Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rain, on top of rain!

The weather for some has been miserable, it's summer and they enjoy the 100 degree heat we often get. I'm enjoying the overcast rain, it's making the garden really flourish this year. Mid 70 degree weather and hours upon hours of rain with a few hours of nice sunshine are perfect.

I know that veggies are sneaky, but 2 days ago I didn't have a single cucumber. I know this since I was helping direct them onto the fence. I don't want them laying on the ground, they are supposed to climb but often meander wherever they feel like. Last night when I was harvesting some zucchini, I checked the cucumbers out again... I have about a dozen of them close to picking time.

It's national pit bull week! Not sure if that's true or not, but Rock was very pleased to hear about it.

Those who saw my adventure from this past Saturday will be pleased (or not) to know I'm recovered and ready for the next random thing. This picture below shows the route I took.

This picture is from Monday morning on my drive to work. Not only was it beautiful, it's was full of wildlife. I saw about 40 does, 12 bucks of various sizes, 2 groups of 20+ wild turkeys and a bighorn sheep.

Since it's not that great canned, I decided to freeze a lot of the zucchini and squash this year. I did one batch from the fridge that I had picked and then cleaned the garden out again. I have a feeling I'll have a lot more batches and a freezer full of nutritious veggies for the winter.

Heading to the cabin tonight with another load of supplies. We are going to redo the roof on the little shed and shore up the woodshed roof this weekend. I'm waiting to see how the month turns out at work before I decide how much firewood to order. When I wake up at the cabin I'm reminded that winter is coming, 49 degree's is the average morning temperature at 5am.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

An adventure, with a ton of photo's. Part 2.

Where did we leave off....
 Lunchtime! 4 hours, 30 minutes, 11,400 feet or so, 4 or so miles. That's the pack I wore, it's great since it displaces the weight into your breastbone instead of your shoulders, hips or back.The shoulder straps have velcro flaps (you can see the underneath of one where the drink tube is coming out of) that keep the weight bearing up front. It doesn't bounce around at all, shift or chafe.
 Cheese tortellini, very neutral flavor but it wasn't bad. This was the first time I gave myself a break, and actually sat down for the entire trip so far,
 I was up and across all the rocks, they were sharp and lose so I took my time with a zig zag pattern that would be the norm soon.
 Damn! I got tricked and there were more rocks. I went across instead of up and across to save time.
 I found this cactus in the rock pile and thought it looked awesome.
 There it is, treeline end! The clouds looked great so I decided to keep going, it was still early.
 If you notice the tree's reaching into the valley, I started just about where the left edge sort of takes off on it's own.
 So close to the summit! Just to the right of center you can see some brown dots, that is a herd of about 100 elk. Later I would see one of the females as she popped up over the edge and decided I wasn't friendly and left. She was big, they all were big and the entire hike from this point on I smelled them and stepped in the poop. There are a few hers of this size or bigger on the various peaks if you are lucky enough to see them.
 Same spot looking left at Mount Humboldt. The valley has a lot of snow still, that feed the creek that runs through our cabin property.
 Just when I thought I was at the summit, it was a false summit so I figured this one would be the real one.

 It wasn't the real one, this one let me down too!
 Look, snow! I passed it without noticing, I don't stray close to the edge. I did look for the herd of elk a few times but like I said, they are much more graceful than I am (and brave).
 Yippie! I made it, sort of. I honestly skipped a couple hundred feet, the clouds were starting to build up and I had a long way home still before treeline. The view is the same anyhow. Looking West. I was exhausted to the point where I would take 20 steps and rest for 10 seconds, 30 steps and rest for ten, etc. I was just so damn close I couldn't give up.
 Looking East.
 West here too.
 I did take a break and eat my MRE pears. They tasted great, just like canned pears, and I was angry at myself when I dropped a big spoonful on the ground. I took my shirt off so it would dry out, it ws my adventure team shirt but I don't have an adventure solo shirt.

I headed back down. My legs were starting to cramp up, I was low on water too. Technically it was water with electrolytes but whatever. Once I hit treeline I actually ran out of fluid and was miserable. The only water source was on either side of me, 2 thousand feet down. I trudged on, being angry with myself and when the tree's got thick I got really mad. I was tripping over everything, hit every spiderweb known to exist, stepped on way too many ant hills and my legs just basically started to give out. I stopped sweating and didn't need to pee.

If I had more water I would have been good to go, but since I didn't plan to really summit I didn't think about the additional fluids I would need. It took me 6 hours up and 3 down and it was hot out, I really messed up. It should have taken 2 hours to get back down but I had to stop all the time to rest so I wouldn't collapse.

