Monday, September 28, 2009


It is unbelievable to me how many homeless people are living on the streets in Colorado Springs. They're not really in the streets per se but there are quite a few of them camped out along 24 and Fountain Creek as well as the river as it runs through town. During the day you can't see much unless you know where to look but at night, you can see the glow from all the fires. It's sad and every time we drive by I mention something about it to Heather. I'm sure that a good number of them are mentally ill but I also think that a lot of them are there simply because of the way the economy is. Some of my close friends have been unfortunate enough to lose their jobs. It could be them out there.

Anywho...I was recently cleaning out my closet and ended up with a stack of clothes that I haven't worn in eons. Some of it's decent stuff. Some of it's not been worn at all. Throwing it away just seems stupid so I'm thinking about going down to the river some night this week and giving it away to people. Not sure why but I think I'd rather do that than give it to Goodwill. Some of these people probably couldn't buy a Kavu shirt at GW if it was 5 bones. I think I started thinking about this during my hike over the weekend. It's amazing what a fleece hat can do. I have 2 of them from Mountain Hardware that have never been on yet.

Unfortunately...nobody will be getting Heather's black boots. Well.....they could get one.

killin' me

We bought the fat man a new crate last night and it's too small. Of course I didn't come up with the idea to throw his plumpness in the thing before assembling it all the way. I decided to go with a metal one this time. I had to reinforce it with some big zip ties to protect from his ever growing girth. I was actually planning on taking it back tonight or tomorrow night and exchanging it for a slightly bigger one. He managed to chew up some of the plastic bits to it today. I'm sure those'll follow closely behind the bits of wire and carpet that are somewhere in the twists and turns of his funky little bowels.

I don't have a clue what I'm going to do about the carpet.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Absolutely speechless

So Bodhi figured out how to get out of his crate on Saturday while Heather was out running errands and I was backpacking. What you are about to see is the chaos that followed.

He chewed up the pad and cover for the ironing board.

He destroyed the printer cables.

This used to be a boot.

Here's what's left of the lamp.

He ripped up the carpet. He got down an elk jaw that was sitting on a display shelf. It was carved with Native American art. It's been gnawed on. He destroyed the crate. He ate our wedding album, ripped up 2 books. He is a giant a hole.

This was Stefans last fish of the trip. It was also his first time holding a fly rod. He's a natural.

Me and Scott.

The Greenback

Is the most beautiful freshwater fish there is. Period. These guys are generally smaller but you can find them in the 14" range sometimes. They are super hearty and were destroying terrestrials, and most any kind of dry fly we threw at them.

This was my first fish after my first cast at the upper lake.

As good as Pear Lake was, we hiked up a bit higher to hit the Hutchinson Lakes. This is just below the upper lake. I think we fished this one from about 9 until 3. I'll bet I caught close to 75 Greenbacks from this lake alone.

This is Middle Hutchinson and it's also where I lost a bet with Scott and Stefan that resulted in me doing a man shot of Jagermeister.

And this is Lower Hutchinson.

IT was stupid windy all the time up here. Even at night. I thought the temps were right on and I was able to sleep like a baby in my bag and under the stars.

The view from my bag in the morning.

Pear Lake

In all it's glory.

This is Finch Lake which is quite a bit lower than Pear but still not ugly to look at.

The trail was lovely.

There wasn't quite as much snow up there as I was expecting.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I probably should be on the road already but I'm not. I have been looking forward to going on this hike for weeks now. I always feel so bad when I take off work to do something fun. I mean getting a colonoscopy is one thing but actually going somewhere beautiful just feels wrong. It's been so busy at work and, while I'm not a miracle worker or anything special, I guess I always feel like my students need me. Because I've been so busy all week, I didn't have a chance to get any gear together. So I just got everything ready to go. I'd love to head out now. It's about 4 hours to get to the trailhead and it would rock to hike in by headlamp but I probably wouldn't make camp until sunrise. I think I'll wait until the morning and then head up. The weather advisory is over and Scott called me this morning at the trailhead and said things didn't look all that bad so we'll be staying up around 10,500' and then fish any of the 4 lakes near our little base camp. I can't wait.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Big storm

The Front Range is getting hit pretty hard right now with this storm. Allenspark is a small little town in Boulder County that's not more than a few miles from where I'm supposed to start my hike up to meet up with the rest of the group. The low in Allenspark on Thursday night is supposed to be 32 and I've got to go about 3,000' higher and 6.5 miles up. To make things more interesting...the area is under a winter weather advisory for the next 2 days. Anything above 7,000' is supposed to get anywhere from 8-16" of snow. I was pretty excited to go but now I've gotta think it over a bit. Things could get ugly up there in a hurry.


