Tag Archives: gore range

gold on our hills.

30 Sep

Fall is fleeting up here at 9300′.

It blows in overnight, flexing its artistic vein as it paints the hillsides in shades of gold and red and fiery orange.

It drops gilded carpets of Aspen leaves on forest paths as though laying down a golden carpet fit for mountain royalty.

I like to pretend that I myself, am the aforementioned royal visitor. I stroll between seasons on a long Aspen leaf lined carpet into my kingdom of statuesque trees, waving to my Mountain sentinels as I go.

I wrap myself in Mother Nature’s earthy perfume and memorize the tune bellowed from deep within the woods–the hum of the bees, the whisper of the wind, the trickle of water, and the cracking of wood as my woodland neighbors wander invisibly among the swaying trees.

kneeknocker pass, peak c, and bubble lake.

12 Aug

The other day, my buddy Nate, convinced me to join him on a 14 mile hike deep into Central Colorado’s Gore Range. Considering the Gore’s close proximity to Vail and Summit County, it’s amazing just how remote this mountain range really is. Its rugged peaks and rocky trails seclude it from some of the more popular ranges in the area, making it fairly unforgiving and pleasantly serene.

Nate and I began our trek at 5:00am, utilizing the parking area beside the Piney River Ranch just outside Vail. Our goal, though more of guideline as Nate was more interested in using this trip to scout climbing routes along Peak C’s huge granite face, was the summit of Mt. Powell (13, 580ft) and if there was time, a quick jaunt down to Bubble Lake for a high alpine swim.

As we reached the saddle at Kneeknocker Pass, we quickly came to the realization that we were most interested in exploring the adjacent ridge-lines of Peak C and beyond, and explore is what we did.

Truly one of the most epic days of my time in Colorado, I absolutely recommend the hike if you are up for a long and challenging day of scaling pinnacles, glissading down behemoth snow fields, and marveling over the beauty of mother nature and the mighty Rocky Mountains.

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29 going on 9

7 Aug

“Whoever stays up the longest, wins!” shouts Nate over his shoulder as he jumps into the long “ski” down the permanent snow fields that cover the back basins of Kneeknocker Pass.

Giggling, I watch him slide all the way down, gracefully making turns as though his boots were a pair of short skis strapped to his feet.

I wait for him to come to a complete stop, just short of a large boulder field, before squealing and angling my own booted feet down the slope. I stay upright for about three seconds before crashing to the ground and sliding the rest of the way down the hill, the palms of my hands on fire from cold and friction as I grasp at the snow frantically try to slow my speeding body down.

As I reach the bottom of the pitch, I come to a stop, my stomach aching from the peals of laughter that came bursting out of me as I hurled myself down the snow as though I were on a steep, wet water slide.

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It’s funny.

As a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up; to run my own household and to dictate my own daily adventures. I spent inordinate amounts of time playing imaginary games about saving the day from all the bad guys that plagued Wilmette and wrangling wild mustangs out on the ranch. I always imagined that the freedoms of adulthood would be far better than being a kid constrained by household rules and responsibilities.

Little did I know that as an adult some of my most memorable experiences would revolve around the carefree feeling of games in my own outdoor playground and quenching a thirst of curiosity that is prevalent in a naive child exploring the hidden secrets of their front yard.

As I have aged, I have come to the realization that some of the things that are viewed as childish are sometimes the very things that help me cope with the pressures of adulthood; the ugly side of responsibility.

Sometimes you can’t help but be a kid.

petrichor.

23 Jun

A soft breeze blows gently.

It caresses my hot skin as though it were silk, whispering through the quaking Aspens that stand sentinel off of my front porch. My skin erupts in a cascade of goose bumps as the cool air rushes to catch up with the heady barbecue smoke drifting from the grill next door.

Rain is coming.

Perhaps it will bring with it booming claps of thunder and bright shards of lightning, baring off of their clouds as though running from the rain itself.

Perhaps it will blow south to Breckenridge, or perhaps north to Steamboat, Lake Dillon and our Rocky Mountains doing their best to redirect the wind, the rain, the lighning, the thunder, and the clouds that are shrouding Red and Buffalo in a fog of a brooding Aegean blue.

I recently learned that the smell of the rain hitting the dry ground has a name, an identity of its own.

Petrichor.

Somehow, the word, Petrichor, takes away from the scent that punctuates so much of the summers of my childhood in the Midwest.

Summer has a mythical quality that, at least in my case, stems from childhood.

The excitement of long days on beach, the sand, dusty and hot, between my toes and the chilling waters of Lake Michigan making my feet, my hands, and my spine ache with cold.

The shrieks and cheers of summer nights spent playing “Kick the Can” with neighborhood kids of all ages, our own little block party situated in the midst of our neighbors’ bushes and trees, all within 50 steps of the can, itself situated in the middle of the street.

The chorus of halyards as the lines sing their song against the mast; the gentle rocking of the waves as the harbor softly recites a lullaby and lulls you off to sleep.

Ice cream, Chocolate Chocolate Chip, dripping down your cone, down your hand and up your arm; a secret salty, sweet smack as you discreetly lick the drip clean from your appendage.

Petrichor.

Though the word is bit scientific for me, the smell, the identity of the rain?

It means everything.

#humblebrag

12 Nov

I am thankful for this.

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The view as seen from my front porch.

phs, buffalo slayer.

26 Oct

Third time’s a charm, right?

Wrong, at least in the case of reaching the summit of Buffalo Mountain. Before finally reaching Buffalo’s summit on Friday afternoon at promptly 12:05pm, I was thwarted not twice, but three times.

First by Gucci.

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Second by the goats.

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And third by Gnarly, who aptly earned the nickname of Gnot-So-Gnar.

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So when Mer suggested a fourth attempt at Buffalo’s summit, I was all for it. Minus dogs and goats and frankly anything else that would get in our way.

For those of you familiar with Summit County, Buffalo Mountain is the dimpled peak that marks your arrival in Summit as you approach, heading west on I-70 or Hwy 6.

Mer and I trekked through a thick Lodgepole Pine forest, negotiated our way up an expansive boulder field, stumbled across a wind-blown tundra and trudged through shin deep snow fields before doing a happy dance at a modest 12,777 feet above sea level, Buffalo’s summit.

Although only five-some miles roundtrip, you gain about 3000 feet in vert in about two and half miles, and the boulders and wind make it tricky to stay on the trail. But if you’re looking for a challenging hike with a reward that’s composed of breathtaking views of the Tenmile Range, Copper Mountain, Lake Dillon and of course the surrounding east side of Summit County, this is your hike.

Just watch out for the goats…their pointy hooves and beady little eyes are unforgiving.

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