Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A relaxing day of putt-putt.

Las Vegas
family Christmas.
Wow what a weekend! For the blog narrative I’ll start with the most recent day and work back through time. First a little about the weekend in general; this year’s Christmas has been years in the making. The grandparents have been planning on having a family Christmas at their home in Las Vegas for at least the last five years. This was a special event and I’m sure it took lots of hard work, hours of planning, and a chunk of change to pull it all together. I have to say the trip when flawlessly! It was very relaxing and fun! I was only out there for three days and it seems like I had a week.
Day 3 (Monday): My last day in Las Vegas was a day of leisure. I stayed at the Sahara Hotel and Casino during my visit. After sleeping in till 10:00am at the hotel I headed down to the Casino and grabbed a cup of coffee and an English muffin at their grind cafĂ© before heading to the grandparent’s house to meet up with the rest of the family for an early lunch. We were treated to lunch at the Angel Park golf course club house. We had a private room with buffet style eats. On the menu were some of my favorites, burgers and/or chicken sandwiches with house made potato chips, potato salad and cookies for desert. After lunch we played 18 holes of putt-putt golf on their real grass course. It was just like playing on a real course just at 1/10th scale. It was a sunny 70 degrees with a slight breeze. We had lots of laughs as we made and afternoon of it. I shot a 68, which put me in second place of our foursome.

This is a tough bunker on hole 14…and yes, I’m on the beach!

A Quiet Christmas Morning.

Day 2 (Sunday): Christmas Day would be a day of hourly massages, goofing off with the cousins playing touch football in the park, eating like every few minutes, enjoying the hot tub and pool capped off with a family Texas-holdem poker tournament.
I started off the day at the house. Arriving early, I helped cook breakfast for the masses. Some family members were already there getting their massages. The grandparents hired a masseuse to give hourly massages throughout the day. I didn’t sign up but I guess they felt really great! We had California style eggs benedict, which is an English muffins topped with a slice of cheddar, some Canadian bacon, a pouched egg, a fresh tomato slice and last but not least a good slathering of hollandaise sauce. They were great, I ate three! After breakfast the family walked to the near by park and played touch football, ultimate freesbee, and did some calk drawings on the sidewalk.
We spent a few hours there in the sun shine before heading back to the house for some pool time and snacking before our early dinner. For dinner we had Turkey, Ham, mashed potatoes, broccoli, fruit soup and dinner rolls. Pumpkin, Apple and cherry pies with vanilla ice cream followed for dessert! I was stuffed and went into a food comma for an hour before the holdem tournament.

The tournament was a ten dollar buy in. We had 18 people playing on two tables. Not really knowing the skill level of the other family members I was knocked out early by a younger cousin…much younger. (I don’t want to say how much younger.)
Later that evening I learned that he had been groomed from birth to be a poker player in the family poker mill! Much like a Chinese gymnast is taught to be a gymnast at a very young age, he was taught the gambling craft of Texas holdem…the protege ended up taking second, his dad took first, and if it were not for my little brother Will taking third, the Mendozas would have been out of the money completely. It was a awesome day with many gut breaking laughs...so many my face hurt.

Saturday(12/24)-Christmas Eve in Vegas!

Day 1 (Saturday): Saturday night we partied our asses Vegas style!
need I say more?

Friday(12/23)- A Basin Day!

My vacation actually started on Friday. I took it off to relax at my favorite mountain before heading to Vegas. We got about 5 inches over night on top of the snow from the week. It was soft and sunny!
Another awesome day Baskin in the Basin!
Here’s Shred Santa!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Winter Wonderland

This is a shot that was taken from my front door last Saturday afternoon. I didn’t even walk outside to take it; I just open the door and captured it with my trusty Olympus digital camera…took about 5 seconds.
My neighborhood is quiet and festive this time of year. Many neighbors make the effort to decorate their homes even though not many people will be able to admire it up here in the “sticks”. One of my neighbors ran a long extension cord from his house over about ½ acre to illuminate a small pine tree off the narrow mountain road. Shimmering with all white lights and with no other street lights on the roads, it stands out like something you would see on a holiday greeting card.
Yeah it gets cold at 9100 feet, yes the wind will howl, and "you have to live up here to live up here", but it’s the little things that make it all worth it! I don’t think I’ll ever move back to the city or burbs. One of the best benefits about living in the Colorado Mountains is the unreal scenery we get to admire on a daily basis…I’ll try and capture it when I can and blog it for the rest of you city folks.

