Tag Archives: rocky mountain national park

So Ends Summer: An Adventure Photo Dump

I’m typing this a 10:30 on a Monday morning while I drink coffee. Next week at this time, I’ll be frantically putting finishing touches on my classroom, readying it (and myself) for my twelfth year of teaching. I report back to work on Wednesday of this week, and kids come on Wednesday of next week, and so here we are: the end of summer. It’s been a darn good summer, though, and I’m lucky to have the flexibility to enjoy summer so thoroughly. I’ve blogged very little this summer, choosing instead to enjoy every moment as much as possible. I feel that a photo dump of my summer adventures is the best way to catch you up, so here we go!

The first week of summer was packed with fun. Summer started for me on Memorial Day weekend. Graduation was Saturday, so Jordan and I hiked up to Bridal Veil Falls outside Rocky Mountain National Park on Sunday:
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The next weekend was the Skirt Sports ambassador retreat, culminating in the Skirt Sports 13er, which I won!
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The following Thursday, my friend Kelly and I climbed my first 14er, Quandary Peak, Words cannot do its beauty justice, so check out these pictures, courtesy of Kelly:

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There were so many mountain goats, and they were not shy at all.

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Kelly and me at the summit

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I went from 14,000 feet to 0 feet in just over 24 hours, heading to Cabo San Lucas that Friday for a long weekend with my college girlfriends. A lot has changed since we met at age 18, but when we get together, it feels like no time has passed at all. I’m not posting any pictures of us except the snorkeling one, because in all our pictures, we’re wearing swimsuits, and as adults with careers, we don’t want that stuff on the internet. So take a look at the ocean instead:

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My girl Sam and me snorkelling in Cabo. Confession: I was so seasick getting here that I nearly puked in my snorkel mask.
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Ocean: I am beautiful! But I will make you vomit allllll daaaay.
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It wasn’t all seasickness. This is where we spent most of our time, swimming and talking. Not a bad place to spend the weekend, right?

My adventures slowed down a bit after that first week, but I still got to spend a lot of time in the mountains. J and I camped, hiked, and rode our bikes in RMNP and Estes Park:

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Our spot in Moraine Park campground
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Jordan making the turn from Cub Lake to Fern Lake
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Fern Lake
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Outrunning (outbiking?) the rain in Estes Park

I won my age group in in local 5k on the Fourth of July:

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I ran a lot of trails and made new friends along the way:

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Before a 6-miler at Bobcat Ridge Open Space with Skirt Sports sisters Lynette and Becky
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Running in the Rawah Wilderness with the Gnar Runners from Fort Collins (Photo credit Ed Delosh)
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Near the top of Clark Peak in the Rawah (Photo credit Ed Delosh)
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Yep, we’re going UP that! (Photo credit Ed Delosh)
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Solo run at Devil’s Backbone
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Gorgeous wildflowers near Eccles Pass
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On the other side of Eccles Pass. Colorado is so beautiful.
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Making friends from Ultra Dirt Divas and frolicking in wildflowers near Eccles Pass
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Solo run in RMNP

We visited my parents and grandparents on the Western Slope, and I didn’t take pictures because I’m the worst.

We camped in the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness with my family to celebrate my dad’s birthday (and I didn’t take a single picture of any family members, just this one of myself,  because I’m narcissistic like that):
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And I celebrated my birthday and the end of summer with an epic day in the mountains with some more new friends. (Just this one picture today, because this run deserves its own post):

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Odessa Lake in RMNP

Yep, summer has been good to me this year. My trail marathon is September 15, so I still have a few trail days in the coming weeks, but these will need to be more focused, on-a-time-crunch training runs — probably no more full days in the mountains, jumping in alpine lakes and taking long photo breaks. But that’s okay: I’m looking forward to meeting a new group of students and trying to make year 12 the best one yet!

 

What has been your best summer adventure so far this year?

When does summer end for you? Are you on a school schedule or a real calendar?

 

 

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Gear Review: SKINS DNAmic Compression Tights

As a not-very-big, not-very-popular, and not-very-consistent blogger, I’m not exactly inundated with emails from gear companies offering to send free product in exchange for a review. When I do get such requests, I don’t always say “yes,” either: it has to be a product that looks like something I’d actually use, and I make sure the company knows that I’ll give an honest (not necessarily favorable) review. Even so, when I get a product that I don’t love, I sometimes struggle to write that review: I got this thing for free, and now I’m ragging on it? Such was the case when I received a free pair of SKINS DNAmic compression tights.

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I got the tights early last fall, but a combination of the freakishly warm Colorado season and my still-low mileage kept me from wearing them enough to give them a fair review. Now, I’ve worn them for several hikes, a few runs, and a handful of post-run recovery days, so I feel like I have enough perspective.

My overall verdict: I give them a C. My students would tell you that I grade hard, so here are my reasons, and you can decide for yourself if they’re worth a try:

Pros

  • Cute. The pair I got was purple, with cute mesh cut-outs on the calves. I’ve gotten several compliments on them.
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    Please excuse my glaring white sock. Fashion-forward I am not. 

    A couple of times, when going from trail to town, I just pulled a skirt over the tights and put on boots or sandals (it’s Colorado; you never know which to wear), and that made a cute, easy outfit. Since the science is iffy on compression gear while running but more definitive on its benefits after exercise, the cuteness factor is a BIG plus: You can wear them out and about without looking like you’re in recovery mode.

