Bluebird Lake- Return of the Knee Injury

Bluebird Lake is a remote, beautiful lake in the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park. The hike is 12.8 Miles RT, with 2400′ of gain- certainly within my realm of normal activity.

Lady moose near the trailhead!

We started hiking around 8:30AM- this was a club trip- we had an awesome group- and at first everything was amazing. The weather was perfect, and it warmed up in the high 50’s.

Ouzel Falls
Our group!

We hiked pass Ouzel Falls, then above Ouzel Lake to Bluebird Lake- coming to the park in the fall is one of my favorite places to hike.

Greg looking like a mountain man!

About a 10th of a mile from the lake, I was taking a step up and my knee just starting hurting- sharply. I stopped what I was doing and sat on a rock- and attempted to walk up the small slope a few more times- it continued to hurt. We were 6.4 miles from the car, and my knee was not playing nice. After 20 mins of rest, I finally made it up to the lake with the rest of the group, and explained the knee injury to everyone- and apologized.

Bluebird Lake

One of the guys happened to have a patella strap, so we pinned down the tendon that was hurting, and I was able to walk the rest of the way out with less pain. I was lucky we had such an understanding group- and they were really helpful.

Despite all the pain- it was a great trip with some great folk.

Tour of the Moon

I just wanted to share a few photos from my challenge to myself this year- the Tour of the Moon 100K. The ride goes through the town of Grand Junction, to Fruita, then into the Colorado National Monument, then back to the start- I ended up skipping the 11 miles in Fruita.

I have never signed up for a group ride before- I usually just ride by myself-so this was a new adventure. I decided the DAY OF the ride to just ride the 41, as I wasn’t sure if I was physically fit enough to complete the entire ride. I had been having lots of knee problems, and I had to take an emergency trip back east for a funeral- then I was on a road trip. Things got in the way of training, and things often do.

I truly had an amazing time- and I can’t wait till my next ride!

The Great Western Roadtrip 4-5

The wedding was beautiful. It was located at a riverside campground with big trees, and a nice fire pit.

We all camped out, and ate food, and had beer.  The next morning Greg and I got up, and drove as far east as we possibly could in one day. Through the entirety of Nevada on route 50- the Loneliest Road in America- and they aren’t joking.

Peaks in Great Basin National Park

We camped in the Fishlake National Forest in Utah- then drove home. It was a lot of driving- but a lot of fun. I can’t wait for the next roadtrip!

Fall Color in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado. 

Great Western Road Trip 3

We decided since our drive was not as far today that we would sleep in, and have breakfast down in town at one of the coffee places. Out of all the towns I’ve visited in California- I liked Bishop the most- they have beautiful scenery, good food, good beer, and friendly people.

View from camp!

After breakfast we wandered our way up to Yosemite National Park, to hopefully drive around and see as much as we could before the rehearsal dinner.

We entered through Tuolumne Meadows, hoping to climb- but ended up just driving around- as it was near 1PM already.

My feet on legendary Yosemite Granite!

Us with El Capitan!
Bridal Veil Falls

We realized at this time, we were going to miss the rehearsal….and luckily not be late to the dinner. So we made our way through back roads, and farms to Placerville, CA. Beautiful drive, took almost 4 hrs…WAY more than we thought.

Luckily it wasn’t an issue- and we made it in time for the dinner…and we even go to shower and change!

I made the skirt… and wanted to show it off!

This was the last of the real ADVENTURE from our trip- but it was really a beautiful trip, and we got to see so much! Yosemite has definitely called to us– we want to go back for at least a week!


The Great Western Road Trip 2

The next morning we woke up to a chill in the air, I’d always though that the Grand Canyon was supposed to be boiling hot- but up on the rim, it’s at about 8,000 Ft above sea level so it’s actually cooler!

Greg woke me up before sunrise, he wanted to make it to Las Vegas to get the truck window repaired by noon- then on our way through Death Valley to Bishop, CA.

On our way to Las Vegas we decided to stop and see the Hoover Dam, one of the modern marvels!

After we stopped to get the windshield fixed we made our way to the edge of Nevada- driving through a flight test range for the military- I did get to see a Joshua Tree- which was pretty cool…but no explosives or planes.

Death Valley is one of the most desolate, hot, beautiful places that I’ve seen- I wish I had been able to see more of it!

We did make a point to stop at Badwater Basin- the lowest point in the contiguous US– I was able to hit the high point (Mount Whitney) and the low point( Badwater) in a 3 month span. It was kinda cool.

The road to Badwater Basin.
Water sitting on the salt flats near bad water.
This was the lowpoint….

We got out of the car at Badwater… it was 100 degrees on the dot. It was awful- but still so neat to see.

Once we were back on the road we made our way to Bishop, CA- and camped in the Buttermilk Boulders area- like Sarah and I had done earlier this summer.

