Tag Archives: ice

Planing the trip to CA

I’m writing to you all from Fort Collins, Colorado today.  The weather here is warm and while the mountains seems to continue receiving consistent snowfall, the flats are drying up nicely.  I’m going to attempt a re-cap here before discussing my plans for the next few weeks.

Since returning to the Front Range from Salida, where we experienced an epic weekend of powder at Monarch mountain, I have been running all over the place.  I have spent some time with my girlfriend Megan in Fort Collins, attending a few of her classes.  Most memorable of those was a natural resource class in which we had an interesting lecture focussed on water law in the Western United States, a lecture that immediately made me think of the lack of water I am going to be experiencing in Southern California while on the PCT.

I have also recently re-united with a former co-worker from the Forest Service who was just accepted into a Smoke Jumping program in Alaska for the upcoming fire season.  Fantastic work Kael!  We caught up over some sour beers and exchanged stories from the past two years.  Kael is in the process of training for his upcoming work season and I joined him for a 7.5 mile run near Horse Tooth Reservoir, just West of Fort Collins.  We encountered lots of snow and had a great time.  Has it really been months since the last time I did some trail running?  I felt great and got a boost of confidence regarding my fitness level at the moment.

Megan, her friend Annie and I took a weekend trip over to Tabernash, Colorado and stayed with some College friends of mine.  We got two great days of skiing in at Winter Park, with great snow and a fantastic guide (thanks Andy).

After returning from Grand County I got in touch my friend Chris who was on a NOLS semester course with me in 2005.  We got together in Clear Creek Canyon to celebrate Chris’s birthday with some ice climbing and then drove back to Summit County for a brewery crawl that evening.  The following day I enjoyed Chris and his friends’ company for a day of skiing at Keystone.

From Summit County I headed back to the East side of the divide to stay with my friend and climbing/skiing partner Jason and his family.  They are the best hosts.  We ate some amazing food and Megan drove down to join me for a day of skiing at Loveland.  We had 5 inches of fresh snow from that evening at it continued snowing all day while we enjoyed some of the less-traveled terrain in the vicinity of lift 8.  Megan headed back up to school and I stayed around for one more day of skiing at Loveland.  The snow my second day was very wind-affected and I skied a short day before heading back to Fort Collins to have a wonderful Valentine’s day dinner with Megan.

Megan and I also managed to get back to Clear Creek for an afternoon of ice climbing.  We also recently just got in an afternoon of dragging at North Table Mountain in Golden, Colorado.

I also managed to find a used Thule cargo topper for my car.  Finally I have a bit more room inside to manage all my belongings.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks.

So here I am in the present.  Hanging in Fort Collins, starting to put together our (Megan and my) plants to drive to California in March.  As of now our route looks like we will be headed to Indian Creek for some climbing, then to the Grand Mesa (also in South-Eastern Utah) to hike to some Anasazi ruins.  We will then drive to the Grand Canyon for some camping and hiking before heading to Red Rocks in Nevada for some loooong desert multi-pitch climbing.  After Nevada we will be driving down to Joshua Tree for a bit more desert climbing before arriving in Los Angeles where our road trip will end (insert sad face here).

After that long recap, I find myself listening to some notes I have recorded in the past few weeks on my new voice recorder.  The idea was to get a tool that would help me remember writing ideas which seem to escape my mind just as easily as they materialize.  The most intriguing thought that Id love to explore with you right now is the idea of coincidence.  What exactly is coincidence?  Can we use coincidence as a way to explain events that seem linked together?  Is coincidence merely a tool that we use to help rationalize certain decisions that we make in life?The actual question that I recorded for myself three weeks ago was: Are coincidences us changing our consciousness to help convince ourselves that we are taking the right path or making the right decision in life?

Google defines coincidence as, ‘a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection’.  In my life right now coincidence takes the form of events that seem to be telling me that right now is the time I am supposed to be hiking the PCT.  Clearly all the decisions we make in life lead us to certain outcomes.  Making the conscious decision to hike the PCT this year has led me to take certain steps to make this dream a reality.  Coincidence comes into the picture in the form of events that seem to conspire or convince me that my decision to hike the PCT is a correct decision for me at this time in my life.  A good example is meeting ‘Hot Wing’ this year in the town of Nederland.  He is an avid long-distance hiker and offered me lots of great advice about my ambitions.  Another great coincidence is the fact that my father lives in Los Angeles, a great jumping-off point for the PCT.  Something that logistically makes getting on the trail easier for me (easier then the CDT or AT at least).  These are simply two examples and there have been other coincidences that I only vaguely remember at this point.

