Dates: Wednesday March 28th thru Sunday April 1st, 2012
Details of Travel: 1,500 driving miles!
- March 28th-March 30th: Zion National Park (highlights = Angel’s Landing at sunrise, Narrows hike in 44degree water, Hidden Canyon hike, our campsite outside of Zion)
- Night of March 30th: Camping outside Bryce Canyon at the mouth of Casto Canyon in Red Canyon BLM
- March 31st: Sunrise at Bryce Canyon National Park, drive thru highcountry of Southwest Utah
- April 1st: Rock climbing in Ouray with Rambo
Interactive Map of our Quick Journey:
View Zion Trip in a larger map
Mid-afternoon we finally pulled off of I-15 which was bustling and crazy compared to the almost relaxing I-70 section of the trip. Our first stop was to stretch our legs at the North Entrance of Zion National Park known as the Kolob Terrace. It was chilly, dark and dreary due to the storm that was still holding on overhead. The quick hike did not reveal much in the way of photos, however it was great to finally be at our destination.
Insider information always helps and we were pointed to a BLM camping area by my buddy before we left. Timing was on our side and we pulled into one of the best spots in the canyon. Darkness was settling in quickly and right before the sun disappeared it fell below the thick clouds and lit the area up in beautiful light. Here Caitlin takes in the views from our campsite at Smithsonian Butte BLM outside of Zion NP:
Luckily we ran into another couple around our age that had been in the park for the last few days and told us to get up early to get on Angel’s Landing before the normal tourist shit-show happens. An early next-day was planned.
Angel’s Landing: 1,500 vertical ft, ~5 miles RT, ~1:40 to the top
Our first foray into the main canyon was well before the first sunlight and before the park rangers had taken their posts. Quick glimpses of turkey’s and deer were had as we pulled into the trailhead. We were the first to the trailhead that day as we pulled in just before 7:00am, however two other small groups pulled up right behind us and started off before we could get our packs ready. Luckily we did not see them or anyone else for quite some time.
We quickly gained Scout’s Landing where we were greeted with our first sunlight of the day. At this point we passed one of the groups and started-up one of the best hikes I have ever done. The exposure was great and made the relativity simple hiking that much more exciting. Caitlin with the sun just starting to illuminate Angel’s Landing in front of us, 8:30am almost to the top:
We reached the top where we ran into the only person that was in front of us. She was already on her way down and we were left in complete solitary to enjoy a true wonder. Looking back on the hike from the top of Angel’s Landing (the trail runs along the illuminated ridge on the left w/ huge exposure on both sides):
45 mins of complete solitude on top of the world! One can understand where the name Angel’s Landing comes from as we sat watching the sun creep further down the enormous sandstone walls while listening to the sounds of the river and the occasional sound from the wild-turkeys below nearly 1,500 feet below. Once other people showed-up the vibe changed quickly and we headed down. Hiking down was just as exciting as going up:
Back at Scout’s landing we took our time and explored around. We spotted one of the massive California Condor’s that was hanging out watching the crowds on the route (when hiking Angel’s landing in the morning he scared us when he buzzed us once coming around a cliff feature):
Back down to the trailhead we cooked some lunch in the park and planned our next excursion.
Hidden Canyon and Weeping Canyon
We were in the hiking mood and an additional 700 vertical foot climb to the mouth of Hidden Canyon took us into another magical place. Hiking the nice sandy trail we scrambled around this incredible canyon for a couple hours until we finally reached a logical turning point. The hike back down was much quicker since we had already figured out the route around the tough sections.