Sun setting behind Mount Whitney(in the middle)
Beautiful full moon…the sky was ACTUALLY that purple!

It ended up being an amazing idea- we camped up on a hill by an old mining area overlooking the valley. It was beautiful- and quite warm when we arrived 68 degrees. We decided to eat under the full moon, there was no wood to make a fire. It was a great evening!


The Great Western Road Trip 1

Greg and I had a wedding to go to in California in mid-September- so rather than spending money on plane tickets, rental cars, and hotels…. we decided to make it an adventure road trip! I figure I’d show some photos- it was amazing!

Our first location was Unaweep Canyon in southern Colorado- a beautiful drive to the Utah border!

Waking up in the Dominguez-Escalante in Colorado
Unaweep Canyon

We made our way into Utah, and headed south for Monument Valley at the Arizona border! Along the way- a truck kicked up a rock, and dinged up our windshield….now both of our cars.

This trip was made up of places that’d we had wanted to go, and things we’ve wanted to see- but didn’t have a real reason to go out of our way to see(Hoover Dam).

We continued our trek to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim- arriving around 2PM. This was my first time at the Grand Canyon- and we stopped at many vantage points along the way. It was absolutely spectacular… I can’t wait to go back and hike it!

First time at the Grand Canyon!
My favorite adventure partner… HUMAN!

We then had a chat with one of the rangers, and he told us where there is BLM camping outside of the park, so we arrived right before dark- made a fire, and made dinner. It was a great way to end the first full day!

Blanca Peak 14, 345′

It has been a good year in the Sangre de Cristo’s- less rain than most years I’ve tried climbing there- and beautiful cool weather!

I swore I would never go back up Lake Como Road, it’s just  miles and miles of suck- but here I was again, with my friend Sarah- heading up to climb Blanca/ Ellingwood.

We decided to hike up above Lake Como- a big  jeeping destination- then summit the next morning.

It was a hot day, and we walked up the road, with no shade. At one point we thought that maybe we could hitch a ride with some of the jeeps up to the lake…so we hoped… that maybe… possibly some nice folk would pick us up…no luck. BUT- we weren’t really in a rush to get up to the lake, we had all day.

So rather than rush, we ended up watching the rock crawlers work their way over Jaws 1, 2 and 3!

It was a great way to spend  our time, the people were really nice…and it was truly entertaining.

Almost up to the lake- Little Bear looming above the landscape.

The original plan had been to hang out above treeline near some of the upper lakes, we would camp above Lake Como- in the trees. We had some lovely clouds rolling threw, and we wanted to quickly eat- then go to bed. We fell asleep to the sound of thunder, and a few rain drops- very peaceful.

We crawled out of the tent at about 3AM- and the stars were voluminous- much better than the clouds the previous evening.

We worked our way up above the lakes to the saddle between Ellingwood Point and Blanca Peak- then sun began to rise- it was perfect!

We sat for a quick break to eat a snack – before we started up Blanca’s rocky ridge.

Ellingwood Point is on the left
Sarah with Blanca behind her!

Shortly after we started hiking up the ridge, Sarah’s convertible pants zipper broke…it was rather cold outside, and very windy. I remembered some orange duct tape….so we taped the pants together…McGuyver-ed it.

Courtesy of Sarah Engel

Duct Tape is one of the post important backcountry tools…it holds everything together!

Once we battled the wind to the summit, we relaxed in the sun, and watched the clouds build up all around us…every time the wind blew they got bigger. I finally wandered around the summit a bit and got some photos before we headed back to the saddle.

Blanca/ Little Bear Traverse- from the summit of Blanca. 

Together again for another mountain adventure!

We carefully descended some slick/ snowy area’s, as the clouds continued to build– we made the decision to descend rather than summit Ellingwood Point, not sure exactly what the weather was going to do.  It ended up being a smart decision…more due to the time we got home than anything else.

Lakes we passed in the dark!

Our lovely camp!

Once we got back to camp, we sat down and took a little break, rested our feet, and filtered water before we packed up then hiked out. The hike out was absolutely miserable for both of us. It was hot. Our feet hurt. My knee hurt- and we were both starving.

We finally made our way back to the truck around 4PM- and decided that it was absolutely necessary to eat, asap.

We settled on a place called ” the Sage Stop” or something like that in Fort Garland…. I mean it was technically food… but probably the worst meal either of us have ever had.

I ordered a salad- which wasn’t the worst thing….the Mac and cheese… which you expect a restaurant to have at least decent Mac and cheese. …was legitimately Kraft Mac and Cheese from a box. Worst food ever. OH! And as icing on the cake….their “fancy” beer was Stella Artois….Which is silly….when they live in a state with such amazing beer! Never again.

After we got back on the road- it was smooth sailing- until I dropped Sarah off at around 10:30.

As always- we had an adventure, and it was a fantastic time. I’m so lucky to have fun friends that want to play outside with me!