Without diving into my own personal examples any further perhaps any of you reading this can share some of your own examples?

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Adventure #1: Ouray & British Columbia

I’ve been wanting to write a blog article for some time now but have been struggling with finding free time.  I have been putting of writing because my computer is broken and I have been attempting to blog from my iPad.  I’ve also been busy.  I just got back to Colorado on Monday the 20th after a couple weeks of traveling.

My most recent trip began by driving West – headed to South-Western Colorado; Ouray.  As you near this awesome little town, the San Juan mountains come into view and you instantly know these mountains are different then the Front Range.  Different colors and layers are visible in the strata that rise up on both sides of Main Street.  Our plan was to stay in Ouray for a couple days, camping one night and ice climbing at the ice park both days before dashing back to Fort Collins.

Day one was mostly an opportunity to find a campsite as well as figure out the details

Welcome to Ouray

Welcome to Ouray

regarding the ice park.  It turns out that there is no fee for climbing (unless you want to become a member to support the park) and that ice farmers turn on sprinkler heads at roughly 4 o’clock every night to fatten up the walls and pillars of ice that drip down into the narrow box canyon.  Camp Bird road turned up some easy car camping opportunities and after stomping out a platform to pitch our tent, we headed back to town for a beer at the local brewery.  Their brown ale was fantastic.

We did some bouldering on a small wall right next to the upper bridge to warm up before I jumped on lead for a short pitch to set up a top-rope for Megan and I to do some laps.  The climbing was pleasant with warm temperatures making the ice climbing secure.  After the warm up we headed to steeper and longer lines in the ice park a little way above the upper Climber at Ouray Ice Parkbridge.  Our final day involved each of us top-roping some even steeper climbing, my route involving some steep mushroom formations and Megan’s climb following some steep and thin sections with exposed rock.

Although there were a lot of other things we wanted to do such as check out the hotsprings and explore more of the park, we needed to make our way back to the Front Range to pack and start our drive to BC the next day.  Things felt somewhat rushed but at the same time we were very excited to be on the road to some awesome skiing.

After a near sleepless night filled with packing and figuring out last-minute details, we got up nice and early to meet the other folks that were driving up to BC with us.  This whole trip was organized by the CSU Outdoor club and was open to anyone (non-students like myself included).  We rented minivans and packed an improbable amount of gear and

Driving to Canada

Driving to Canada

people into them.  I was shocked that we were able to fit everything.

Day one of driving was 10 hours ending in Montana.  Day two we crossed the Canadian border (the border guards do not like jokes) and drove 11 hours, arriving in Golden, Canada at about 11 o’clock that evening.  Checking into the Dreamcatcher hostel was a blast – we rented the whole place for our group.  The hostel owners were really wonderful and accommodating of our group, making us feel right at home.  One bit of advice – buy beer and booze before entering Canada – there are not many craft breweries up there and the crappy light American beer that is available goes for up to $50+ for a 24 pack.

Powder selfie at Kicking Horse ResortOur first day of skiing Kicking horse resort was great with a soft base and surprisingly steep terrain.  Welcome to BC.  That evening the upper parts of the mountain got roughly 1.5 feet with another 6-8 inches falling during the day and it took every ounce of energy I had to ski powder with 4000+ feet of vertical descent every top to bottom run. On our third day in Golden we took a drive with two friends on the Ice Fields parkway which led us all the way to Jasper where we got some beer and food.  The drive gave us some SPECTACULAR views of the rugged Canadian Rockies complete with hanging glaciers, 1000 foot frozen waterfalls and the occasional view of the Columbia Ice Sheet.

After our time in Golden I managed to get in one day of backcountry skiing in Yoho National Park which provided me with some of the best powder turns I have ever experienced.  Next we drove over Rogers Pass on our way to Revelstoke, another amazing Canadian ski area.

Boot-pack at Revelstoke

Boot-pack at Revelstoke

Revelstoke boats the most vertical of any ski mountain in North America, over 5000 feet.

Ski touring in Yoho National Park, Canada.