At the entrance to the canyon were some awesome overhangs. Here Caitlin is getting a feel for ~650 ft of sheer cliff (trail below is the switchbacks for the East Rim/Hidden Canyon and Weeping Rock is in the upper LH side):
Narrow’s Canyon Hike: 110 CFS, 44 degree water, 75 degree air temp highs, random old-friend encounters
The water was cold and we rented drysuits from the http://www.zionadventures.com/ which had a nice set-up and totally worth every penny that we spent with them. Started the hike late (somewhat intentional due to the cool morning temps). Caitlin hiking through the golden glow of the afternoon light:
We fought our way up the river as the flow was high and strong. This turned out to be the hardest hike of the trip and the rewards were well worth it. Myself and Caitlin enjoying the river:
The world is truly a small place! After hiking for a short-bit another couple was gaining on us and eventually they caught-up and it turned out being my friend Drew and his wife Carrie, whom I originally met in the DU Alpine Club and had not seen in a number of years. Awesome to hike with them for a while and catch-up. Drew, Carrie, Caitlin and Andy photo deep in the canyon:
The river was flowing very heavy at 110 CFS that day and they closed down the canyon the next day as the flows got above 120 CFS. Timing was on our side and we got to experience quite the hike.
Bryce Canyon, Red Canyon BLM and Southwest Utah:
We ate Dinner with Drew and Carrie and did not hit the road to Bryce canyon until dusk. With some very loose ideas of places to camp just outside of Red Canyon we drove up some BLM road and found a place to lay our heads for the night. Night-time photos over Castro Canyon (and a ghost self-portrait):
Another early morning and we arrived to Bryce Canyon where our jaws promptly dropped:
Again there was very few people around which was surprising considering it was a Saturday morning in a park famous for sunrises. Caitlin dancing with the trees of Bryce Canyon:
We did a short hike in chacos and wool socks which was nice to stretch out after the previous two grueling days.
You don’t need to spend much time here as it is relatively small so it was perfect for a nice morning excursion before grabbing lunch at the lodge and then taking the long journey all the way to Ouray, Colorado.
The route through the desert between Bryce Canyon and Hanksville, UT was really quite cool. Some amazing vistas in a place that I had no prior knowledge on (not to mention you drive thru MTN passes at ~10,000 ft, Escalante, Capitol Reef NP, Lake Powell, Cone Mtn, Henry Mountains, etc).
A late arrival in Ouray and we crashed at RAMBO‘s house. The next day we hit up some climbing just outside of town at a place called Colby’s Corner which had some nice routes and expansive views of Sneffel’s and Cimarron peaks. A nice dip in the hot springs plus a Mouse’s Chocolate shake and we were recovered from the hikes and ready to head home!
Looking back in the rear-view mirror of the awesomeness of this part of the world:
Perma-Link here: http://andylibrande.com/news/2012/07/zion-bryce-ouray-spring-break/
Just like that we went from blazing hot to the cool temps of fall. I experienced this during a little landscape project that started in late August and went up to mid-Sept (essentially going from dripping sweat to just normal sweat). That little landscape project turned into a much bigger project somehow miraculously finishing moments before the start of the Backyard Bouldering Competition.
The cool temps lead to an active fall of many short-outings experiencing the intense fall colors. Below is just a photographic taste from the short adventures that took place during the extended fall season
Kenosha Pass (and all surrounding areas) were absolutely breath-taking on Oct 1st-2nd, 2011:
Once finished with the climbing comp I was able to get out again (had no real adventures since Independence Pass in early August). Here we are at Mt Sanitas in Boulder doing some bouldering, September 17th, 2011:
Andrew relaxing on the top-out:
Aspen’s just starting to get really colorful on Squaw Pass Road near Evergreen on September 25th, 2011:
A trip to Crested Butte with RAMBO happened on Oct 1st-2nd. Potentially the most colorful weekend in my life. More will be posted on this adventure, however here is a teaser:
My sister flew in from Austin, TX and we checked out Rocky Mountain National Park on a snowy day in the park. October 9th, 2011:
There were also a lot of elk out that day and we had fun watching them in their rut:
Friday afterwork session in Castlewood Canyon with Caitlin at the 9 Lives Boulder, October 14th, 2011:
Fall more or less wrapped-up in Colorado for me on a beautiful, brisk day in Castlewood Canyon doing some bouldering with Jake and Ben. November 11th, 2012:
Full Post here: http://andylibrande.com/news/2012/02/quick-moments-of-fall/
Thanksgiving found us in San Diego to hang-out with Caitlin’s family and explore an area that I have not been to before. This is unlike most of our adventures and kept it pretty simple with the main sites being the San Diego Zoo and Mission Beach.
