Saturday, December 22, 2007

Feature: Jenny's

Jenny's Restaurant, Empire Colorado
Small Towns like Empire Colorado are packed full of local jewels. Today brought us to Jenny’s for breakfast.
The front door creaks as we arrive out of the wind and single digit temperatures into the warm country style diner. Immediately the smell of fresh brewed coffee, bacon, eggs and pancakes got me thinking about my breakfast and not the high wind advisory on the highways. The waitress is buzzing around with coffee in hand. She is friendly, fast talking and sits us immediately. There is antique crap all over the walls as well as many old photographs. This morning's light complements the warmth of the place.
Jenny's is the quintessential small town Colorado Breakfast diner. The people are friendly, the food is excellent, and the prices leave enough cash to park at the resorts (usually about 20 bucks). Yes, parking at the resorts costs more than breakfast.

2eggs, 2 sausage links, home fries, and 2 pieces of wheat toast,
Strawberry jam on Toast.
$7.00 + tip.

…Food Comma ensued, lucky I was not driving.

Jenny’s is awesome, cheap and fast.
A perfect fuel up for a deep day on the mountain

Monday, December 17, 2007

Colorado Backcountry: The Wolfie

Big storms bring out the heavy snow removal equipment. CDOT makes back country access possible. Snow mounds from plowing the parking lots were well over two stories high.
After a balmy and dry early season, winter weather systems finally deliver deep snow to Colorado. The Southern part of the state was hit HUGE. Wolf Creek Ski Area, near South Fork Colorado reported 99 inches of new snow in a seven-day period. Mid-mountain settled base depths up there are now reported at 117 inches.
The icing on the cake for us backcountry powder hounds came with mild temperatures that have stabilized snowpack in most of the area. With the avalanche danger LOW last weekend on all aspects and at all elevations, we attack and enjoy the deep stable goodness. A double layer of icing or maybe the whip cream was added with bluebird skies, sunshine and plenty of visibility, a stark contrast to the conditions we have been getting in the central Rockies lately.

The goods.
Sunny side softened up nicely with the heat of the day.

Mo and Nessy near Wolf Creek Pass.

D-Brown, a free heeling hippie.

Gravy, a knuckle dragger.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Snowmobiling Colorado.

11,000ft in flat light.
Flat light is almost like high winds above tree line in the winter, it can end the day. The best goggles in the world will not save you. The terrain contour vanishes. The light is being filtered by the cloud layer and falling snow flakes then it reflects off the snow on the ground. It is like staring into a light bulb. You can’t see anything except a bright blur. Natural features above the snow, at this altitude, this time of year are almost nonexistent. Covered by layers of snow most of the dangerous stuff lay under the surface. But in this light forget about seeing any texture variations that might clue you in to the bad stuff. We call it, “using the force” when riding in these conditions. We are rolling the dice with our gear and bodies.
Photographers love this light and try to replicate it in portraits because the subject will appear free of shadows, soft and with a distinct human quality.
But for the skier, snowboarder and snowmobilers riding in flat light represents your “Karmatic Product”.
Are you feeling lucky punk… well, are you?

JP just after sunrise. December 2007
The light was a little better in morning. We had a pleny of room to play.

Kyle Says, "I was trying to miss that hole."
At this point, a large portion of backcountry snowmobiling or "boondocking" for me is digging out sleds.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Colorado Secret Powder Stash.

08 Dragon Secret Stash.

06 Apex Mountain Secret Stash.

Waist deep powder.
Soul required.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Snowmo Bike, Mountain

What the...Oh yeah! I could have fun on this, no problem.
A mountain bike with a Ktrak kit installed. These kits transform your mountain bike into a winter fun machine and extend the mountain biking season to... never ending!
The complete kit is a little steep, with a ~$500 price tag, but check out the video. The kit performs a lot better that I expected, at least on packed powder. I'm sure the conversion is worth it's price tag after your first bomb down a groomer. I'd be interested to find any carving feel in the ride.
Hope I can find a demo day this year somewhere, I'd give it a go.

Black Friday Sunrise.

This morning's view from the deck.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Walking Colorado: Crater Lakes

James Peak Wilderness. 11-2007
This area is about 30 minutes from home, it is a favorite. Today I met an older couple in the backcountry on my hike to Crater Lakes. They seemed European and must have been in their late 70's to early 80’s. I have discovered these types before in the backcountry and always consider it a joy. One instance was in Alaska on the Chilkoot trail, day 4. It was a big helping of humble pie for the green horn I was at 19. That meeting has shaped me to this day. These people inspire me.
What stands out most when I meet these very special spirits is the amount of life and energy they possess. Their cheeks glow with it, having smiles that engulf their entire faces. Winkles, smile lines and hands that reveal the magnitude of their character and rigger in which they live life. Their gear is from last century, lots of wool and leather. They have a quiet calm that is both soothing and human on the mountain's rock and snow. It seems to shed the wind.
I wonder what things they’ve seen, what places they’ve been and what has their time here taught them.

On this occasion the gentlemen spoke about the trail system in the area 40 years ago, or should I say lack there of. He mentioned how he always follows the drainage to the lakes even with its steep grade and water falls. His eyes lit up when describing the pitch. For a long time it was the easy way to navigate to the lakes but the hike is pretty steep. A more gradual, maintained trail has been put in since. Making it easier for most visitors. He called the trail a super highway. I usually bushwhack anyway because the falls are so cool, apparently so does this couple. In fact on this trip I picked up their trail about half way up the 3.5 mile hike.
We always yield to these folks when we see them, waiting till they stop before passing or approaching. This higher level of trail etiquette is reserve for special occasions. I think they have earned it by simply being out here. The bar has been set high my friends.

If I'm still doing this stuff when I'm 80 I'll die a happy man.

Half Winter half Fall.
Winter just can't get a grip this year.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Yurting Colorado: The Clark Peak Yurt

Near Ruby Jewel Lake, November 2007.
Another magical journey above 12,000ft last weekend, northern Colorado at its very finest delivers a fun filled weekend with amenities.
Side note:
The above image is not manipulated. As far as I can tell, the image’s focal sharpening was the result of me walking forward while taking the picture. I have never before been able to create this effect at the camera.

Clark Peak

12,951 feet, 3947 meters

Latitude/Longitude (WGS84

40° 36' N; 105° 56' W
40.606828, -105.930038 (Dec Deg)
421319E 4495528N Zone 13 (UTM)


United States



County/Second Level Region

Jackson (Highest Point)

Side note:
This was a special occasion for my buddy Keyrock (Eric) as he earned his PhD in molecular biology from CU boulder the previous week. This trip was the celebration and gift from his support crew.

Sadie at Ruby Jewel Lake 2007. (My favorite image of the trip)
On day two the group hiked up to the Ruby Jewel Lake which is a short (~6miles round trip) hike from the yurt in dry conditions…And boy was it dry. With less than one foot of snow on the ground the walking was easy and did not require snow shoes. Our dry October is very noticeable up here. In fact the outfit that manages the yurts usually does not allow dogs during the winter season, as people melt the snow for drinking water. But this years snow pack is so shallow and scares they are extending the summer rules into November.

We had snacks at the lake and pointed out our favorite ski runs before heading back to the yurt for the celebration feast!

Ruby Jewel Lake November 10, 2007

Dinner Preparation.

Apple smoked bacon wrapped shrimp kabobs.

Side note:
Some of us pitched in and got Keyrock a new grill smoker for a job well done. He insisted on dragging it up to the yurt for its madden firing and we didn't argue. What a firing it was! A heroic three day effort.
Totals for the weekend:
(not kidding)
12 hamburgers*
12 bratwurst*
3 chickens
4 marinated pork loins
4 sirloins*
4 racks Baby back ribs
30+ Bacon Wrapped shrimp
4 poblano peppers*
1 bundle Asparagus*
1 veggie burger (theres always one.) *
2 bags charcoal
2 branches of Apple wood

* Grilled

Guests are expect to leave the yurt in better condition than they found it.
Here is the yurt we found on Day 1.

Tasks include:
Split and stock firewood.
Clean dishes, kitchen, table and folding chairs.
Sweep and mop floors
Empty ashes and clean wood burning stove
Shovel snow on deck and Steps (not today)

Jason,Mara,Keyrock,Sadie(dog), Jay, Katie,Kimmy, EZ
The yurt, about half of the group and the new smoker.
Yurting sure is fun, I hope to make it back next year.

Monday, November 05, 2007

On the Web: House Painting Detriot Style.

A Bright Orange house!
I saw this while surfing tonight. I really like the image, view comments...
words by Eva Steele-Saccio
photo by Object Orange

It began with a sign: a bright orange traffic detour sign standing next to one of Detroit's thousands of abandoned houses. Four local artists, a group who call themselves Object Orange, realized they could use the shocking color of the sign to draw attention to the city's pervasive urban decay. With up to 15 volunteers they staged clandestine predawn painting expeditions, covering blighted houses in buckets of "Tiggerific" orange paint. "People become blind," says OO's Mike, who, like other members of the group, prefers anonymity for legal reasons. "We want to make them take note." Out of Detroit's more than 7,000 abandoned buildings, fewer than 2,000 are slated for destruction, leaving a long waiting list of properties that have become drug dens, prostitution hubs, and dangerous neighborhood playgrounds.

Commuters have begun to notice the orange houses, as have unhappy city officials. "They may believe they are making artistic statements," says James Canning, communications coordinator for the Mayor's office, "but they are just trespassing and adding to the blight of the buildings." Eyesore or not, the orange is noticeable. Four of OO's first 11 orange houses were almost immediately demolished. Canning attributes this to coincidence and careful calculation (demolition plans are public record); the artists see it as a critical step toward re-invigorating their deteriorating city. "Our part is starting conversations," says OO member Jacques. "Some people do outreach. We paint houses orange."

Saturday, November 03, 2007

James Peak Wilderness

Forest Lakes area.
Note Lack of snow.
We were riding up here last year at this time.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween: Free screams, spooky streams.

Halloween 2007. (
It's snowing.)
~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~ ~^~ ~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~ posts free B-movies classics!
Your favorite horror, kung-fu, sci-fi, and wild westerns are here!
Each movie has a info page with a short descirption of the story, casting, director, and alternative title.

Tonight's pick:

~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~ ~^~ ~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~
Night of the Living Dead
Rating | 100% classic movie
1968 1:36 play
Seven people are trapped in an isolated farmhouse and living an unspeakable nightmare. Cannibalistic zombies have been awakened from the dead and are on a relentless killing and eating binge.
Starring: Duane Jones¸ Judith O’Dea¸ Karl Hardman¸ Marilyn Eastman¸ Keith Wayne¸ Judith Ridley
Directed By: George A. Romero
Alternate Titles:Night of Anubis¸ Night of the Flesh Eaters
~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~ ~^~ ~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~ ~^~~ ^~

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Colorado Toy Box: Yamaha Apex Mountain

Yamaha Apex Mountain.
I traded in my 04 RX-1 Mountain for a 06 Apex Mountain last week. My new Apex belonged to a guy at the shop (Rocky Mountain Power Sports, Boulder) who broke his collarbone on it last season and called it quits after only 600 miles on the sled. A bit surprising considering the investment, but I know where the guy is coming from, as his situation kind of reminds me of my experience with Kayaking.

Long story short:
1. Bought new Kayak and gear from REI
2. Practiced with new boat on pond, had fun.
3. When out for the first time on white water at the Poudre River.
4. Almost drowned upside down in boat as shoe got caught, not so fun.
5. Sold new boat the following day at gear swap and bought new mountain bike.

My new sled has many extra and should do a great job this year in the backcountry. Waiting for snow…

The sled Post.
MODEL Apex Mountain
ENGINE 4 Stroke, 4 Cylinders, 3 Valves, Liquid Cooled
BORE X STROKE 74.0 x 58.0 mm
CARBURETION 39mm Mikuni Fuel Injection
IGNITION Digital D.C. C.D.I. with Throttle Position Sensor
SUSPENSION Front: Independent, Double Wishbone; Shocks: 40mm HPG, Aluminum; 7 in. travel
Rear: Pro Active Mountain 162"; Shocks: Gas Cell Hydraulic; 14 in. travel
BRAKES Disc; 4-Piston Hydraulic with Lightweight Rotor
SKIS Wide Saddleless Plastic Mountain Ski
LENGTH 130.9 in.
WIDTH 45.8 in.
HEIGHT 41.1 in.
TRACK LXWXH 162 in. x 16 in. x 2.25 in., 3.0 in. pitch, Camoplast, Paddle
SKI STANCE 37.6 in. - 39.6 in., Adjustable
DRY WEIGHT 596 lbs.
OIL CAPACITY 3 qts., Dry Sump

~Apex Mountain Features~

~Reverse~ Used to power the sled off the trailer and to back out of hairy situations. These things weigh about 550 lbs, dragging them off a trailer or out of a hole is a some times a pain in the you know what. Like, when it is 10 below and snowing sideways.
~Skid Plates~ Protect the sled’s chassis, a-arms and suspension from hidden hazards (sharks teeth!)

~Ski and Snowboard Rack~

For hauling skis and snowboards to summit altitudes.
~Longer Track & Ice Scratchers~
Improved traction and control. Scratchers scrap snow from the trail onto moving components keeping them lubricated and cool.
~Rider Forward~
Shifts the riders weight forward to improve sled maneuverability and handling for backcountry riding.

~Lefty Throttle ~
Give the rider the option to control throttle with left hand.

~Fuel Injection~
Starts up first turn every time & improves performance at altitude.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Cheetah Factory Racing.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Colorado Moon Shine.

Full Hunter's Moon at Perigee.
My mom was telling me about the full moon tonight. Apparently tonight's full moon is a special treat because it is happening a mere 356,753 km from the earth. This low fly by happens every 14 lunar months or 1.13 years.
She said the moon shine would be bright, but I was not expecting this.

All these images were taken by moon light with a
Nikon D40X at 30 Seconds / F 6.3 (or so) .

A look at the neighborhood.

Indian Peaks and the continental divide .
I can't help but hum Cat Steven's anthem "Moon Shadow" tonight.

Cat Stevens - Moonshadow

Oh, I'm bein' followed by a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow
Leapin and hoppin' on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow

And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plough, lose my land,
Oh if I ever lose my hands, Oh if.... I won't have to work no more.
And if I ever lose my eyes, if my colours all run dry,
Yes if I ever lose my eyes, Oh if.... I won't have to cry no more.

And if I ever lose my legs, I won't moan, and I won't beg,
Yes if I ever lose my legs, Oh if.... I won't have to walk no more.
And if I ever lose my mouth, all my teeth, north and south,
Yes if I ever lose my mouth, Oh if.... I won't have to talk...

Did it take long to find me? I asked the faithful light.
Did it take long to find me? And are you gonna stay the night?


The ghost who lives on the mountain top.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

First Flakes

Snapshot from the deck.
Coal Creek Canyon first snow of the 07 season.
This mornings 6 inches, with more coming was a welcome site
waxing iron smoking.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Fishing Colorado: Wild Basin

Wild Basin 2007.
This year Wild Basin has been a favorite. Having fly fished most of the water from Bluebird lake to Copeland lake I have had mixed success in the area. This location has amazing water. Its numerous beaver ponds, deep slow moving pools and bank water seem too good to be true. Fly fishing the streams and lakes in the area has been very tedious at times. The overall experience more than makes up for a lack of tricked trout, which is good because today we were skunked!

Today kind of started out crappy.
I’m not going to rant like I’d plan, but I will say this.

Standing at the counter at the backcountry office is not an appropriate place to plan a trip. Do that on your own time, especially when a line out the door forms behind you. It wastes the time of all the other people who planned their trips before “day of”! And Ranger working the station, notice the line, multitask, call somebody, something!

45 min to get a reserved backcountry permit = not good enough RMNP!

A few strikes and a rise or two was all the trout had to do with us today.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Or not.

Last night's gusty winds had their say on my storage tent idea.
I woke up to mangled steal posts and ripped eyelets. The contents of the tent were spread throughout in the forest.
The winds were reported to have gusts that were estimated at 40 mph. That is only about half of the top wind speed here on the ridge in past years. Top gusts clocked in at 90 mph last year.
Back to the drawing board...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Indian Peaks Texture

Old Pine. 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

Indian Peaks Wilderness

The Indian Peaks Wilderness is a wilderness area in the north central Rockies of Colorado. Part of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest it includes 7 peaks over 13,000 feet in elevation with the highest peak being North Arapaho Peak (13,502 feet). The wilderness is just south of local favorite Rocky Mountain National Park and north of the James Peak Wilderness. Indian Peaks straddles the Continental Divide and provides water to the city of Boulder in the form of snow runoff.

Me and Milo (aka,The Babylon Dog) atop mount Jasper.

Boulder's water runs off the high peaks into alpine lakes.
This water is crystal clear and icy cold.

Small Falls above tree line.