Thursday, May 31, 2007

Trash, trash and more trash

Did an early morning Red Rock loop and picked up a full plastic grocery bag of trash. Did the same yesterday, walking along Manitou Ave from downtown to the highway onramp.

Any ideas how to get people to use trash cans instead of turning Colorado into one?

BTW: Zen, how did the Woodland Park clean-up go? (Sorry I couldn't make it - I was helping at a middle school track meet in Florence.)

Wondering what's with the Chris Jordan photo? Check out this link to the photographer's work, which includes shots representing the plastic bottles, cell phones, guns and other stuff we toss each day. Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words...

Blooming along our trails

Out There friend Rhonda Van Pelt, a local photographer, sent in these photos from a recent walk through Ute Valley Park (well, the Pasque flowers are from a late April walk along the Section 16 Trail). It's a glorious time to walk and ride local trails. Flowers are wildlife are abundant.

I'll post not-nearly-so-pretty pix from a recent walk along the Hogback Valley Trail in Red Rock Canyon. Such a lovely contrast these days between the red fins and greenery.

Send your snaps to me and I'll post them with your trip tales (

I spent most of Memorial weekend inside an ice rink (curling tourney), so I'm ready to get out amongst it this weekend. All trip ideas are welcome!

All right, flower fans, is this a sky pilot? When I get a chance I'll scour a few more flower books. That's the closest match I've found so far. Melissa Walker writes that this is a blue penstamon (I considered that, too.) Great to know!
Lovely look at pine cones, don't you think?
Bold paintbrush and daisies (looks kinda like chinchweed in the photo

Pretty pasque flowers
Western dayflower? Pine spiderwort?

A wild rose of some sort? I'll keep looking. Melissa says this a Boulder Raspberry, which is in the rose family.

Melissa adds that North Cheyenne Canon Park is a riot of blooms, too. I may have to check that out in the next day or so!

Big pig skull

It's definitely a bigger skull. Any OT blog readers who are also hunters care to weigh in on the likelihood this size skull comes from a pig weighting 1,000+ pounds. Looks dang big to me!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Perfect Dirt Bag Carry-all found

Of course, some people have already discovered this vehicle, but for the rest of you mopes, click here.

Where's Dave

I'm on vacation in the lovely hills of Vermont. My wife and I are running the length of the state in a relay race, then going back to her family's rural spread for some good ol' fashioned New England pond swimming.

Spawn of Hogzilla

OK, you FOX news watchers probably already saw this story, but it's so amazingly wierd, I'll pass it on.

Want to see more? Visit the boy and his pa's site,

What's wrong with the old VW?

SylvanSport, a company run by the same guy who makes Liquid Logic kayaks, announced that it will sell a new, pop-up, ultra-light camper specifically aimed at the climber/paddler/biker crowd. It will be unveiled at this summer's Outdoor Retailer show. Tom Reeder, SylvanSport’s chief engineer said “We were frustrated with what’s out there, in terms of carrying our gear. We’ve designed our new ‘Backpack on Wheels’ for everyone from active outdoor enthusiasts with their kayaks, mountain bikes, climbing, or triathlon gear, to young families with children, as well as avid sportsmen with gear-carrying and camping desires."
I thought Toyota already made the official dirt-bag carry-all with the Tacoma. We'll see if this new camper catches on.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tick watch, 2007

Forget the moths, this weekend I went to mountain bike and drink beer in the woods, and found three ticks walking on me, and one sucking my blood the next morning. This is tick season. In grassy montane areas, wearing long pants might not be a bad idea.
Everyone knows (and my friends were quick to point out while the bug was still sucking my blood) ticks can spread lyme disease, but there are no documented cases of Lyme Disease from ticks in Colorado. You can get Rocky Mountain Fever from ticks, but it's also quite rare. (It's much more common in the southeast.)
But still, ticks are gross. You don't want them.
If you do get one, here's the best way to remove it: tweezers. Pull slowly and gently.

Photog survives bear attack

From the AP:
A nature photographer mauled last week by a sow grizzly in Yellowstone National Park had no time to use spray, a friend said Sunday.

Jim Cole "does remember trying to grab his bear spray," Michael Sanders said. "He said that he assumed that he startled the bear and the bear startled him."

Cole remains in Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls. He was flown there after the attack, underwent surgery Thursday and was in serious condition Sunday. Work included reinserting his left eye, knocked out by the bear, Sanders said.

Park officials have said Cole, 57, of Bozeman, was photographing bears Wednesday in prime habitat in Hayden Valley. He was hiking alone, off a trail, and was two or three miles from a road when the female bear with a single cub attacked.

