Monthly Archives: July 2013

Ran 26.2 miles in Anchorage, kayaked to the extreme tip of Cape Cod, summited 2 Colorado 14ers & hosted a family reunion (which included Ash & Tom’s engagement on top of Pikes Peak) – lovin’ Summer 2013 thus far!

End of July is Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming – an hour half to the North.  I’ve always been a huge fan of county fairs – and this one came with a rodeo.  FAAAANNNNTASTIC!

Fell hard off my ‘vegetarian diet’ within 15 minutes inside the park.  Elk, beef, bison & wild boar – lotta choices all grilled & served with a side of chuckwagon beans.  20 minutes ‘til rodeo time.  Grabbed a pitcher of lemonade to wash down my bison burger topped with elk bratwurst and paraded into Wyoming’s largest outdoor stadium.  Took a quick look around.  Only a quarter of us weren’t wearing cowboy hats – and that included the women 🙂

Next life, I’m coming back as a Cowboy!

Fireworks, smoke & 3 World Champions with hats tipped low, walked into the large dirt arena.  An announcer trilled their names and achievements.  Folks on their feet, clapping, cheering.  I’m thinking – who are these guys?  Like superstars from a parallel planet.  Who wouldn’t want to be a cowboy?  WOW!

Each sport had its own unique rules: 8 seconds on a bull to qualify the ride, calf roping in under 30 seconds and the calf must stay tied/immobile for 6 seconds or the score doesn’t count.  Some sports targeted a low score, others a high score, certain events combined scores over 3 days.  Bull riding, steer wrestling, pistol juggling, buckin’ broncos, steer roping, saddle bronc riding, calf roping – all ending with a wild horse race where teams saddled a wild horse, attempting to ride once around the arena. (Only 2 succeeded.)  FANTASTIC fun!

And if cowboys, bulls & horses weren’t enough, our Oklahoma-based announcer came with his own all-rodeo lingo:

  • There’s a guy not afraid to shake loose and shake his boots
  • He stuck to him like spots on an Appaloosa horse
  • More moves than my city cousin peeing on an electric fence
  • He stepped off that broncing horse like he was stepping out of a barber shop
  • That lasted as long as a Hollywood husband
  • He rodeos in the summer time (‘rodeo’ used as a verb)

 

Took a quick stroll through Indian Village & checked out the Chuckwagon Cookoff before heading home.

Thinkin’ this is gonna be an annual tradition.  LOVED it!

Arrived East Coast just after midnight, couple hours shut-eye, then to Boston Harbor for a quick ferry ride across Massachusetts Bay.  Far faster than hours spent driving around the boot, the fast ferry sails directly across the bay in an hour half.  Snoozed for an hour on the trek over while my friends soaked in sun on the deck. Vacation!

Docked, disembarked, tagged my favourite food shack just off the pier & paid $16 cash for a fresh (whole-belly) clam roll.  Same Portuguese lady has worked this stand for years — not the warm n fuzzy type.  She takes orders only from the ‘IN’ window (food is served from the ‘OUT’ window) & only accepts cash.  That said, there’s still sand in the clams on this roll – that’s how fresh this New England treat is.  So…how was it?  I’ll be back – highly recommended 🙂

Changed clothes & still logged a few hours of beach time.  Outdoor seating for dinner.  Aw, yes – this is the life.

Started Day 2 with a run to the beach (Cape Cod Bay) & Day 3 with an even longer beach run to the Atlantic.  Came back soaking wet each time — humidity on the Cape is crazy thick but loved that sea salt smell in the air 🙂

Quick shower, breakfast on the deck, then rented kayaks for a 2-mile trek to Long Point lighthouse – the tip of Cape Cod.

Long Point is a peninsula located in Provincetown, Massachusetts, at the extreme tip of Cape Cod, as it curls back in on itself to create Provincetown Harbor. The Long Point Light was built on this point in 1827. The lighthouse once shared this peninsula with a settlement of fishermen that came to be known as Long Point, Massachusetts. This Provincetown village grew and thrived from 1818 until the late 1850s.

Took 20-30 minutes to regain a comfort level but ultimately LOVE LOVE kayaking.  Super fun sport.

Landed near Long Point lighthouse, snapped some amazing shots (including a pirate ship), then completed my 4 foot hike up to the cross commemorating a fallen WWII soldier.  Ok, I’m using the word ‘hike’ a bit loosely here. LOL!   From Longs Peak, Colorado to Long Point, Massachusetts in a week – that’s a drop from 14,000ft to just over 4 feet.  What a crazy, fun life.

