List: Fun facts about the elk rut

Fall is not my favorite season. It’s not that I don’t think the leaves are pretty as they slowly die, or that I’m not ready wear my favorite sweaters. It’s not even that I miss summer, although I do dread the insidious Pumpkin Spice Everything. (I like pumpkins but there’s such a thing as overkill.) It’s mostly just that it rains a lot more in the fall, rendering local trails impassable for a few weeks, and I’m excited for it to be winter already.

You know who loves fall, though? Elk. They love it. These guys are seriously, literally, horny for fall.  Continue reading “List: Fun facts about the elk rut”

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A vote you can feel good about

Aren’t you ready to be done hearing election news? Take heart, my friends: just one more week. In the meantime, allow me to request your vote on something less polarizing. Here, I’ll explain:

Colorado is a pretty rad place. Hey, it’s the Centennial State! We get somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 days of sunshine every year. We have 54 peaks over 14,000 feet, plus countless others. Our governor wants to ensure that, within a generation, there’s a green space within 10 minutes of every Coloradan. We have pretty much All of the Microbreweries. Our capital is literally exactly a mile above sea level. Highest paved road in North America! Mike the Headless Chicken Days! I could go on. Basically, we’ve got it going on. Continue reading “A vote you can feel good about”

Find Your Snack: Great Sand Trap

The National Park Service turns 100 years old in 2016, and dirtbags nationwide are finding creative ways to commemorate the NPS Centennial. I, on the other hand, lack artistic sensibilities, and am thus marking the occasion in the same way I celebrate everything else: by eating. Here’s the second installment.

The National Park Service turns 100 years old in 2016, and dirtbags nationwide are finding creative ways to commemorate the NPS Centennial. (My favorite so far is the Dirtbag Diaries’Milepost series.) I, on the other hand, lack artistic sensibilities, and am thus marking the occasion in the same way I celebrate everything else: by eating. Without further ado, then, I present the next installment in this series about things I’ve eaten in national parks.

Question: How do you make dehydrated soup appetizing?

Answer: Hike until your companion’s head appears to be a bucket of fried chicken, and then hike three more miles. You are now ready to eat dehydrated soup. Continue reading “Find Your Snack: Great Sand Trap”

Who’s rooting for you?

“Did you send it???” My text message whooshes into the vast internet netherworld. Seconds later, I’m greeted by the familiar dancing ellipsis, and the anticipation builds as I wait for my friend Pat to tell me if he’s finally sent Sonic Youth, a route described on Mountain Project as “one of Clear Creek’s best climbs.”

“Did you send it???”

My text message whooshes into the vast internet netherworld. Seconds later, I’m greeted by the familiar dancing ellipsis, and the anticipation builds as I wait for my friend Pat to tell me if he’s finally sent Sonic Youth, a route described on Mountain Project as “one of Clear Creek’s best climbs.” Continue reading “Who’s rooting for you?”

Kicking the Seasonal Avoidance Disorder habit: How I learned to love my favorite places all year long

We rented bikes and took the lifts to the top, from whence we careened back down the mountain on trails hidden all winter by feet of snow. The runs I’d skied so many times looked different, shed of their cold-weather clothing, but not at all unpleasant. It had never occurred to me that there was more to this place than the way I saw it between December and March, that there were nearly 2,500 acres of unexplored terrain beneath the mountain’s annual 300” of snowfall. It had never occurred to me that Copper Mountain had layers.

I grew up skiing at Copper Mountain, a resort at the edge of I-70 just shy of Vail Pass. I skied there dozens of times every winter in college, and I could’ve recited the runs accessed by each lift from memory or told you exactly how to get from Super Bee to Spaulding Bowl and back again. I knew when, on any given lift, to look for the tree adorned with Mardi Gras beads and discarded bras—that ski area staple—and that I had precisely four-and-a-half minutes to choke down the disfigured peanut butter sandwich in my pocket before the American Flyer quad deposited me at the top of my favorite run.

I thought I knew Copper Mountain pretty well. Continue reading “Kicking the Seasonal Avoidance Disorder habit: How I learned to love my favorite places all year long”