Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Starting To Bring It All To A Close

Last post was spent bragging about the small towns in Colorado, but I unfortunately had to leave those awesome towns. After packing up camp we set out for Great Sand Dunes National Park. A very interesting place seeing as when you arrive it appears that 700 foot sand dunes have suddenly popped out of no where. Really it's because of the mountains, the valley, the winds, the mountains, and then a creek that deposits the sand back where we see it today. It's all very interesting so look it up, I'll wait.

Okay waiting over, well the dunes were cool. Our group climbed to a peak around 700 feet tall. It wasn't the tallest dune, but it was close. After achieving our climb we did a little golfing off the top and then rolled down to retrieve the golf balls. Probably one of the best parts of the day was running down the 700 feet that we had just climbed up. Despite biting the dust and almost getting the wind knocked out of me, it has arguably been one of the greatest times on this trip. Unfortunately our stay there came to an end today and we had to say goodbye to my Aunt Rachel and her three boys and my Uncle Randy and Aunt Cheri. We packed up our camp for the last time and then headed opposite directions. They are travelling back to Grand Junction (By way of the gator farm) and we head back East for a long trek home.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Out West Is Best

So I think I've decided to move to either Silverton or Ouray, Colorado. You can view them with Google Maps and street view even if you can, but it will never be the same as actually coming here and checking out these towns! The two towns are in the San Juan mountain area hidden in valleys connected by one road, the Million Dollar Highway. Just driving that road scares my mom because of the narrow shoulders that lead to at least 500 foot drops straight down to the bottom of the canyon. No guardrails to stop you, just trees if you're lucky. Running off of tourism as their main income, it's hard to live in either town, but for some reason I really want to try.

I keep coming up with crazy plans that I run past mom, though she thinks I've lost it, but I really really like these towns. In Silverton it seems every road ends up climbing a mountain, running a creek, or riding along a canyon. In winter it's suppose to be rather hard to survive. I can't imagine a better place to have a small house with a real fire as my central heating. Though land around here can be expensive I'm sure there has to be a nice place for sale. That might need a little fixing up.

I hope you've realized by now that I am having the time of my life camping four miles outside of Silverton. Our group has spent the last three nights here and we still have two more to go before we head off to Sand Dunes National Park. So far here it has mostly been four wheeling, camp food, trains, and hiking. Luckily everything we've done has been a blast! Just a little bit ago they had a gunfight out in the street and in a few minutes we'll be listening to a barbershop quartet. So with that said I actually have to run to catch that concert, but I'll be back to steal some more internet from the public library here in town ;) Peace!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Change In Scenery

Today has been a full day. I woke up with a beautiful view of the Grand Tetons and now I'm going to bed 100 miles away in the little town of Pinedale, Wyoming. As quickly as the scenery can change, so can certain circumstances. For example, just a few days ago I received an e-mail about my Smart Start class, Survey of Outdoor Adventures, which is starting July 26th. This e-mail informed me that I need to get a fair amount of clothing and gear together by the 26th because the class is shipping out that day. No time to grab more stuff so I better not leave anything. The only problem with this new situation is the fact that I get back to my house late the 25th. Not much time to prepare. Luckily it seems my mother is getting quite use to me springing new plans on her so this hasn't come as a big surprise. Don't get me wrong, I really look forward to this class! It's full of caving, mountain climbing, kayaking, canoeing, white water rafting, mountain biking, and backpacking. (All of which sounds like a blast!) I just wish I had had a little more time to prepare.

Sometimes though these same things happen between people. Things are going one way and in the moment, everything seems fine. Suddenly, the scenery changes. Some of the time you can see it coming, others, you don't. Maybe the scenery took a turn for the worse or, even more common, it's always been the same scenery but now you finally recognize that it isn't the scenery you wanted. Then a change can be good. Luckily for me, even when I get surprised in all kinds of different ways, it tends to work out. Maybe not immediately, some things take time, but in the end I realize maybe this new scenery isn't that bad. Right now on this vacation I'm happy with where things are and I hope that the people I have in my life are too. I know I couldn't get far without them.

Next stop on our trip is Grand Junction, Colorado to pick up my Aunt Cheri, Brady (Aunt Cheri and Uncle Randy's dog), and the Dodge Raider we'll be using to get us up and over some rough roads. After stopping in there we head straight for Silverton where we'll be making camp for the next five nights. This will be the longest time we spend in one spot on our trip and I am looking forward to it! So many things to do and plenty of family to enjoy this time with.

peace out.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Beautiful West

Every time I've stepped outside these past few days I realize how important it is to protect the natural wonders of this world. With amazing sights such as the Black Hills of South Dakota, the geyser fields of Yellowstone, and the majestic peaks of the Grand Tetons. All of these beautiful sights are so important to keep around because they are part of what makes so much of this Nation's history.

