Saturday, June 10, 2017

June 10

Today was a long driving day.  When we got to the hotel I climbed 50 floors.  Last night I did the 2 am yoga.  Tonight I did it before bed in the hopes that I won't wake up and need to do it at 2 am tonight.  so I guess I can say I did 45 minutes of yoga today since there were two sessions.  By the way, it's much easier to do yoga in the light than in darkness.  Balance is much easier.  

Friday, June 9, 2017

June 9--Rocky Mountain National Park

I've actually never been to this park before, with the exception of a work meeting where we had to listen to talks from 8 am to 10 pm, and I never left the conference center.  That was awful.  I've backpacked and hiked in the Rockies long ago, but never in the national park.  So these hikes are all new to me.  Today was one of the most fun days ever.  I started out with a hike up to Bierstadt Lake.  It climbs up a mountain side with a view of the valley below and mountains across the way.  Then you get to the lake, which has another beautiful view of the mountains.  The hike was 4 miles total with 500 ft elevation gain.

Then we walked around Sprague Lake again, about 1 mile.

Then we walked to "the pool" on the Fern Lake trail.  It was about a 4 mile hike, with only a 200 ft overall elevation increase.  The GPS recorded 800 ft gain.   I guess that was from all the ups and downs along the way, but I wonder if it over-estimates them.

Then it was so beautiful, we hung around the Cub Lake trailhead, first picnicking and then walking around there and eventually walking on the trail because it was so fun.  I walked about 2 miles.

None of these hikes were strenuous, but they totaled about 10 miles and my fitbit recorded over 34000 steps.  It was very fun to walk in my vibram toe shoes all day.  I walked in snow and mud and took lots of dips in the Thompson River and various creek crossings.  At Bierstadt Lake, walking along the trail along the lake, there is one part that is a carpet of pine needles on soft earth.  That felt really good!  I didn't want that to end.

The view of the valley below and mountains on the Bierstadt trail.
 The was still lots of snow around the lake.
 Bierstadt Lake
 on the way down, the view of Sprague Lake in the distance.
 Playing in the water at Sprague Lake.  The water everywhere was very cold so I couldn't stay in for too long!
 Playing in the water in the Big Thompson River on the Fern Lake trail.
 Along the Cub Lake Trail, there were lots of elk sightings.  There are a bunch in this picture.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

June 8--Rocky Mountain National Park

Today I did three walks at Rocky Mountain National Park totalling 7 miles and about 1000 ft elevation gain.  They were all easy hikes.  Many of the trails are snow covered.  That was pretty fun actually.  I learned to sort of ski down the hills.  I wore boots for the first time since my backpacking trip in April for the snow-covered trail (Bear Lake to Dream Lake).  Then back to my vibram two-shoes for a hike to Alberta Falls.  That was fun because I played in the streams and the snow.  I sure love those shoes.  We also walked around Sprague Lake and Bear Lake.

I've been telling Marilyn I need a trail name.  The Appalachian Trail thru-hikers have trail names.  You are supposed to be given a name though some people choose their own.  Yesterday Marilyn took a picture of me and said I looked contemplative.  I said I was debating whether I'd have sugar snap peas or carrots when I was done with the hike.  Of course I chose carrots.  Marilyn said that should be my trail name:   Carrot Kid.   I think it's appropriate.  I hike with them all the time.  People see me eating them and say "ooh that looks good."  Maybe they'll start eating them too.   I like the sugar snap peas too.  That would be a good trail name too but they aren't as easy to find in any grocery store as carrots.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

June 7--Vedauwoo, Wyoming

This is one of my all-time favorite hikes, at Vedauwoo Recreational Area near Laramie WY.  And the second part may have been my all-time favorite hike.  The first was on the Turtle Rock trail.  This is a 3-mile walk around a big rock feature called Turtle Rock of course.   It has everything--trees, lakes, rocks, lots of birds, and today, blue sky.  I got to scramble up on the rocks as much as I wanted.  This is one of my favorite things to do!  This was my third time doing this hike, and the first two I actually mountain biked on it.  I'm impressed I did that.  I was pretty good at it.  But it was too dangerous and I had some scary crashes, and a broken wrist after one--lucky it wasn't worse.

After the walk around Turtle rock I did the 0.6 mile hike up the box canyon.  This was 0.4 miles on a mostly flat trail, and then you hit the walls of the canyon.  And you just scramble up the canyon. IT WAS SO FUN!!!!!   SO FUN!!!!!!!!

According to my GPS watch, with all the scrambling, I logged 5 miles and 1000 ft elevation.

My internet is very slow so I can't load any pictures.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

June 6--Medicine Bow Rail Trail

The Medicine Bow Rail Trail is about 40 miles southwest of Laramie, near the Snowy Range, which we saw in the distance.  This is up in the mountains, at 9000 ft elevation.  We started at Wood Creek trailhead, which I want to remember for next time because the bathroom was locked--so don't start there next time.  The next trailhead up, Lincoln Gulch did have a nice working bathroom.   The scenery was interesting, except for the part where we detoured around some private land and were on dirt roads. Fortunately, that is the only segment of the 22 mile trail with this feature.  We walked 3 miles out, and then thunder, hail, and light rain beckoned us back to our car at a brisk pace.  That added some adventure to the day.

I really wanted to do another hike in the afternoon but thunderstorms threatened.  So I climbed 50 floors that the hotel, which is harder in the afternoon than the morning!  And I did a little bear crawling.  I also did my 2 am yoga last night.  I do that about 75% of the time--not because I want to.  Who wants to get out of bed at 2 am?  But my body sort of makes me do it, and I sleep a lot better afterwards.

Pictures from the morning walk:

a few snow patches remain from winter:

Monday, June 5, 2017

June 5--Black Hills and western Nebraska

Great bike ride this morning, though not long enough.  8 miles on the southern end of the Mickelson trail.  I learned two useful things about this trail:  1) bring tire repair equipment.  Even though I didn't suffer a flat tire, I road in remote regions without roads or cell coverage, and I was a little nervous about the prospect of getting a flat.  Bring the equipment next time and enjoy the ride.   2) I prefer going uphill on this trail.  I hear and see more---birds, crickets, and the scenery.   Going downhill is fun, but it's a bit jarring and bumpy, and I use my sense of sight to examine the trail to find the least slippery parts, so I miss out on the scenery.  I road downhill yesterday and uphill today, and enjoyed today much more.

This afternoon, despite driving 300 miles, I managed to walk 1.5 miles at Scotts Bluff, and 1.5 miles at Wildcat Hills State Park in Nebraska.  Those were enjoyable and had some elevation change.  We  got in very late at our hotel!

Here are some pictures from the morning ride...

And the afternoon walk in Wildcat Hills.  There are only 3.5 miles worth of trails here but for some reason I really enjoy this place, maybe because it defies my expectations of Nebraska.  Or because it's peaceful and away from the crowds.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

June 4--Black Hills

We spent today on the Mickelson rails-to-trails path.  First we walked 4.75 miles.  Then I biked 20.  Then we walked another 2.25 miles, making it an even 7 mile walk.   it was a nice day.

 Bike sculpture: