Dobie Mountain Hike + Peeing in the Woods

On Thursday afternoon Andrew and I made the somewhat last-minute decision to take the day off Friday and hike.  We already had a three day weekend for Memorial Day and figured, why not make it four?  Plus, we hadn’t been hiking since that bizarre warm day back in January, and we were itching for some mountain views.  After a bit of deliberation–we wanted to minimize driving distance and maximize views–we decided on Dobie Mountain.  The starting point of this hike shares a parking lot with one of our favorites, Humpback Rocks, and is less than ninety minutes from Richmond, but we had never done it before Friday.  As it turns out, we didn’t know what we were missing.

The weather forecast for Friday showed us that we’d have a cooler hike (about 55 degrees,) and we dressed appropriately for the temperature, but what we did not anticipate was the wind: 25-30 mph!  Thankfully, when we’d walked out our front door that morning it was raining, and even though I knew it wasn’t in the forecast for where we were hiking, I ran back inside to get my rain coat.  Just in case.  I definitely needed the extra (wind resistant) layer!

Aside from the wind, which wasn’t terrible once we entered the woods, the whole day was fantastic.  We took a picture of the map in parking lot to use as our trail map:

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Starting at the Humpback Rocks Parking Area, we went up the Albright Loop, onto the Appalachian Trail to the Glass Hollow Overlook, then back to finish the loop.  The first half of the hike is downhill with a lot of rocks and switchbacks, then the trail ascends to the overlook and back to the start.  It was a good workout, but not quite as strenuous as Humpback Rocks.

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Braving the wind.  My hair tells the story.

The views at the overlook were incredible:

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Because it was a weekday and we were on the less popular of two neighbor hikes, we didn’t see any other hikers once we left the parking lot.  Beautiful solitude… Together. 😉  We set up our ENO hammock and took a break for lunch.

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PBJ’s on gluten-free bread, apples, tortilla chips, carrots (Andrew,) trail mix (Catherine;  fine, I only ate the chocolate)

Also, despite using the restroom immediately before starting the hike and drinking less water than I probably should have, nature called.  Guys have it so easy when it comes to peeing in the woods.  Girls?  It’s a little tougher…and not something I have practiced often.  Here’s my advice: after finding a safe location (no poison ivy or people,) choose a tree, point your backside downhill, grab the tree for support, and squat as if you are water skiing with your butt very close to the water.  That advice and mental image are free.  You’re welcome 😉

Cool finds of the day: a log that looked like a dragon (I decided to ride it,) and… these green things:

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The whole day was a blast, and we were glad we made the trip.  Lots of quality time, beautiful views, and–one of my favorite parts of hiking–a workout that doesn’t seem like a workout.  Seriously, if I lived within 15 minutes of a mountain, I would hike every day.  Or at least a few times a week.

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Do you ever use hiking as a workout?  What’s your favorite hike/place to hike?

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Colorado Part 2: Mountain Views and Hot Flashes

High altitude can do strange things to the body.  The lack of oxygen can cause shortness of breath (check,) headaches, digestive issues (check,) fatigue, dizziness, and…hot flashes? (check.)  Okay, so I can’t find proof that high altitude causes hot flashes, but I also can’t find any other reason that I experienced them on this trip!  It happened a few times Wednesday night and Thursday, which would have been when my body was trying to acclimate (plus, we drove even higher Thursday.)  At first I thought the hotel room was too hot, the heat in the car was turned up too high, etc.  When I noticed that Andrew and Jenny both were still wearing their jackets, I realized: I was having hot flashes.  Hah!

Has anyone else experienced this?  Are high altitude hot flashes a thing?

Moving on…

Saturday morning we ate brunch at Beatrice and Woodsley–a fairy tale-esce restaurant in downtown Denver.  I ordered the “Eggs Johnny Fever–Pan fried goetta on toasted onion bread with sunny eggs, mustard hollandaise, and roasted cauliflower.”  Yum.

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It was a sunny, 50-something degree day, so after brunch we met our friend Ashley at Washington (“Wash”) Park, walked around the lake, and chatted for a while.

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Then we continued chatting over ice cream at Sweet Action.  They serve a few dairy-free flavors, so Andrew was able to have some as well.  It was apparently the best DF ice cream he’s ever had!

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After saying goodbye to Ashley, we decided to get a late lunch (the theme of the day was “keep eating” ;-)) at Sputnik–a quirky, hipster, hole-in-wall restaurant with great tacos and waitresses that say, “What do you want?” when taking your order.  At least ours did.  We filled up on tacos and drove west towards the mountains to continue enjoying the weather and the scenery.

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 photo (21) Awesome.

Finally, on the way home we stopped at a point of geological interest:

photo (12)My husband.

It was a whirlwind trip, but we managed to pack in lots of great food, outdoor adventures, and time with family and friends.

Until next time, Colorado!

Colorado Part 1: Bison Burgers, Powder, and Hot Flashes

We are home from Denver and feeling a bit jet-lagged today!  While I only spent three and a half days out West, Colorado did not disappoint.  We packed as much as possible into our brief trip.

I arrived Wednesday evening after flying by myself for the first time (I know–how does a person make it nearly 27 years without flying alone?)  I made it through security without being pulled aside for the first time in three trips, I navigated the enormous Dallas airport, and it only took me one song on my iphone to realize the earphones were not plugged in all the way and everyone around me on the plane could hear my music.  Success!