At sites like Devil's Tower I learned about the different Native American legends surrounding the creation of the Tower. Still today even surrounding the Tower there are prayer cloths tied in trees symbolizing prayers either for loved ones or to them. Sometimes the cloth is from a piece of clothing the loved one wore or just some important possession of the owner.

Another incredible part of these historic places is the early attempts to settle in these areas. Old pictures of the construction of things like the Old Faithful Inn, the ranches around the Grand Tetons, and the first attempts at climbing these giant peaks. On Devil's tower there is an actual wooden ladder that two guys used to climb to the top to raise money. The record for climbing to the top of the Grand Teton and back down was set in 1983 by Bryce Tatcher who climbed to the top (an elevation difference of about 7,050 ft) in three hours and six minutes.

I'm so glad I've gotten to come out and enjoy these amazing sights this past week. Today our little troop (which has increased by two since my Uncle Richard and Aunt Caprice joined us last night) took a boat over to the mountain range and got a great view of Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point, and one bull moose who was hiding out back behind a pond. Now, it was sunny, I probably got a little burnt, and after six miles of difficult hiking my legs were a little sore, but really all I could think about was how much I'd rather be climbing to the tops of these mountains. It sounds crazy when six miles of hiking can get me pretty fatigued, but just the thought of getting together a group and climbing to the summit of the Grand Teton is really exciting to me! I hope to make it back out here some day to do just that. For now though I guess I'll be content with just hiking around on the lower trails.

It's a good feeling when I know my trip isn't even half done. I still have plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful West and in a few days I'll be fulfilling one of my biggest dreams! Finally getting to do some real off-roading! I've gotten to take my own jeep on a few trails around Collegedale, but nothing like the trails out here! My mom and Uncle Randy have always been telling me stories about how they got to climb up mountains in their families Ford Bronco, and now I'm hooked on doing just that! Except we're taking a Dodge Raider, but it should still be fun. I know I'll have plenty of pictures and stories about that so stay tuned and hopefully it won't take me so long to find the time to post all of them here!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Close Encounters of the wifi Kind

Yes! That's right! Internet! Found a small hot spot at the edge of Devil's Tower National Monument. That's where our travels have landed us today. This has to be a short post since I'm typing from the back seat of our rented Town & Country we've been touring around in.

This trip started out Wednesday, July 7 and we drove on from noon to 7:15 (Including time changes a total of 24.5 hours) having to pass through two detours. The first detour took us through the town of Christopher ;), and the second left us in bumper to bumper stand still traffic. We visited Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, drove through Spearfish Canyon, and finally found real beds to sleep in! The back of the car was slightly too cramped...

That's really all for now, hopefully I'll have more time next time so thanks for reading! And I'll post again soon! I hope...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This Is The End (If You Want It)

Luckily I dont.

This could be the end. My job is over for the summer, I won't be home for the next month and a half or so, and after that I move into a dorm room. It's easy to see this as being the end, but I like seeing it for the beginning it is. It's been an amazing eighteen years of life up to now. Things might change, some things will never change, but, with the way things are going, I'm looking forward to it.

As I said, my job is now over because I am leaving for a 19 day road trip with my family. We're renting a 7-passenger van, loading it up, and setting our sights West. With 9 parks/historic sites to visit our adventures will be many. Road trips out West like this were more frequent when I was little, but lately it seems our family vacations have been a little fewer. Getting to work during the summer and earn some cash is always nice, but I miss the family vacations. This should be an excellent chance for some family fun and I especially look forward to the four wheeling.

Four wheeling is just one of the many outdoor adventures I enjoy. Just this Monday I had the opportunity to go hang gliding and immediately fell in love with it. The feeling of flying, soaring really, with the birds is incredible. It was floating. The sensation of flight. I can hardly describe it because it went by so quickly for me. I hope to have more adventures in the world of hang gliding in the future. The list of activities I enjoy goes on and on so I'll shorten it for you. If it involves running around outdoors, it's on the list.

With this being the final day I spend at home, I must say I've enjoyed it. I parted with all my friends from work, it's been a nice, sunny day, and soon I'll say goodbye to dad and the rest of my friends. I have enjoyed the summer so far and I can't wait to see what the rest of it holds for me.