Bradley's View

Bradley's View

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Run Mountains, Feed People

Lately, snow has been the norm around here.

Last Monday, Luna and I broke trail up to Hope Pass

I recently had a pair of skate skis passed down to me, which has been great motivation to get out every day, I'm grateful for the gift.

A couple of nights ago Luna and I went to visit with Mike in Frisco.  We didn't get there until late, but that didn't stop us from heading up Mt. Royal in the dark and cold  you find above 10,000 ft at 11:00 at night.  Mike is about 125 summits into his goal of 365 summits of Mt. Royal.  His cause is noble and his motives are humble.  Check it out through the link above and consider making a donation, if you feel so compelled.  Thanks to the support of generous folks, the food bank in Frisco has accrued over 1,000 lbs of food for the hungry.

The turn-around point of yesterday's ski into Mayflower Gluch.
I probably won't do this route again on skate skis- it was tough.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Gear, Dominguez Canyon, Runs For Relief: New Hampshire

    We didn't hit the road till around 7, and after a few pitstops we reached the Bridgeport access to the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Study Area around 10:45 PM.  It was dark and already cold.  I pitched the tent in the parking lot, fluffed up  the sleeping bags, and the three of us assumed the fetal position hoping to retain any bit of warmth we could.  Sleep was tough to come by.  Our sleeping bags, rated at 30 and 15 could do very little to shield off the 4 degree temperatures outside.

    We got up quickly at first light, boiled some water, ate some oats and a poptart apiece, decided it was against our best interest to brave another frigid night in the canyon, and headed out for a day-hike.


I fashioned a dogfood can into an alcohol stove before heading out on the trip.  Using about 1 fl oz of denatured alcohol a pint of water begins boiling after about 6 minutes, 30 seconds, with another minute remaining until the alcohol burns out.

    I packed a good 25 pounds into the pack, just to get some proper practice and we set off.  We hugged the railroad tracks along the Gunnison River for the first mile and a half before crossing a bridge and weaving our way over towards Dominguez Canyon.  We spent the day hiking, lounging/napping in the sun, and examining the evidence of civilizations past, for whom the canyon served as a home.

     Enjoy the photos.

      I think next week I'm going to make my way out here (solo and with a warm sleeping bag), I have three days for hiking allotted and think I can dial in an 80ish mile loop, utilizing the North Uncompagre Wilderness and the Tabeguache trail, that would be great practice for the AT.

The tarptent set up without the interior/bugnet/floor.  Extremely lightweight, simple, requires only trekking poles and stakes.

House, built in 1901

Nature's dog house, built over hundreds of thousands of years


People on horseback.  Alligator snapping turtle??

Mel sitting by the frigid Big Dominguez Creek a few miles before it feeds into the Gunnison.
Home away from home.

Pulled one of these guys out of Luna's foot- ow.

Luna elected to cuddle next to some trekking poles for her afternoon snooze


Gunnison River

Hitched a ride back to the trailhead

     Meanwhile, somewhere in the east, Rob has mapped out a feasible route for a run across New Hampshire for a second edition of our Runs For Relief project, which had it's first event in Rhode Island almost a year ago.  We're looking at a ~73 mile route and a late March execution date.  I hope that logistically I'll be able to formulate a way to get out there and join him in the effort!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Training And Snowshoeing At The Vail Mountain Games

"Those with stronger wills 
will stand so still they 
grow their roots away from it
But oh to use those roots 
to feed the leaves that do 
indeed grow towards it.
Oh the space above our heads is useless 
unless we do reach for it.

Ain't it funny that all we have
Is all we know
And all I know is flight"

    The last week or so I've had occasion to really dial in my gear for the upcoming Appalachian Trail trek.  I've got a pack that packs just right, a great shelter that is both sturdy, light, and quick to set up and take down.  Most importantly I have a pair of strong, healthy legs that are adapting well to carrying a greater load at a reasonable pace.

     On Monday, Luna and I got dropped off at Turquoise Lake and completed a 7 mile stroll back to town while carrying about 28 lbs.  We completed the route in 1 hour 39 minutes and some seconds.  The route was a steady climb of about 550 ft, pretty trivial compared to the AT, but I was still delighted to maintain a pace of about 4.25 mph.

    Tuesday I had a little window in a long day of working that allowed Luna and I to get out for 31 minutes.  We ventured up the hills in the backyard for 2.1 miles and 500 ft of gain.  Despite the climbing and snow on this short outing, we were right around 4 mph once again.  Tuesday night, Mel, Luna, and I made it out for a nordic ski, which is always a pleasure; even more so on a clear, quiet night when the sky is speckled with stars.

    Thursday rolled around, I rolled out of bed.  I glanced at the thermometer and saw it was a whopping 5 degrees out, I then looked at the day's projected high in Boulder and saw that it was 55(?!), so we went there.  We hiked a 3 mile loop from Chataquah  Park (carrying ~25 lbs), scrambled about halfway up the second Flatiron (not Luna's favorite activity), and headed back home.

     When we got back to Leadville, there was a package on our doorstep.  Inside the package was our Tarptent Stratospire II.  I tossed it in the pack (~18 lbs), grabbed the poles, strapped Luna's pack on and went out to try my hand at setting it up.  It was dark, snowy, and cold; I figured if I learned to set up the tent for the 1st time in the dark it would be good preparation for the AT, where I expect to be setting up the tent at night frequently after long days of hiking.  I'm not sure how long it took me to set up the tent, but it couldn't have been very long as our trip was 3.15 miles in 58 minutes (including set-up/break-down time).

     The Stratospire II is a really cool structure that I look forward to really getting out in the field: I'll review it more throughly once I come to know it better.

     I worked Friday morning and, just after my shift, received a proposition to catch a ride up to the Vail Winter Mountain Games to participate in a snowshoe race.  I was really on the fence about it, with the possibility of a storm blowing in and making for a tedious drive back home, but after glancing at the website and realizing that 1) Snow is cool, 2) Snow is cooler when you're racing in it at night, and 3) I could race the 5k event with Luna, there was really no question.

    Around 3:30 Sage and Sandi pulled up, picked us up, and we made our way up to Vail, enjoying the snowy scenery.  Notch Mountain, neighbor to Holy Cross, looked absolutely incredible rising from the valley.

    We parked, picked up our packets, and hurried to get to the startline.  Sage and Sandi took off with the 10k start, and Luna and I waited for the dog wave, which started about 20 seconds after the 5k human wave.

     We bolted past as many folks as we could through the chute and had ample breathing room to settle into a groove on the first loop.  Luna was a good sport; she sported her Ruffware harness that she'll be wearing on the AT.  

      Snowshoeing is hard work.  We ended up finishing 1st among the dogs, and 2nd overall in the 5k, though.  

      Meanwhile, Sage and Sandi grunted it out over some grueling climbs and twice the distance against stiff competition to finish very well, 3rd male and 5th female, respectively.

     The atmosphere they create at the Vail Mountain Games is truly exceptional.  There are a lot of people working really hard both in the events and behind the scenes, it is a truly beautiful thing.

      These guys (Pigpen Theatre Co.) are doing really cool things, check them out: