Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Almost Halloween!

A little costume preview...

Magic School Bus: Kicks Up a Storm [VHS]

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Remember Snow Days?

Yea, they don't exist in Colorado apparently. Check out the view from my office...

That's right, I said my office because despite the 6 inches of snow and counting piling up in Denver didn't have the normal reaction of panic and shutting down. Which means I am working and I bet grocery stores still have milk and bread in stock.

Work is also why I haven't been blogging. So sorry to those of you who have been anxiously hitting refresh in your browsers waiting on my next sarcasm filled rambling. But we have skis and ski passes and now there is snow which most likely will result in what I'm sure will be a hilarious recap of my first skiing experience. ever. But today I am fondly remembering snow days in DC that meant no work, seasonal beer, and Apples to Apples with the roommates. Ahhh the good life.

PS. My office is so cold that I can't finish a cup of coffee before it turns to iced coffee. So since it's snowing and that makes me want to light a fire and put on some Christmas Carols even though it's not even Halloween yet, Mom feel free to let Santa know that one of these would be greatly appreciated under the tree this year.
Stay warm! -L

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I. Have. A. Problem.

Oh happy day, look what I found at Target!

Seriously. How could I not buy these? 
AND I saw a recipe for pumpkin cornbread, yes you heard read that right, PUMPKIN CORNBREAD. I think i'll be making that and pumpkin maple cookies for the game this weekend. Football and pumpkin go so well together plus pumpkins are orange so it just fits.

I'm off to find some pumpkin beer...

An intervention may be necessary. But not until January. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

2.70151515 Miles High

Yesterday's hiking adventure took Kenny, Carl and me 14,264 feet above sea level. (Ion didn't make it because he was back in SC, he's not just lazy.) In case you didn't put two and two together from the title of this post, that's about 2.7 miles high. This was the first fourteener for all three of us and even though Mt. Evans is more like "fourteener-light" because you can drive to the top, we were still pretty proud of ourselves. 

Fun Fact: The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is America's highest paved auto road. 

This was a bit of an impulse hike. Kenny and I have been wanting to do a fourteener for awhile now but Saturday was going to be a bit of a time crunch since we needed to be back in Denver to pick up a friend from the airport by 2:40 (still sorry for being late Blaker!). So we decided that even though Mt. Evans is kind of like cheating compared to the rest of Colorado's 54 fourteeners, again, because you can drive to the top, it would be a good starter hike for us. 

We took I-70 to Idaho Springs and then drove on the Byway up the first 10 miles (cheating) to Summit Lake at 12,850 feet. It was a BEAUTIFUL drive and I was extra nervous due to the narrow roads and lack of guard rails. 

This is a picture of the view from the road (on the way down when Kenny was driving. This was not the place for multitasking behind the wheel).

So we parked at Summit lake around 8:30am and it was a brisk 50 degrees out - bliss. Have I mentioned that I am so ready for fall? 

View of Mt. Evans from Summit Lake

You can see our route on the map below if you're into logistics and such, we headed up the road a bit (0.6 miles to be exact) and ascended (<-- makes it sound extra impressive and serious doesn't it? It was, be impressed) the northeast face. Can you say steep? Ouch. 

This was pretty much straight up (not really, it was only a class two, but it was steep) and that combined with this fun fact - at 14,000 feet air pressure is about 60% of what it is at sea level, so you have 40% less oxygen on a fourteener - made for a slow climb with a fair excessive amount of huffing and puffing. At one point I told Carl and Kenny that my legs weren't hurting I just had to catch my breath every three steps. This was another reason why we decided to start with a cheater shorter hike for our first venture up this high.

Mount Evans Map

So after a good bit of heavy breathing and mental pep talks (there were quite a few "I think I can, I think I can..." moments, gotta love those life lessons from children's books) we made it the 0.9 miles (from the trail head, after we walked up the road 0.6 miles, I want to make sure you know just how steep it was so you can be extra impressed) and 1,350 feet to the top of the face and then hopped on the tourist trail for the last few hundred feet to the summit. 

On the northeast face

Proof that I'm not being too overly dramatic about the incline

"I think I can, I think I can..."

Just below the tourist trail

Proof that I trip. A lot. So hiking poles = necessity for descending (and this wasn't even a steep part, don't judge.)