Different day, different beach then dinner & a show.  Tea smoked duck was just as good as I remembered.  WOW!

Spent Monday afternoon in Boston – fish n chips at the Black Rose, followed by a touristy stroll thru Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall, the New England Holocaust Museum & Union Street (one of Boston’s oldest).

3-day weekends end quickly; sad to tell folks good bye.  Quick hug, then hailed a taxi to Logan.

So long Boston, I had a wicked good time!

 

8 14ers summited (7 unique/summited Quandary in both summer & winter) but had never previously climbed the peak I see every morning from my Louisville home.

Longs Peak is by far the most technical 14er climb I have ever attempted (a Class 3).  Additionally Longs’ climb window is shorter because of inclement weather (snow, ice & lotta exposure to afternoon lightning).

Dropped Ro at his pal Molly’s on Friday night (Longs is located within RMNP – no dogs allowed) & set my alarm for 1:45am.  Yep, seriously early start.  Hit the road for a 3am meetup in Lyons with hikers John & Cammy (from Flattop/Hallett hike).  Left the trailhead just before 4am – only 2 spots left in parking.  Crazy, huh?

Headlamps for an hour half, day break, then our first view of Longs.  Another hour across the Boulderfield & up to the Keyhole (popular winter hike challenge).  Super star hiker Cammy slowed briefly so I could catch my breath – then across the Traverse as we followed a well-marked trail of bulleyes.  (John stayed behind at the Keyhole.)

To the left of the Keyhole stands a stone hut erected to memory of Agnes Vaille. Having accomplished the first winter ascent of the East Face on January 12, 1925, she was caught in a storm a died of exposure, a companion lost fingers, toes, and part of a foot; and a would-be rescuer also froze to death.

Next up, the Trough.  Not a huge fan of the Boulderfield (John’s fave), but that was meek whining compared to the show playing in my head at the Trough – aka Stairmaster from Hell.  Cammy said the key is not looking UP….and UP & UP & UP.

Much of the remaining altitude is accounted for here, climbing over chunks of granite at an angle approaching 35 degrees. Be aware of falling rocks, and be careful not to free any.

The Trough gave way to the Narrows – a rock ledge loop around the backside of Longs.  Honestly, found this narrow ledge far less frightening than stories posted from hikers past.  PLUS the sun came out – so our horizon kicked up big time.  Beautiful.

For the most part the route is level and as wide as a generous sidewalk, but there is a short stretch where it’s only a couple of feet wide and the wall about tilts out above you and over the dropoff – but only for a few steps.

The Narrows looped around into the Home Stretch – a rock climb scramble to Longs summit.  AMAZING, LOVED it!  Lotta natural hand holds available on the rock face.  Scaled over to avoid wet rock (poor footing). UP, UP, UP.  Favourite part of hike!

Summited at 940am.  WOW!  (Cammy does not let up – super fast hiker.)

Sunshine, no lightning.  Incredible views!

ALSO, met up with 2 different hikers whom I had met last year when hiking Grays.  What are the chances?  Shane had FB’d me a day prior, inviting me to join his man group of 3 from Loveland.  Chris has just moved from Iowa last September & was getting married within weeks.  This day, met the wife & snapped their Longs summit pic.  Small world.

Hike return could be broken into 2 distinct hikes.  Summit to Keyhole, Cammy suggested we crabwalk.  Trail running & crabwalking – we barreled down the mountain fast.  Took a short break & rejoined John at the Keyhole.

Paid for poor eating habits over the Boulderfield return, emptying my stomach at least 3 times (woke uber early & ate little during our 11 hour hike – bad combo).  John & Cammy suggested I power nap for 15 minutes.  Located a large flat rock – SUCCESS!  Not 100% but probably 85% better.  Hooray!   Face wash, bathroom break & now good to go.

Shane, Milt & Sergei invited our threesome to join them for soup & pie at the Baldpate Inn, just outside of Estes.  Anytime food is involved, just say yes 🙂  Fun conversation & I’m a HUGE fan of pie (the rhubarb pie was A+).  Will return for soup & pie after RMNP x-country ski adventures this winter.  Yep, already looking forward to snow 🙂

 

WATCH my video ‘Longs Peak 14,259ft’

 

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