Archive for December, 2012

Despite late-December’s whirlwind of travel and family functions, Tara and I managed to burn off a few holiday calories here and there. Before Christmas we stopped at the Breckenridge Nordic Center for a session of skate skiing with my brother Kyle. Later, across the country in Maryland we’d get out for pre- and post-Christmas runs.

While on the east coast, we also visited the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Photography was only allowed outside, so I can’t show you some of the cool things we saw within the walls.

Back in Colorado we again went skate skiing, this time at the Eldora Nordic Center.

Later that night I went out with a group to visit the Denver Zoo and their ZooLights display.

Happy New Year!

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After departing from Boulder (and one snowy pass later) Claire, Wendy, Tara and I reached Snow Mountain Ranch and found our group’s cabin. Beer, wine, pizza and pictionary passed the evening as it snowed outside and promised great conditions on the ski trails tomorrow.

It doesn’t take long for some of us novice skate skiers to get a good workout and so we’re back in the cabin by noon for a quick lunch then off to the Sombrero Stables for a horse-drawn sleigh ride.

In the middle of the ride we’re even treated to a stop with hot chocolate and warming fires.

Another evening another round of gluttony.

Sunday morning everyone heads out to ski or take lessons again before we plow through the new snow to get home.

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Cook Mountain

Feeling the need to get out and stretch my legs a bit I agreed to join Pete on a not too ambitious hike of two 7,000+ foot peaks in Boulder County. Leaving from the Coulson Gulch trailhead we headed south to Higgins Park, then downstream towards the Button Rock Reservoir before leaving the trails and dirt roads for the summit of unnamed peak 7,071.

The summit area held 3 different rocky tops that provided some short scrambling.

The southern-most was the highest and was marked by a smashed summit register.

We took a different route back down the west side of the peak, and were tasked with a little bit of route finding through a few cliff bands.

From here we took off towards what we thought was Cook Mountain without really checking the map. After a stroll on dirt roads we crossed the North St. Vrain Creek and trashed up some steep slopes and through thicker vegetation. That none of the prior trip reports mentioned the creek crossing or thick vegetation slowly cast doubt in our minds that we were headed in the right direction.

A break and map consultation broke the news that we’d definitely gone too far south, so we reversed our bushwhack and the creek crossing then started right up the slopes on the opposite side. The open forests here were a far better fit for the descriptions we had read and before long we’d reached the semi-open summit area.

Walking further north took us to another high point that contained an old summit register from the “Brown Bear Mountaineering Club”.

Our descent from Cook took us through some recent logging but then delivered us out into the open with a welcoming committee of mule deer.

As we hiked back up the Coulson Gulch trail the snow picked up in intensity.

We counted down the sites towards the trailhead, including a dilapidated old cabin.

When we reached the rusted and bullet hole-riddled water tank we knew we were nearly done with out outing.

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While away from Colorado for two weeks I was joined in Indiana by the lovely Tara and we got in a few runs including the Thanksgiving day Drumstick Dash and a recovery run two days later on a cross country course. Before she flew away on a jet plane we hit Indianapolis’s Prospect Street and enjoyed the New Day Meadery, Atomic Bowl Duckpin lanes, and Santorini Greek Kitchen – all come highly recommended.

A couple days later I took another last training run on Indiana University’s cross country course after work and then rested up for the rest of the week before Saturday’s Tecumseh Trail Marathon. For the 10th year in a row I’d volunteer as race sweep, following the last runners and letting the aid stations know they could close down. Since I’d been running more leading up to this event this year, I stayed back further from the tail runners for much of the day and spent more time stopping and chatting with the aid station and ham radio volunteers before running and catching up. I also let the other runners get ahead of me on some portions of the course that I love to run (a few of the downhills mostly) and then ran those segments.

In past years we’ve had challenges with snow or rain forcing course changes – this year would be our warmest yet and present a dry course. Unfortunately, a couple of the buses transporting runners from the finish to the start line either broke down or got lost and we had to start the race about 50 minutes late. Some of the cut-offs were bumped up by 30 minutes, but we couldn’t extend them out past that due to the early sunset this time of year.

I felt bad for the couple of runners who could have finished the full course given an extra 20-30 minutes and hope race management can work out an early start option or move up the start in the future.

Congrats to all the runners who toed the line for the 10th Tecumseh Trail Marathon. Full results.

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