Category Archives: outdoors

San Felipe, Thanksgiving 2011

 

San Felipe Panorama

San Felipe Bay

Cactus

The Valley of the Gods

Kinsee and I went to San Felipe with her family and Derrik for Thanksgiving. More pictures on Flickr.

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Lake City, Colorado

Lake City, Colorado is the spot where Alfred Packer ate five of his fellow travelers while stranded in winter 135 years ago. I’ve heard that Packer is the only person convicted of cannibalism in the US, but I’m not sure if that’s true. You might know Alfred Packer from the fantastic Cannibal: The Musical, a musical retelling of his story.

We headed out early Saturday morning for Lake City, Colorado, about a three hour drive up into the mountains to do some backpacking. Some friends were supposed to meet us there, but they decided to take the “short cut” over Cinnamon Pass and couldn’t make it over, so it was just Kinsee, Walter, Mona and I. The trail was only 4 miles but over 2000 feet of elevation gain. It got steep in some parts but not too bad. We got to Waterdog Lake and were the only people up there.

I was a little disappointed that the surrounding mountains weren’t more rocky and that there was no good beach or jumping rocks at the lake, but it was nice regardless. We camped around 11,100 feet and the weather was perfect. As is usually the case (unless you’re in a canyon) the hike out was much quicker and easier than the hike in.The physical geography of Southwest Colorado reminds me so much of that of Andean Patagonia, from El Calafate to Bariloche.

Below are some more pics from Lake City and Waterdog Lake.

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Clear Lake near Silverton, CO

Waterfall on the Clear Lake/Ice Lakes Trail

Waterfall on the Clear Lake/Ice Lakes Trail

Walter

Walter

Miss Mona Pretends Shes in the Jungle

Miss Mona Pretends She's in the Jungle

An old (copper?) mine

An old (copper?) mine

Wildflowers and Thirteen Thousand Foot Mountains

Wildflowers and Thirteen Thousand Foot Mountains

Small pond below Clear Lake

Small pond below Clear Lake

Walter Walks on Ice (Theres no picture of Walter falling through the ice, but it happened)

Walter Walks on Ice (There's no picture of Walter falling through the ice, but it happened)

Clear Lake, 11,960 Feet

Clear Lake, 11,960 Feet

Kinsee and Jeff at Clear Lake

Kinsee and Jeff at Clear Lake

Being a Tourist in My New Hometown

I’ve been in Bayfield for about a month and a half now, but haven’t really done too much exploring until now. This past week my brother and sister came out to visit and we did a bit of the touristy stuff.

Sunday afternoon we headed up US550 to Ouray.

Tilt-shift Photo of Silverton, CO (Photo by Chris Hammett)

Tilt-shift Photo of Silverton, CO (Photo by Chris Hammett)

We went to Wiesbaden Hot Spring Spa where they have a “vapor cave” a dark cave with water piped in from the hot springs at around 108F. It was hot. We couldn’t stay in there for more than 10 minutes or so. Luckily they had an outdoor hot springs pool as well.

(On a random-small-world-note, before we left in the morning I was looking at Twitter and saw someone post saying her and her family were visiting Durango and headed to Ouray for the day. I sent a message about maybe meeting up, an impromptu tweetup of sorts) and then forgot about it. That night when we got home I got a message back saying she didn’t see it in time, but was at the hot springs at the same time we were!)

After three hours at the hot springs we were hungry! We had lunch at O’Brien’s Irish Pub and then stopped by the Ourayle House Brewery for some beer. (I’ll be posting about that at BeerNBikes.com soon).

The next day I had to work but that night we went down to Ignacio to go bowling at the Rolling Thunder Lanes. My sister and I both bowled in a league as kids, so that was fun.

The next day we went out to Pagosa Springs. Even though it’s only 30 miles away I hadn’t been there yet. We stopped by Pagosa Brewing Co first and had dinner and beer (which I wrote about at BeerNBikes.com) and then went out to the Pagosa Hot Springs. They were less hot than the vapor cave, but hotter than the other pool at Wiesbaden which was pretty nice. They had about 20 pools or so, we went in maybe 10 of them. It was a much different experience. We all sort of felt like we were at a miniature golf course because of the way it looked.