After spending a few days doing Thanksgiving we headed to the amazing San Diego Zoo which was quite awesome.
Towards the very end of the day we ended-up at the Gorilla’s where the male silverback was in full display and a large crowd had gathered. I thought this was a pretty sweet capture as he put his back against the glass wall.
Saturday afternoon Caitlin and I made our way out to Mission Beach via public transportation (easy and cheap). While it was hot downtown the sea breeze was actually a bit chilly.
Then the sunset started to happen: From the first photo I took to the last one it lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes which made for an amazing sight as we strolled down the beach:
Pelican diving for dinner at Mission Beach during sunset:
It was fun place to check out and we stayed downtown for real cheap which allowed for us to try out some delicious drinks and listen to jazz at the speakeasy Prohibition and also try out the unique decor of Vin de Syrah.
The final bits of light over Mission Beach with the moon just starting to show itself:
Flying over the mountains (and the Grand Canyon!) during sunset is awesome!
Full Link here: http://andylibrande.com/news/2012/01/sunsets-in-san-diego/
If you haven’t already, please read the quick recap of our CABO SAN LUCAS trip here: http://andylibrande.com/news/2011/06/down-in-mexico-a-quick-trip-report/
In summary I took a couple pretty photos. Below are some more scenics from the trip.
Scenics from a Week in the Baja:
Panorama of a Pink Sunrise over the eastern beaches of Cabo San Lucas on the morning of May 9th, 2011. This is a photo that I stitched together and plan on printing. The print will be ~80 inches wide when I get it done. I witnessed nearly every sunrise on the trip as they were far more spectacular then the sunsets at Cabo. Plus it was very peaceful watching the beach slowly wake-up every morning from our awesome villa.
Click for a much larger version and enjoy:
One morning I was treated to the most colorful sunrise I have ever seen. The location of the sunrise caught me off guard as it was the first morning in this new spot and I didn’t quite nail the composition. It lasted for just a couple minutes and luckily I woke Caitlin as she is the only testimonial that this actually happened. Unreal colors over San Jose Del Cabo taken from the Las Palmillas Casita:
We kayaked out to Finisterra to see the Arch. Conveniently it was out of the water (extremely rare) and we were able to walk right underneath it. Here Caitlin is enjoying the view from the ocean and I am trying not to drop my camera into the water:
This is a small tunnel that we crawled through for fun. Andrew is standing in the other entrance while I am on my belly taking a photo from the small entrance. Located on Playa del Amor near the Arch.
Whitney at Playa del Amor:
Sunbathing at the Casita:
Did I mention that this whole house was just our groups for a few days!?! It was awesome with incredible views sitting above a violent ocean swell. This is a photo that I stitched together to get the full house.
This is the back patio of the first place we stayed at called the Villa at the Hacienda resort. We had an amazing spot that overlooked Finisterra right on Medano Beach and minutes from the Marina and downtown Cabo. It was pretty incredible.
Sunset over Finisterra (Land’s End):
So many more photos that I have it is hard to narrow it down sometimes.
Hoped you enjoyed!
Link to full post: http://andylibrande.com/news/2011/07/scenics-from-the-baja/
What: A week-long trip to Cabo San Lucas area in Mexico
Why: Because the US State Department says it is really dangerous (OMG!!!)
Who: Andrew Giamberardino, Whitney Hoover, Caitlin Shay, Andy Librande, Billy Papa G, and Erin
Real Reason for going: We heard there is tequila down there
How: We sold our organs to help pay for our trip there and back
Overview: This is the nuts and bolts of the trip listed mainly because I tend to over-exaggerate everything and routinely mix-up events. The photos are on the light side but more will be coming. I took 3,000 photos on the trip and these ones get the point across.