Today Heather and I found out that her father has officially beaten his cancer. It's pretty incredible news and I'm having a hard time believing how it must feel to have to sit down and hear a doctor tell you the results of your latest screenings. Coulda gone either way man. We're both thrilled to death and we know he's probably on cloud 9 right now. It's been a real tough year for the old cowboy but he won this one. We love you pop. We'll see ya soon.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Live and learn

I've been saying this a lot lately to students. They seem to be doing the living part but not the learning part. If you go to should not wanna go back. If you lip off to someone and they dot your should keep your mouth shut next time (at least next time you see them).

What have I learned as I've been living lately? Quite a bit actually. One of the things I spoke with the wise one about recently was living situations. A theory that he was presenting to the grasshopper was that you can live in a place that allows you to make enough money to go to the places you want to visit or you can live where you want to visit and probably not make much money but already be there. Make sense? The bills are really starting to get on my nerves. The real sad thing is that I don't have a car payment (nor does Heather). I don't have any credit card debt. My student loans have been of deferrment while I'm in grad school. Our bills are the mortgage, the gas and water (very expensive out here), food and whatever the mutts need.

I feel like we're not making any progress and......well......I know how Heather feels.

I know what's coming. Perhaps it's the reason I've been walking home so much lately. Looking at the mountains. I wish teachers made more. I wish I was a little bit taller. I wish I was a baller. I wish I had a girl who looked good I would call her. I wish I had a rabbit in a hat with a bat. I wish I had a six four Impala.


It's been snowing all day up here and it's gonna get down into the mid 20's tonight. I had to turn the heat on in the casa AND build a fire.

In other news, I've been either riding my bike to work or catching a ride with the Mrs. and then walking home all year so far. Today as I'm walking home in the snow, I get to end of the driveway and then look up when I hear a dog barking....and then see Bodhi looking out the window. Funny how his box is upstairs in the second bedroom. Then I see Dharma. He sprung himself from the crate. Lord knows how long they were running around terrorizing the house. When I put the key in the lock I took a deep breath. I expected TOTAL carnage. They actually didn't make too big of a mess. I could tell they were rough housing in the bed as all the sheets and blankets were on the floor but nothing was ripped up.

I am very thankful that both of them are ok and that they didn't fight over a toy or anything like that. No cuts, scrapes, or blood anywhere in the house that I've seen. Definitely dodged a bullet there. He gets so excited and gets that crate a rockin and then pops the door open. Now I gotta figure out how to reinforce his cage and keep that bedroom door closed just in case.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The day was really sunny but that silly grad school work got in the way of my fun AGAIN. About 2:00 I finally got to a point where I was comfortable with stopping. I decided to fish some smaller streams that were West of town. Normally I never see anyone out there but today the crowds were in full effect. The first spot I was going to go there was a truck parked just past the gate. No problem. I moved down the road about a 1/4 mile to my next spot and there were 2 vehicles there. What a sausage fest. I finally decided I'd head further upstream but then found a spot out in the meadow I wanted to try. I went to turn the van around on this dirt road. I backed up and went just a tad too far and got stuck. Luckily it wasn't bad and I was able to rock and roll it outta there. A storm was moving in from the Divide so Heather and Dharma decided to stay in the van and read a book.

This is some skinnier water but there are some deeper undercuts around the bends and a few holes and pockets here and there.

I usually start out fishing with a nymph rig and today was no different. I used a #14 Pheasant Tail and dropped a #20 Mercury Black Beauty off that. I didn't give this more than 10 minutes though before I decided to switch to dries.

There weren't any hatches goin off so I tried a hopper pattern and fooled several right away.

This little stream has a lot of deep undercuts on the bends as it winds it's way through the meadow and there are bigger browns that hide in there. Sometimes they'll come out for a dry if it's placed just right.

With it getting later I switched to streamers. I really like pitching big nasty streamers. It's such a contrast to dry fly fishing where things have to be so delicate. Streamer fishing can be violent. It's perfectly fine for a big mouse pattern to crash into the water on the far bank or to rip a Sculpin or leech through the water. I didn't get any of the larger ones to come out of their hiding spots today but I was amazed at the little guys that were standing in line to get at the streamer.
This fall I am definitely going to do a lot more fishing during the spawn. Two years ago I spent some time streamer fishing at night and it's a blast. No one else is out there but the critters and every once in a while you can hear a crash that sounds like someone is throwing bricks in the water. Sometimes it's the bigger browns thrashing about and defending their territory. Sometimes it's the Salmon. The females will bust up out of the water and crash down like a whale breeching. I've heard they're trying to loosen up the eggs but I don't know that it's true. Sounds good though. This year I'll be able to sleep in the van and then start fishing at midnight and sip whiskey and catch big trout until sunup.

