Sunday, November 30, 2014

"It is better to retreat off a good climb than to succeed on an indifferent one."

-- Chris Jones, Climbing in North America

Our final hike for this visit aimed for Hanging Lake succeeded in completing a mile of ice-covered trail, enjoying the titanic sandstone/shale rock towers, and having fun behaving like the kids who innocently did everything they could to strike fear in their parents' hearts while rock scrambling. The sun was falling faster than we were climbing, though, so we reversed our course and slid back down on our Thanksgiving dinners, promising to return some day.

Off to Coolidge, Arizona, on Sunday, expecting to arrive late. I plan to post again on Monday, December 1.


Photos from a predawn foray to watch the sandstone towers greet the sunrise.

This is the second morning this year that I have woken well before dawn to hike up a pile of rock as the eastern horizon brightened, racing with the sun to reach the top ... easier this time, fortunately, if less enjoyable.

Still, madness. Not sure why I do this, other than knowing that it is the right thing for me to do.

Photos from the climb towards Hanging Lake

Sorry, no photos of our downhill slide. It was fun, mostly!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Free Friday

Remarkable if not surprising -- very few shoppers in downtown Grand Junction on Black Friday. Perhaps they drove over the mountain to the malls in Denver? Very good lunch at the Bin 707 Foodbar, great treats at Enstrom's, fun at the Museum of the West.

One of the rituals of home ownership needed Laurie's attention in the afternoon, and I volunteered to join in the fun: time to rake the leaves to the curb!

The time remaining before sunset put plans for a final big hike at Glenwood Springs out of reach until tomorrow, so we invited Negrita on a local stroll. Our path followed the perimeter of the new golf course laid in as part of a sprawling development; land, Laurie said, that was entirely open when she arrived.

Still the same question after fifty years -- where do they think the water is going to come from to keep all the residential services, the agriculture industry, and these golf courses going?  The Colorado River is sold, and the drought is getting worse, as discussed in this National Research Council report.

For now, the land is still a natural wonder bounded by towering sandstone cliffs and towers. With luck, it may still be that way for my grandchildren.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Culinary Recommendation

With thanks to my sister.

Giving thanks, walking in Tabeguache

Laurie and I had an excellent breakfast at the Los Altos B&B, followed by a neighborhood walk with Negrita to settle our digestion. Then, on to the 11:00 a.m. buffet at the Wine Country Inn.  I took a second turn around the neighborhood and Laurie raked leaves; still having some time before dinner, we took Negrita out to Tabeguache Park for another ramble.

Laurie's question: "Do you normally go walking three times a day?" Only when I eat enough food for a week.

Here's some photos from the "Hop Skip and Jump" trail at Tabeguache.

Big Water vs. Big Boulder. Guess who wins.

Laurie helped Negrita search the arroyo for good grass.

McInnis Canyon

Laurie and I squeezed in a valley hike between moving in to the B&B and nightfall. Here are some photos!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Warming weather here will be turning the alpine trails currently covered calf-deep in snow to alpine trails with equally deep mud.  At Laurie's suggestion, I am abandoning the Powderhorn Resort eyrie today for a B&B in the valley, and hope to find longer hiking opportunities along the floor of this wonderful valley.  This will also improve Negrita's patience with Laurie's return from lengthy absences smelling of Snow and Outdoors.

Some things about the resort I will not miss, very typical of ski resorts -- the baseboard heating systems swing the room temperature between sweater-chilly and desert dry, and the hot -- make that warm -- tub water supply is limited to 130 F. Caution, hot water may be hot ....

A few farewell Powderhorn pix -- again, please click on photos for an enlarged view.

Grand Mesa

Facing west, the Grand Mesa in panorama

Facing east, Powderhorn's ski slopes

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Getting high in Colorado

Brief window in the storm today gave Laurie enough time to drive up the hill, collect her East Coast visitor, and continue up to the Skyline Trail just above 10,000 feet ASL.

The fast moving and clearly snow laden clouds in the photos motivated us to keep the hike short. Beautiful walk, though.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sent up

Opening moves for the high point of my trip today, moving up to the the ski condo at Powderhorn.

I said goodbye to Negrita, Laurie's dog, and we drove off to risk the icy mountain roads. (They weren't very icy, really, but we were ready!)

Very nice digs! Bay window looking out on the snow, kitchen, bedroom, and full size hot tub -- which was supposed to be a fireplace. Hmm, not easy to roast marshmallows in a hot tub, will talk to management in the morning.

If weather allows, Laurie will drive back up the road from Grand Junction tomorrow and lead me on our first wander in the forest here.  Looking forward to it!

Colorado National Monument

Drive through a portion of the sandstone wonderland surrounding Grand Junction.  Enjoy the photos! (Click to enlarge.)

Colorado National Monument -- Red Canyon
Independence Monument, threatened

What did you say - "Look, there's a deer!"?

After the excitement of driving icy roads without guardrails, the Concierge navigated the valley landscape of wineries to provide some relaxation at days' end ... tasting wine in the shadow of Mount Garfield.

"Rusty's Dream". Everyone should have a goal that is just out of reach.