View of Summit Lake from the summit - you can see my how tiny the cars are and how steep the drop off was!

Kenny and I standing on the highest point! (and all the people...I almost got knocked off that rock by car driving photo takers)

Views from the summit

Kenny climbing down to sit on this crazy scary overhanging rock at the summit. Please note his crazy antics, this is why when later he told me I might die if I tried to touch the snow I listened.

Rock jumping at 14,000 feet. Genius.

It was beautiful but the crazy amount of people at the summit quickly became annoying. My friend Bret had warned me that Mt. Evans can be a bit of a downer because you work so hard to get there and then there are all these people getting out of cars with kids and cameras. It also made the summit experience much less appealing. Even on the smaller hikes we've done, like Bear Peak, there is this awesome sense of camaraderie at the top. Everyone there has worked hard and is pretty exhausted and very considerate and friendly. This was not the case at Mt. Evans so we hung out for a few minutes, snapped some photos and then started our trek back via summit ridge. 

The was a longer route at about 2.5 miles  that took us along the west ridge with gorgeous view of Mt. Bierstadt, anther fourteener. The trail was rocky and easy to lose, there were quite a few parts that needed hands and feet the get down. We scrambled down and the trail eased up at the Evans-Spalding saddle (13,600 feet)

Coming down the west ridge

Ahhh flatish trail - a welcome break for my ankles!

Here we saw snow where I of course wanted to touch it but since Kenny, whose crazy antics I referenced above) warned that I might die if I tried to climb down to it, I just decided to take a picture. I know there is lots of snow all year in Colorado but come on people, I'm still from South Carolina and snow in August is an crazy concept to me no matter how high the altitude.

Snow at 13,600 feet

Snow view from Summit Lake (the one on the left if you want to get all specific)

Then there was some more "uphill" to the top of Mt. Spalding where we encountered some wild goats and great views of Mt. Evans. We followed the trail along some steep edges and through some rocky patches down Spalding's east ridge and eventually back to the lake. 


Views from Mt. Spalding

Sawtooth Ridge

Mt. Bierstadt

Kenny and me almost all the way back down

All told it was only a 4.5 hour hike but at that altitude it did a number on us. Kenny and I both got crazy headaches but we made it! It was tough and I have a pretty sweet hiking boots/sock tan and clear large white circles on my now red face from the aviators I was wearing. Note to self: wear more sunscreen and smaller sunglasses when hiking above the tree line.

I survived my first fourteener and only needed one redbull to make it out last night. That's success in my book for sure.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Count it Down

Things are quite busy right now with work. I was at the office from 7:30 yesterday morning until almost 9:00 last night and I'll be here that late again tonight. It's an exciting time though so I don't mind but I'm definitely ready for the weekend! Anywho, needless to say I have no exciting blog posts at the moment. 

But I did get a haircut. I LOVE getting my hair cut, mostly because I have this big huge mess of hair and once it gets cut the stylist blows it out so then I don't have to deal with the craziness for at least a day or two. 

Yup, that's me looking oh so cool in my shades next to our world map shower curtain. Leslie, you should be proud! (P.S. It's awkward to take a picture of yourself. Shades make this less awkward because you can hide your eyes and make your face look less silly, but then you are wearing sunglasses in the bathroom. Can't win.)  

So it's a less than exciting end to this week but there is lots to look forward to in the next week so let the countdowns begin... 

6 Hours until the weekend starts. I'm looking forward to watching the USA Pro Cycling Challenge come right by our house with Kenny there to explain it to me because I don't know who anyone is or anything at all about pro cycling. 

5 Days until my BFFL (yup, I went all middle school on that. It should tell you a lot about our relationship), Vyonne, gets here (and her wife Lizzie too!) Labor Day weekend is going to be full of fun with cruiser rides, brewery tours, FOOTBALL, hiking, and all kinds of trouble. It's too bad they can't use Irene as an excuse to come early!

6 Days until football. I can't wait to kick off the season with the Wake v. Syracuse on Thursday. Since Ion went to Wake I happily rock some black and gold and pull for the Deacs (as long as they aren't playing Clemson).  You would think this would appease Ion, but nooooooo he has to go and be a Gamecock fan. Law school is not where your football allegiances should lie. Just sayin. Yea, fall is fun in our house. 

