Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado

Yesterday we decided that we would take a little trip up to Pikes Peak, since this will be our last weekend of exploration out here in Colorado for a while, because we are moving back to California in a week or so. On our way across town I started seeing a whole lot of race cars coming from the same direction we were headed, when I realized that the Pikes Peak Hill Climb was this weekend! Sure enough once we got out to the turn off for the road up to Pikes Peak it was closed off to visitors. We had to come up with plan B and quick! I remember a friend telling me about a road that went from a town on the west side of Pikes Peak south over Cheyenne mountain and back to the Springs, so we stopped in Woodland Park to check out the map.

Sure enough there it was, and it looked like it would be a good trip. We headed south on highway 67 down through Divide where we saw amazing views like this one the whole way.

From highway 67 we turned off on to the Lazy S Ranch road and then quickly onto Colorado Road #8. While I’m not sure exactly of the path we took, because I have pictures of signs that mark the road and the map says that we went a different way, but hey it’s all good right? Anyways the road is good the whole way, so no four wheeling or anything, but there were many side roads that spurred off where one could definitely find some fun.

The road carves through some pretty amazing rock outcroppings that are nice to take a look at, it’s pretty amazing what man will do to make a road.

The road even travels through a pretty cool tunnel.

Also along this amazing road we saw several rock outcroppings that were each magnificent in their own unique way.

There were also several lakes in the area that were amazing as well.

All in all this was a beautiful drive through some of the best of what Colorado has to offer and there wasn’t a boat load of people like some of the other places we’ve been to while we were out here. Colorado is an amazing state, there is much to do and many places to explore. I know that I haven’t been to all of them, but in my short time out here I’ve gotten to see many of the best. I’m very greatful for the last couple of months, I hope to see more in the future.

Speaking of the future, there are two places that I did not get to see while out here, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and the area around the town of Telluride. Maybe next summer I’ll be able to take some time off and come out for a visit.

It may be a little bit for my next adventure, but I’m sure it will be good. Next stop Northern Califonia!

I made my annual pilgrimage to Moab this weekend

This weekend I got to back to one of my favorite places in the country. Moab, Utah. There are few things better than going for a swim in the Colorado river, or exploring the slick rock and arches around this amazing place. If you have even the tiniest outdoor bone in your body, you have to go to Moab. There is hiking, mountain biking, river rafting, four wheeling and camping that all ranks in the top of their class compared to any place in the country.

We were only there for a short trip this time, due to the wife being 9 months pregnant and all, but we had a great time for sure. We went for swim in the river to get cooled off and have some lunch, then spent the rest of the day exploring Arches National Park. This got the kids seal of approval, and there were many promises to return for more exploration in the future.

This is my new favorite arch in the whole park. After checking it out a bit this thing is super cool, it’s called the double arch and is right by the “windows section” and the even cooler “cove of caves”.

The infamous balanced rock in arches national park.

Next year we are planning to camp out in and explore Canyonlands National Park for our 3rd annual Moab trip. I did a quick pass through last year, but didn’t get to see hardly any of the park, so next year it gets a thorough going over.

Check out some websites about the area:
Arches NP
Canyonlands NP
Moab, Utah

Found a pretty cool Baja Video today

Below is a video of an area I would love to explore. It just seems so far away from everything that I see in my daily routine and that is so very inviting to me. Wouldn’t it be nice to be on a boat in the ocean with a school of dolphins swimming all around you? I’m sure it would be more than nice. The adventure, the sights and the amazingly different world that people live in down there is calling my name and someday I will get down there to see it. For now I’ll have to watch video’s like these over and over again to get some kind of fill. Enjoy:

Got a little exploring done today

We went up to Denver and checked out a couple of things. First we went to a little state park south of Denver called Roxborough. It had some pretty cool sandstone formations, but was pretty small. We explored the whole park by noon, and got a little lesson from a park ranger about how the rocks were formed. Pretty amazing stuff, but over my head to explain here. Their website is pretty good here.

After that we decided to go on up to Denver and check out the city. I’ve been all around the down town area, but I haven’t ever seen the actual city center. It’s one of the cleanest big cities I’ve ever been in. Not saying that I would ever live in a big city, but this is one of the nicer towns in my opinion. We ended up at the REI in town there and it was very nice. I love those stores and this is one of the nicest I’ve been to. Always good to get some time in there.