El Arco de Cabo San Lucas with Sand Under the Arch which only happens every few years:
Saturday Day 1: Arrive early afternoon to Cabo; the flight between DEN and LAX was amazing as we were in a little plane and had great views of the snow-capped mountains. Get stuff at CostCo which outside of the meat and the amazing juice nectar the prices were not that great. Arrive at the best resort in Cabo San Lucas with incredible views and no-one else around. Drink.
Billy and Erin at our Villa with Finisterra in the background:
Sunday Day 2: Pick-up Caitlin. Pick-up a ton of fruit, delicious pastries, and more tequila at the grocery store. Get lunch at Taco stand where we tried Corazon Asado among other delicacies…Very hot in the city. Drink. Eat at the Hacienda restruatrant for dinner (which is a part of the resort we stayed at). Drink some more.
Powerful waves on the Pacific side of Playa del Amor:
Monday Day 3: Beautiful morning Kayak to Finisterra (“Land’s End”) also home to Playa del Amor or Lover’s Beach. Almost get destroyed by a massive wave. Walked under El Arco de Cabo San Lucas (which one can only do every couple of years when the tides are low). Snorkel. Eat late lunch at some random place with good fish tacos. Sweat balls off walking around mexican part of Cabo. Enjoy refreshing Coke. Walked into the most hilarious and out of place indoor Shopping MallI have ever seen. Drink. Late night dinner at The Office on the beach. Drink a lot. Have fun in pool when we get back.
Caitlin with El Archo as a backdrop:
Sea Lion literally laying underneath El Archo:
Tuesday Day 4: One hour drive to the city of Todos Santos. See some awesome art, buy some unique pieces, enjoy the 15 degree cooler weather there. Eat fish/shrimp tacos in a small thatched roof restaurant. Drive home on a road that is under-construction (where we saw a construction truck fall-off the road earlier). Late Dinner at Mi Casa.
The plaza at Todos Santos bordered by the town’s mission:
Wednesday Day 5: Early morning walk on beach with Caitlin, see a 50+ fishing boats leave at the same time for start of a fishing competition exactly at 7am, hang out at resort pool, breakfast at Hacienda Restruatrant, struggle at Paddle-boarding due to large waves, lunch at Los Michancos where you buy the Carnitas by the Kilo (probably the best meal of the trip), hilarious negotiations when shopping, pack-up and head to La Casita at the Palmillas near San Jose del Cabo. Cook dinner there which was a massive amount of delicious ribs.
Caitlin enjoying the infinity pool at the Hacienda Resort in Cabo:
Thursday Day 6: Andy hangs around as not feeling well. Others go ATV’ing. Andrew/Whit go to the One and Only for dinner, Andy and Caitlin go downtown San Jose del Cabo for Thursday night art walk, drink free tequilas and mojitos at the numerous art galleries, ponder crazy art, and eat delicious dinner at Meson del Angel. Get lost on taxi ride home.
The group about to chow down on some home cooking:
Friday Day 7: See best sunrise of the trip (and one of the best in my life). Say goodbye to Erin and Billy. Hang-out at the pool at Club 96 as Andrew provides a tour for some travel agents. Drink more mojitos. Hang-out at Casita. Andrew/Whit get tanked. Andrew makes funny dolphin noises. Go to San Jose del Cabo and eat dinner at Tropicana.
Andy, Caitlin, Whitney and Andrew set the course at the Casita in San Jose del Cabo:
Saturday Day 8: Wake-up everyone really early for sunrise (6:15am) and get some great photos. Walk on beach one last time. Pack-up all of our stuff and start drinking. Drop Whitney at Club 96 and go into town for Tequila and final souvenirs. Hang-out at pool until 2:15, head back to casita and leave to airport at 3:00pm. See Jessica Alba on plane to LA. Awesome view flying out of cabo of the two different houses as well as Los Arcos. Arrive to LAX where after sitting for 10 mins decide we need to off-load at the back of the plane, get on a bus which proceeds to drive around the entire airport taking 15 mins, walk through a deserted section of the airport for 10 mins, go through customs, pick-up baggage, go through customs random check which takes another 15 mins, run to baggage re-check, go through security, wait for another bus to take us to the small ass American Airlines Eagle terminal, board plane at 8:29pm with departure time at 8:30pm. Very close. Arrive to rainy and cold Denver with some tall weeds in the front yard.