7 Days until Eric gets here for the weekend! 

Aren't you just loving that 80's party attire?

8 Days until Clemson Football! Oh how I miss that place, especially on fall weekend filled with tailgates...

Clemson Football Team

What are you looking forward to this week? Have a great Friday!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dolla' Dolla' Tacos

Last night our good friend Katie came into 'town' from Boulder. Katie and Ion have been best friends since high school (or maybe longer, Ion isn't here to verify so we'll just go with a long time). Katie came out to CO for law school and we were so excited to get to spend more time with her since we now live 30 minutes away instead of 2000 miles. But there was the bar. booo. Just like Ion, Katie was sucked into a world of studying all. summer. long. Now that the terrible horrible is over I not only have my fiance back but friends too! 

So anyway, Katie came to catch up and visit and we hit up Lime, a fresh mexican restaurant a few blocks from us. On Tuesdays they have $1 tacos. That's right my friends delicious tacos for one little dollar. Don't worry though, they get you because who wants tacos without margaritas? At $4 a pop we quickly made up for our cheap-o dinner. Worth it. I LOVE margaritas, it is the quintessential summer time drink in my book but like the more elusive mojito, they have to be made jussssttttt riiiiggghhht. Which they were. Here you can see Katie enjoying the salty sweet yumminess.

Ion does not cherish tequila like I do. Again you don't have to worry because there was Dos Equis. 

Our friend Bill and a friend of his visiting from Charlotte came too, but I didn't take a picture of that. Oops. We all had a great time though and despite my lack of pictures, I would definitely call this a successful Tuesday. 


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

No Mountain Pictures Here, Just Monday.

Despite the exciting adventures I share on this blog, our life isn't just a series of camping trips, baseball games, hikes, and happy hours. Although we do LOVE a good happy hour. In fact, we had an awesome time with some friends who just moved to Denver at happy hour last Thursday but I didn't take a picture. Fail. So anyway, after our adventurous weekend and a long Monday back at work (for me at least, Ion's on the job hunt now that the bar is finished, woohoo!) we were excited for an oh so exciting night in.

We are absolutely loving life in Denver. Colorado is beautiful and full of lots of amazing adventures and good friends. But what is really great to us (and maybe boring to you because I don't have scenic pictures to post) is actually living IN THE SAME CITY for the fist time in our seven year relationship. Yup 7. That's a long time, and even longer when you are living 4 or 2 or 8 hours apart. We thought life was pretty awesome when I was in Charlotte and Ion was at Wake for a year and then in Columbia for law school for another year before I decided it was a good idea to move 8 hours north to DC. So now we are not only in the same city and same state but in the same house (yea yea living in sin, we know and are pretty ok with it so move on...). Getting to spend a Monday night together used to be rare and now it's the norm. We do all that boring stuff like laundry, walking the dog, cooking dinner, and even cleaning together. And it's awesome. Lame? Maybe, but it's nice to appreciate the everyday stuff along with the adventures. It's all really a new adventure to us.

Are you bored yet? Well let me tell you about our exciting night! First we walked the dog, then we cooked some dinner by adding veggies and chicken to some way too salty leftovers from a stir-fry gone wrong last week (turned out delish in case you're wondering). Since Ion kinda likes me and I had a stressful day at work, after dinner we rode our bikes to get some frozen yogurt. There is a place not far from us that I have been dying to try out and it did not dissapoint. Yup, the highlight of my night was some Red Velvet Cake Batter FroYo with sprinkles. Don't even try to tell me that doesn't sound amazing.

I even took a picture, mostly because I'm not a fan of blog posts without pictures. (Our house isn't usually yellow, not sure what was happening with that lighting.)

Sorry if that got a little too mushy for you (I was even a bit squimish when writing this), just trying to keep it real and remember to appreciate the little things (yup, just barfed in my mouth). And so you don't think we're too boring and the seven people who read this blog come back again, tonight's agenda is a little more exciting with $1 tacos and more likely than not one or three margaritas with friends.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A First Time For Everything: Camping and Backpacking - Hartenstein Lake

Hi Folks! Our adventures continued this weekend with my very fist backpacking trip and my first time camping. I'm kind of a little bit scared of the dark and dark + woods + a HUGE fear of bears is not a great recipe for camping but I survived and had a blast! (Mostly due to the lack of bear encounters.)