Anyways…We had a good time and are going to spend all this week getting ready for our trip out to Grand Junction Next week. Hopefully we don’t have a baby on the way!

Alaska is looking mighty fine.

Thinking more and more about a trip up to Alaska in the future. Videos like this are fueling the fire quite a bit, but there is just so much amazing things to see and do up there. It’s calling me and it’s getting louder.

I need to get the vehicle situation under control first, though. Maybe this time next year I hope to get up there. The Toyota is gone now, and next up in the vehicle line up is looking to be a Jeep Cherokee. It will take some work, but I like that well enough. This go around is going to be a family expedition style 4×4, so a little different than the past in some aspects. The more I look at the XJ platform the more I like it, so I’m starting to get pretty excited. I’ll post up some pics when I get the thing here in a couple of weeks. It’s a 2001 from Arizona, so no previous wheeling and no rust. That’s a good place to start.

For now I’ll have to drive the chevy, it’s 2 wheel drive, but it does ok.

Enjoy the video.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Today we took a trip down to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and we had a blast. This is the tallest dune in North America and after hiking to the top I can vouch for that! If you want some good exercise try hiking up 1000 feet in 1/2 mile in sand! While the park was pretty crowded, because it was the weekend before the 4th of July, the people were pretty concentrated in the campground and picnic area. It didn’t take too much walking to get away from the people, mostly due to the fact that not many people wanted to walk in the deep sand.

There is a road that goes over the Sangre de Cristo mountains called the Medano Pass trail, and I would highly recommend this route if you are going to this park. If I were to recommend a path I would enter into the park from the main entrance, then play in the park for the day, and after that head out of the park on the 4wd trail. This way you get to go from the desert valley, to the dunes, to the mountains and see the whole evolution of Medano Creek.

Other than hiking in the dunes and up the mountains, you can also take a dip in Medano Creek as well, and it sure is nice after a trip up the dunes!

View the Parks website here.
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve:

* contains the tallest dunes in North America and one of the most fragile and complex dune systems in the world
* protects a globally significant, water- and wind-driven system, which includes creeks that demonstrate surge flow, a rare hydrologic phenomenon
* provides tremendous scenic settings that, for many, provoke strong emotional responses. These settings (including massive dunes surrounded by alpine peaks, a desert valley, creeks flowing on the surface of the sand, pristine mountains, and rural range land) offer spacious relief from urban America, exceptional solitude and quiet, and a remarkably unspoiled day and night sky
* hosts a great diversity of plants and animals, including insect species found nowhere else on earth. The system, which spans high desert to alpine life zones, supports rare biological communities that are mostly intact and functional
* contains some of the oldest (9,000+ years before present) known archeological sites in America. The dunes have been identified as having special importance by people of various cultures, and the area is recognized for the culturally diverse nature of human use
* provides special opportunities for recreation, exploration, and education in the highly resilient dune mass and adjoining creek environments.

The amazing Sangre de Cristo mountains in the background

Going UP!!

The view from the top of the Dunes

A little fun in Medano Creek out front of the Dunes

A word about a great piece of gear

I just wanted to put out a little review on a piece of gear that has served me very well. This sleeping bag is made by Sierra Designs and it’s called a Sandman. I have had this bag for going on 4 years now, it’s been with me from one side of the country to the other, in warm climates and cold and it’s one of the best investments that I’ve made, ever. The zipper still works great and I am always comfy in it. There is very little wear and tear, and the temperature rating is perfect for many instances. The times I have gone camping and the temp was lower than the rating of the bag I just simply wore some clothes and the thing was fine. One time I had to add some blankets on top when I was stuck in Wyoming in a blizzard and it was 0 degrees with the wind blowing like no tomorrow. This put it well below the rating and it still did fine.

I love the flexability of the bag, because I tend to sleep on my side and I always struggled with mummy bags in the past. It’s a little on the heavy side at 3lbs 12 oz, but that is because it is stuffed with polargaurd 3D. This is far better if you think that the bag will ever get wet, because it doesn’t lose it’s insulating properties when wet. For a traveler like myself that is not super concerned with weight and size this is the way to go. Highly recommended for the price, next time you are looking for a good sleeping bag check these out.