#Joyrunning (and Hiking) Spring 2017

After Spring Break, all I wanted to do was hang out with my Sprocket. The first thing we did when we were reunited was hike/jog (aka #joyrun) the Perimeter Trail in Ouray. It was just a little muddy but almost totally snow free!

We’ve explored Mailbox Park near Norwood:

We’ve taken some runs near Dallas Divide that turned into snow trudges (it all gets the heart rate up!):

Had wonderfully warm sunny runs on and between mesas above Norwood in the Uncompaghre National Forest:

We woke up one Saturday morning to 6″ of snow in Ridgway and I was over it so we drove down 1200′ in elevation to run near Olathe:

I’ve gotten to run more in Ridgway:

I even made it up to Miramonte Reservoir one day for a run with this sweet view of Lone Cone:

When Parents Are There: My Dad & Baseball

Scrolling through my reader this morning, I clicked on a post titled “Sasha DiGiulian’s Mom on Why You Should Let Your Kids Take Big Risks”to see what sage advice Sasha DiGiulian‘s mom could share with moms like mine that worry about their daughters in the outdoors. (Plus, you all know I’m a sucker for posts about women kicking ass outdoors.) The article was great and Sasha’s mom was really cute. Then I read a quote that made me burst in to tears:

“Then, when you started lead climbing, I took the course so I could lead belay, and honestly, I loved it. I loved spending time with you, and I loved going to the climbing competitions with you.”

It’s early spring. This is the time of year I used to spend hanging out with my dad at the batting cages, going to take ground balls on any dry day, and staying up too late talking about the possibilities for my team (and probably the Seattle Mariners too).

Starting just after Christmas, a few days a week, I’d come home from school and my dad would take me to the batting cages. As my teammates would point out to me, I could drive and he would have given me money so I didn’t have to go with him but I liked to. I loved spending that time with my dad. Sometimes my sister would come, which was mostly great because we could rotate in and out of the cage with each other. It certainly wasn’t rare, though, she didn’t want to come choosing friends or television over some extra practice.

I remember a lot of him providing me feedback on my swing but I also remember riding down the hill from our house in his red pickup just talking.

I’m pretty sure more than once we made people laugh at Rainiers games when I was in high school. He’d almost always sit on my right and when we witnessed a gorgeous swing that resulted in a home run or a double we’d turn to each other—a righty and a lefty—and make our best impressions of that swing, exclaiming about how the contact was just right.

My dad and I: blue circle. Where the 3-run HR landed: Red circle. Dad always regretted not using his long arms to catch it for me. ♥

There were late April games at Cheney stadium that were so cold I wore snowpants and we carried blankets in; often with a beer or two rolled up in them.I remember Game 4 of the 1995 ALDS, standing on the left field bleachers so that 10 year old me could try to talk to my dad over the rock concert roar of the Kingdome as Edgar Martinez, my favorite player, proved to be the hero

Macklemore’s song “My Oh My” makes me cry each and every time from the moment that he sings

Bottom of the 11th inning got the whole town listening,
Swung on and belted the words that started, Joey Cora rounds third
Here comes Griffey the throw to the plate’s not in time
My oh my the Mariners win it

and I picture my dad chanting, “They’re never going to get Griffey, they’re never going to get Griffey.” 1995 is seared in my memory and family lore, it comes up at family holidays and events because we all have shared, intersecting memories because my Aunt Lori bought two seats that we shared and whoever wasn’t at the games would watch them at our house.

Mostly though, the line “And if mom wasn’t trippin’ come on dad please I swear just one more inning,” is what rings true along with the batting cages, ground balls, and thousands of whiffle ball pitches in the back yard.

Today is a gorgeous early spring day in Colorado. The sky is so so blue that it’s almost heartbreaking. It’s cold and there’s some snow on the ground but my time in Maine made me associate that with the start of softball. It won’t be long before baseball season starts here in Western Colorado for my high school students. The Mariners are down in Arizona getting ready for Opening Day. It’s been almost six years since I got to watch a baseball game with my dad and it’s days like today I miss them most of all.

Miscellaneous Mesa Adventures

I haven’t been on any crazy big hikes lately but I have been exploring (and finding myself at the “peak” of) various mesas and knobs around De Beque.

Exploring

This means driving up some muddy roads and seeing where I can get. (And it means washing my Jeep about twice a weekend.)

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It means studying county assessor GIS maps to figure out where there’s public land.

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It’s the time of year where the things you climb don’t bring glory and aren’t impressive to anyone but you and your canine companion.

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It’s the time of year where you find yourself swearing at scrub oak but spotting cow elk sunning themselves on south facing slopes.

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It’s the time of year where you wear shorts or capris and know you shouldn’t. (See above points about scrub oak.) It’s the time of year for postholing because taking snowshoes on and off gets old.

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It’s the time of year where you try crazy maneuvers to avoid trespassing because all you want is a high mountain peak but they’re not very accessible with your knowledge or smart to approach solo.

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It’s a really frustrating time of year.

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The hints of spring are in the air though, and it’s hopeful:

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What Happened To My Sunshine?

This spring has been … challenging in the weather department.

After a warm, dry winter (although less dry than California and not as warm as the Pacific Northwest), I was looking forward to early high season access. And then came May.

It will not stop being stormy, windy, and rainy! And perhaps just as bad, snow keeps accumulating at the higher elevations.

Red Mountain Pass Snowtel 5/24

I’m really not kidding. Check out these two graphs from the Grand Junction NWS office:

NWS Wet Spring 2015

 

2015 Wet Spring

So yeah, it’s been wet and windy.