Andrew and Whitney with a intense early morning sunrise:
Sunday Day 1 Post Trip: Realized I took way too many photos.
Below is a slideshow showing some of my favorite photos from 2010. 2010 was a pretty good year with a number of really cool trips to new locations and old favorites. Hope you enjoy:
If you are following from a feed please follow this link for the full post: http://andylibrande.com/news/2011/01/some-favorites-from-2010/
What: A Visit to Boston, MA and the surrounding climbing
When: Sept 25th – Oct 2nd, 2010 (Sat thru Sat)
Took a week off from work to meet up with Chris who has been living in Boston for just over a year. The goal was to visit a number of different bouldering areas while spending some time checking out Boston. It was the first time I have been to the East Coast and was looking forward to something completely new.
Immediately we had to check out the local spot. The day after I landed we headed to the Hammond Pond area in Newton which was less then 15 mins from Chris’s house. We went to a spot that Chris had not previously checked out, as the parking for the area is questionable, called the Temple Overhangs. Awesome hunk of rock hidden in the forest made out of a weird rock called puddingstone (resembling a slick castlewood rock).
Myself stretching the muscles after the flight:
Chris sending the Classic Reefer Madness:
Chris on the Traverse Problem:
Sweet shot Chris took of me getting spanked on the Reefer Madness start:
Shortly after this decent session a rainstorm moved in and spent Sunday Evening through Tuesday Evening slowly drizzling. The weather changed the plans which resulted in us spending a lot of quality time in exploring the sites and sounds of Boston. Ate a ridiculous amount of great Italian food, ran into a number of good characters, climbed indoors at Metro Rock (really fun gym), and saw a bunch of cool sites which was an unexpected plus.
Tuesday night was looking gloomy and we could only hope that the weather the next day might be good. Much to our surprise (and contradicting of the weather reports) we woke to sunny skies, the clouds quickly burned off, and the sun was nice and warm drying the rain quickly.
The drive to the legendary Pawtuckaway State Park Bouldering area was a nice drive. The closer we got the nicer the weather was getting and we were getting very excited for our visit. We finally pulled into the area a little after 11am (we had to save a turtle from the road on the way in) we hiked into the Round Pond area due to the guidebook recommending it for lots of sun.
The boulders were perfect. Nicely clustered on the top of a small hill overlooking a good-sized pond (would probably qualify for lake status in Colorado), we checked out any climb that was dry.
Myself not liking the starting crimps on this dyno problem:
There was this unique block that is tetering on-top of another much smaller boulder. Chris crushed the problem Atlas v5/6 repeatedly for photo ops and for fun. Really awesome to watch:
Spending enough time at Round Pond we decided to head over to the main event, the area called Boulder Natural. A insane cluster of granite blocks in every shape and size nestled deep in the forest along a small stream.
I spent a lot of time trying to spend the classic Hobbit Hole but the feet eluded me:
However this dyno right next door was way too much fun:
We ended the day with Chris trying to send one of the harder classic problems in the area, Terrorist. Chris was climbing extremely well this trip considering that he took a hiatus when he moved to Boston over a year ago…very impressive to watch:
Pawtuckaway was a really cool area and I wish we had more time/energy/supplies to continue to check out this awesome location and glad that we had such a full great day out there.
More rain moved in and we were beat after our intense 6.5 hrs of climbing at Pawtuckaway. However before the trip was up we spotted one last day to go climbing and raced a storm on a Friday morning down to Lincoln Woods in Rhode Island. After an hour drive we pulled into the park right at 10am and threw-down on as many problems as we could handle at the “Warm-up Wall” which has a number of quality problems.