(Another random-small-world-note, someone from Twitter was at the brewery at the same time as us also, we found out about it the next day!)

It was fun having my brother and sister come out to visit and explore the area with us. Anyone else that wants to come out, there’s plenty more to explore.

Winding Mountain Pass (Photo by Chris Hammett)

Winding Mountain Pass (Photo by Chris Hammett)

Feeling More Durango

I did two very Durango things this past weekend.

Saturday I bought a mountain bike. Mountain biking seems to be huge here, and I can understand why, there’s a lot of open space and beautiful country around here. I’ve been road biking for a few years now and I felt I should start mountain biking out here. I picked up a used Yeti F.R.O. hardtail. I’ve been itching to get out and ride it, but it was snowing Saturday. Expect some pics and more about this bike on BeerNbikes.com.

Yesterday the weather was nice, probably perfect for mountain biking on some of the trails that dry earlier in the year than others, but instead Kinsee and I went up to Durango Mountain Resort for some winter sports action. It was my first time on a snowboard (I want to ski, I’ve never been skiing either, but Kinz insisted I try snowboarding first). She said I did good for my first day, I’m not sure if she’s being nice or what, but it seemed like I spent almost as much time on my butt as I did on my feet. I stayed on the bunny slope, but stood up quite a bit. The snow was hard packed so when I fell it hurt. After one good run of standing up the entire way I fell hard on my ass and decided it was time to hit the bar. Kinsee went up to the real slopes and got in some good runs while I read the paper and spent some time in the sun.

I’m sore today but look forward to giving skiing a try next year.

New Years Resolution: Training for the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic

Last Sunday afternoon, while most people in San Diego were watching the Chargers lose to the Steelers I was out enjoying an unseasonably hot day in January with a bike ride through La Mesa and up Mount Helix. One of my new years resolutions this year is to train for, and ultimately ride in, The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. The Iron Horse is a 47 mile race/ride from Durango to Silverton Colorado. The idea behind it is the race the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Train from the start in Durango to the finish in Silverton.

I’ve never ridden 50 miles, but I have no doubt that I can do a 50 mile ride. The part that starts to worry me is the two 10,000 foot mountain passes between Durango and Silverton. Living in coastal-California all my life, I’ve only been above 10,000 feet a few times, and never ridden a bike up that high. It’s going to take a lot of exercise and training to get ready for this.

So Sunday I donned my new lyrca shorts (those padded spandex like shorts road bikers wear), bike jersey shirt and rode off in the 85F+ heat. I only rode about 15 miles, just warming up, my first time riding in quite a while but it felt good. I was huffing and puffing as I got to the top of Mount Helix, which isn’t a good sign seeing as its only 1000ft or so above sea level, but I’ve got time to work on that.

Unfortunately toward the end of my ride the freewheel on my maintenance-neglected bike siezed up, so I need to do some serious cleanup on it, and probably take it into the shop for a tune-up. Luckily I’ve got my fixed gear I can ride for a while.

I’ll be posting periodic updates here on my training progress and hopefully come the end of May some pictures and my results.

Some Thoughts on the US-Mexico Border

The REAL ID Act allows the Department of Homeland Security to disregard all environmental laws to protect our borders. I don’t think they’ve started filling in the canyon on the border near the Tijuana Estuary yet, something that will cause all sorts of environmental problems with run off, erosion and effect plenty of birds, but it’s in the works.

Today I just read a story about the DHS using the REAL ID Act to start building roads in designated wilderness east of San Diego in preparation of building the triple border fence. Wilderness designation is supposed to keep the land free of human influence, a road and border fence are definitely human influence. A couple of years ago a border patrol spokesman said the area wouldn’t need fencing because the rugged land was fence enough, but apparently something has changed and they’re going ahead with it anyways.

One of my favorite things about much of the designated wilderness areas east of San Diego on the border are that they’re not wilderness for humans. There are few trails, few natural wonders for people to visit, but plenty of wide open space for the environment to be left alone. What wilderness designation was meant for. But no longer for the Otay Mountain Wilderness Area.

The blog post linked above (and here it is again in case you missed it, because I think it’s important to get the word out) is the first mention of this I’ve seen. Nothing in the newspapers, no other press. The DHS is doing a lot of stuff with very little public input.