I finally got back to the cabin, only missing a small portion of my intended route, and I drank 4 bottles of water (including an emergency carbohydrate and electrolyte mix) and got into a cool shower. I was dizzy, wanted to vomit and every muscle in my legs was cramping. I know what that means, it means I'm an idiot and learned a valuable lesson that could have either killed me or had search and rescue trying to find me. Then I had a banana and some ham.
 7 hours later, I was sitting outside and eating 3 hamburger patties. I zoomed in as much as I could for this photo.
See the snow just right of center on that mountain? That's the snow from a picture above that I mentioned. You can also see how many false summits there are. The rock filed area and where the elk were are not in this picture at all, if that gives you any idea of the trip. I think it was 5 miles or so but it was one of the hardest things I've done in years.

I learned even I need more water than I assume I'll need. I learned I'm in pretty awesome condition as far as this kind of crazy activity goes. I knew I was in good shape, but this just reinforced everything I am doing.
Oh... my knee's are just about good enough where I can walk up steps without holding onto the railing, should be back to normal in the morning. I'm also all hydrated and protein loaded.

An adventure, with a ton of photo's. Part 1.

 I was planning on doing a hike today, nothing long just head up the ridge line running west of the cabin and check it out. Since I had to jump a barbwire fence I wanted to do it bright and early before any livestock was in the area. There aren't any keep out signs and the previous owners said they did it all the time so I felt OK about it.
 Directly above the water bottle is Colony Baldy Mountain, 13,750ish feet. The ridge line runs all the way up, but I was just planning on breaking treeline if possible, and I was very pessimistic on that goal.
 I had to have enough light to see without needing to take my headlamp, so at 05:30 I headed out.
 This is looking back, I was keeping an eye on the sun as I didn't want to get cooked on the first hill.
 I'm holding my camera level, this hill was a bastard. It took 30 minutes to get up and my reward was tons of stickers and cactus pieces in my shoes and socks. I stayed on the right side of the fence, the left fence was marked. 8,750 feet.
 Ha, up top of the stupid 'cut bank hill'. They did some testing about putting in a reservoir and never bothered to fill in the cut, hence the name.
 It wasn't very difficult, sometimes I had good forest to stroll through.
 At 1 hour in I had a snack. I was trying to keep my energy up for the entire trip. I raided an MRE, cheese ravioli, and this energy bar was actually pretty awesome. 1 hour in, 9750 feet, 1.25 mile.
Here I linked up with the ATV trail that runs the length of the mountain range, called the Rainbow Trail. From the cabin up the regular way, this is 8 miles exactly. From the ridge line way it was 1.5 miles.
 After I hit the ATV trail for a few feet I went back into the woods, the trail runs down the hill and that wasn't my plan. Here is a shot of Mount Humbolt (left) and Crestone Needle (middle small spires).
 2 hours! The old MRE goodness again, peanut butter and crackers. You can see what the hiking was like in the forest as well. In fact, sometimes it was so bad I was swearing to myself, in my outside voice. 2 hours, 2.5 miles, 10,300 feet.
 The elk make a nice path to follow, for the most part. I'm tall and not very nimble and have 2 hooves instead of 4. It was a relief to hit a 'trail'
 The elk path wasn't easy, they are very graceful on a slope and going uphill. I found this huge rock clearing that I had seen from the road. I figured it was just bare but it wasn't and I decided to give myself a much needed sit down break.
No tactical gear, I had my running hydration pack on with food and of course water, about 60oz. I had blister pads, chap stick, toilet paper, a large knife and my SPOT GPS search and rescue summoning beacon.
end pt.1

Monday, July 21, 2014

Happy Birthday Dad!

In celebration of what would have been my Dad's 69th birthday, I'm going to eat cake at some point today. If the weather holds, I'll make one... and if not I'll just get a small one at the store and pretend it's not full of who-knows-what. So far the weather is cool, so I'll make a treat tonight but I don't know about frosting and all that sugar.

My goal was to have the cabin and have it all ready by today. I was weeks ahead of that plan, and it was nice to spend the night there and wake up on his birthday. All of the projects I've done and will do, are things I learned from him.I should have learned more, but I was a kid and didn't find it so awesome at the time. Most kids back then actually learned from parents, today it's almost nonexistent. I'm so thankful for everything I did learn, including my sarcastic nature and smart mouth!

This photo was from our last motorcycle trip in the White Mountains of N.H. I left a couple of weeks later for basic training. We had a lot of trips, all were very memorable. I don't remember why we stopped here, I think we needed a part for his bike.
 In an old throwback photo, I'm not even in it! I'm not sure if I wasn't on this trip, I would have been at most 1.5 years old I think. My older brother is right next to my Dad, looking sad for some reason. The other 2 kids were step kids, and that marriage ended shortly after this photo when my Dad came home in between jobs and told step mother to not beat us for playing in the junkyard. She said if he didn't like it he could take his kids and leave... so we did, the next day.
This is my Dad, his brother and his brothers wife. This photo is very classic, the lady always seemed spacey, Uncle Andy always chewed his nails when he was nervous and my Dad ALWAYS used that hand gesture. It's also a great photo to remind me of how I grew up. The chicken coop, the outhouse, the gun range behind them.... and of course my Dad's coffee. I don't know how many thousands of cups of coffee I made him but I never balked when he asked. We had 5 gallon buckets for water and I would scoop a small pan of water and heat it up for his instant coffee. I've forgotten how much sugar he liked.. the little things go first.