Cole reported that the bear "came out of nowhere."

The bear also seriously damaged facial bones and skin, Sanders said. Cole reported that he was not photographing the bear before the attack.

It was the second time Cole has been attacked by a grizzly. In 1993, he surprised a young bear in Montana's Glacier National Park. That bear tore a hole in Cole's scalp and broke his wrist before a friend used pepper spray.

Cole wrote about the experience in his 2004 book, "Lives of Grizzlies: Montana and Wyoming." "I figured this was as traumatic an experience for the young bruin as it was for me," he wrote.

Pikes Peak rescue reaction

I had a number of snarky e-mails in reaction to a story last week about two Air Force Academy Cadets who went to climb Pikes Peak with sneakers and jeans, even though they were warned the snow was quite deep.
Here's a typical comment:

Please tell me these two cadets were charged for the expense of a taxpayer funded rescue, off Pikes Peak, by a National Guard helicopter. I am amazed and disappointed that two of this nations "best and brightest" would ignore the warnings of someone familiar with the area. If this is the kind of common sense and leadership we can expect from them as Air Force officers-to say nothing of their survival aptitude- they should be court martialed immediately.


David CassidyDenver, Co.

Moth Watch 2007

In my continuing vigil for the annual miller moth swarm, I need to report that I saw my third moth of the season. It fluttered out from under a seat cushion on my front porch.
I'm guessing the heavy blizzards on the plains annihilated the little buggers. But maybe they're just running late. We'll see.

Primal Quest returns in 2008

Primal Quest, the crown jewel of adventure racing, will return to an undisclosed US location in the Spring of 2008.
In 2006, Primal Quest Utah hit Moab, where360 of the world's best adventure athletes struggled through 415 miles of the most brutal and unforgiving terrain in North America. We wrote about it in Out There.
In 2007, rumor was it was heading to Argentina. Then nothing happened. Putting on one of these races takes an huge amount of organization and money, even though race directors rely primarily on volunteer labor.
This year, people were grumbling that Primal Quest, and marquee adventure races like it, were a thing of the past -- too expensive to put on for a public that doesn't pay attention. Apparently not.
Registration starts July 1, 2007. For updates on Primal Quest 2008, visit

Friday, May 25, 2007

Weekend fun at Mueller

In today's Gazette we gave you a list of activities planned Saturday at Mueller State Park - off Highway 67 between Cripple Creek and Divide. I'll repeat them here, in case you missed them:
A two-hour, moderate trip to School Pond begins at 10 a.m.
Check out a hands-on display of skulls, hides, pelts, teeth and the like 1-3 p.m. at Grouse Mountain Trailhead.
Explore forests, meadows, valleys and groves of aspens at 2 p.m. at the Outlook Ridge Trailhead (three-hour hike).
Here are a few more reasons to stop by the park.

7 p.m. -- "Mountain Men"
Leave the present and travel back 150 years with historian Jim Phillips. Hear entertaining and amusing stories about the early fur trade, the mountain man lifestyle and other cultures of the early 1800s.
Meet at Camper Services

10 a.m. -- Osborn Homestead Hike
Visit the Osborn Homestead and travel back in time via vintage photographs. Presented by volunteer naturalist Jan Seltman.
Meet at Black Bear Trailhead

1 p.m. -- Birds of Prey
See an owl and hawks up close and personal with naturalists Sandy and Susie. Learn about their behavior and the challenges these birds face in the wild. As live birds will be present, please leave pets at home or in campsites.
Where: Visitor Center Gazebo
A day pass is $5 a vehicle; you can get an annual pass for $55. Info: 687-2366 or here
Wear appropriate clothing and take water and a snack.

Flowers are unfurling everywhere

A wet spring has made for a very nice begining to the wildflower season. Here's a quick guide to flowers we found growing this week in Red Rock Canyon Open Space on the new Roundup Trail. Rocky Mountain Penstemon

Mountain Blue Bell

Showy Daisy

A solitary Showy Daisy

Cowpen Daisy (I think, yellow composit flowers can be tough to ID)

Narrow leaf penstemon

Western Wall flower (also comes in orange)

Boulder Raspberry

Prairie evening primrose

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Snow update from Barr Camp

This is from Teresa Tayor, caretaker at Barr Camp:

An update on the snow: Since Tuesday night we have received an additional 9 inches of snow here at Barr Camp with 6 inches falling overnight. While it will melt out fast at our elevation, it is hard to say what it will do above here. With the sun and warmer temperatures, it will most likely add to the deep wet snow and make conditions a bit worse.
Who knows! Springtime in the Rockies, you gotta’ love it! It is gorgeous out there today, new snow and blue sky.