Andrew and Jenny met me at the airport, and we drove downtown and had dinner at Ted’s Montana Grill.  After a day of peanut butter, bananas, and trail mix, I opted for a bison burger with fries and a side salad.  The burger was delicious, but huge, so I was only able to eat half of it (and Andrew helped with the fries ;-))  It definitely hit the spot!

Jenny had to work Thursday, so Andrew and I borrowed her car and took a trip to Golden–home of the Coors Brewery.

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We walked around town for a bit, then ate lunch at Windy Saddle Cafe, which boasts some excellent gluten-free grub.  We split a GF butterscotch muffin as an appetizer (because who doesn’t need a lunch appetizer?), and each ordered a sandwich–Andrew’s on GF bread, mine on a fantastic baguette.

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This is only half of the sandwich… the half I couldn’t finish 🙂

After lunch we took a tour of the Coors Brewery.  Neither of us are really beer drinkers–Andrew can’t have it because it contains gluten, and if I’m going to drink hundreds of calories of sugar, I’d rather have a Coca Cola– but the tour was actually very interesting.  Andrew said it was like being in an episode of Modern Marvels (that’s a good thing, in his mind.)  Of course, the few photos I took had little to do with how beer is made:

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We picked Jenny up from work just before 4:00 and headed for the mountains; we’d booked a room at a hotel close to where we were skiing Friday so we wouldn’t have to wake up early to make the drive.

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As we drove west, it began to snow…and snow…and snow…

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We arrived safely at the Alpine Inn, where Andrew morphed into an icicle maniac:

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(Side note: As we walked past this window to check in, we noticed someone changing clothes inside.  I quickly turned away, feeling awkward, but also wondering why the heck someone on the first floor would get dressed with the curtains open!  When we walked back outside to get our things out of the car, we noticed someone else changing clothes in another room.  As Jenny and I were saying, “What is wrong with these people?!” Andrew pointed out that, perhaps that was the pool room.  And it was :-D)

Friday morning, we hit the slopes.  Because it had snowed the day before–and continued snowing throughout the day–we had the opportunity to ski on fresh powder, or “pow-pow” as we’ve heard it called. 😉  All three of us were more or less beginners (I skied twice in 7th grade,) so we took a group lesson.  Our instructor was amazing, and by the end of the day, we were pretty much pros not half bad.

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The obvious height difference on the ski lift cracks me up 🙂

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Yes, I was wearing the same skis as 10-year-old boys.

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At the end of the day our instructor told Andrew to watch out, because the next time he took me skiing I was going to kick his butt 😀

photo (9)Awesome sunset on the drive home

To keep this post from becoming longer than anyone cares to read, I’ll stop here for now, but there are more Colorado adventures to come in another post!

Oh, and the hot flashes?  I’ll save them for my next post as well. 😉

Rocky Mountains, Here I Come

In a just a few short hours I will be on a plane headed towards Denver to meet up with Andrew and spend a few days with Jenny!  We traveled there over the summer as well and loved all the opportunities for outdoor adventures.  Here’s some of what we did in July:

DSCN6796  DSCN6783Hiking at Dinosaur Ridge

DSCN6753  DSCN6690Taking cheesy photos around Garden of the Gods 🙂

DSCN6830 IMG_3784Pike’s Peak (+meeting up with our good friend Ashley!)

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Seeing Ingrid Michaelson live at Red Rocks

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Ah, summer.  This will be a very different trip with all the snow, but I am looking forward to trying some new activities!  (We are skiing on Friday.  I haven’t skied since, oh, 7th grade.  Colorado is a great place to ease back into it, right? 😉

 I have my airport lunch and travel snacks packed and ready to go:

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-Peanut butter and banana on a whole grain bagel

-Luna Bars

-Apples

-Clementines

-Popchips

-Trail Mix

-Gummy Cubs(the all natural version of gummy bears, from the bulk bin at Kroger)

That should hold me over until dinner.  🙂

Stay tuned for our Denver adventures…

Crabtree Falls

There are few activities I enjoy more than hiking: fresh air, fantastic views, a workout that doesn’t seem like a workout because of the scenery.  What’s not to love?  So when the weatherman predicted a rare mid-60 degree day in January, we seized the opportunity.  Saturday morning we set off on an adventure to Crabtree Falls with our friends Chris and Regina.

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The hike from the parking lot to the top of the falls is 1.7 miles and an almost 1400 ft climb in elevation–not outrageous, but it certainly raises your heart rate!  One of the things I love about this hike is that you can see the falls multiple times on the way up.  From the top of the falls, there is roughly a two-mile hike to the base of the Appalachian Trail.  When Andrew and I did this hike back in May, we kept saying, “Let’s go a little bit further:” top of the falls, base of the AT, beautiful overlook on the AT, and beyond.  Seven-ish miles later, we turned around and began making our way back down the mountain for a grand total of  fourteen-ish miles.  We hobbled on sore legs for a few days after that.

We cut ourselves off a little sooner this weekend (we made it to the base of the AT… just over seven miles round-trip,) and I have a feeling my legs will thank me for it for the next few days.

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DSCN7129   DSCN7130Andrew photo-bombing + the photo I was actually trying to take (“Don’t think for one second that I won’t put that on the blog.” -Me)

DSCN7134View from the top of the falls

DSCN7140Yeah, we love each other that much.

DSCN7146We also got to see this guy on our way back down.  Anyone know what kind of snake it is/whether I should have gotten close enough to take this picture? 😀

DSCN7150The obligatory selfie 😉

DSCN7132Beautiful day.  Awesome company.  Gorgeous view.

Totally worth the sore legs.