Happy Holidays…from Alex’s World to yours.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Peter Rabbit's Hut

My adventure last weekend started after work Friday evening. JP and I were all geared up and excited to camp in the “Peter Rabbit” hut on the Berthoud Pass. This hut is an old forest service hut that had been boarded up for the last couple of decades. This year the powers that be (I have no idea who) open the hut for backcountry visitation on the backcountry honor system. Which is basically stated;
Respect the wilderness, wildlife and clean up after yourself.
With fully loaded overnighter packs we headed out to find the hut just pass dusk. We had a GPS waypoint of the hut’s location and JP had a pretty good idea of its whereabouts after riding by it the weekend before. But after bushwhacking through waist deep powder in single digit temperatures for about two hours and getting as close as 300 feet away from the hut (according to the GPS) we had no luck actually finding the hut that night! So we reverted to plan “B” (always have a plan B in the BC) which was camping in the nearby Mary-Jane parking lot. We had a very comfortable evening with a small fire, a few beers and lots of laughs.
The next day we woke up bright and early, had a small breakfast (breakfast burritos), drove to the trailhead parking lot and started tromping up the now obvious snow packed trail toward the hut. The hut was a short snowshoe (3/4 mile) and was in great shape as backcountry huts go. It was clean and well kept with all kinds of great keepsakes people had left through out the years. It had a wood burning stove and was stalked with extra sleeping bags, kitchen pot and pans, a lantern, a first aid kit, a dream catcher, a hippy drum, a wood ax and saw, some candles, an extra pair of snowshoes, books, and a hut journal. We didn’t stay long that morning because we were excited to get up to the summit and look for safe powder lines down the peaks….so we continued to shoed up the mountain…

Workin for it.

We shoed up the mountain and enthusiastically pointed our perfect powder lines. As the adrenaline pumped we planned our descents! When we got closer to the summit we were thrilled to find the snow pack relatively safe and ride able. It was this moment we knew that today would be one of those days that will motivate us for the next few weeks! Like we need more motivation!
A perfect line! This is why I do this!

Footage of me and JP riding!! (right click, save as)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

shreddin backside all day!

JP shreds down his perfect line at mock 1 that morning! (his coat covering up the permagrin he emitted all day!)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Coffee time this AM

Warmer this morning with tempatures in the teens. Up from yesterday about 35 dregrees.
Almost every morning I stand on the deck, drink coffee and wonder what it's like at the summit of Longs peak. I bet cold today, but clear as a bell!
The pinks, purples and contrast of the morning views today were inspiring and blog worthy.
Clear, Crisp, Crunchy. A Chilly Coal Creek Canyon Coffee Consequence. 7:00am Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 05, 2005

Powder Day Basin Style!

Ok, so if you didn’t make it to the Colorado Mountains this last weekend you probably had a good reason… or are completely lame. With something like 20 inches of fresh powder in most areas, the epic Powder day that everybody talks about, finally presented itself. Both the Loveland and Vail passes were closed (a good sign) Saturday morning, so only the true powder hounds braved the drive to take advantage of the spoils, the resorts weren’t really that packed.

What a day! I didn’t do much picture taking, or site seeing, no taking in the views. I didn’t stop and break much, I don’t think, I even drank any water or ate that morning.

All I did Saturday morning was ride thigh-high campaign powder as fast and as many times as possible grinning ear to ear...there were probably a few Yeah-hoos! in there too.

Steezin at the Beezin!

JP, usually found in the backcountry, only comes to the resorts when there is considerable avalanche danger back there and/or the roads to get over the passes are closed.

This is him at the basin this weekend doing a “nose butter” for the folks on the chairlift. He is always “Jibbin”, “Jumpin” and “Bonkin” around the ski runs. People on the lifts laugh and point, not really knowing what to make of JP’s style (called Steez to snowboarders).
But JP doesn’t care! In fact I think he kind of likes freaking people out.
In his words: “I’m just having fun, dude.”

Monday, November 28, 2005

Loveland Pass goodness!

Last Saturday afternoon after hearing the winter storm advisory issued for the Northern and Central Rockies, calling for 6 to 12 inches of snow; I headed over to Stoermer’s house to tune and wax the snowboard for the powder day that awaited us Sunday! We drank Flying Dog’s “Snake Dog IPA” (one of my favorite beers), used bluebird snowboard wax on the boards, talked about the possible avalanche conditions, and got all charged up to be on Loveland pass by 6:30am the next morning.
We broke early and I headed up to my house to await the dump. I would try and get some ZZZ’s for the next day, but I could sleep that night…I was too charged up! I woke up every two hours ready to get to the pass. All I could think was Powder day!
The next morning after waking up at 4:00am and leaving the house by 5:00 am, I was disappointed to learn that the storm had not delivered the kind of accumulations that had been predicted. Only about 5 inches fell over night. Which was a little disappointing but good enough for me!
Here I am loving life Sunday morning on the pass about 7:00am. This is run number 4, the resorts won’t be open for another 90mins and I'm already breaking a sweat. We caught rides back up the pass from the patrons of the Basin(another favorite). What a day..and it is only November!!

