Some of the great excuses I’ve found to stop hiking include, but are not limited to: The random petting of somebody’s happy dog, and then breaking into the same conversation about what kind it is and if it likes hiking (all dogs like hiking); stopping to examine a view; hallucinating a blackbird into an eagle; or the most desperate one of all, “Hey check out all of these cool rocks.”
Hiking is rarely extreme, but typically a glorious activity. With all of the warm weather in Colorado (lately in the 60’s), I’ve found it’s a great way to beat the crowds and work your butt into a pretty spot for some exhausted existential contemplation. A few friends and I went for a local afternoon climb at the Royal Arch one afternoon, where the trail is short but tough and the ending is typically more refreshing than exhausting. None of us had been doing much hiking over break (as what are breaks for if not catching up on sleep, and allowing your parents to finally feed you some actual nutrition), but that is no excuse to be seen as out of shape. We climbed at a breakneck pace.
The thing is hiking isn’t as easy as skiing or the downhill part of mountain biking for that matter. Its tough work when done properly. For a real hiker, there are no gondolas or chairlifts, and specifically no signs of civilization if you are doing it right. The idea of getting into a place that is wild, where a small mistake can lead to a slow, cold, hungry, and ultimately painful death, as a recreation activity is really something to be admired. The best part about it is that hiking is almost always free. And for that hikers, I tip my hat to you.
(my buddy Kirk trying not to look tired)
These are some pictures from an awesome blue-bird (or completely sunny without a cloud in the sky) day. For most of us in Colorado, we cant help but feel like the snow gods are punishing us. Utah and Montana are both approaching the 100 inch barrier, and we are still dodging stumps and dinging the bottoms of our skis on rocks.
(Signs like this used to be taken seriously 2 years ago)
There are a lot of snow snobs in Colorado for good reason, but skiing isn’t all about face shots and knee deep powder. Skiing is the thrill of playing as your form of exercise. I personally get claustrophobic when I go to gyms, so I like to think of my season pass as a gym membership. While we cant yet be jumping off the 10 foot cliffs that really get the blood pumping this season, I have found that this is a good time to get back in touch with the groomer runs.
If the snow gods are indeed punishing Colorado, they are only punishing the non-die hard skiers. I hope you all enjoy the pictures!
I was at work and decided that a distant view of the Rocky Mountains is hardly ever done. This is what the first pioneers had a look at after seemingly endless miles of plains. It must have been exciting until they realized that there was no way to get around them. (minus the sunny picture of Denver, a gathering place where many decided that the east side of the Rockies was good enough.)
I used a little bit of iPhoto editing on these to make the contrast a little more dramatic. Please comment any tips that might help me out 🙂 Thank you all and I hope you enjoy the photographs!
We finally got some snow in Colorado.
Some friends and I decided that it was worth braving the negative degree temperatures to ski some of the back bowls that opened at Breckenridge. We found that the cold weather kept most of the other skiers in the lodge, so we covered our faces and skied as much as possible.
Skiing is great for the feeling you get at the end of the day, when your legs feel like jelly and your face still burns from the icy winds, so any nominal comfort feels fantastic. A heated car can feel like paradise, a slice of pizza is a slice of heaven, and if you can find a hot tub you just might cry real tears of joy. The winter months can be beautiful when you poke your nose into a patch of open space, so I encourage whoever may be reading this article to get outside, make yourself as uncomfortable as possible, have fun, and then come back to the paradise of a comfy chair.
I always thought that national monuments were phallic structures sprinkled around Washington DC like the Washington Monument. Then I got to talking with a state park ranger, who told me we had to go see Colorado National Monument. Check it out.