How's your Aspen?

Mines fine. Thanks for asking.

They're starting to change in the higher country. I think this is my favorite time of year. We were going to hike up by Georgia Pass or Kenosha today but I know everyone will be there so I think I'm going to take Heather up and hit some smaller, secluded streams and see if we can't fool any browns on hopper patterns or ant imitations.

Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park next weekend.


Work has been super busy. It's an entirely different ball game (at least for me) when I'm working with adolescents that require behavior management. Teaching reading is something that I really started to enjoy and could actually see myself doing all day long but I do love dealing with students that no one else can. I have 14 students right now and they're in and out all day long so I might have 6 in the room at one time that all need help on different subjects. I have some that are in with me all day long because they're struggling so they need to be kept busy or thingshit the fan. I'm back to documentation on any incident that pops up for each of them throughout the day including tracking their annual goals and objectives. This is the biggest school I've worked in thus far and they provide me with a cell phone and a walkie talkie so they can get in touch with me even when I'm in the bathroom. I haven't worked with this level of student in a while but I'm lovin' it.

The thing that's causing me the most stress right now though is grad school. I'm getting my degree in literacy and I'm down to the last 3 hours now and that means a huge research project. The switch in jobs is going to make it really hard on me. Most of the students I work with now don't read all that poorly. They just can't act right. I think I might have to call about 10 of the students/parents I had on last years caseload and do my research and project with them. It's going to mean a lot of time after school and on weekends collecting data. I'll be so glad when this year is done.

In other father in law finds out on Tuesday if he's beaten the cancer. I sure hope he has. He's been in pretty good spirits lately and it sure would suck to get some bad news. He's had a pretty shitastic year. Hope Tuesday is reason to celebrate dad.

Friday, September 18, 2009


A while back I got a small (probably #14) hook stuck in my finger. I tried to push it through on the river bank but couldn't get it to pop through. I considered drinking some Jack Daniels and having my buddy Scott yank it out or cut the flesh enough to get it out. I settled on waiting until I got home and then letting the professionals handle it. I got the bill today. It was for $500 dollars!!!!!! I have to write a letter to argue it. $500????? Seriously????? What is happening with health care?????

Monday, September 14, 2009

I took this while heading back down to Moab. What a gorgeous evening.

Kokopelli singletrack has got me thinking about something else now.

Nasty little staircase on the KT.

Early morning in Moab.

Light show.

Moab pics

Nothing like a snooze after some Skittles.

There were tons of free range cattle up in the higher country. This was a trail that ended up being the wrong way. I walked behind these guys for about 20 minutes before they finally got off the trail and let me by.

Some really nice singletrack.

Cool rock.

Moab Weekend

What a cool weekend with cool people in Moab! The desert was beautiful. I felt great while riding and sticking to my diet seemed to make a big difference. What also made a big difference was the fact that I had never been to Moab. Getting there late at night and starting at 5 in the morning didn't give me any visual references to associate with the map and this would be a problem later.

Fred really knows how to string together a tough day on the bike. There was tons of climbing. I couldn't believe how long it took (over 10 hours) to hit the 45 mile mark. I got lost numerous times and while it was frustrating, it wasn't anyones fault and there couldn't have been a more perfect day to be out on the bike. The temps were great and there was no rain. The first time I got lost I ended up taking a snooze and waiting for people that knew the area better.

Once I got back on track, I proceeded to get lost again about 2-3 hours later. It was unbelievable. Towards the end of the day I did begin to get concerned because I was making some really dumb mistakes and I kinda got down on myself. It was clear that I was not going to be able to make the entire loop that Fred laid out for us. While the trails I did see were gorgeous, I was really looking forward to riding Porcupine Rim and seeing all the rock formations. I finally made the call to head the 24 miles back to town on pavement and take a shower and get a Coke. When I finally made it, I found out that some of the others had gotten lost as well. We all sat around Paradox and talked about the day. It was so much fun to ride with the guys. A good group for sure.

