Posts Tagged “relaxing”

This past Saturday Dan and I, fueled by mid-semester doldrums and the need to walk around in the woods, made a trip Crater Lake, Colorado.  This was not Crater Lake National Park (I would love to go there also!), but rather an awesome local treat in the San Juans.  While the names of both suggest that they are craters due to some large impact, this is untrue.  CLNP is a caldera, and Crater Lake here in Colorado is likely of glacial origin.  The hike was perfect.  A relatively short ~7.5 mile round trip allowed for lots of exploring and laid back wandering.  It was cool, with a touch of snow over much of the area.  Doesn’t get much better than that!  Of course, we couldn’t resist bringing up some juggling balls to continue our tradition of the ultra extreme sport–yes, ultra extreme sport–of alpine juggling.  The juggling pictures will be up soon, I just have to get them from Dan’s camera.  However, here are some shots from the hike…

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Crater Lake and surrounding awesomeness.

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A view heading back from Crater Lake

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The Great Sand Dunes National Park is nestled in the east part of the San Luis Valley, just 45 minutes northeast of Alamosa.  Some may think it’s just a big, boring pile of sand.  These people are either intensely ill informed or have never been to said piles of sand.  The former National Monument was promoted to National Park status in 2004 and stands, like the name suggests, as a great example of eolian and other complex processes.  The dunes are a great place to go sandboarding, fly a kite, soak in the river (in the spring), or just wander around and have lunch.  Plus they just plain look sweet, especially with the Crestones peaks of the Sangre de Cristo mountains as a back drop.  There are a handful of trails around the park as well.  So this past weekend we decided to visit and were treated with sun filled skys and a wonderful sunset which provided all sorts of entertainment like…

Wildlife Monitoring:

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Tracking Big Game (namely the endemic Valley She-Hulk):

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and Deep, Deep Thought:

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Last week I took a break from Zion’s canyons and went to visit our National Park neighbor, Bryce Canyon.  It’s about 2 hours away from Zion and not a very large park…perfect for a day trip.  Bryce tends to be fairly cooler due to its higher elevation so it was also a nice escape from the heat Zion was enjoying at that time.  It was recommended to me to take the Fairy Land Loop, an 8 mile loop that dips into some very cool features of the park.  So I did just that.  This loop was amazing and had some of the coolest landscapes I’ve seen.  It truely was like stepping into another world.  Huge hoodoos were all over the place with a sort of cemented, eroded sediment that looked like blended water colors below them.  If you get a chance you should definitely check it out.  However, because the park is so small (you can see everything in one, maybe two days), make sure you have some other places to go like, oh I don’t know, Zion!  Here are a few select pictures from the trip.  As always, the rest of the pictures are available on the flickr stream and I have now made links to each set on the right pannel of this blog.

Hoodoo 5-ball:
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The view from Bryce Point (not on the Fairy Land Loop…but quite awesome)
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I also just got back from Great Basin National Park yesterday and I will have a short write up about that soon!

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The spring break destination decision came full circle and we ended up, thankfully, going to Utah.  The areas we were originally going to visit we covered in a lot of snow so we decided on some laid back car-camping around Moab.  A few shorter day hikes around Arches and a nice long full day hike in Canyonlands were just beautiful, providing a much needed hiking fix.  The nights were pretty cold, but the days were perfect: cool and sunny.  Here are some pictures from the trip:

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Last night I was sitting in my apartment when a thought began to tickle my brain.  This thought was the memory of playing disc golf back home in Virginia.  I remember being almost distraught when doing research about the San Luis Valley before I came to Adams to find that there was no proper disc golf course within a reasonable distance.  So after a moment of thought, I got on Facebook to make a group “We desperately need a disc golf course in Alamosa!”  As I was making the Facebook group page I decided to check the Professional Disc Golf Association website — I hadn’t checked the site in a year or so — to make sure that something new hadn’t popped up.  Something has, indeed, popped up.  There is an 18 hole course just northwest of Monte Vista which is just west of Alamosa.  DGReview.com has pictures and some descriptions.  There is also another smaller 9 hole, par 2 course that is located around Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church in Monte Vista.  I will definitely be hitting this place up the next free weekend I get.

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There was a lot going on involving Adams State this Valentines Day weekend. The Adventure Program had a yurt-to-yurt snowshoe trip running this weekend that my valentine, Jenna, and I were hoping to go on but due to work and other school obligations we were unable to go. Plan B: Enjoying a quiet weekend here in Alamosa watching movies and walking along the Rio Grande, taking in the sunshine and downtime between busy school weeks.  Along the river we found a bunch of cattails and had some fun with them.  Here are some of their seeds going for a ride:

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The Adventure Program also had its hands in some on-campus activities this weekend as well. Each February, the program arranges for a Wilderness First Aid class to be taught here that is open to all students and community (for a small fee). This is a 24 hour (split into 3 days) class that, as the name suggest, goes over first aid techniques applicable to back country incidents. To sum it up: If you plan on spending anytime in the backcountry then you should take this class; It could help you save someones life, maybe even your own.  With that said, I hope everyone is enjoying the winter and getting a chance to get outside and enjoy it!

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Day one of the semester has come and I couldn’t be more ready.  However, the winter break was amazing and hit all angles of fun, learning, and straight up laziness.  First on the break agenda was a 10 day trip to Arizona with a few friends to climb around the Phoenix area.  Warm sunny days and cool nights (not unlike Alamosa), led to some pretty amazing climbing weather.  This was the first time we were down there so much of the time was spent looking for the climbs and scoping things out but we definitely found some gems down there.  Queen Creek and Devils Canyon are amazing if you are interested.

Next on the agenda was another 10 day jaunt.  This time back to the homeland and other side of the country: Charlottesville, VA.  This is where the general laziness ensued.  It was perfect.  Seeing old friends and juggling with my old Air Raid Juggling Club crew was truly fantastic.  The juggling back in the “C-Ville” definitely rejuvenated my passion for passing clubs.

From there it was back home to Alamosa.  The Adventure Program here at school was doing a “Winter Intensive Training” that I was part of.  Other than the lack of feeling in my toes every day for 5 days it was great.  We did avalanche training, ice climbing and anchors, and learned the art (read: hours of digging) of making a quinzhee (hint: pile snow on top of backpacks to save some digging time).  During that training I found a new love: alpaca socks.  Just get some, you will understand.

Now its time for the spring semester of school and as I said before I couldn’t be more ready…and excited!  I kind of miss the routine of school and the early mornings of drinking coffee and listening to music before class.  Im super stoked for my Mountain Geography class and Adams State  is going to be hosting a climbing comp in April.  There is a new area of relatively untapped climbing to be explored as well.  All in all, its gonna be a good semester.

Here are a few pictures from the break…

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Amidst a busy semester sprinkled with Adventure Program work lies a weekend where all that needs to be done is drink warm caffeinated beverages and work on proper lounge technique.  That weekend is now.  Sort of.  I don’t really plan on just sitting on ass all weekend…but I could and that’s what counts.  This morning has been a true delight.  It’s just me in the apartment, the stereo is pumpin’ GD Dick’s Picks 12, a large and satisfying solo breakfast was made and devoured, and the seemingly arduous project of finding a job for next summer has become fun.  After pushing my way through a few websites searching for jobs/internships I came across a handful that looked pretty sweet.  Everything from GIS mapping work in Yellowstone to Backcountry patrolling in Zion.  As long as I’m near some rocks to pull on and have some good people around, next summer will be just fine.  On that note, I think I’m going to go fly a kite.  Peace!

P.S.  12-24 inches of snow is expected to fall at Wolf Creek this weekend.

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