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Fall

The leaves are turning, cooler temperatures are here and the days are getting shorter.  It’s perfect weather for climbing and hiking, and we’ve been doing some of both in the past few weeks.  I have been trying to push myself leading trad, and last week led my first 5.8+ route – Huston Crack.  Boulder Canyon has many great granite cracks that I can’t wait to climb.  Monika, the boys and I have also been hiking around the area and trying to see different areas of CO that we haven’t before.  We always take our camera and seem to get some pretty good shots of the kids now and then.

Button Rock Preserve Benjamin Button Rock Preserve Samuel's Seat Samuel Samuel and Benjamin

Summer Update

Monika, the kids and I decided to drive through South Dakota on our way back from our visit with family in Ohio. We drove for three days, visited Wall Drug, the Badlands, Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse memorial all in one day. The southwest corner of South Dakota seems to be the happening place in that state, the rest of the drive was highlighted by billboard ads for Wall Drug and the Mystery Spot.

Mt. Rushmore Mt. Rushmore Mt. Rushmore

Monika and I climbed Torreys Peak (14,267ft) today, it was her first fourteener and she did great. We went up Kelso Ridge, this was my second time up the route and today we had great weather for it. The crux of the climb was a bit more exposed because all the snow in Dead Dog Couloir had melted earlier this summer. Five hours up, two and a half down with a total ascent of 2946ft at an average of 14ft per minute. Thank you, Mr. Altimeter Watch.

Heading Up Kelso Ridge Monika's First 14er Finishing Kelso Ridge Kelso Ridge Monika and Mark on Torreys Monika Descends Torreys

Balloon Launch

Monika and I got up early a few weekends ago and took the kids to the hot air balloon launch in Erie. The launch was scheduled for 6am, but everything was running a bit behind and most of the balloons didn’t take off until around 6:30am. Samuel and Benjamin had a good time watching the balloons inflate and take off against the backdrop of the front range, and Monika and I were able to snap a few good pictures. Afterwards, we had a good pancake breakfast in Boulder and went back to our house for a nap.

Erie Balloon Festival Erie Balloon Festival Erie Balloon Festival Erie Balloon Festival Erie Balloon Festival Erie Balloon Festival Erie Balloon Festival

Ski Season for 06-07

This season was probably my best for skiing/snowboarding. Monika, Samuel and I had a blast whenever we went out, and we made the time to try to get up to the mountains whenever we could to slide around on the snow. Samuel learned to ski this year, and Monika’s riding just keeps improving. I switched back to skiing for the first part of the year (and whenever Samuel was with me), then snowboarded towards the end. I think I got in 20 days of riding this year, and hit most of the resorts that I wanted:

Eldora is close to home, kid-friendly and you don’t have to get on I-70. The downsides are no high-speed lifts, smaller terrain than other resorts and the season’s pass and ticket prices are about the same as larger resorts. Winter Park is great, lots of terrain, many blue runs and variations to keep it interesting. Copper is also great, the runs there are naturally segmented into beginner, intermediate and expert across the mountain. Breckenridge has a lot of good terrain over several mountains, but this makes it hard to get around if you want to ski something different. You’ll find yourself traversing back and fourth, but the upper bowls and the Imperial Express lift (highest lift in North America) make it worth it. I had my best powder day this year at Keystone, untracked knee-deep powder in the upper bowls. The downside? Hiking 1.5 miles to the bowls to access it. It felt like Keystone had some of the longer runs on the main mountain, and I had a great time riding there with Monika on easier trails, too. A-Basin is awesome, there are no high-speed lifts, but it has some great terrain, chutes and steeps. And it’s usually open through June! Great local mountain. Telluride has great views and terrain, but I was kind of put off by the McMansions all along the lower trails. Crested Butte seemed to be a great place to ride, but when I was there the snow conditions were poor and we weren’t able to access a lot of the expert terrain, something they are known for.

There are only a few other resorts I really want to hit in Colorado next year, Steamboat for the vibe, Vail for the bowls, Wolf Creek for the powder and Beaver Creek for the cookies in the lift lines.  I would also like to snowboard at Silverton, their setup seems to be a good mix between backcountry and lift-accessed riding.

Florida

Monika, the kids and I went to Florida this past weekend for a friend’s wedding. We had a great time soaking up the sun and playing in the pool. The weather was great, much warmer than Colorado in April where swimming outside isn’t such a good idea. While we were there we had the opportunity to drive down to the Everglades and see some wildlife along the way. We had a good, fun, mostly relaxing long weekend! I put together a set of photos of our trip on my Flickr page.

Plumeria Samuel Canal Waves In the Pool

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