Myself getting some of the more interesting moves on Cave Overhang:
Chris flashing Iron Cross (with the Sasquatch the spotter not being very attentive):
Chris trying this Dyno, right before a massive monsoon downpour hit us and we scrambled to pick up the various pieces of climbing equipment and expensive photo gear. 2.5 hrs after we got there we were rained out; turned out to be just enough time for a great last session.
Andy perfecting his Pizza pick-up skills:
Street Art by Bansky:
Windy in the City:
Damn good trip.
If you are following from a feed here is the original link: http://andylibrande.com/news/2010/11/new-england-trip-and-bouldering/
When: June 11-13, 2010
Who: Myself, Caitlin, meeting up with Trent, Bethany, Duncan, Cara, Dan, plus the dogs.
So this recap is a little late considering it is now September and this happened back in June. But I couldn’t leave out this trip from the records because it was ridiculous. Let’s start at the beginning and all the photos will be in chronological order just for sake of ease.
We all convened in the Pinyon Flats Campground Friday night on a relatively quick drive from Denver. It is Bethany’s B-day weekend but we were able to reserve only one campground that can’t have more then two tents and two cars; we were not about to let “the man” hold us down so we set-up camp under a beautiful clear night sky with 4 tents and 4 cars (as we were traveling from all over the state). Spirits were high that night we were excited for a awesome weekend on the dunes filled with glorious adventures and abundant amounts of fun. Let’s just say everything changed quickly…
About 2-3am was when we encountered our first challenge: insane winds!!!! We are in the sand dunes so that means where there is wind there is also flying sand; this is not just a little sand, but epic amounts of fine grain sand getting into every little crevice that it could find. Sleep quickly became a luxury as the wind and sand combo was blowing up tiny particles of sand underneath the rain fly and dropping down on us in the tent; it was literally raining sand.
Morning dawns…kinda. It’s cloudy, it’s windy, it’s kinda raining, we are sleep-deprived and it is really early so we do what any logical human being would do in that situation: drink. Out comes the Jack Daniels which we enjoyed alongside numerous fresh cherries and other breakfast goodies; let’s just say each one of us was focused on this activity with Olympic-like intensity.
Several hours later we decide it is time to go do something (not before we had a run-in with vigilante park ranger about the tent situation even though our tents combined took up less space then the tent cities some of the other campers had). We head over the the incredibly busy visitors center (cold, wind and tourons do not mix), which was fun because well, we were intoxicated. Then it was off to suffer on the dunes:
Hiking in wasn’t too bad, a little chilly and a lot windy:
Trent Catching some Air:
The others turned around because they have the dogs and the sand was really messing with their eyes, however Duncan, Caitlin and I keep venturing further. Bad idea as the wind was to out backs but hiking out the wind was in our faces . Right before we decide to turn around:
Luckily the group found an awesome out of wind bank along the river. Some of us caught up on the sleep we were missing:
The low-hanging cloud on the right is part of a small fire that was happening just miles from the campground:
After catching up on sleep (and starting our afternoon hang-over from all the morning drinking) we thought we would get out of the wind and sand and headed to Zapata Falls. Nice little short walk to some freezing cold water (in the deep canyon part ice was still lining the walls). Duncan trying not to fall:
The evening gave us some nice light and you can see how crazy the wind was:
Next morning we awoke to beautiful skies, no wind, and perfect temps. It was such a radical change it was hard to realize that it was the same place. Trent, Bethany, Caitlin and I all found a quite area away from other people and played in the creek, tried some sand-boarding, and just enjoyed the sun:
On the way out Caitlin and I took the scenic route up the San Luis valley eventually hitting up 285 for the ride home. While we were dealing with wind and a little rain in the sand dunes, the I-70 corridor was hit with a very late season snow-storm (most of the snow had already melted off of the peaks and we were sure glad we weren’t camping in that):
Now I can finally say I have been to the sand-dunes (even if I am still scraping sand out of my eyes 3 mos later)!
