Lake City Ice Fest 2018

I have been going to the Lake City Ice Fest for about 4 years, it’s always been a blast! This year was no different and after last year the city took over the management of the Ice Park. They made some awesome additions, including a fire pit and a warming hut!

Three amazing thing happened this year at the fest, Sarah competed and finished all 4 laps on the ice wall,  our friend Jess who had been hesitant about competing, finished in 3rd and finally Greg won the Grand Prize Raffle that we were all unaware of!

Here are some photos!

The only spot of blue all day!
Greg working his way up the first Route!
Sarah nervously roping up!
Having completed the first route, and beat her time by 2 minutes- AMAZING!!! All Smiles!

Three quarters through the day it began to snow heavily, sideways. It was a blast.

Jess picking up her prize! WOOT! 

I didn’t take as many photos as I would have liked to, but the snow left my nice camera in the truck.

Greg and I stayed to climb on Sunday then instead of climbing like we wanted to on Monday, we ended up driving home ahead of a storm. It was still another one for the books! Looking forward to next year!

Fun-time with our buddies! love my family. 
Sunday was a great climbing day!

Grey Rock

Sarah FINALLY got cleared to go hiking, which was amazing! We decided to go up near Fort Collins and hike Grey Rock at the mouth of the Poudre Canyon. I climbed this back in 2011, so it was really interesting to see just how much I remembered.

Though it is technically winter, we still have yet to HAVE winter… it was still dry and in the mid 40’s. Some years we don’t really get snow until Feb/March, and this is apparently one of those years.

Sarah, Bowie and I started off from the trailhead around 9AM, and started off over the bridge.

It was pretty quiet on the way up, not really many others on the trail, but it was so much more awesome than I remember it!

Bowie decided Sarah was alright, and we could keep her. 

We arrived at the big plateau at the base of Grey Rock, and realized that with the dog, we probably couldn’t get up to the summit.

Bowie’s first REAL hike!

We had such a nice hike, and Sarah finished strong! She was grinning all day long, it was so great to see her back in her element!

Frying Pan Lakes, Girls trip!

I love exploring. I bet you didn’t realize that by now, but it’s true. I have been here in Colorado going on 8 years now, and despite popular belief I have not been everywhere.

I had never been to the Roaring Fork Valley, which is where the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness lies, on the backside of Mount Massive/ Mount Oklahoma. Instead of a 2ish hour drive it’s more like a 5 hour drive to get there, as there are no roads, and you need to drive way out and around to get there.

My friend Hannah and I had decided to go on an overnight backpacking trip to somewhere new, and selected the Frying Pan Lakes.

We had an incredibly beautiful drive through the aspens, and began our hike in the snow, weaving in an out along our trail up to the lakes.

Hannah Trekking along up trail!

We hiked among trees, and meadows for a while, then Mount Oklahoma came into view.

Once we arrived at the first lake, we decided that rather than go up to the next two lakes, we’d stay on dry ground and maybe explore in the morning. The trip wasn’t about getting up to some crazy objective, it was about hanging out and spending time together!

We finally found a great spot to camp, with a fire ring, and a dry spot for the tent.

Setting up camp!
Backcountry Happy Hour!
I had to wear my fanciest outfit!

After the sun set behind the ridge, we started a fire so we could stay up longer and keep warm.

We huddled down near the fire, and cooked our dinner on a rock nearby.

View from our dinner perch.

We relaxed by the fire, watching the sun set further behind the mountains, enjoying our wine, and chocolate. Because we’re that fancy.

I was very smart during this trip, I brought my 30 degree Enlightened Equiptment down quilt, I ended up wearing a few extra layers. I think the low overnight was under 20, I should have brought a warmer bag.

Convincing myself to get out of the sleeping bag is always the hard part, but watching the sun come up over the ridge was a spectacular way to wake up!

Making Panckes at Frying Pan Lakes.

We thought it’d be fun to make pancakes for breakfast at Frying Pan Lakes, and boy was it ever! Such a great way to start a day!

This pano took quite a few tries to get right, but it came out swimmingly!

After breakfast we packed up, and made our way back to the truck.

the Aspen down lower were still showing their colors!

It was nearing lunch time, so we stopped at Roaring Fork Brewery for lunch, which had decent beer but a fantastic lunch spread! We were also starving.

Hannah and I don’t always get to have fun adventures together but this was such a blast, I’m sure we’ll explore again!


Not so Active adventures

Over my weeks of recovery I was giving the opportunity to go on a few adventures, the Celestial Seasonings Factory, Leaning Tree Museum of Western Art, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and a 4WD tour of old mining ruins.

It got me outside, and moving. It felt like an adventure, sort of– I got experience what it was like to be in a wheelchair at a museum. I would actually ask them to place the displays a bit lower, because I was unable to see most of information without standing up on my good leg.

I figured I’d just share a few photos of our mining ruin tour on Oh My God Road outside of Idaho Springs. It was during wildflower season!

Knee Surgery, and the glory of the nerve block

I’ve known so many people my own age who have had shoulder surgery, knee surgery, etc. etc. etc. Up until now, I’ve been fortunate enough to have avoided this route, but when my doctor had tried everything to help heal my knee, ( I had 5 different shots in my knee,  and PT) finally I was ready to have surgery. 