We spent this weekend at the cabin and now have the ATV's stored there. 71 miles on an ATV (50 the first day) just about ruined me for a few days. My allergies decided to kick in h are Yesterday so I went for a run to try and clear my system. The run was fast but really hard, all the rain washed the trail/road away so it took about 25% more effort than usual and overall it destroyed me. I'm not kind on my body most days.

 This is 'cutback hill' and on Saturday I'm going to climb it. While that's not special, you can see the ridge on t he left side of the photo that goes to the top of a 14,000' peak. That's what I'm hoping to do, take the ridge line all the way up.
 This is looking down towards the cabin from the ridge, it's not going to be easy and it's  heavy bush waking work.
 Another shop of the density in the forest, and in this area it's not too bad.
Eventually the ridge will hit the trail, part of a 100 mile system. I'll be on the trail for exactly this amount and then back into the woods. The trail gives an idea of why 70 miles on ATV's is rough on the body, and this section isn't really rocky or rough. The nice thing about the ridge line is, hopefully, it won't be too bad as it's high and thinned out naturally.

The following are some water pictures I took. In between each mountain are lakes filled from the snow melt and of course they run down into the cabin area. None of these are the creeks that run next to the cabin, I forgot to take a picture of that one.
 This creek runs North West of the cabin about 200 feet. Looking South West for this picture.
 Looking 'downhill' towards the cabin area.
 This creek is about 3 miles away from the cabin, an area known as Horn Creek. There is a religious retreat and seminary located there. We looked at a house in the area but it was infested with woodpeckers (and usually bugs in that case).
One of the many small water crossings. We thought about having lunch here but didn't want to have all of our blood sucked out, the downside of moisture is bugs.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The thunder rolls!

BOOM! 2:20 this morning the storm decided to interrupt my beauty sleep. I need a lot of it, but wasn't successful this weekend. The cabin got a lot of rain on Saturday night, about 10 hours of a nice light rain. Last night the storm was amazing to watch, strikes all around the area and close to the homestead.
After I closed all of the windows and soaked up some excess water I just had to get some sleep. Closing the windows meant it wasn't going to get into the upper 40's inside, but it was that or have a lot of wet stuff as the wind was pretty relentless. I managed to doze off in between flashes and booms and was the portrait of sunshine and happiness when I awoke at 5:40.

The drive to work isn't bad, 90 minutes and it's the amount of time I'm awake before I would leave from the city house to arrive on time. I don't have a set time, and that's good, I encountered some high water and had to backtrack a bit.
Water was up to almost the top of the tires
Turned around and headed back toward the higher ground
I managed two great runs, and some good family time. It was the annual Bluegrass Festival, the town was overrun with about 5,000+ people so we decided to listen to bluegrass at the cabin instead of mingle and pay $45 a person. The running is going well again, I've dropped a lot of weight and changed my diet to a lot more fruits and cut out about 90% of the processed foods. I wasn't really eating bad, but I wasn't focused on trying to lose weight and now its amazing how bad it seems in hindsight.
I love running downhill but my quads aren't appreciative today. That means they won't appreciate tonights planned downhill fun.
We did some yard and flower bed beautification, cleaned out the garage and removed the cinder block burn 'pit'. It's all coming together nicely and is allowing for some relaxation in between projects.

Here are some more photo's from this weekend. I'm heading down on Wednesday with a few hundred pounds of food/supplies and then we will both be back on Friday for ATV weekend excitement.
Rock checking for the horses and his country girlfriend Lorie the Aussie.

Have to check the stovepipe cap, seems to be a small issue

1/2 way point between the two houses, surrounded by prisons but nice view of Pikes Peak

West of the cabin, looking South East

End of the 'road'. I'm going to hike up there soon and check it out

I think this was looking towards the cabin from west to South East.

Random scenery shot this morning

More scenery from the weekend, close to the cabin

Rock in a 5 minute stare down with a local
Rock did great in his third meeting with the Amish aussie, her name is Lorie. She is starved for attention and is an outside free to wander dog. They took a walk together (Rock on leash of course), shared some water and sniffs, and acted like old friends. This is a big leap forward for a dog who is very dog and human selective and takes a few meetings to even stop growling and barking at friends.

I forgot my fruit salad at the cabin, so it's an early lunch for me.