Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Long's Peak Expedition 2009 Day 3

6-30-09

I didn’t sleep so well last night, but that’s to be expected. I never sleep well on the first night out.
Tonight I will look for a site that’s not as hard, maybe on a bed of pine needles.
Rick was the first one up this morning, followed by Jonathan and Chris.
Lamarr, Blake, and I woke up about an hour later, which would be around 8am.
After a breakfast of oatmeal, granola bars and coffee, we decided to do a day hike up to Mill Moraine Pass and then go down to Chasm Lake. However, once we got up to the pass, we decided to head back to camp for lunch and then hike back up with our packs since it was also the route to the Boulder Field.
It was tough enough with just the weight of a camera. Climbing it again with a 45lb backpack will be brutal. Once we get to the pass, we’ll leave our packs there and head down to the lake, then back up to the pass, grab the packs again and make our way up to the Boulder Field.
There are tons of mosquitoes here, but they are mostly leaving me alone.
On our way up to the Boulder Field.


10:46pm
I am in my tent now, about to go to sleep. I wanted to write one more time about the day.

We made it to the Boulder Field which was about 3.5-4 miles from the previous camp site. It is definitely colder here, probably high 30s right now, and we expect below freezing temps by morning. The elevation is 12,700’, I think.
Long’s Peak looms over us.
The snow covered peak is beautiful and majestic and even a little forbidding…

After we had set up camp, we saw a group of guys coming down from the “Keyhole” pass. After a while, I walked over to their camp and asked if they were able to make the summit. They had indeed made it, but said it was treacherous and difficult..
Good.
One of the younger ones is from Houston. They looked pretty tired.
Actually, I was a little surprised that they had made it. Out of a dozen people we passed on the way up, only two had summited and they looked like serious mountain climbers.

These guys I’m with are crazy. I’m having SUCH a great time!
Hopefully, there will be many more trips in the days to come.


We saw a herd of elk today and I got a few nice shots. I’m going nuts with my camera, tons of photos coming.

Tomorrow, we summit Long’s Peak
Good Night



KoP

Monday, June 29, 2009

Long's Peak Expedition Day 2

6-29-09

This morning, we had a great complimentary buffet breakfast. After we got our gear situated and repacked, we made a few customary and essential stops at the local outfitters. I love those places, lots of big boys toys. We rented our cramp-ons (metal spikes that strap to the bottom of your boots, and are for walking on snow and ice), and ice axes for the climb that will definitely be done in the snow and ice.
After all the shopping and outfitting, we drove the 30 miles or so up to the Long’s Peak trailhead.
There was a Ranger’s Station there, and one of the Rangers told us that we MUST have “bear canisters”, no hanging food bags in the trees. SO, we piled back into the SUV and drove into Estes Park and rented bear canisters and Scot’s Sports.
When we finally hit the trail, it was 3:00pm, a little later than we had planned on, but we only had a 4 mile hike in front of us so no big deal.
Right now, we are at our camp site about to turn in for the night.
Tomorrow should be about the same distance to the Boulder Field where we we will be staying for the next two days.
Good Night.
I took this on the way up that day.
Waterfall trick.



KoP

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Long's Peak Expedition 2009 Day 1

6-28-09

Long’s Peak, Co Expedition 2009 "Guy's Trip"

It’s Sunday and we are in Colorado again.
This time it’s me, Chris S., Jonathan P., Rick F., Lamarr E, and Blake H.
Great group of guys!
We’re already having so much fun and hardly ever stop laughing. Everyone seems to be a comedian.

After the flight into Denver, we all met up and headed to the car rental area. They tried to put us in two Ford Cobalts. Yikes. That would have been a tight fit. We told them we weren’t happy with that, so they hooked us up with a Ford Excursion which was much better. All the gear fits and it is much more comfortable.

After that, we went on a search for food and ended up eating at BJ’s in the plaza. Very good food. We talked about our plans, and determined a route up to the peak. When we had eaten and laughed enough, we went to the Inn where we had reservations… THOUGHT we had reservations. Turns out, they reserved Jonathan a room back in April when he had first called them. So we drove up the road a bit and finally got into a Residence Inn suite (Marriot).
Very nice.
Here's the group beneath the peak.




KoP

Saturday, June 27, 2009

COLORADO!!!!!

Welp, tomorrow is the big day.
I'll be playing at church until about 1pm, then it's off to Bush Intercontinental Airport.
I'm all packed up, finally, and ready to go. The rest of the guys are excited too. They've been chattering on Facebook... don't laugh, we use Facebook to coordinate our trip... of course we also waste vast amounts of time playing and doing other things on there, but I'm not here to talk about my addictions.

We're going to COLORADO!!!


C O L O R A D OOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

As usual, I'll be keeping a hand written journal on the trail. When I get back I'll have tons of stories to tell you about our grand adventure in the Summer snow.

(I didn't take this, but WOW.)

Cya!



KoP

Friday, June 26, 2009

Blow Out...

Wow, what a hectic day.

Amy was driving my Jeep today and had a blowout on the Interstate.
She was pretty shook up when she called me so I left work to rescue her.