Moth watch 2007

Day 2: no moths. I even opened my glove compartment.

Peek at the peak

A look at the peak from the parking lot at Manitou Springs High just before 8 a.m. (One of my fav views.) Inviting? Oh, yeah. See below (or the front page of today's Gazette) for the scoop on conditions, courtesy of Dave's reporting.

Snow on the Peak

The ephemeral wedding cake icing of snow that decorated the whole Front Range at dawn this morning is quickly fading to forest green, but it was a sight to see.
I was up on The Incline at 6 p.m. yesterday. By the bail-out point, rain had turned to snow. By the false summit, the snow was sticking. What a spring we're having?
Speaking of snow, on the front page of the Gazette this morning, we had a story all about this above average snow year, and how it's catching some hikers off guard.

Final rest on Everest

There's a powerful story in today's Rocky about Francys Arsentiev of Telluride, the first woman to summit Everest without oxygen. She died on the trip down the mountain.

Her son, Paul Distefano, touches on many aspects of her adventuring that draw lots of us into the outdoors - the peace you find, the challenge, the love of nature, the exhilaration, often the solitude. You can read it here:

She sounds like someone you'd be happy to know. Her son, too.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Two AFA cadet heli-ed off mountain

Here's the story from

Chopper rescue

Don't know whether the chopper was necessary medically or if Air Force brass simply wanted to whisk the cadets away, but the two AFA cadets stuck on Pikes Peak overnight were lifted off the mountain a little while ago.

Dave's talking to Neal and Teresa at Barr Camp and the rescue crew. We'll add details about the rescue here. And tomorrow's Gazette will feature more info about conditions on the peak (we'll post here, too).

Snow's expected overnight, so any thoughts of an easy Memorial Weekend trek to the summit are silly.

Moth watch 2007

I saw my first miller moth of 2007 today, thumping against the glass of the newsroom. I assumed this would be a no miller spring after the harsh winter on the plains, but they may just be running late. Some people find the throngs of gray moths annoying, or even frightening. I kind of like them. They're soft and fuzzy and don't bite. Send in your sightings and swarm predictions.
We can form our own moth photographers group.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Rescue on the peak

Just heard that a search and rescue team is headed up Pikes Peak to rescue a pair of Air Force cadets who called for help after finding themselves in waist deep snow.

TV weather guys are saying to look for snow on the peak. Looks like there were a few flakes falling up around W Park and Divide this afternoon. I know it's chilly out there. Did you get caught in that downpour this afternoon? Anyone in the high country where it was snowing earlier today?

It's a sloppy time to be out - be careful if you're headed out for more than a quick jaunt. Take your sunscreen - and your snowshoes.

Let us know if you hear about the rescue. We'll do the same.

Colorado skiing has busiest season ever

It's not just you, it really was crowded on the slopes this season
The Associated Press reports estimated 54.8 million skier visits in the United states for the 2006-2007 season fell below not only the record of 58.9 million skier visits last year but also the average of 55.5 million visits over the last 10 seasons.
The one bright spot was the Rocky Mountain region, which appeared to have set a record of 20.9 million visits, up from last year's record 20.7 million, the association said.

If it wasn't for Beaver Creek Wilderness Study Area...

I would probably never get the Division of Wildlife's new habitat stamp. But since the DOW controls the only way to get into that cool little hideaway near Penrose, I have to.
Here's the deal. You want to go in a State Wildlife area, you have to buy the stamp and have it with you. A stamp is $10.25 or $5 when you buy a hunting or fishing license. It also counts as a COSAR card. You can buy one anywhere you buy licenses, or HERE.

Not having the stamp leaves you open to a $68 fine.

Which way will roadless go?

Colorado's 4.1 million acres of unprotected road-less federal land have been in a tug of war for years, and according to the Gazette, it's not about to stop.
In 2001, the outgoing Clinton administration banned logging and other development on 58.5 million acres in national forests nationwide, including the 4.1 million in Colorado.
The Bush administration voided the rule, which it lambasted the deal as heavy-handed federal bullying, and said the states should decided what gets done with the land. Colorado governor Bill Owens put together a diverse pannel of locals to draw up a plan. The plan they submitted in 2006 and he approved ultimately protected the vast majority of the land from developement.
In September, U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Laporte in San Francisco reinstated the Clinton-era rule. Gov. Bill Ritter still submitted the Colorado plan.
So what to do now?
A top federal official says roadless land will remain off-limits to most development while state and federal land managers develop rules to manage the areas.
How long that process will take is unclear. I'm thinking George Bush won't be around anymore when it's finally settled.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Totally uncool

The Rocky Mountain News reports that climbers at Eldorado Canyon State Park have reported their backpacks and climbing gear were stolen while they were climbing.

