Mt. Garfield: First Summit of 2016

Going into the last weekend of January, I started to panic a little bit. Last year, I’d hoped to summit at least one peak per month, I figure that way I can’t ever get too removed from doing something that really revitalizes me. I didn’t quite make it and scratched in both January and April of last year. Not wanting the same thing to happen this year, needing some good elevation gain, wanting to capitalize on a brilliantly sunny day, and celebrating Sprocket’s return to activity, we headed for Mt. Garfield.

Grand Mesa Sprocket and I had attempted Mt. Garfield last April with Josh but we started too late in the afternoon and the southern facing slopes that make for such amazing winter hiking were way too hot for late April. (We did have a sweet beer sampler at Palisade Brewing so all was not lost.)

Grand ValleyMount Garfield has a reputation for being steep and that reputation is definitely deserved (it gains about 2000′ in a litte under 2 miles). Sprocket and I slowly made our way up the slope enjoying the views to the south that just kept getting better and better.

Beth and Sprocket

Sprocket

Plateau

I found that about 1300′ of the elevation happened in about 0.7 miles, after that the grade flattened out a lot and we made even better time. Sprocket loved the flat snowy sections of the trail.

Hiking Sprocket. Snow

Slopes of Mt. Garfield

Blue sky selfie

Finally, we were almost at the summit. The last bit of elevation gain was on a more northerly aspect so there was a lot more snow. I hadn’t tossed any traction devices in my bag which would have been really nice for the ascent (and especially the descent on this section!) but we made our way up pretty easily.

Summit bowl

Snowy trail

The summit was amazing. I couldn’t see as far into the Book Cliffs (or Roan Cliffs…the nomenclature changes right about on top of Mt. Garfield so I think either is okay) as I thought I might but it was still amazing what I could see: the Book Cliffs stretching off to the west, Battlement and Grand Mesas to the southeast, the Sneffles range to the south, and the Uncompahgre Plateau to the southwest.

Book Cliffs. Roan Cliffs.

Sprocket on summit

Sprocket with Roan Cliffs

After taking in the views, we ran down the trail and made it back to the Jeep pretty quickly. I’m sure this is a hike I’ll do again, the option for snow-free elevation gain in the winter is a huge, huge plus.

Grand Valley

Minor League Baseball: Grand Junction Rockies

I love baseball. I grew up in a family where baseball was the soundtrack to our summers. I’ve been reclaiming baseball in my life this summer first with a Tacoma Rainiers game and now with the Grand Junction Rockies.

Baseball field

I went to my first game right after coming back from Seattle. The Grand Junction team is a rookie affiliate of the Colorado Rockies that plays in the Pioneer League. All tickets were $9 and the food prices left no room for complaining ($3.50 beer for both micros and macros, $3 hotdogs, $4.50 cheeseburgers, etc.) and the field was gorgeous.

Baseball selfie

I got a good kick out of the “Beer Batter” promotion: an opposing batter is chosen as the beer batter and if he strikes out looking, Bud Lights are $2 for the next 10 minutes.

Baseball field

I had so much fun that when I realized I’d be spending the night in the Grand Junction area on Monday, the first thing I did was check to see if the ball club was in town. Since they were, I went in search of a scorebook. If I’m going to watch baseball, I love keeping score, especially if I’m solo.

Scoring

Baseball selfie

I had another amazing day at the ballpark; it’s a pretty great way to spend an evening and I look forward to going more often in August when I’m only living a half hour away.

Baseball field

Summer! Roadtrip!: Part 3

After meeting up with Amanda, we adventured in the Bookcliffs and then again on Pinõn Mesa. Since we were right by Colorado National Monument we needed to at least go and do Rim Rock Drive.

I’ve done the drive before but it was a lot of fun to do it with someone who got so excited about the views! Since my iPhone camera did so well with the gorgeousness, it’s going to be awesome to see what Amanda came away with!

Colorado National Monument

We ran down to get gas in Fruita and returned to shadows forming in Monument Valley:

Colorado National Monument

The decision was made to head back down for sunrise and while I’m not a morning person, it’s hard to ever regret spending sunrise in nature:

Colorado National Monument

After sunrise proper, I headed down to Grand Junction and spent some time blogging at Trailhead Coffee (it was a super chill place to hang out for a couple of hours!). Then it was time to head off to Grand Mesa! Unfortunately, Lands End Road was still closed so we had to go up and down the Mesa via Cedaredge instead of making it a loop.

Grand Mesa 3D Map

As of last Tuesday (June 2nd) there was still a lot of snow around. Sprocket didn’t mind and gave himself a fantastic snow bath!

Grand Mesa lakes

Roadtripping with Amanda

Sprocket on Grand Mesa

The views from the Mesa are always pretty darn fantastic:

Descending from Grand Mesa

Since there was so much snow and only one pair of snowshoes between us, we headed on to the north rim of the Black Canyon. More on that Monday!

Mom Visits Colorado!

Last week, my mom came to Colorado for a visit. It was awesome to show her around the San Juans and Western Colorado. We spent some time in Ouray marveling at the scenery and catching up:

Ouray Ampitheater

We even spotted some bighorn sheep along Highway 550 between Ridgway and Ouray:

Bighorn Sheep

Then we took Sprocket to Telluride for the day. You’d have thought he rode the gondola all the time!

Sprocket and Beth

Then we headed up to Grand Junction and visited Colorado National Monument. The day was a bit grey bit doing the Rim Rock Drive was fun anyway!

Colorado National Monument

Coke Ovens

Mom at Ute Canyon Overlook

Ute Canyon

Beth at Ute Canyon