Tuesday, 21 May 2013

May Mayhem ............(part 1)

Hello again! So I was informed this week that I had not updated my blog in a while - great to hear people are enjoying reading about my adventures! I apologise for the delay since I last posted, I really did plan to update at the start of the month but the best thing happened........... we got warm weather! Yes, that's right, the cold broke and the warm weather arrived with the later sunset. With this, all of a sudden I could hike until 7pm if I wanted to without being caught in the dark and catch up with friends without it being pitch black. I also didn't have to put layer upon layer to just walk outside - I could actually wear three quarters and t-shirts :-) It has been a fabulous month and I have been enjoying all that the valley has to offer............. Here is a breakdown of my adventures over the last month!

Echo Canyon Hike
Wow! This one was tricky to start with but well worth the hike in! You start by climbing over slick rock (that would not be your friend in winter with ice!) and end up walking down in a canyon (again, one that would not be your friend during a storm due to possible flooding!) However, the day I went with a friend from work and some of her acquaintances it was beautiful weather and the views from the canyon floor were magical. See for yourselves:

My first 5km run
So if you read an earlier post on my blog, you would know (or possibly remember as I tell this) that I signed up to help with the Girls on the Run program at school this year. At the end of the program, the girls join other GOTR girls from other schools in the area for a fun 5km run day. About halfway through the program though, I found out I would have to be in Denver that particular weekend for an official CITEL event. So I decided that I would sign up for a fundraiser for another local elementary school the weekend before and complete a 5km anyway! I ran in the 4km Mother's Day Challenge last year in Melbourne and have since become unfit again, so it was with trepidation that I watched the date get closer and closer. In the end the day was beautiful (which kinda sucked as that meant it was hot sunshine the whole time!!) and even though I believe I know exactly where the 4km mark was (!!) I finished the whole 5km only walking for about 2 minutes on a part of the track that was very "ditchy" and not ankle friendly. My time was 35 minutes - a 11:27 minute mile (or a 7 minute kilometre for all us Aussies!) I was very proud of myself - and sorry, no pics of me sweating and red faced here!!

Independence Monument Hike
This hike was awesome!! A bit of cardio heading in, but beautiful scenery. Independence Monument is a 450 feet free standing tower in the Colorado National Monument. My friend from school, her young son (6 y.o.) and I headed in about 9am - a very good decision as the heat came quickly and I was extremely glad I wasn't the people walking in as we were walking out!!! The hike was a few hours round trip and when we reached the monument I climbed the extremely steep base to the official 'base' of the rock tower. Slipped a few times coming down but once I slowed down and took my time it was alright :-) Keep scrolling for the amazing scenes from this hike ................

The view as we headed into the canyon - Independence Monument
can be seen standing solitary in the distance

Breathtaking vistas

Saw a few of these cool looking dudes - colour lizards!!

I don't think I will ever tire of views like these

Turned a corner and there was Independence Monument.
Anyone else see the 'rodent' face I see at the top? Kinda creepy!!

I'm standing at the base here - look just left
of the green bushes in the middle of the base.

Its all red rock - but the shrubs are green!!!!! Finally, spring is here!!

Like I said, saw a few of these awesome guys!

Dinner and conversation in Rifle
I had a wonderful meeting and dinner with two people who had been on exchange in Australia previously. They invited me to their house in Rifle, which is about an hour away, and I had a great afternoon and evening with them, their daughter and her family and their next door neighbours. We talked about Australia and compared how things were when they went over and now - both with our countries and the exchange program. Their son-in-law is actually also a fourth grade teacher and I am possibly going to visit him at his school at some point next school year. I enjoyed myself immensely and hope to catch up with them after the summer again.

CITEL Denver Reception
I was invited to a reception in Denver by CITEL to officially accept congratulations on the exchange and collect a certificate. They had set up a whole afternoon with a lunch, Capitol tour, presentation and dinner. Principals and school mentors had also been invited and we had given the names to CITEL very early in the year. My principal was not able to attend, but my friend Janel was able to come as one of my 'mentors'. We decided to drive over Friday morning and planned to make the Capitol tour. Well, you know what they say about best laid plans............

We decided to go to the hotel first and then catch a taxi into the city centre so Janel (who had driven) could also have a drink that night if she chose. After calling the taxi we settled down to wait with plenty of time........ 40 minutes later I call the company for them to tell me the taxi has not been dispatched!! It is dispatched and so we wait (at this stage missing the Capitol tour but with time to make the presentation)........... 15 minutes later the taxi driver calls me and has gone to the wrong place! He is confused! At this stage we decide to drive ourselves there.............. we catch everyone in the presentation room, although the official part is all over!! So instead of having a tour and being officially presented with a certificate, we headed out for a happy hour drink and then dinner! Not a complete waste of a day, but a frustrating one nonetheless!! (Oh - and then we had to switch rooms an hour after we returned to the hotel as our toilet broke!! *sigh* Nothing to do but smile and laugh!)

The weekend improved the next morning as we stopped off at Colorado Mills - Outlet Shops!! Bought a few things at Eddie Bauer as well as two pairs of sandals for summer.......... set for travelling now! :-)

Mt Garfield Hike

Mt Garfield - I drive past it every day to and from Grand Junction. I see it from my bedroom window. It is massive and looks formidable from any direction. So what do you do in Colorado? Apparently, you climb it!!
Yes, you read that correctly! Janel grabbed the opportunity the day after we came back from Denver and the CITEL event to make that the day I climbed Mt Garfield. She bought her 14 year old twin boys and 10 year old son along as well (and in all honesty I may have given up if not for the 14 year old calling down to me from above "Welcome to Colorado Ms Huntly!" I just wanted to catch up to them and make them pay! :-D)

Mt Garfield is a strenuous hike and rises in elevation 2000 feet in 2 miles. In other words - it goes straight up. Don't believe me? Check out this link: http://gjhikes.com/

As a picture is worth a thousand words - here's just under a million:

The trailhead......

The beginning......... up the hill we go!

The first stop for water........

Climbing past the first plateau.......... looking toward Palisade

Attacking the second stage............

Looking over Palisade from the top of Mt Garfield -
Grand Mesa is in the background

The successful hiker reaches the top!
Janel and I at the top of Mt Garfield

Palisade looking green in the springtime

Grand Junction and the Boockcliff mountains separated by Interstate 70

The descent (bottom half of hike)

The switchbacks were a bit skinny but manageable -
the steep downhills made them hairy!

Almost there - you can possibly see one of the boys at the front
moving down on his bottom due to the steepness!

The last few feet to descend - hike complete!!!

It's kinda hard to describe in all honesty - its hard going up and hard going down (the boys scooched down on their bottoms most of the way and I was tempted!) but it was great! Will I do it again? Oh NO! Am I glad I did it? Oh YES! And I did it with fantastic company (yes, it was fantastic even at the end when the teenage grumblings started :-D) A great day!

To be continued.............
It's just too much for one post! (And to write in one sitting!) More to follow tomorrow..........

Candice :-)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Candice - Glad you are now enjoying some warmer weather! Snow is great...for a while!!The scenery is spectacular and you are sure packing in a lot of adventures among all of your teaching commitments. You must be very fit after all of the hiking! Love Judy.