just got some dressers and we've got the closet next door to use in the meantime so it's not a terrible inconvenience, but still: the plan is to get it done sooner rather than later! 

We returned to the canyon for some climbing yesterday and, as usual, it was a gorgeous day to be out =)
So what's next on the agenda... we're heading down to Shelf Road this weekend and thus our week will likely be devoted to prepping the van for another trip! We will be insulating the windows and adjusting the bed to give ourselves more space in preparation for the trip. We're trying to get in as much climbing as we can before snow season takes over our lives =)

Hope your month has been fun so far! 

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Snow!

So this is happening right now...
It was bigger just moments before this photo was taken too! And now it's getting heavier as I type this. If this snow is any indication of what we will get in the mountains this year, then you can bet I am pretty excited =)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Weekend

This past Saturday we spent in Vedauwoo with our friends J. & S. from the gym. J. has a lot of crack climbing experience so we sweet talked him into taking us out to show us how to do it without twisting our ankles. I did a few climbs but my afternoon was mostly focused on trying to get some good shots of everyone since we brought the camera with us.
It turned out to be a really busy day where we were. J. said he was surprised to see as many people as we did because it's usually the place you go to escape crowds. Might be because they had the same idea as us! There was at least 40 people in the area that we could see/hear.
The weather was perfect though. And I got in an 11 climb at the end of the day, which was really fun. The key to a good day in Vedauwoo, though, is properly taping your hands. I think the last time we were here, which is over a year ago now, I didn't fully tape my hands and it was an awful experience. But now I'm looking forward to going back and climbing some more! It certainly worked muscles that I usually don't get to with regular sport & gym climbs. Click here for more photos.
On Sunday while Ian went off to Lumpy Ridge, I made a trip into the city to meet up with my cousin, J., and to pick up a few things from Ikea. 

Speaking of which, we just finished assembling the new dressers I got there so stay tuned for updates on our slow bedroom transformation ;) 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Garden update - September

In my last update, I thought our garden was as big and full as it would get. Of course, it got bigger. And fuller. And now we have a seemingly endless supply of tomatoes & eggplant & peppers & basil!
The tomatoes and eggplant are growing outside the planters and it's just crazy trying to walk through to pick anything.
They're so cute! And a beautiful red color.
One plant that really surprised and amazed us was our little flavor burst cherry tomato that I thought was going to die out from lack of sun because it was being crowded out by its neighbor, but it decided to out-grow its neighbor and grow taller than all the other plants and burst to life!
Just look at all those little flower buds =) I'm excited to see how these taste. 
In the mean time, I think we have enough cherry tomatoes from our other plants to tide us over. I luckily brought out our largest bowl to collect all the tomatoes and peppers this morning. We've waited so long to harvest that yellow one. It's probably been a  month since I noticed the first spot of color change on it and then after it turned yellow we let it stay on the plant for another week. I hope our patience has paid off! 

One dream I have is to start up a community food co-op or trade system of some sort. I know L. to the back of us have lots of green onion & lettuce and M. is overwhelmed by his peach tree and just between our 3 families, we have so much to share so I can only imagine how much variety we'd get if we got more families in the neighborhood involved! This has been an idea floating in my head for years now. I think it's time to turn it into a reality.