Marshal and I headed back to Colorado Sunday morning and he asked if I wanted to hit up the Kokopelli Trail near Loma. I'd never ridden it before and it was some of the best singletrack I've been on in a while. Not a bad way to spend the weekend.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Back home

Just got back tonight. Thanks to Marshal for forwarding me the invite and a huge thanks to Fred for putting this thing together. I think I had 15 hours straight on the bike and not a lot of miles to show for it. A LOT of climbing. I'll post a report tomorrow and throw in some pics. Piece and hair grease.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ready to see Moab

Well Diesel Marshal is gonna swing by here tomorrow in the pimp van and pick me up to head to Moab. I'm pretty psyched to see Moab. I've been pouring over the map and route. For those familiar with the area, we're leaving town and heading north and then hanging a left on Flatpass Road and taking that until Spanish Valley Road. From there we'll start climbing towards the La Sals via Trans La Sal Trail. After going over some pass, we'll take Burros Pass Trail and then hook up with Porcupine Rim and take that all the way back down to the highway and then the highway back to Moab. I will likely have the SPOT with me and tracking so my wife knows my whereabouts and you can check that out if you're bored. I feel really good about my food for the ride but I'm not spilling the beans yet about what's on the menu b/c if I hit the wall and have some problems then I don't want smarter people asking me what the heck I was thinking. Should be an exciting weekend. I'll take tons of pictures and share them when I get back. Hope everyone enjoys their weekend.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Just north of Highway 50.

Highway 50 leading up to Monarch Pass.

Some stinky guy.

Mother Nature warning me to not try Monarch Crest tonight.

I love the flowers.

It's been a long day and I'm getting confused with what day was where but....

These were just north of Monarch Crest.

The last final push to the top of Monarch Crest hurts. It's not actually straight up like the pic shows. That would really suck. It's the digital camera playing tricks.

I've been here before. Monarch Crest.

Worth coming back to see again.

CTR Day 4

This was somewhere after Marshal Pass. I caught movement out of the corner of my eye and it spooked me a bit. The elk were faster than the camera I think.

Incredible views.

Wide open meadows.

Day 4 I awoke to more rain. Things didn’t feel right at all. I could not get the bad dream out of my mind. I got a late start but finally made it to new trail. I saw some elk but still felt terrible, psychologically. I began to get off my nutrition schedule. There was little water on the map for the next 20 miles and so I was drinking just small sips every once in a while. Quickly I became dehydrated and things got worse. It was impossible to eat anything with a dry mouth. Then I entered Sargents Mesa. This section brings the toughest people to their knees. You can’t ride it. There’s just no line. It’s flat for the most part but the rocks are huge and never ending. It crippled me. Pushing my bike for hours on end was torture. When you push your bike, you naturally want to steer it through the rocks and that means you can’t really watch where you step. I kept stepping on loose boulders and losing my footing. If I watched where I was stepping, the front wheel would get caught up on a big rock and I’d stumble. I yelled numerous times out of frustration. At one point I stopped and cried but no tears came. I felt like a wuss for it so I quickly shut up before someone jumped out from behind the trees laughing at me. I talked to Heather. I looked at my SPOT and focused on the 911 button more times than I can count. I remember the way the button felt on my finger. If pressing that button would have ended it right then, I would have done it but I knew I would still have to wait for help. That angered me more. I remember saying, “I think I’m in trouble here.” I began to panic. There was nothing to do but keep pushing. I said those 2 words to myself over and over again. “Keep pushing.” “Keep pushing.”

I started talking to the cattle in the meadows. The weather moved in. The cows looked at me like I was an idiot. The lightning started. The Cochetopa Hills meant tons of pushing. The lightning put some extra pep in my step. I had no idea how much further I had to go but I was scared as hell. I began sprinting up the hills and riding as hard as I could on the downhills. I was making so much noise as I gasped for air but I kept going trying to outrun this storm.

I had already made the decision to pull the plug.

20 minutes later I popped out into a small clearing. I saw a massive tent but it wasn’t raised up all the way. I was pretty sure there were 2 bikes laying there. Then someone said, “There he is!” I honestly thought I was hallucinating. I rode by it before deciding to look inside. Sitting in chairs were Marshal and Alex. Next to them were coolers of pop, huge jugs of water, and boxes and boxes of snacks. The words “Trail Angel” were written on the tent. They invited me in and I told them that I was ready to quit. I asked where the closest town was. Marshal told me to drink a pop but there was only diet left. It was the best pop I’ve ever had. I think I had 3 of them. I have no clue how many packages of cookies I ate. I began to feel better and we joked a bit. Then we talked about moving on.

I decided that I’d ride with them until I could find a town and then I’d stop. I told them about my dream the night before and how it was messing with me. We started the next section and within miles, found 2 more coolers filled with pop. I laid there next to the creek and drank several more while Alex and Marshal rode on. With a good sugar buzz, I eventually caught them and we rode through the dark and light rain to Dome Lake where we decided to sleep. I laid in my bivy thinking about the nightmare I had the night before. I worried about Heather.