Where: Yellowstone National Park
When: Friday May 28th – Monday May 31st, 2010; aka Memorial Day Weekend
Who: Caitlin, Andy, thousands of Buffalo, some elk, grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, moose, antelope, and the most dangerous animal of them all: tourists.
Have you every heard of this place called Yellowstone? Because I never have and rightfully so as there is not much to do there. We happened to stumble upon it when we decided that we should drive North through that mostly empty piece of land above Colorado that some historic maps have listed as “Wyoming”.
While driving through this land we eventually landed in this weird place called Yellowstone, which apparently is somewhat famous as it is designated as a National Park (what-ever that means). So we decided to hang-out for a few days (mainly because we were sick of driving through that barren land north of Colorado).
So there is not much to see there which should be expected as it is in the middle of nowhere. Not sure if anyone should ever go to this place…
Not really that many bison roaming all over the park, hanging out on the road or on the trails where you would least expect them.
Or are is there any other wildlife like the herds of elk or Pronghorn Antelope.
Or are there any Grizzly bears taking down elk calves in plain site and proceeding to eat them.
And there are most certainly no Wolves hunting elk herds for their newly born calves.
Lastly the landscape is extremely boring as things such as geysers, springs, bubbling mud-pits, sulphur pits, or stunning mountains and valleys exist anywhere in this park.
Anyways if you want to see some horrible photos of probably the most boring place on earth, please read-on and don’t come crying to me when you are bored to death as I warned you fairly.
The Trip: Yellowstone over Memorial Day Weekend:
Our first Wildlife encounter was on the first evening where we went on our first short hike in Yellowstone (2/3rds mile). We went out around a small geyser basin (Mud Volcano basin) through some insanely wet rain/slush:
Out on this short hike in the wet rain/slush we rounded a corner on the trail right before our eyes was the first (and certainly not last) buffalo; Caitlin exclaimed “Is that a real one!?!”…why yes I believe that is a real one:
One advantage of really wet/slushy rain of the first evening was that the pesky Tourist animal was no-where to be seen. The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Lower Falls which we enjoyed in complete solidarity for at least 20 mins:
Caitlin demonstrating the proper way to deploy Bear Pepper Spray when a bear, bison, chipmunk, moose, bighorn sheep, or RV decide that they will charge you and attempt to maul/gore/eat/cuddle/love/stomp you:
Saturday morning looked pretty much the Beach Vacation we were expecting (2 inches of Fresh!) the next morning near the Hayden Valley:
Damn tourists can’t walk down the road right:
Porcelain Basin near Norris Junction was insanely awesome:
Some really colorful Extremophiles found in the Porcelain Basin:
The Northern Lamar Valley after a fast moving rain storm (which is about 1,500 ft lower than were we camped and was significantly warmer), also known as the Serengeti of Yellowstone:
Momma and Baby Black Bear were hanging out giving the crowds a show (Near Tower):
Sunday Morning we were treated to some excellent GORE!!! Yogi the Grizzly Bear had chased down an delicious Elk Calf for breakfast and I was jealous as I hadn’t yet had my morning baby animal breakfast. Anyways we finally got a decent photo once he got-up and re-hydrated (but people with high-powered scopes helped us see closeups of the grizzly enjoying the various parts of an elk calf):
Then out of no-where some Wolves attacked a small herd of elk on the same hillside!!! Unfortunately they were hidden by a small hill and they would only pop-out occasionally and were running so quick it that I could not get a photo that was worth anything at all 🙁
Once our killing appetite was taken care of we went and checked out some more Geyser basins near Old-Faithful (Old-faithful was probably the least exciting part of the trip):
So we randomly went to this one small side road and got out of the car to wander around. There was a small group near this one geyser and out of no-where the thing started to erupt and was really sweet to watch it shoot about 25 ft into the air. The White Dome Geyser:
Sunday evening the skies cleared and we were treated to some excellent visual pleasure over the Hayden valley and Pelican Creek (just before sunset the temperature peaked at a whopping 54 degrees):
Monday morning we packed-up and headed out. There was some excellent viewage at Yellowstone Lake (which like most things we saw in the park was still frozen):
Then back in the car again and across that vast land of Wyoming…
If you are following from some sort of feed all of my posts can be found here: http://andylibrande.com/news/
Where: Collegiate Peaks outside of Buena Vista Colorado. Specifically on the trail that headed North off of the top of Cottonwood Pass on the South Texas Creek trail.