Totally. Uncool.

Never too early to drop a wad of cash

Through the end of June, Monarch has passes at $30 off the "early season" price. Here's how it breaks down:
ADULT (ages 16-61)

$ 269.00
STUDENT (ages 13-15)
$ 149.00
JUNIOR (ages 7-12)
$ 79.00
SENIOR (ages 62-69)
$ 149.00
SENIOR (ages 70+)

Buy them at

Vintage incline pin-up

In my on-going attempts to add to "searchable" history, I pulled this turn-of-the-century snapshot out of an out-of-print book called "The Pikes Peak Cog Road" by Morris Abbott. A few things of note: the Queen Ann-style house with the wrap-arround porch is now a parking lot. So is the Incline terminal. Also, a century ago there were far fewer trees, both due to wood gathering and changes in the natural fire regime.
By the way, just so you can gauge your fitness, my Chihuahua (pictured below, in the backpack) can make it to the top of the Incline in 23 minutes (without backpack assistance.)

A better running shoe at a price

The gear junkie has a post on his blog today about the new, $175 Newton running shoe from Boulder. The pavement runner features lugs that extend from the base of the forefoot region on the sole to mimic a barefoot running style.
These rubber lugs—made to strike the pavement and rebound you into the next stride—promote a more efficient and natural running technique, according to the company. They have cool,
very convincing animation of it here.

Even if you don't buy the shoes, the animation is instructive of a proper running posture, which avoids landing on the heel, cutting down on injuries and fatigue. Weight forward, small, quick strides = happy runner.

By the way, it's only one cutting edge shoe coming out of Boulder. The new GoLite trail runner is a totally re-imagined shoe with funky independent suspension on the bottom.

And the Oscar goes to

The "outdoor oscars," officiall called the Everest Awards, will be givien out at the start of the Teva Mountain Games in Vail, June 1. Here are the nominees:

Male Trail Runner of the Year
Karl Metzler, Anton Krupicka and Andy Ames

Female Trail Runner of the Year NIkki
Kimball, Darcy Africa and Diana Finkel

Male Mountain Biker of the Year
Chris Eatough, Duncan Riffle and Darren Barrencloth

Female Mountain Biker of the Year
Shonny Vanlandingham, Georgia Gould and Pua Sawicki

Female Paddler of the Year
Tanya Faux, Ruth Gordon and Emily Jackson

Male Paddler of the Year
Eric Jackson, Stephen Wright and Ben Stookesberry

Male Climber of the Year
Chris Sharma, Daniel Woods and Paul Robinson

Female Climber of the Year
Angie Payne, Alex Puccio and Lisa RandsMale

Multi-Sport Athlete of the Year
Josiah Middaugh, Aaron Prince and Michael Tobin

Female Multi-Sport of the Year
Sari Anderson, Sara Wallen and Melanie McQuaid

Expedition of the Year
Chris Davenport – Ski the 14ers (skied Colorado’s 54 tallest peaks in one season)
Dean Karnazes – Endurance 50 (50 marathons, in 50 states, in 50 days)
Charlie Engle – Running the Sahara (ran 4,300 miles across the desert in 111 days)
Kit Deslauriers –Seven Summits (first person to ski from the peaks of the 7 summits)
I have to admit, I recognize only a fraction of these names.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Everest season starting as deadly as last year.

More people try to summit Everest every year. The general trend has been more make it, and more die trying. That seems to be continuing this year. The month-long summit season is a week old an already five are dead. Read breaking news on the mountain here.

Fruita extra

Here are some supplimentary pics form Fruita: On the explosed cliff of the now-closed Flight of Icarus ride.The ridge drops over 2,000 feet to the desert.Coming down the super steep "wings of Icarus."The second steep pitch on Icarus.We barely kept up on this ride with the pros from Over the Edge Sports.
Finishing the ride through a beautiful, mellow pasture.A bad crash at the end. Two guys were sprinting to the finish while pushing each other. Noah, the guy on the ground, got pushed down and broke his elbow.In the center is Troy Rarick, the driving force behind Fruita mountain biking. Riding Kessle Run at dawn, a classic Book Cliffs Fruita ride.It's one of my favorites.
The view from the top of The Zion Curtain, a ride that dips into Utah. That's Utah in the background.
Finishing the Zion Curtain through a huge swath of cheat grass left by decades of overgrazing.