Loveland Pass goodness! (Steep and Deep)

This is JP the same morning. This guy rips, truly!
This picture doesn’t do the “steepness factor” justice. The camera when this picture was taken was tilted to the left, making the slope look more horizontal.

Imagine if the trees in the background were parallel with the picture's frame. This would better represent the “steep and deep” terrain JP looks for on a typical powder day!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Rogers Pass Lake I

This weekend I headed up to the James Peak Wilderness (Rogers Pass) to scout out possible sites for a snow cave or an igloo to be built later this season. The plan is to create some sort of shelter in the area for winter season overnighters. This will allow us to take advantage of the incredible skiing/riding with a fresh set of legs to burn on the slopes. When this thing is finished, we will shoe or ski up the day before, crash in the igloo (hoping it snows like hell) then wake up at dawn to carve fresh lines on the almost limitless terrain. I can’t wait till I have something up there to call home...watch for more blogs on this! Posted by Picasa

Rogers Pass Lake II

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure doth thou bring me.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Stoermer's secret "Smoke Shack" -sleeps 7

Last Saturday I headed up to Arapahoe Basin to renew my season pass, check out the new lodge under construction, and meet up with my buddies Tyler and Stoermer, who were up there skiing/Riding on what is known as the “white strip of death”. This is what they call the only open ski run during the early season…mostly because you have assholes that think they are training for super-G on a touron/gaper packed green. So little room for error makes this time some of the most dangerous on the mountain, not because of the terrain but because of the jerk-offs demonstrating how fast they can slide down an icy, over populated green run.
Anyway, Stoermer wanted to show me a secret shack that he and his buddies have been building on for about five years now. The secret “smoke shack” is stashed away on the Lovelandpass and is surrounded by handmade jumps and jibs. With the forecast calling for small accumulations we planned to crash in the shack and wake up early to rip lines on the fresh powder(pow-pow).The shack was sweet! This is me taking in the canyon views from the deck. Yeah that’s right the deck! Star and moon light through the clear skies (yeah it didn’t snow much) lit up the valley. Last years someone fabricated a really nice wood burning stove in the shack which made for a very comfortable (~55 degrees) night despite the low temperatures on the pass.
More on that and JP’s Blog…with downloadable footage!

Friday, October 21, 2005

A drive in the clouds.

I had to get a shot of this drive…it was nuts!

Commuting at 9000 feet has its advantages; for one thing there is almost never any traffic. But there can be other reasons for a slow go of it. For example today a dense cloud layer socked in the Coal Creek Canyon. I couldn’t see past the hood of the jeep this morning. Basically I was using the force to commute down the mountain roads till about 6000 feet, where I was beneath the layer.
Taking it super slow (20 mph)…and are those white knuckles?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Rock Sliding

Last Saturday JP(Stoermer) and I when powder scrounging up by Radiobeacon, a popular spring ski with late-season powder stashes. This area during March-June is heavenly, with untouched powder run after untouched powder run, but in October it’s mostly rock! We ended up getting a few turns never the less. We had to be careful not to carve to deep to avoid cutting through the snow and into the mountain.
We thoroughly enjoyed the day scouting the surrounding peaks walking the ridge line. This picture is from on top of Radiobeacon looking south west towards Berthoud pass.

JP had a term for this kind of bush whacking, he called it “Shwacking”. Using the alternative definition:
SCHWACKING - the sound made while ripping lines through deep powder and trees braches
also - can be used to define a bullshit bushwhack.

JP’s Blog of the day. (His blogs kick my blog’s ass.)

Peak Info:
Mountain Height: 12,110 feet
Location: Colorado, United States, North America
Lat/Lon: 39.9175°N, 105.682°W

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Bronco Sunday

-Casey -Ang -Kyle -Me
Last Sunday our beloved Denver Broncos (now 4-1) took on the then undefeated Washington Redskins (now 3-1). There was perfect football weather for the prepared sports fan...But I saw many folks freezing their asses off! Winter is here?
With temperatures around freezing and rain mixed with snow throughout the day the Broncos showed up to play. After a great first half, a moderate third quarter and a nail biting fourth quarter the Broncos ended up defending the Skins 21-19.

Thank you Wolf Family for the Tickets!