When: 9/29/09- 10/1/09
Who: The old man and me
It had been a few years since me and my old man had gone backpacking together which has always been a favorite pastime for both of us since I was old enough to carry a pack. With short-notice and very quick planning we targeted a few days at the end of September that appeared would hold for weather and provide us with some good fall viewing potential.
Having backpacked pretty extensively in the Collegiate Peaks I picked a trail that we had not done and appeared to be unique as it started at the top of Cottonwood pass, wound all the way down to Texas Creek, and then looped around back to the top of cottonwood pass. With everything set we planned on doing three days with two over-nights on the trail.
After parking at the top of Cottonwood we started on the trail. Here is the official starting point of the trail with some glorious peaks in front of us. Our trail wound along the left side and eventually dropped into the valley where we would head down it and eventually come around back to the car.
Old battered wilderness sign:
The old man hiking on the first day:
View of the main peak that was above our campsite on a very beautiful first day. The valley was lined with beautiful peaks all around 13,000 ft in height:
The next day offered up some unique weather. Waking up to a light drizzle with the peaks completely covered by clouds:
The clouds lifted and revealed the snow they had left behind:
Me with one of the many beautiful peaks in the background:
The Old Man crossing the decent sized Texas Creek. We tried fly-fishing but the wind was so strong in the valley that we had to abandoned that activity:
Right after we crossed the river we realized that the trail we used to cross this massive valley dead-ended at an old cabin. At this point we decided to go off-trail with the intention to try to meet up with the existing trail by traversing up the side of the mountain. Well we never did traverse far enough to get to that trail and ended up heading up the side of the mountain following game trails.
Here is the old man on one of the many established game trails we followed up the side of the hill. The hike turned out to be steeper, longer, and harder then we initially expected. However the solidarity that we experienced was excellent:
For the vast majority of the hike up the hillside we could not see the valley below us or the mountain in front of us due to the dense forest. It was pretty wild hiking up on random game trails without being able to easily tell which direction or how far we needed to go. Additionally we saw numerous signs of wildlife for both predator and prey but unfortnautely did not see any actual wildlife. At one point we the trees parted enough to offer a beautiful view of Ice Mountain across the valley which is just shy of 14,000ft:
Finally after hours of steep climbing (approx 2,000 ft elevation gain and 3 hrs later), we reached the top of the ridgeline. Right before we crossed over I snapped this better view of Ice Mountain:
Once over the ridgeline we fought strong winds, exposed hillside, and the looming sunset to get back to the vehicle as quickly as possible. At this time our plans had changed to hike back to the car, drive down to lower elevation, set-up camp and then leave the next morning. This photo was taken at ~6:30pm as the evening glow started to take over as we hiked to the car:
The last of the sunlight with Taylor Reservoir on the left and the Maroon Bells in the distance on the right (7:00pm approx 1.5 miles to car at this point):
After the sun went down we finally hit the road and were able to ditch our packs and make the final mile slog to the car. Without the sun the temps dropped dramatically with only made it tougher since we were exhausted. After reaching the car we drove down the road and found an area to set-up camp where we finally got some food into our bellies.
The next morning we woke up to about 2-3 inches of snow and were glad that we hiked out the night before as there was probably upwards of 4-6 inches at the top of the pass.
The beautiful Mt. Princton (14,197 ft) the next morning as we were driving home:
The storm did not hit our area as hard as it hit the I-70 corridor. We drove home on beautiful dry roads while Summit County got a few inches. At this point we were heading into the South Park valley and the clouds are all north of us:
Overall a awesome few days spent with my Dad in the beautiful backcountry of Colorado.