She was really scared from the blowout and near crash trying to maneuver to the shoulder, but was terrified of the crazed, oncoming cars.
I got there about thirty minutes later, and wow, it was really freaky. She had pulled just in front of an on ramp, and people were speeding so fast up that thing. The merging lane was so short, and I45 was so busy that the on-ramp traffic couldn't merge, so they were coming into the shoulder where we were. Many near-wrecks happened in the 20 minutes I spent changing the tire. There was a cop there, but he wouldn't even get out of his car... well, he did for a sec to yell over the noise, "She's going to owe you big time for this, buddy".
Thanks... for nothing.

Anyway, I finally got the tire changed and we got off the death trap.
That's when I finally saw the damage that the blown out tire had done to the side of the Jeep.
The passenger side rear bumper is bent up, the door step is bent down, there's a pretty nice sized dent in the door, and an assortment of dings and scratches on the fender.
Bummer...
I can get most of it fixed pretty easily. That's the great things about Jeeps, the parts come off pretty easily and can be replaced.

I'm just glad Amy and the dogs are ok.
We all lived.
Although, while I was changing that tire with the traffic speeding by, I realized, if I get hit by a car now, I won't even know it. I will be here one second turning on this jack crank, and the next I will wake out of a three year coma... or I'll be dead. At any rate, I probably won't be aware of what happens in between. It will just be like a big blank... that thought kind of freaked me out.
I turned the crank faster.


KoP

Thursday, June 25, 2009

H O T

Today was

so.

hot.

It got up to 102˚... at least. The humidity was 71% which just made it feel like 110˚ or so. We broke records, and it isn't even Summer yet.

We are in the dog days of Spring...


KoP

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Jam Session

I'm going over to a fellow bass player's house tonight to have a much needed jam session.
This guy is a MONSTER. He wants to learn a thing or two from me, but I promise, most of the learning will be on this side of the table.


KoP

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wolves In Wolves Clothing

This moose was pregnant when she was attacked by a pack of wolves two nights before she gave birth. She was torn up pretty bad and stayed in the same place for at least three days. The photographers and onlookers inadvertently kept the wolves away and the Rangers were pretty sure they would both survive. Cool stuff there.




This was a very long shot for my lens, about a 1/4 mile, but I managed to get this wolf stalking buffalo on the plains. I think there are only about 154 wolves in all of Yellowstone. Ultimately, they are not expected to survive because all of the pups keep dying from disease. In a way it makes me not so sad for the moose and buffalo that the wolves take down.
Life in Yellowstone is hard.



KoP

Monday, June 22, 2009

More Buffalo

Why did the buffalo cross the road?

I still don't know...




What does a herd of 2000lb buffalo do during the day?

Whatever they want to do... everyone else can wait.




KoP

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy father's Day Bear

Amy shot me shooting a bear.



Shooting the bear.


A little closer...



These were taken right off the side of the road in Yellowstone.
There were a couple of Rangers out there making sure the flock of people didn't try and get too close. It's kinda funny because that is exactly what happens. People will just hide behind there camera lenses and inch closer and closer... until finally they're right on top of the bear or buffalo. Or, another "friendly" buffalo will walk up on your blind side while you're paying attention to the one in front of you.

Fun fun stuff there.

Oh, Happy Father's Day!


KoP

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Apparently...

Work was a blast. I almost managed an "on-time" post, but it's hard to edit photos in the glaring sunlight.

...also, I'm apparently pretty lazy.


KoP

Friday, June 19, 2009

Work

"Lumburg is going to have me come in on Saturday."
I like that line... and not just because it's true.

I'll be workig tomorrow. Sweet!

...not.


KoP

Thursday, June 18, 2009

No Complaining

I forgot to write.
There.

I'm trying to get an old laptop working again so I can take IT to work(in harms way) rather than my Mac.

Always fun working with ancient technology, but I shouldn't complain... just because I shouldn't.


KoP

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Taken

Amy and I just watched Taken.



Overall it was pretty good if not predictable and a little unrealistic... of course.

Sobering issue there, having your child kidnapped. Yikes!


Man, I need to get to the gym...



KoP

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Old Friend

I got to hang out with an old friend tonight. We sort of hammered out some rough spots, misunderstandings... Maybe there's hope yet.


KoP

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Movie Night Alone

Chillin' at home all alone.

Amy, Tristan, and the rest of the fa are still in Galveston. I had to come home early to play at the Saturday night church service. Ugh.
Yeah, it pays, but it's not paying enough for this. I wish they would work out a new schedule...

Looks like it's going to be a movie night:

The Mist, Valkyrie, and SNL if I can hold out.








KoP

Friday, June 12, 2009

Schlitterbaun!

Right now, I'm lying on the bed, at the Hiton, in Galveston, Texas, United States of America, North American Continent, Earth, Milky Way... in case you were wondering. We're staying the night here because we're going to the Schlitterbaun waterpark in the morning.
It's going to be a good day.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.


KoP

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wide Open Places

Near The Devil's Gate, Wyoming.




KoP

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Amy And The Horse

We found friends all over the place in Colorado.



KoP

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Those Crazy Deer

They were helping each other over the fence.