I’ve had work to do on the Jeep but taking out the back window seems a bit risky when I can hardly find a three hour window to work on it when it’s dry. I went for it yesterday and now Francis is wearing a diaper until it quits raining again. I guess that’s a plus of living in De Beque next school year: my house has a garage.

Francis without rear window

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest but living in sunny Colorado (well, sunny up until lately anyway) has made me soft: I haven’t gotten out out hiking much and after winter I’m pretty over working out indoors.

All things considered though, cuddling with this pup isn’t too bad:

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Ridgway, Ouray, and Silverton

After a chilly night in the parking lot of Thunder Mountain Raceway, we headed south through Montrose towards adorable Ridgway. We ate breakfast, walked around town, checked out the Railroad Museum’s outdoor displays, and generally became enamored with the place.

Ridgway, Colorado fire truck and fire station

After awhile, we headed for Ouray. It has more dramatic mountain views than Ridgway but comes with the bustling feel of a tourist town to match. I obliged and snapped pictures all over town. (Adorable Victorian buildings! Mountains!)

Ouray Colorado

Ouray County courthouse

Eventually we headed out of town making a quick stop to peer into the winter site of the Ouray Ice Park and to walk to Box Cañon Falls. (Sprocket was not a fan of all this metal grating!)

Sprocket at Ouray Ice Park

Box Canon Falls

Box Canon Falls

Box Canon Falls

Box Canon Falls

Finally we were on our way. The million dollar highway (US 550) is really one of the most beautiful roads I’ve ever been on. I can’t wait to see it again in the summer time.

Million Dollar Highway Views

Million Dollar Highway

Million Dollar Highway Views

Mt. Abram

We headed up and over Red Mountain Pass (11,017’…Sprocket’s lifetime high point) to Silverton. Once a bustling silver mining town, it

Sprocket in military vehicle

Silverton City Hall

On our way back over the pass, we stopped to play in the snow. Sprocket was quite delighted.

Sprocket on Red Mountain Pass

Red Mountain Pass

Red Mountain Pass

Mining building

La Sal Mountains: Spring Snow

Last Tuesday, we hauled all our stuff north to Moab (as pictured yesterday). It was really exciting to see some real snow covered mountains as a change from southern Arizona!

La Sal Mountains

Getting a glimpse of the mountains from the road was enough for us to venture up into them for the afternoon so we grabbed a lunch, loaded Sprocket in the jeep, and away we went. We headed up La Sal Pass road which climbed quickly into the mountains.

Sprocket and Forrest in jeep

Sprocket was very, very happy to be out playing in the mountains. He could hardly contain himself in the jeep, sticking his head over my shoulder for optimal sniffing capabilities.

Sprocket in Jeep

Mt. Peale

When the snow drifts over the road stopped us, we started hiking. Sprocket immediately ran to the nearest patch of snow and did his usual crazy dog act:

Sprocket in the snow

Forrest and Sprocket

Forrest and Sprocket

Mountain pines

The views from our hike were pretty incredible:

Abajo Mountains from the La Sals

Hiking in the La Sals

Mother’s Day Hike

When I heard that Sunday was supposed to be pretty (as in 70 degrees up at 6,000′) I decided that it should clearly be spent at the cabin. Unfortunately Forrest had to work so it was just Sprocket and I off for adventure. We did use F as a ride up to the substation at Burke though.

The melting beginnings.

We started up the road at about 7:00 and by the time I reached the slide (about a mile) I was quite warm. The snow was also showing signs of warming up and I was sinking too far into the slush for my taste so we paused for me to put on snowshoes. Sprocket took this opportunity to play in the creek and the mud. I was pleasantly surprised to find that once I cut off the road to head up the ridgeline (it’s not much shorter but it seems sooo much faster!) that there was only patchy snow in the trees and most of the way up the ridge was clear. (Until of course I hit the snow that was 3′ deep.) I was pleasantly surprised to see how much of the road was starting to melt out although there is a lot of melting to do before we can drive in.

I arrived at the cabin at about 8:20, promptly grabbed a Gatorade and a chair and headed outside. I basically sat there basking, reading, and napping until 12:30. I got a horrible sunburn. Not very responsible. The sunshine felt sooo wonderful though. Finally, I roused myself, made some lunch and cleaned up the food storage area. Sprocket was quite happy when I shouldered my pack and started heading uphill. Apparently the puppy got bored.

We arrived at the top of East Grouse Peak about a half hour later and then began our long descent into Mullan. I really dislike walking downhill without a trail. I guess I need different shoes since I hate it mostly because my feet feel like they’re constantly smashed against either the toe box or one side of the shoe. It’s pretty uncomfortable… I only had to walk on snow for a really short chunk at the top, most of the way down was clear. However, the “pretty woods” F had promised me on top of the M hill was FULL of downed timber. It made for some unfun walking.

In the end though, it was a beautiful day outside. I can’t wait for more.

The Hopefulness Of Spring

I am a bit afraid of speaking too early but I believe spring has come to Northern Idaho. The temperature creeped up to 70 degrees at the house on both Monday and Tuesday! We brought home our new quad last week (because after selling ours last fall we needed another for exploring!) and have been out testing the limits of the snow’s retreat as often as we can.

There is certainly less snow at the lower elevations (3,000-4,500′) for this date than there was last year but up high (like at the cabin) there is still a bunch of snow. Hopefully the snow melt continues like it is so we can get back into the high country soon. Continue reading “The Hopefulness Of Spring”