Monday, September 10, 2012

9 Days in Wyoming

We're back from our roadtrip! It was long and tiring at times, but it was really nice to have all the free time to read and cook and eat. We climbed 5 out of the 9 days we were gone and visited Yellowstone & Grand Teton the other days. We started out heading to Ten Sleep, WY where we climbed over the long weekend with our friend L. & his friend C.
From there, we drove up to the NE entrance to Yellowstone and camped outside the park the first night. We managed to find this huge open area that was a camping area since it had a bulletin board stating that you could stay there up to 14 days as well as a pit toilet, but it was not advertised as such, which I assume was the case since there were official NPS campgrounds nearby that charged fees. Anyway. The next day we made our way into the park and snagged a site at Slough Creek campground. We barely made it in time, though, as we got the second-last available site so note-to-self: get there earlier!
As we drove through Yellowstone, we saw a lot of bison. At first it was exciting, but it lost its novelty pretty quickly. Unless they were doing something cool like running with their baby, which was super cute and I wish we could get on camera but there was no good place to stop. You'll just have to take my word for it that it happened! Oh yeah, no bear sightings either. Though there was a tree in our campsite at Slough Creek that was scratched up by a bear. You could see the claw marks and its hairs stuck to the tree sap. We forgot to take a photo so again, you'll just have to take our word for it that it existed.
After a lot of driving through Yellowstone, we learned that the park is all about the geothermal features. Some really neat things to see, like this
or this
or even
Who knew nature was into the ombre  (see adjective definition) fad that is everywhere in design(er, that maybe just in my world) But after about 5 of these steam-&-sulfur-spewing pools/vents/geysers...
It gets old. And stinky. I may not want to cook or eat a hard-boiled egg for the next little while. Also, Yellowstone is mostly a drive-thru park with the occasional pull-over to see wildlife or vista points. I prefer Zion and Yosemite over Yellowstone in that respect, but also possibly because there is no risk of grizzly bears. Hiking with the chance of a grizzly bear encounter hanging over your head really zaps away all pleasure from a hike in the woods. 

After stopping by Old Faithful on our second day in Yellowstone, we headed south for Grand Teton National Park. Sadly, we only stopped there for a few hours on our drive down to the Wild Iris climbing area near Lander, WY. However, we decided to make the most of our time in Grand Teton by biking in the park on the multi-use pathway, which turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the trip. No photos though because we were racing against the rain clouds that were rolling in. It was a 15.5 mile roundtrip ride. We biked out to the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center, which was a gorgeous building.
And the beautiful mountains were always at our side =) 

We arrived at our campsite at Wild Iris just before sunset and stayed there for two days. The approaches to the climbs were insanely easy, which I will miss. If all climbing approaches were that easy, I'd be out more often! Sigh. Why am I so lazy?

Anyway, we ended up getting home Saturday night and spending the rest of our weekend unwinding from all our driving.

My favorite things from the trip:

  • McDonald's Apple Pies
  • Bacon, cheese, egg bagel breakfast sandwiches
  • Hello Kitty gummies ("fruit" snacks)
  • Kettlecorn Popcorn
  • Dried mango  (hmmm... apparently food was really important to me...)
  • Drive to Ten Sleep (see photo for explanation)
  • Finishing an 11d climb 
  • Drive into Yellowstone
  • Seeing adult bison running with baby bison
  • Shower in Grant Village
  • Grand Teton
  • Bike ride next to Grand Teton

Things the trip has made me realized I take for granted:

  • Showers
  • Doing dishes in a normal sink with running water
  • Clean socks
  • Clean hair!
  • Sunsets and how dynamic and different they are day to day, place to place
  • Pandora (Alt Nation on Sirius XM radio was incredibly repetitive)
  • My garden (I was thinking about it the whole time I was gone!)
  • Time to read
Evidently, trips like this make me reflect a lot. And eat a lot ;) Where will we go next, you might ask? I think at this point we are just waiting for the snow season to start so we can try out our new snowshoes we got on clearance last season!

Hope you had a lovely first-week-of-September =)

PS: more photos from our trip

Friday, August 31, 2012

Wyoming

The long weekend is upon us and I think we're just about ready to go! We have been packing and prepping all week for our big Labor Day trip (a bit exhausting after just getting back from our 14er hike, but I'm sure it'll be worth it!). Needless to say, our food dehydrator saw quite a bit of action this week. See exhibit A:

Exhibit A
Going from top left to bottom right, we have mango, peaches (from our next door neighbor's trees! Have I mentioned how generous our neighbors are?), strawberries, and banana. Can you believe a whole 2lb container of strawberries reduces down to just two little packets? It's crazy. And now you know why dried fruit costs so much. We've got fruit rolls & dried apple too, but I was just too lazy to get them in the shot. So yeah, our dehydrator was basically running non-stop all week. The whole process may have improved my peeling/slicing skills. We'll see.

