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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Skiing at least once a month, year-round, really makes you grateful for Winter. No matter how skimpy or late or icy or crusty a Winter season's snow might be, it's WAY better than late Summer "snow." Whoo-boy can it get bad!

Still, it gets us out.

We called on MAX, our '98 Toyota 4Runner (256k) to get us to a trailhead less traveled.
When we go to St. Mary's Glacier we park in a secret location and take a route that I call the "Elevator" up to the snow.  It's peaceful and quiet, has few boulders and no dog poop or broken glass. note the way the skis are carried: there's a single VoilĂ© strap around the bindings with a carabiner holding it on the pack. this is a great way to carry skis when there're a lot of trees to go under. I've never seen anyone else carry skis like this so I'm going to claim first-inventor dibs on it


the Elevator is a charming little path. this is one of the few leisurely sections. some of our favorite hiking gear: Boba kid carrier, Patagonia puffy jacket, OR puffy hat, ThinkTank camera bag (Mirrorless Mover 25i),  Helinox adjustable poles

At Saint Mary's "glacier" most of the skiing is above and out of sight. For steeps one could ski the bottom edges but it's rough, icy, and if you fall you will get very hurt (at the least). So we stay above. It's always better to live to ski another day...plus that's where we can bring the kids, of course.
icy lumpy goodness looms behind us 
It's a short trip but you can see the gear piles up quickly.
N hangs out (in a Chair Zero, of course) while O explores. Behold our pile of ski equipment goodness: thrashed Black Diamond Kilowatts and Joules (way behind the performance of modern skis but solid performers), Scarpa T2 and T2X boots (still THE tele boots I recommend; their flax ergonomics are exceptional), Helinox poles (ultralight and have a fantastic adjustment system). kids got whatever we found that was small enough. looks like the Lucky Bums skis (the little wood ones) are almost ready for hanging on the wall. the white pack is a custom Spectra pack I made for my 1996 Denali trip while I was at Kelty. lightweight, huge and handy - just how I like my packs. lest I forget to mention: the best wax for Summer snow is red glide wax ironed in and thoroughly scraped clean
I thought to myself: hey this isn't so bad this year...

we use the Boulder Ski Deals trade-in program for N's ski gear
...spoke too soon. the sun-cupped roughness of it all is one of Summer skiing's great joys. dirt that can stop your skis dead is another. together, they let us cross off yet another August ski. teamwork!



a connoisseur's take on this year's dirt: less sandy than usual, making this a more supple, smoother vintage. strong notes of detritus from the tundra above dominate the visual palette but the spatial multi wavelength character of the the suncups and ruts kept one's attention. the verdict: we've skied worse
oddly enough, conditions were like rail-riding in a terrain park; first one way, then the other

T: "what the hell was that?"


N get's a spin (no pics of O doing his obligatorys) 


Our tallies of months-in-a-row skiing:
M: 371
T: 59

We still need to sit down and figure our sons' official tallies. They're going to look something like this:
N: XX (+ X carried + 9 in utero)
O: X (+ X carried + 9 in utero)





Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Our first backpack with both boys, 2 & 4.5, to Diamond Lake. Just two-ish miles in. N hiked it all but O needed the carrier most of the way. Which brings us to a sad reality: big kid carriers are really heavy (about 8 lbs by themselves) and just aren't made to carry a big load (nor is there a good way to strap it all on).

Our gear is pretty lightweight but the sleeping bags, pads and tent combined are bulky (as in huge). Rather than try to fight with each part individually - stuffing and strapping and smashing away at it until it was attached - we decided to embrace our exterior bulkiness and put everything into two big duffels and then strapped them to the carrier's sides. Effective AND striking, what's not to like?
(And yes those are Spectra/Dyneema duffel bags from my Kelty days - great lightweight no-frills duffels that I made for traveling with full backpacks inside).

2 duffels lashed to the sides conquered our bulky gear AND proved to be a fountain of wonder (or at least WTF) for those whom we met on the trail. without O it was about 55 pounds - very manageable. With O it was more like 80 - woof! 


The dangers of such large loads are falling and/or injuring something (like straining a muscle). No falls, but, alas, I actually strained my calf this time – stretched it just a little too far on an upward step. Boo!

champs: N (4+) walked the whole 2+ miles, O (2-) got in about 1/3rd mile. we averaged .5 mi/hr in and .67 mi/hr out 

Elephant Head

Diamond Lake

nice little 'M' style bear line made with 100' of Lawson's UltraGlide bearline. oddly enough, the neighboring site's kids came over to inspect it four or five times



the bearline tighteners used the same micro-biners that come with the MoonLight tents. I invented this method while working on my SuperTent project, trying to make fully winter-worthy guyline tighteners. it works really well for this too

more Diamond Lake

our neighbors' site: nylon fabrics sagging as they do


the joy of throwing sticks into a lake



oh yeah, I got the chair zero...


instant oatmeal with raisins (way too much sugar, we're not doing the flavored ones again)


not bad wild flowers for so late in the season


so many flowers it almost makes your eyes hurt


T and I


quality creek time at the outlet of Diamond Lake


the world is his spaceship 

a serving of Indian Paintbrush with Lousewort on the side


Kitty shows the way (yes N named his stuffed dog "Kitty")


I think this was a dragon ride


our two luxuries: a tent a little bigger than we absolutely needed and 2 Chair Zeroes  (3 lbs total extra - hey, coffee is not a luxury, nor the 1/2&1/2 - that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

Zen moment cooking


saying cheese at the micro-falls



Friday, August 12, 2016

A tiny mosh pit for kids

Jeff & Paige concert at Chautauqua in Boulder! N's favorite music group. It was a sea of tiny children up at the front. Sooo cute!

when O goes in he just plain disappears...

quite a crowd

we got bonus points for our styling Helinox chairs (especially the rocker on the Chair Two)