July 19, 2011

Mid Trip - Long Lost Chloe Video

When Chloe was a baby she used to hide in the middle of the coffee table. Once she was in her protective space she would go wild...

July 16, 2011

Mesa Verde Pueblos

What makes Mesa Verde National Park so unique is the historical artifacts in the park. The park boasts the most well preserved american historical artifacts. The artifacts are cliff dwellings used by the "ancestral puebloans". The first pueblo we went to was the Cliff Palace.

You have to pay and wait for hours to enter most of the pueblos. We decided to do our own thing and hike a little.

We did find a big pueblo that was open to everyone. This pueblo was called the Spruce Tree House.

Lisa in front of the Spruce Tree House pueblo.

These pueblos were built and used over 1400 years ago.

Next we head further Southwest to Flagstaff to see our friends Tibor and Kris Vegh!

Mesa Verde National Park - Southwest Colorado

Lisa and I left Gunnison and headed into Southwest, Colorado.

Again the scenery was beautiful the entire ride. We stopped a couple of times to take some pictures. These pictures are from the San Miguel National Forest.

The peaks ranged from 11,000 to 14,000 feet. We were driving along the interstate at 10,000 feet!

Lisa in front of Wilson Peak which rises about 14,000 feet above sea level.

Beautiful wildflowers found in the mountains.

After hours of beautiful scenery, we eventually made our way to Mesa Verde National Park.

Huge rock cliffs and canyons welcome you at the entrance of the park.

We decided to camp here for the night. Mesa Verde's Morefield campsite has an elevation of 8,100 feet. It reminded us of the Chiso's Basin campground in Big Bend National Park.

We made a fire, cooked a delicious backpacker pantry lasagna dinner and watched lightning flashes off in the distance. It was so peaceful at night except for the doggy who was sleep walking and barking...

I woke up early around 6am to run some of the Mesa Verde trails.

Right next to the campsite was the Prater Ridge trail network. There was a north loop and a south loop totaling about 10 miles with a 1000 feet of elevation gain. Meaning, I would be running above 9,000 feet for most of the run.

The views from the top of the ridge were incredible. I could look down and see our tent (where Lisa was still sleeping). Every now and then I could look down and check up on her.

Video from the top of the North trail of Prater Ridge.

At the end of the run I ran right into a doe and her fawn. Watch the video to see the fawn hopping away. I was so close to the doe I could have touched her.

After the run Lisa and I packed up and headed to the all you can eat pancake breakfast!! They even had starbucks coffee. Great way to start your morning!

Colorado Springs to Black Canyon of the Gunnison

The drive through Colorado was so beautiful.

Leaving Colorado Springs, we followed the Arkansas River through the Rocky Mountains. It was a clear, sunny day as the whitewater rafters ducked and bounced along the winding river.

We were headed to our first National Park of the trip - Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. The canyon rises 2200 feet on both sides of the Gunnison River.

There was also a "problem bear" in the area but he did not bother us.

Since the canyon is only a couple hundred feet across, the canyon receives very little sunlight. With minimal sun peaking into the canyon, the colors of the walls are mostly black with little hints of red.

Video from the Top of the Canyon

You can also drive twenty minutes down 16% grades to the Gunnison River itself.

Video from the Gunnison River at the bottom of the canyon.

Next we will continue our Colorado tour by heading Southwest to Mesa Verde National Park.

July 15, 2011

The Long Drive to Colorado

Instead of getting a good nights rest we pushed through the heat and into the wee hours of the morning on I-70 through Kansas.

Lisa took the 10pm - 2am shift while I from the 2am-6am. Around 6am I pulled over to a rest stop in Kansas and we fell asleep until 8am. Feeling rejuvenated by the sun's rising light I pushed on to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Luckily we had reserved a hotel room in Colorado Springs but we couldn't check in until 2pm. Instead of waiting at the hotel we decided to drive 19 miles up to the highest point in Colorado - Pike's Peak.

At 14,410 feet, Pike's peak and the Pike National Forest provide a beautiful backdrop to the city of Colorado Springs. We made it up to the top right before the storms rolled in.

After playing in the mountains for a couple hours we headed back to the hotel to get some well deserved rest. Lisa and I slept from 5pm to 7am the next morning. 14 HOURS!!

Leaving The Heart of It All - OHIO

On Monday morning we kissed Chloe good bye and headed west for a summer road trip. We left Ohio

Traveled through Indiana, Illinois

Finally we ended our first day in Missouri. Missouri's Graham Cave State park was our first campsite for the trip.

After driving for 12 hours we were eager to set up camp, run, and rest. However, the weather did not cooperate. The heat index in this part of Missouri was 105 degrees. Inside our tent we were sweating through our clothes and sleeping bags. We named this experience as the "sweat factory". After several attempts to sleep in the sweltering heat we decided to leave.

Not a good start for a two week long road trip. Instead of sleeping, we took shifts driving through the night. During the night we drove all the way through Kansas and into Colorado.
Originally from Strongsville, OH, I spent 8 years in Raleigh, North Carolina and have since recently moved to Missoula, MT. I have been a runner all my life and have recently started pursuing ultra marathons. Any excuse to be outside and on the trails.