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Archive for January, 2012

Snowshoe Trail

Sunday Tara and I were finally free to get out for a hike. Our final impediment to leaving was a goose road block.

From the winter gate at Brainard Lake we picked up the Snowshoe Trail (most other trails were set aside for those on skis) and kept out of the wind as we hiked through the trees.

I hiked with one eye on the patterns around me, trying to spot an interesting photo op.

The other eye I kept on the trail markers making sure we followed the “grape stomper” signs.

The CMC Cabin wasn’t occupied today, so we couldn’t stop in to warm up by the fire and sip hot chocolate.

At least the sun was out and sitting outside wasn’t a burden. A few begging jays visited our lunch looking for a handout.

After lunch I continued to hunt for photos as we began the return hike.

Complete Photo Album

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Ouray Ice Park

Trying to drive to Ouray Friday night to maximize the time available for ice climbing resulted in sleeping in on Saturday. The three-day weekend turned out to be a popular one for the ice park with plenty of guided groups. We squeezed in where we could and ended up climbing next to some people we knew who were climbing with Chicks with Picks.

Sunday we got a bit earlier start and didn’t have to walk as far as the South Park area to find a climb open. Instead we climbed at the New Funtier section of the park.

I got a couple photos of the climber next to us before we walked back to the bridge.

There we ran into a couple we had talked to in the morning and ended up doing some cool-down laps on their rope setup near the bridge.

The hot springs and Ouary Brewery were taken advantage of before we got up the next morning for the drive back (lengthened by some new snow on Monarch Pass).

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This certainly hasn’t been the snowiest winter on record, so I was unsure just how much of the white stuff I’d find in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The Rollins Pass Road was completely clear on the drive in, but the trail was snow-packed (if thin) and fresh flakes were starting to fall as I left the trailhead.

Continuing pass the trail junctions for Forest and Crater Lakes, I headed further up the main valley than I’d ever been before. While my shoulders protested the heavy pack, my ego was stroked by all the day trippers who seemed impressed that I was going to spend the night.

Around 11,000 feet the trees started to thin and I figured I should pick a semi-sheltered spot now before continuing higher and risking a windier camp. The perfectly flat and sheltered bench appeared and I stomped out a tent platform and setup camp. Hours of watching snow fall while drinking hot beverages kept me entertained until dusk.

Once it was truly dark I left my headlamp in the tent and spent some time trying to capture the next image, all the while wishing for another light source and an off-camera flash.

Just before falling asleep I noticed the nearly full moon shining into the tent and went outside to investigate the clearing skies. The following shot was a 10 second exposure illuminated only by the moon.

With the clear sky came an overnight low of 14F so I stayed in camp through breakfast until it had begun to warm back up to 20F. Then I quickly packed away my night’s home and headed back down the trail through the 5 or so new inches of needed snow.

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Holidays

My favorite photos from Christmas time were of a blue heron spotted along the edge of Centennial Lake near Columbia, Maryland.

New Year’s included watching the fireworks from Maggie Pond in Breckenridge, Colorado.

And we started the year off right with a hike (not really enough snow this year to break out the snowshoes) complete with a husky pup.

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