We are first stopping in Ten Sleep, WY where we will be climbing with some friends over the long weekend and then Monday we part ways and head out to Yellowstone & Grand Teton to relax for the rest of the week. Well, as much as a person can relax while camping in bear country. I am a bit (that might be an understatement) paranoid about being eaten by a bear, but we're taking our van so that offers a bit of solace.

There's still the day time to worry about, but maybe we'll make new friends and go on hikes in a larger group and I will be in the fittest half of the group that can escape a bear attack. These are the things that I think about. It's awful, I know.

On another note, we're bringing our bikes with us as well so that we will be able to try out the semi-new multi-use pathway in Grand Teton. We are planning on just relaxing, which is so rare for us when we go outdoors, so I'm hoping that will mean we have time to play with our camera. =)

And thennnn... if you aren't exhausted from reading about our plans yet, on our way home we will also be stopping in Lander, WY for some more climbing and then hopefully we make it the rest of the way home in one piece! It's a bit of a drive, but I think we're making the most of it.

If you don't hear from me in a week, then my worst fear probably came true and I got eaten by a bear.  And with that, I hope you have a bear-free weekend! Unless you're going to the zoo, in which case I hope you see lots of cool bears.

xoxo

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fourteeners

Last year Ian, R., S, & I hiked up Grey's peak, which was Ian's & my first fourteener. This year R invited us to join him on the 4 fourteener hike, taking us from Mt. Democrat, Mt. Cameron (an unofficial 14er), Mt. Lincoln, & Mt. Bross. Er, I mean, we didn't hike Bross because that would be illegal. Right. So why is Cameron an unofficial 14er: it is above 14k feet but because there is less than a 300ft elevation difference between neighboring peaks it isn't considered an official peak, but whatever... for our purposes, we'll count it as a 14er. And no, we did not do this hike because it is an election year: that was just a happy coincidence =) Kind of like how last year we hiked Grey's on 9/11, which was the 10th anniversary of 9/11.


Anyway, I digress. We drove out Friday afternoon to Kite Lake, which is where the trail starts/ends for the loop of 14ers. We camped out and watched the stars & started our hike around 7:30am the next day. I guess we started our hike at a good time since we hardly ran into any crowds on the trail.


(The red dot you see in the bottom left is a headlamp belonging to one of the few guys who decided to start the hike late at night.)

So how was it, you ask? Well, it was probably the most grueling hike I will ever do. It was only 7.25miles but we climbed about 3700ft and we started at 12000ft so our hike was all above 12000ft, where there is 65% of the oxygen available at sea level. Despite a night of acclimatizing and being as fit as I am (or at least as I think I am), this hike definitely kicked my butt. To give you a frame of reference, the Half Dome hike in Yosemite climbs 4800ft but over ~16miles and starts at a base elevation of 4000ft. Thus I would argue Half Dome is easier on the body in that respect.


The descent was probably the worst descent I've ever done. It was steep and covered in loose rock. There were times I just crouched down and paddled my way down. I get tired just thinking back to it! But we did it. We survived. The only positive thing I could make the descent out to be was that it was good training for the snow season ;)


The views were stunning, though. On the trail a ways up you could see why Kite Lake was named as such. It was perfect.


I was swapping layers on and off all day because the wind is fickle like that, but overall it was perfect weather. No rain clouds in sight! We really lucked out with our trip in that respect. I don't think we could have done any better =) For more photos from our hike, check out my album.

Hope you had a relaxing weekend!

xoxo

Friday, August 24, 2012

Outside the lines

I was going through some old photos and stumbled across this one.

Ian gifted me this set of water color paints and some other art supplies at the beginning of our relationship. Those words he wrote on the wrapping continue to inspire me to this day.
"Don't be afraid to go outside the lines."
On another note, we are planning on hiking a few fourteeners this weekend. (I think we're on track to making this a tradition =)) It's not a very long hike, but it's going to be a steep climb! Still watching the weather for this though. The rain has been iffy. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and do something fun =)

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Garden Update

It has been brought to my attention that I haven't shown an overview of our garden in a while. After I looked at my last garden post did I really realize how much it's grown in just a few short weeks!