KoP

Monday, June 8, 2009

Good Times At Memorial Park

So yesterday, after all the church services and whatnot, we went to eat at Outback.

We usually go out to eat after church on Sundays, and we've developed a system where each week, someone different gets to pick where we eat. This week was Tristan's turn and we all knew where he would want to go because it never changes: Outback.
Ugh.
He really likes the cheese fries there and he's also a carnivorous, enthusiastic steak eater. We spoiled him on fillet mignon earlier in his childhood, so he's a bit of a steak snob now. If the steak has a hint of fat or gristle, he won't eat it.
Like father like son...
Anyway, I used to think Outback was ok, but some time back, they obviously changed their meat suppliers, because their steaks have tasted like CRAP ever since.
Tristan FINALLY realized this, and says he doesn't want to eat there anymore.
And all the family rejoiced!

After a quick lunch, we got home, took the top off the Jeep, loaded up the mountain bikes, and headed out to Memorial Park for some trail riding with friends.

We haven't done that in SO long, like 9 years! The last time we were on these trails, we had just gotten our bikes. Tristan was 3 years old so he rode on the back of my bike in a baby seat. haha! WOW, I didn't even wear a helmet back then, and everyone we came across on the trails were criticizing me for having a baby out there.
But I didn't listen.
He was having a good time zipping up and down the hills, and I managed to keep my head attatched. I wasn't going to do anything even remotely crazy with him on board.

Anyway, yesterday, he had his own bike and was absolutely LOVING the trails. We were both filthy, drenched in sweat, and exhausted after a few hours out there. It made me feel really good because FINALLY there is something that I think we both love and can share together.
Don't get me wrong though, we definitely have things in common, and we have a great relationship, but lately I feel like we are growing apart.
There was a time when I thought he would be a star drummer. He was doing relatively good with it, but for some reason, and it's probably my not being there, he lost interest.
Maybe it's just a "kid" thing. I'm sure he'll get back into it when the mood strikes. I guess my fear is, and it's probably a bit unsubstantiated, maybe I drive him away from things... like maybe I'm a little too much of a "teacher" when we do things together. I dunno...
More realistically, it's probably just his interest flowing in a different direction.
Naturally.
Yeah...

The thing is, he loves his video games with an addicts zeal, and has mostly shunned any sort of outdoor activities for the last year or so. He isn't ACTUALLY addicted, but he doesn't want to do anything else but talk about them, or play them, or go to the store and buy the latest greatest.

I'm hoping this new activity, at least new for him, will lead to other areas where we can relate. I KNOW it will if I don't suffocate the fire and just let it catch and burn on it's own.
I'll just supply the firewood.
For now, we'll just have fun getting out to the trails as much as possible.
Then eventually he can become a swimmer, a musician, an artist, a runner, a cyclist, a photographer, a... haha.

Kidding.


KoP

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Photo

Just a photo because I'm really tired. I'll write about why I'm tired, tomorrow.
Good stuff.




KoP

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Missed It And New Tech Stuff

I was too tired to write last night.

I worked yesterday, which was no surprise, since I had an off day on Tuesday. I like that option because I can almost always extend a vacation by one day that way.

I have so many more photos to work with. I don't have my laptop right now, so it's text only for this entry.

I DID find a new mobile browser though. It's called Skyfire, and it allows you to see a webpage as if you were on a computer. It even loads flash content which is pretty cool. I actually may be able to load photos and stuff from host sites. I'll check it later.
Have a great weekend, all.

KoP

Friday, June 5, 2009

Alone

A lone buffalo at Yellowstone.
I caught a shot of this guy just before he crossed over the ridge.
Buffalon On The Horizon


KoP

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Old Faithful

And, of course, we had to see the one and only Old Faithful.



It was still pretty impressive.



Some of the pools, hot springs, and geysers all around it were equally impressive.

Heart Spring


Eventually, I'll post more of the others.

This is the Old Faithful Inn. It was built in 1903 and had some amazing architecture, especially inside.


Inside


We didn't stay the night there, but we did get a nice hot bath at the end of our stay in Yellowstone. Niiiice...



KoP

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Herding The Herd

One morning when we got up to go exploring, we saw this:
Several Rangers on horseback herding a herd of buffalo away from our camp. Apparently, the herd had decided not to cross the river like they usually did. It was pretty cool... and dusty.



KoP

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Road

From the roads of Nebraska.



KoP

Monday, June 1, 2009

Day 11- The LONG Drive Home

After Mt. Rushmore, we started the drive home.
We finally caught up with the rain when we started south while Amy was driving. Since she doesn't like to drive in the rain at night, I drove the first shift straight through until around 7:30am. That was a long stretch, but it was made easy by all the movies I watched on the laptop,
All told, we logged 4,285 miles. That would be the longest road trip I've ever been on.

Instead of driving all the way to Houston, we stopped in at my mother-in-law's which is about 100 miles north. I'm glad for the break since I am so friggin' tired.

I'll start looking at all of the photos when I get home on a decent computer. Wow... almost 5,000 shots! SURELY some of these are good...
We shall see.


KoP