Monday, October 03, 2005

More wedding bells

Another wedding weekend for me last weekend, this time my friends Pete and Alvina. A long time couple that met while Pete and I were up at CSU comes full circle with a great day of matrimony. The reception was in downtown Denver and they went all out! The food was awesome, they had live music at the reception and during the ceremony, all the old friends were there and I had a great time. Congratulations Pote and Veno!

Monday, September 26, 2005

The official moment!

“You may now kiss the bride.”

My good friends Steve and Mandy got married last Saturday in the beautiful Grand Lake Colorado. With Mt. Craig looking on in the background the fall colors were out in force down the valley. Reds, Oranges and the Aspen tree’s brilliant yellows made for a very colorful day, not to mention this great couple, their families and friends!

I can not imagine a more perfect day for these two. Right on you guys!!

Kick Ass!

My favorite shot of the day!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Vegas at Winter Park?

Last weekend The Dog (Casey) and I rolled up to Winter Park for Captain V’s (Todd) birthday party. His very cool girl friend Sara surprised him with a Vegas style party at her folk’s home in the hills. I played cards, meet some new people, and had a blast Vegas style. I cashed that night fully reclined on a leather Lazy-boy in the house's movie theater watching Robin William's stand up comedy act. Yeah, the house was unreal inside and out!
Here is the e-vite Sara sent out a few weeks ago:
Come to Winter Park for a Vegas style weekend to celebrate Todd's 28th birthday! There will be poker tables, pool table, darts, etc. for play, Vegas style buffet for eating, and cocktails/beer to enjoy into the wee hours of the morning! So, put on that flashy Vegas inspired outfit, grab your cigars, put on your poker face and head for the mountains for a weekend of fun baby!

Thanks for the great time Sara and Todd!

The views from a special place.

N39° 54.529
W105° 22.878
Elevation: 9013 feet
More blogs to come on this.

Special Edition: Rocky Mountain Grand Slam!

Sunrise on Meeker (13,911')!
One down four to go!

Special Edition: Rocky Mountain Grand Slam!

I finally did the Grand Slam.

The Grand Slam climbs Longs Peak and the four peaks surrounding it. The order in which we did it is Meeker (13,911'), Longs (14,255'), Pagoda (13,497'), Storm (13,326'), and Mt. Lady Washington (13,281'). It is 18 miles and 8700 feet of vertical gain. We started walking at 2:00 am and finished just after 6:00pm! The record for this hike is just over 5 hours (cazy!)
This is a shot from about ¾ of the way up Meeker just before sunrise.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Tonight at the Fox...Old Skool Hip Hop..De La Soul!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

*Praying Mantid - Tenodera aridifolia sinensis

Tonight a visit by a praying mantis while I mowed the lawn. * Praying mantis have voracious appetites and will eat a variety of insects including aphids, grasshoppers, fruit flies, house flies, moths and crickets. A Colorado State University link with info on our little buddy.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Saturday's walk up Long's peak!

Scramble: Keyhole
Trailhead: Longs Peak Campground 9405 ft/2867 m
Vertical Gain: 4850 ft/1478 m
Distance (one way): 8 mi/12.87 km

40° 15' N; 105° 37' W40.254902, -105.616089 (WGS84)

We started walking the mountain at 3:30 am to reach the Keyhole by dawn. The morning shots I got were unreal! As we hiked starlight through the clear skies made the granite trail glow. The walk to the Keyhole went quick, with a little night vision and a Petzel head lamp we kept a good pace to keep warm… and since I was half asleep anyway I figured I might as well be walking.
Warming temperatures followed by intense morning sun greeted us above timberline. We found a spot in the shade of an over-hang to recharge for the ascend. I had a yogurt smoothie, some peanuts, and later a cliff bar.
After the boulder fields and the Keyhole section the trail wraps around the peak and heads up to the summit. Slow and steady with the trail marked with spray painted dots about the size of a Frisbee on the rock walls.
Soon I was standing on a 14,255 feet mountain in clear blue-skies. We goofed off for about an hour with a quick snack, a good drink (water) and a moment to enjoy why I do this.
A single engine plane did a fly by when we were getting ready to head back down. I think they were showing off. They were so close you could see the pilot and crew. They looked like they were having a good time too! Probably drunk.
The walk back was time to reflect on the day, zone out (but be careful not to slip) and walk. Another great day in the Park!

Long's Textures

Sunday, July 31, 2005

The house hunter.