3 Weeks Ago:

Today:

The tomatoes in the back are the most surprising. I can't believe they were 1/3rd the size just 3 weeks ago! 
Our cauliflower & broccoli florets are starting to come out. It's pretty incredible how leafy and big the stalks get before they begin to flower. 

Another fun thing in our garden: the grapevine is getting wrapped up on everything around it! 
I guess that's how vines work, but I've never seen it in person before so this is all very fascinating to me. Plant life is an amazing thing =) Though I will admit the celery is probably the most boring one to follow the progress of since all its doing is just getting taller...and taller... and taller.... see what I mean?

In other news, I.S.'s big ride is tomorrow! And then the day after! Ahhh! Let's be sure to send him lots of positive vibes as he has to wake up at 4am to get down to the start in Evergreen and then proceed to bike his butt off all day (possibly literally!). I still think he's nuts. But amazingly inspiring at the same time! Love ya babe ;) Good luck!

Happy Friday the 13th everyone!



Friday, July 06, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

Garden Update

This morning when we went out to check on our veggies, we met our backyard neighbors, L. & B. who are diagonally across from us and came away with not only new friends but a giant bunch of fresh green onions and some lettuce! 

L. said that if we need more lettuce, to just ask because he's got more. I hope that our veggies turn out so that we can share our bounty with them too!

Our own garden has been doing great. I returned home last Thursday to find our garden exploded in size! It's kind of amazing. Did I mention plant life amazes me? They are so much more resilient than I thought they would be.

The tomato plants that I thought were on their way out have branched like crazy in the two weeks I was away & now are flowering!

Our pickling cucumber seems to be the only lost cause:
Something's been eating the base of the stem and all the flowers I saw when I got home last Thursday are all shriveled up & gone now =( The pests & diseases I've read about exhibit more leaf-related symptoms so I have no idea what is wrong here.

Anyhow, I've still got some space in the strawberry/herb bed and in one corner of the tomato bed so I'm wondering what I should put there. Maybe I'll try sprouting my seeds again.


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Garden: update

It's been about 3 weeks and I haven't killed anything in our garden (yet)! Though I did kill some arugula, chili, and cilantro seedlings, but they weren't in the garden yet so that doesn't count. I think I neglected them for one day too long during a really hot spell. I've re-sprouted the arugula but still waiting on the others. I bought some Martha Stewart seeds from home depot for peppers & eggplant but neither of those have ever sprouted in either of the times I've tried. Not sure what to do about that. Anyhow, on to the things that are growing!
Look at how big everything got compared to when we first got them:
The cauliflower, broccoli, & tomatoes are probably the most noticeable ones. I'm really really pleased with how the tomatoes are doing considering how sad & stressed they were to start out! I had plucked off all the bottom leaves that were scraggly & obviously dead & was afraid I was making it worse, but new leaves have sprouted from the spots where I plucked off old ones so I think we're good now. =)

We've got some green & yellow peppers, jalepeño, & tomatoes coming out.

You might also notice that we ran some drip lines in the garden beds (the brown tubes). I was determined to get those in before we fly out on Thursday so that I can set it up on a timer while I'm away, so we got that done this past weekend. 
We bought a battery-operated timer to operate the drip line. Eventually we'd like to tie it in to our existing sprinkler system and control everything from one main controller. For this season though, I think we've accomplished more than I dreamed of doing. One other thing I want to do after I get back is make some cover or cage for everything as we've already lost all our first strawberries to squirrels. Plus there's a fox that dug up some holes (thankfully didn't damage anything) in the garden beds so I'd rather not have to worry about all that.


Oh, did I ever mention we have a grape vine? 
I thought it was a wine grape, but our neighbor told us it's a concord grape. I'm not sure if that's better news than it being a wine grape since concord grapes have seeds, but oh well.... I think we're set up for a boat load of them at the end of the season 'cause look at that vine! The whole section of fence you see in this photo has the grape vine growing on it. 
I've never been around and cared for plants like this before, so all the growth really ceases to amaze me =) I can't wait to come back to them near the end of the month and see how big they are, presumably they survive... I'm still very paranoid they're going to die, even though I've seen how resilient they are!