Like a first love, it opened a world of possibilities. I was 23 and a recent transplant to Boston when it found me on the glossy back page of an outdoor magazine. I was newly severed from the Rocky Mountains, for which I’d only just begun to develop an affinity, displaced into a world of brick […]
The fall was unseasonably warm, all the way through december- the ice wasn’t solid enough to climb until January- which is rather odd. We usually start in mid to late November- but this year- it was too warm, and there was no snow or ice!
BUT while we were gone to Alaska- Colorado got dumped on, FINALLY!
We decided, rather than hike really far into somewhere- we’d check out the ice at Moffat Tunnel- as nobody had posted yet this season. Greg and I- you know- being incredibly smart- didn’t think to bring our snowshoes…. big mistake. It was a good 3′ of postholy powder. Sarah tromped down the snow- so I could follow- with my bum knee- and we made our way up to the base of the ice. Greg dug out the base of the climb, and we made a spot for our gear.
Greg led up, and we spent our morning enjoying the cold, beauty of WINTER- FINALLY.
It felt amazing to be back on ice swinging tools, it was as if I hadn’t been away. During the rest of the year I sometimes forget how much I really love ice climbing, but that first climb is always a rush of true love.
We each did a 3-4 laps, and packed up- it was a good first outing.
So, for Christmas we went up to Fairbanks, Alaska to visit Greg’s family- it was a blast! The weather however never wanted to cooperate- so I didn’t get to see the big mountains- but the cross country skiing was amazing- I figured I’d just share a few photos from the trip!
Ken’s Cabin sits atop Boreas Pass between Breckenridge, and Fairplay- next to an old railway house- called the Section House. There used to be a section of railway up and over this pass, and years ago they ripped it out- now it’s a hiking/ski path to the summit on the Breckenridge side.
We had decided to x-country ski up to the cabin for the night for our anniversary- and since I was still on a weight carrying limit- Greg trailed the sled- with our food, and what not.
We began out ski around 1:30PM, it was 6 Miles and 1200′ of gain, some sections of the road were bare, and we had to ski around the edges. We got lucky that we avoided wind until we were up near the pass- come to find out Boreas was the God of wind- and it showed.
We slowly puttered our way up hill, at one point seeing what we believed to be a moose- as it was too dark/ big to be and elk! The wind picked up, and was howling by the time we arrived at the cabin. It clearly had not had guests in a few days, the wood stove was cold, the water frozen- I got to work building a fire- and Greg dug the bathroom out.
It took at least an hour and a half to get the water melted- so we could cook our pasta….and then i realized that we forgot the pesto- so it was a rather boring meal.
We relaxed for the rest of the evening, enjoying the warm fire, then settled down to the howling of the blizzard going on outside.
In the morning we woke to more snow, but some sun…and a very cold cabin. I got up and started stoking the fire- and we made pancakes!
The ski out was windy, and snowy- but we made our way back to the car- it was so much fun! I never realized how much I like to x-country ski!
I can’t wait till my next hut trip! It was so much fun- now I just need to learn to AT ski- and it’ll be more fun!
So, earlier this month I went to the Physical therapist- and she barred me from any uneven terrain, apparently I injured my MCL back when we were in the Wind River Range. I kept using it and using it, and finally in October- when we were hiking Bluebird Lake, it went snap.
I never realized it had gotten injured- but I was happy to learn that 6 weeks of PT would help the problem- and a new brace for my knee. After 3 weeks, she gave me permission to go on a gentle hike, so Greg took a Monday off, and we hiked Cub Lake in RMNP. It was a chance to test out my knee brace- which worked- and get me outdoors.
I was slow moving, but I was outside, and hiking- which made me so incredibly happy. Here are some of our photos from the day.
I am not one to JUST go camping, usually there is a larger objective-a mountain- a canyon. This trip originally had a different objective- we were going to snag a few canyons in the Robbers Roost, White Roost, and maybe another area. However, there are times that it’s just better to relax- clear your mind, and just go camping.
Rather than drive all the way down past Green River on our first night we ended up camping off of Westwater, on a nice protected campsite, with a beautiful view!
The next morning we made our way to White Roost, and searched for the trailhead for Little Bull Canyon- an apparently short- but narrow canyon. The man who wrote up the canyon description claimed it was a squishy one– that made me a little bit nervous. I had been feeling very anxious, and felt bloated and overweight- I started to worry that I would get stuck in the canyon- it’s a silly fear- but it was there.
We made our way down the break in the upper canyon wall, into the bottom of the canyon approach, a narrow- slotty- bottom that winds to the first rappel. At this point- you can still bail- but after that rappel you need to make it out- or you are stuck.
We turned around and scrambled back out of the canyon, then proceeded to figure out where my favorite campsite was. I know vaguely the road, and what to be looking for- and I got lucky we found it!
We had planned on doing two more canyons that weekend- but I was feeling so anxious, and scared- for no good reason- so we ended up relaxing, exploring the backside of Canyonslands National Park, and just enjoying each others company!
Sometimes you just have no motivation to push it, and need a break- we took that well deserved break- and it was glorious!
After spending, essentially two days relaxing- we packed up and drove home- feeling much more relaxed. It is good to take time off from wild adventures, and recover- clear your head of anxieties and just relax in nature.
On our last morning, we woke up, and carefully broke down camp….and pulled the sweet potatoes out of the fire. They had cook so perfectly, so amazingly- that they made our breakfast burritos- soooooo goooooood! They were almost caramelized, and with green chili…. Oh man.
Once came was packed up, we drove down to the Hickman Natural Bridge- trailhead, and began- what was supposed to be, a 45min- 1.5hr approach(took like 3).
Rather than turning left for Hickman, we followed the trail to Rim Overlook, then departed the trail up a wash.
We took a break before scrambling up the wash- to find some dead tree that has an obvious class 3 behind it?– took a while to find.
We walked along these beautiful multi- colored bands of rocks to a saddle, then we spread out one of us took high, middle, and low to find the rappel anchor off to our left… somewhere– not exactly well marked.
We worked our way along the steep ridge, and then FINALLY found the rappel anchor. Instead of a deep slot canyon, the beginning of this canyon was wide open, and brushy, with loose rock, and then finally a bouldery down climb.
We arrived at our first down climb, and interesting slot section- that you need to use the wedged tree a little bit to descend…come to find out it was actually a rappel.
This was our last view of a sun for a while, we worked our way through a tight slot, squirming single file, shimming over muddy puddles- it was a blast!
The view from the last rappel was beautiful- with all the fall colors!
As soon as we hit the ground, we had to bushwhack back out onto the main trail- It was already 2:30- and we had at least 7 hours of driving to do!
We made one stop in Hanksville to gas up, and get out- I realized that we hadn’t been sending spot messages… and everyone at home was really worried. Luckily, they had not called out the cavalry yet, and they knew we were okay, there was no service at all back there.
We had so much fun, and I was lucky that my knee had decided to play nicely, and not snap again this trip. Looking forward to more desert fun in the spring!