Surgery scares the cannoli’s out of me– cutting you open, digging around, potentially cutting the wrong thing. Lots of horror stories from TV, and I had willingly accepted that it was my fate, after nothing else worked. 

Going to a surgery consult was very different from visits with my regular sports medicine doctor. He had taken a quick look at my MRI, and told me that it was a bone marrow lesion that could be fixed by a procedure called “subchondroplasty.” What that essentially means is they would drill a tiny hole in my femur where the lesion is, and fill it with a bone cement that supports the bone while the lesion heals.

He asked me talk about this with my other doctor, who entirely agreed with his assessment. I made the appointment, and fought through all of the insurance rigamarole in order to get it done. Once I made it through the final hurdle, I sat in the Boulder Surgery Center, scared, but ready to get this done. 

Greg  sat with me as they gave me the IV, and my first round of calming meds. He waited until they rolled me into the OR, and then waited in the waiting room until I woke up. All I remember is being rolled into the OR, and asked to move from the bed to the operating table. The anesthesiologist  rolled forward to stick my leg with a nerve block, which had been suggested by the surgeon…which I am so glad he suggested! It took two days for it to wear off, I’m sitting here on saturday evening, and it just wore off today– so hopefully I have avoided the most painful part! 

I know that when i initially woke up from the anesthesia I asked where Greg was, they told me was waiting for me to wake up more. I said “okey” then fell back asleep for 45 mins, then woke up to Greg there with me. The nurse offered me water or ginger ale. For those of you who know me, I love ginger ale! They told me to take it easy, I took two tiny sips, but I wanted to guzzle. I was starving, thirsty, and Greg brought me a chocolate-chocolate chip cookie. Rather than take it easy, I took a big bite. Best. Food. Ever. 

I know I don’t generally write about my personal life really, but Greg is just the greatest partner ever.  My mom and dad were among the first to check on me, THANKS MOM AND DAD! I also have some amazing and wonderful friends who were checking on me and encouraging me. Thank you Sarah, Laura, Charlotte, Makayla, Kristin, and Tiffany- you are all wonderful friends.  

 My next project is to heal, and get back out there in the world I love so much- climbing, backpacking, mountaineering, cycling- any of those in combination would be great. 

In the meantime, I’ll catch up on posts from my last few adventures, maybe a read a book or 4.

Busted Knees and High Points in Boring Places

Lazy mornings are the best. Waking up with the sun, making breakfast, drinking coffee as the world comes alive. Always my favorite part of the day. 

Today was the day, Sarah was going to lead her first trad route,  Spaceman Lookout, a 5.5 near the Chopping Block in Mt. Rushmore National Memorial. After enojoying, a long breakfast in the sun– we made our way over to the Chopping Block. 

We walked up to the climber sign in, they like to keep track of us to make sure nobody is hurt,  etc. It’s kind of nice!

I thought i had found the climb, but we weren’t positive– so we kept hiking up around the back of the chopping block, and then down this steep little gully in the middle.

The back of the chopping block!

Sarah leading the way!

We moved slowly through the gully, there were pine needles, and quite a steep hill. We were almost at the bottom, when Sarah said, “Damnit Erin, I think you were right, it’s right there. I just can’t wait to get on it now.” No sooner did she say that, her knee buckled inward where she has a not-so-working ACL, and she went down sliding about 10′ .  I made my way carefully down to her, I asked if she was okey, she said– ” not climbing.” We were only about 50′ from the car, so I  grabbed her keys and put my pack in the car, then came back up to get her pack.  I left my trekking poles with her,  and she managed to hobble to car, in quite a bit of pain. I gave her 800MG of Advil– which is the perscritption  amount, and headed back towards Keystone to get an ace bandage and some ice. 

We had already planned on heading home that day, but this was not the way we wanted to do it. After we acquired the ace bandage and ice, I asked Sarah where to– without even a hesitation she said, ” Well Nebraska’s high point, at least the whole day wasn’t a waste!” So off towards Nebraska we went!

Finding Panorama Point is a lot of non-descript boring AF Nebraska roads, we thought we made it there, and found out that we were in someone’s yard. He came out, with his tobacco stained beard, and luckily was very nice. He told us to go down another half a mile, and we’d be at the right road. We thanked him, and drove down the road.  Panorama point is on a bison farm, and they are very welcoming too high pointers. They just asked for a donation for upkeep. 

We drove a mile or so down a rough dirt road, until we saw the high point. Sarah managed to limp her way over, and sign the register. The view wasn’t anything special, just a lot of boring plains.  

Panorama Point 5,439′ on the Colorado Wyoming border

The register was taller than the monument, made me laugh.

We had acquired two more high points on this trip, a lot of new memories, and a love of the Black Hills. By far one of the most surprisingly beautiful places I’ve been in a while. It was an awesome trip, despite the injury, and the boring drive home. 

Two weeks later we found out that Sarah would be getting surgery for her ACL, meniscus tear, and cartilage damage. So we’re both kinda waylaid for the summer, I should be recovered by mid august, her’s will be much longer. BUT that doesn’t mean we won’t have  another high point adventure, or more adventures together!  Look out later in August for Kansas and Missouri!