Kenny rode his bike down from Boulder Friday night and we got all of our bags packed. Our friends Bill and Ben met us Saturday morning and we hit the road to Buena Vista, CO. It was about a two hour drive but it was just beautiful. And, of course, there was coffee which makes everything better.

(I have a picture of the scenic drive and coffee but it won't load, I'll try again later so just use your imagination for now.)

We made it to Buena Vista and parked at the Denny Creek Trail Head that leads to the Mt. Yale summit and Hartenstein Lake. We headed for the lake and with our backpacks (on my gosh heavy!) it took us about 3 hours to make it the three miles and 1,500 feet or so up to our campsite. I'm not gonna lie, it was tough. The trail was pretty steep and there was some river forging. Well not really forging but given my propensity for falling down I felt pretty good about making it over some log bridges and such.

This was not only my first time backpacking but it was my first time doing anything above 9,000 feet. Our packs were HEAVY, did I mention that already? But the views were more than worth it.

See what I mean about the backpacks?

Yup, that's Kenny carrying Juneau on his shoulders. She was CRAZY when we started out on our hike. She was running after all kinds of creatures in the woods, running up ahead of us and then racing back. Then so yaked. It was gross. Poor pup got herself so excited that she threw up (ahem, Vyonne). She was having a hard time after that and we were pretty worried. Kenny and Ion carried her for a few minutes and then we stopped at a creek so she could get some water. While we were contemplating Ion and I staying behind with the pup while the rest of the group went ahead to set up the campsite (we were still pretty far from the lake at this point and didn't want to have to set up tents and such in the dark) Juneau miraculously started running up ahead again. She gave new meaning to puke and rally. So on we went with a very energetic and happy dog leading the way.

Juneau, as usual, had the most fun (after she got her second wind). She spent most of the time chasing poor chipmunk and even went straight down this rock face. (To the right of where Ion's standing if you're curious as to how brave/nuts our dog actually is.)

Our campsite was
beautiful and pretty secluded so Juneau got to run around and explore while we hung out around the fire. She liked to make sure everyone was accounted for and snuck up on some of the guys when they left to "water the trail." I think she was just patrolling for bears.

Once we made it up the trail Kenny, of course, got the fire going. It was a pretty sweet set up with logs and a huge rock around the fire pit.

(I also have a great photo of that but again it won't load. boo. So this fire shot and shot of the rock "table" will have to do ya. Imagine log "benches"and you get the picture.)

Now that you've seen our cliff bar wrappers and sunscreen, check out the actual views from of the lake. It was so beautiful and peaceful (until we started our loud laughing and storytelling). It was a perfect place to camp. And you should definitely take my word for it because, you know, I have all that camping experience. But if you're questioning my credibility here are some pictures, all taken from our campsite, to back me up.

We got our tents set up,

and filtered some water for drinking and cooking.

We spent the rest of the day and night sitting around the fire, drinking Firefly and lemonade, eating freeze dried dinners (
surprisingly delicious!) and making smores. Mmmmmmm. I have to tell you that when we were breaking into the smore supplies Ion asked how exactly we get the graham cracker on a stick. What?! I felt like we were living that scene from The Sandlot, "smore what?" He figured it out though and we successfully made smores without having to skew the poor graham crackers. Love it! We had so much fun but we're pretty sure the people camping downhill from us weren't fans of our loud laughter. Oops.

The sun went down and it got chilly fast. The weather made me so excited for fall. I am itching for sweater weather and football! The best view of all was of the stars. I have never been that far out at night and it was truly unbelievable. You can see everything so much brighter and more clearly when you're so far from city lights. We could see the Milky Way.
Incredible. You'll just have to believe me though because I couldn't get any good night shots with my camera.

I successfully completed my first night sleeping outside (well, in a tent) and made it back in one piece. (No bear encounters = success!) We packed up all of our bags again Sunday morning and headed back down the trail.

We made it 50 feet from the parking lot when Bill commented on my lack of injury during the entire trip. Of course 10 seconds later I eat it about 10 feet from the parking lot. No cuts or scrapes though! Win. It was a great trip and I can't wait to do it again!