  • True to size. The size chart on the website was spot on.
  • Comfortable, for compression tights. I’ve had some compression gear that makes me feel like a sausage. These don’t, but they still feel like they’re tight enough to get the benefits of compression.
  • Nice base layer. I’ve worn them under my hiking pants on a couple of cold hikes, and they’re just the right weight.
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This picture and the one above were taken on an October hike to Cub Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. They are by far the prettiest pictures I’ve taken while trying these tights. 

Cons

  • No drawstring. I’m what the fashion websites call “rectangle-shaped,” so it’s almost impossible for me to find workout pants/tights/shorts that stay up if they don’t have a drawstring. Constantly yanking up my britches is not super fun.
  • No crotch liner/gusseting. This is a family-friendly blog, so I’ll let you make the connection…
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    Layer them, for sure.  To be fair, I don’t know that they’re necessarily meant for wearing on their own, but it’s 2018. People wear leggings as pants (though I only do when running), so you should be aware of this little issue.
  • A little thin. All around, I prefer thicker material on compression tights, but that’s personal preference. If you wanted to wear underwear with them and not wear a skirt or shorts on top, you’ll definitely want to wear them as a baselayer/under a skirt.

So, I give these tights a C. I’ll keep wearing them as a base layer and after long runs, but I probably wouldn’t buy them for myself. If you want to buy them, though, or check out other SKINS gear, click here (not an affiliate link. I’m just helpful like that).

Do you wear compression gear? Have you tried SKINS? 

 

Estes Park Weekend Getaway

Jordan and I love Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Sure, Estes is a tourist town, but it’s a fun little spot, and we try to get up there several times a year. We like to go in the summer, of course… but so does everyone else. For the last few years, we’ve ventured there in November or December, and the town is almost a completely different place. No traffic. No reservations needed at restaurants. No rude tourists. Just the locals and a few straggling tourists like us.

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A few weeks ago, we talked about how disappointed we were that we hadn’t made it to Rocky this fall, and how we probably weren’t going to have time. But then we decided that if we wanted to go, we had to make the time. We blocked out this weekend and made a hotel reservation, and last Friday after work, we headed up into the hills. A light snowstorm came along with us, so the drive up the canyon was slow, but we eventually made it up, checked into our hotel (Murphy’s Resort: highly recommend) and grabbed some dinner (Estes Park Brewery: meh) before heading back to our room and crashing for the night.

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Dinner at Estes Park Brewery with a festive tree. 
The next morning, we woke up to the sound of wind howling outside the window …  but we also woke up to this:
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After checking the forecast for Bear Lake (one of the most popular spots in the park) and seeing that it would have a wind chill of -17, we opted out of our hike/snowshoe plan, as we didn’t have appropriate gear for those temps. I headed out for a quick, cold, and beautiful 4-mile run around Lake Estes, during which I kicked myself several times for leaving my buff neatly folded in the drawer at home.

After a hot shower and a hotel breakfast, we headed to the Holiday Market that just happened to be going on this weekend. We found some treasures (mostly tea… we have a tea addiction), then wandered around town for a while, were we bought some more tea at Dragonleaf Tea, where we also found a sign that made us feel better about the aforementioned addiction:

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I bought that ear warmer at the Holiday Market. It’s alpaca. I’m a hipster and sheep’s wool is too cliche for me. 
After we’d wandered a bit, we decided that it was warm enough now to drive up into the park and see if we could find some snow to tromp.

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We stopped at Sprague Lake to eat our PBJs (in the car, because brr), then layered up and braved a very short walk around the lake. The wind was whipping, but the lake was beautiful.
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Even though we were cold, we had fun stomping through the snow. We really felt like wimps when we saw a couple getting wedding pictures taken. Yes, in her wedding dress. BRRR.

We finished our little snow tromp and chose to drive around in the warm car for a bit, stopping several times for photos of the beautiful scenery, even though we knew our iPhones could never do justice to the glory of the mountains.

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After a few more pictures, we cruised back into town to check out the tree-lighting ceremony. The actual lighting wasn’t set to start for over an hour, and the festivities were mostly kid-related, so we went wine tasting instead. Well, Jordan tasted.  I drank wassail because it’s okay to feel festive before Thanksgiving when you’re in the mountains (at least that’s my rule).

After wine tasting, we went back to the hotel to relax and clean up for dinner at the Rock Inn Mountain Tavern. It’s one of our favorite places in Estes: good food, live music, and great atmosphere. We had a lovely little date night and were back to the room, in bed with our books, by nine. Wild party animals, we are.

Sunday morning, I went for another little jaunt around Lake Estes (Sundays are usually my rest day, but I couldn’t resist one last run in one of my favorite places). Then we packed up, had breakfast, and went to Kind Coffee (another great little place) for some coffee-drinking and river-watching before heading back down the canyon toward home.

This was one of the best weekends we’ve had in a long time: no stress, no crowds, no to-do lists, just some much-needed quality time together and stunning scenery. Now it’s back to work for all of two days, then back (the other direction) over the mountains for Thanksgiving.

What’s your favorite local (to you) getaway spot? 

What are your Thanksgiving plans? My whole family will be together for the first time in… I can’t even remember how long. I cannot wait.