Ski touring in Yoho National Park, Canada.

Although the snow was similar to spring conditions in Colorado (they hadn’t received any substantial snow since the Friday before we arrived) the terrain was awesome and the scenery  top-notch.  The town had some great food including one of the best sushi restaurants I have eaten at in a long time.

Driving back to Colorado was uneventful and took a long time.  At this point I am officially moved out of my house so I am technically homeless – couch surfing it for the foreseeable future.  Right now I am packing and organizing gear in Conifer, Colorado, getting ready for a trip to Utah for some skiing and backpacking (possibly in Canyonlands NP).  Will work on updating the blog more frequently.  Until next time friends!

Redefining ‘Me’

You know what the funny thing is about relationships?  They can define us. I’ll suggest that this is an evolution and is also not universal.  I know quite a few people who remain individuals even though they are part of a committed partnership.  For some of us though, we slowly slip into cohesion with another and through this connection render our identity from the sum of ourselves and our partners.  Here is where things get interesting: a spectrum appears.  For some of us we remain our inner selves, for others we change. There is no right or wrong here, I don’t suggest that one is better then the other.  How frequently though do we take the time to step back and ask ourselves the question, ‘who am I?’.

In the wake of the most committed and serious relationship of my life (one that lasted 9 years), I found myself asking that very question: ‘who am I?’.  It’s a question I hadn’t addressed in a LONG time.  And why would I?  I was happy, content, fulfilled.  I felt loved, and for me, this pacified the need to have a strong identity as an individual.  I won’t say that I got to live my life EXACTLY as I wanted, but compromise is part of making a relationship work, right?  I certainly was living a lifestyle that made me smile on a daily basis. After graduating from college I moved to the Front Range of Colorado where I worked for the Forest Service seasonally as well as taught snowboarding, skiing, and finally settled into a job as the head grower for a commercial medical marijuana facility.

Fast forward to the present.  Getting laid off.  I guess that working in an industry that has a questionable legal status has it’s associated risks.  I showed up to work one morning a few weeks ago and got to speak to a DEA agent who informed me that a warrant was being exercised.  I was not allowed to be on the property, I was told to go home. After going out to eat breakfast with some co-workers and returning to my facility, I found out that $300,000+ of LEGAL medical marijuana had been cut down.  I won’t go into any more details other then mentioning, we were not doing anything illegal and this whole thing had to do with a previous business owner who wasn’t even involved with us.

Was the universe trying to communicate something to me?  The end of a major relationship, the end of a seemingly stable career/job?  What the hell is going on.  If there is one thing that therapy has taught me, and trust me, I’ve been to a LOT of therapy in the last 8 months, it’s this: dwelling on the past and what we wish could be different is not very healthy. Sure, talking about what we have experienced and figuring out how we feel about past events is important, but we can’t change what has happened.  We can acknowledge the events in our lives, replay them over and over and think of all the other possible outcomes, but we can’t change what has happened.  I already knew what I was working towards – a major change in my life.

I am almost 30, one year to go.  Most people seem to do a lot of adventuring in their 20’s and it seems I am almost a decade late.  I’m not one to worry about what others think though, and the opportunity to abandon all responsibility and live life exactly the way I choose is quite an exciting endeavor.

So here is the idea: this blog will function as a journal for personal reflection as well as a way to document my journey from here going forward.  The journey I am about to start begins in the middle of the Colorado ski season.

I have managed to get 6 days of skiing in so far – 4 at Loveland, 2 at Steamboat Springs, and one backcountry day.  In two days time I will be getting on a plane headed to Los Angeles to spend the holidays with my family on the West Coast. I return on the 30th and have a week of work before driving to Ouray with my girlfriend for two days of ice climbing at the Ouray ice festival.  We will then drive back to Fort Collins to pack up and drive to British Columbia for 10 days of skiing at Revelstoke, Kicking Horse, and the Rogers Pass backcountry.  We will then drive back and after 4 days in Colorado I will then be headed to Utah to connect with some college friends, hopefully drink some beer that is stronger then 3% and do 5 days of skiing at Solitude and Snowbasin before driving back through southern Colorado and getting in some days at either Monarch or Durango.

This is the plan right now and it is subject to change.  There are bigger ambitions just down the road and I hope some of you will be able to follow me on this journey I am about to begin. Here is to rediscovering who I am.