See ya Larry.
My lease at the beautiful Silver Plume circle here in Boulder ends August 31!
I’m really going to miss the regular visits by Larry, Moe and Curly and the cool morning mountain air.
The breeze smells like a pine forest and fills the house as it sweeps over plains to the east . This area of the Front Range is known as Shannon ridge. Just south a canyon you will find the National Wind Technology Center. They enjoy the breezes too. Researches at the National Renewable Energy Laboratories develop advance wind power technologies. Their state-of-the-art wind turbine design has helped lower the cost of wind energy.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Special Edition: Weminuche Wilderness

-Christine-Triscia(Dog)-Tim-Corinna-Kathleen-Sarah-"The Doctor"-Me
The Nuche group!

Question: What is the Nuche group?
Answer: A great group of interesting people sharing an adventure in the Weminuche wilderness of Colorado.... while competeing in a "camp-off".

Weminuche At a Glance:
Location: Southwestern Colorado, in a quadrangle between Durango, Pagosa Springs, Creede and Silverton; in the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forests
Size: 490,000 acres.
Landscape: Alpine meadows and spruce interspersed with granite extrusions, at an average elevation over 10,000 feet.
Activities: Hiking, Climbing, River Running, Fishing, Cross-country skiing

Special Edition: Weminuche Wilderness

Peak to freak on the ridge.

Special Edition: Weminuche Wilderness

Hamming it up in the Nuche.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Sunny side at 9,500 feet, Colorado Goodness!

Nectar of the Gods.

Single track Sweetness!!! on the sourdough trial. Part of a 46 mile track. Colorado’s front-range premier mountain biking.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Wow, Closer!
This new camera is sweet. The macro function is easy to use and does a great job.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A new hangout in my own backyard.

I picked up a hammock the other day for backpacking! At just under 2 pounds this parachute silk hammock stuffs into a permanently-attached pocket and is about the size of a roll of toilet paper in my backpack. I of coarse had to test it in the backyard!
So Comfortable!! I highly recommend Hammaka Hammocks.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Brew Fest Eve.

The 16th annual Colorado Brewers Festival was Saturday in Downtown Fort Collins. The Brewers' Fest is made up solely of Colorado Breweries, including the host breweries from Fort Collins: Anheuser-Busch, Big Horn Brewery/ CB & Potts, Coopersmith's Pub & Brewing, Odell Brewing, Fort Collins Brewery, Conor O'Neills and New Belgium Brewing Co.

Fishing on Shadow Mountain Lake

Friday I spent fishing on Shadow Mountain Lake with family and friends! We rented a 10 person pontoon boat from Trail Ridge Marina for a half day of trolling on the lake.
Shadow Mountain Lake and Grand Lake are connected and run along US 34 just a few miles north of Lake Granby. The lakes are famous for producing large mackinaws [lake trout], rainbows, browns, and kokanee salmon. Our group caught two nicely sized salmon which we released. What a great day on the water!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Happy Father's Day Dad! I love you.

I replaced my fallen Olympus with the new version. A Stylus 5.0 All Weather.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Floating away on the Colorado.

-Will -JP -Michael
Last weekend I floated 31 miles of the Colorado River between Fruita, Colorado and Westwater, Utah. Along the way our group of 14 enjoyed the canyon views, wild life and each others company. Here the guys rope together the boats for the “Floatzilla” effect. We called our creation the USS Fiasco, but the float was anything but. It was a great group, the weather was perfect and I had a blast!

Big Trouble in little Olympus.

On my river trip an accidental swim completely submerged my digital camera in the Colorado. This all weather Olympus was dropped in the Havasu River a month ago and worked fine the next day. It seems to still be drying out, but unfortunately is out of commission. Dang! This is the camera I use for my blog.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Joe's Rig

Yesterday Arapahoe Basin hosted the fourth annual Summit County Festival of Brew Pubs. Unfortunately the weather was not particularly good for Brew Festin, it was cold and wet. Throughout the day snow mixed with rain fell and only the hearty lasted for the festival (noon to 4:00pm). In fact I could not find a single picture from that day to blog that didn’t look absolutely miserable. So I picked this one.
This picture was taken the afternoon before the brew festival. We camped by this guy Joe who is a carpenter from Erie, Co., a Colorado native and a member of the High Country Crawlers, a 4X4 rock crawling club. His custom Van dwarfs the stock wrangler in the background. It was pretty sweet and got at least a laugh from everybody who saw it. Guys were more impressed with his rig than the ladies…go figure.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

On the bike today @ pennsylvania gulch

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Commute

Larry, Moe, and Curley.
My ride to and from work includes a short stretch of trail that runs along Boulder open space. Frequently we have yearling deer pay us a visit in the evenings. Thats my home in the background...These guys reek havick on our vegetable gardens.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mother's day

Happy Mother's day Mom. I love you :-)