Friday – Saturday, June 27 – 28 – Lost Creek Wilderness and McCurdy Park Tower

Things were lining up in our favor Friday… a successful morning of resupplying our climbing gear (found stolen items we didn’t think we could find locally) and the window repairman showed up EARLY! By 2:30 pm, we were on the road to meet Mike at his office in Colorado Springs, from there we were headed to the Twin Eagles Trailhead to begin our 6 mile, 2,200 ft of elevation gain hike to McCurdy Park Tower.  Gearing up in the parking lot, we got swarmed  by ravenous mosquitoes that were sucking our blood through two layers of clothing… not to mention biting our bums!  Even 100% deet didn’t keep the little suckers away.  After putting on our heavy packs filled with sleeping gear, food, and climbing gear (packs weighed in at 50ish pounds for Mike and Dave, 35ish pounds for Alex) we took the traditional trailhead photo and then put our boots to the dirt at 7:15 pm.   

About 3.5 miles in, after the rolling hills turned more heinous, and the sun had set, thunder and lightening appeared in the distance.  We quickly found a clearing next to the trail, set-up camp for the night, hung our food bag down trail, and settled in to sleep… some of us sleeping better than others.  

Good Morning!

At 5:15am, the expert sleeper, Dave, decided that we had enough sleep and roused us all.  We packed up camp, and continued on to our destination, where we planned on cooking up some breakfast and coffee before getting on the wall to climb.

Arrival at McCurdy Park
The pile of rocks and  sticks was our protection against small critters getting into our food supply… also a good place to fly our flag!

McCurdy Tower – Our climbing goal
After setting up camp, eating, and having our coffee, we readied our climbing gear and headed to the base of the wall to pick out a line to climb.  Knowing that weather changes quickly, we kept an eye on the skies, and decided to wait a bit for the questionable clouds to pass.  

While waiting at the base, we spied a piece of booty (an abandoned piece of climbing gear) low on the wall.  Mike successfully freed the  shiny new nut, a #8 Black Diamond.

Once the wind picked up and thunder rumbled in the distance, we scampered downhill to our camp…. Alex’s pace picks up SIGNIFICANTLY when she hears thunder.  By the time we reached camp, rain drops and pea-sized hail were beginning to fall, so we hunkered down in our tent, and Mike in his bivy.
After napping while waiting out the storm, the sun was again shining and roused us from our shelters.

Though the sun was shining, we still saw clouds that we knew could quickly become a storm, so we putzed around camp for a bit.  Sadly, those clouds soon converged, turned gray, and then a shade we began to refer to as “Impending Doom Blue.”

The thunder again began to rumble and lightening appeared in the distance, so again we retreated to our tent and bivy.  Dave joked that he would love to see golf ball sized hail this time and hear Mike yell like a little girl as it would pelt him in his bivy.  A few seconds later his wish came true.

Once again, the storm passed, we left our shelters, and contemplated the climbing conditions.  Sadly, it was now mid-afternoon, we had spent over 2 and a half hours in the tent and bivy,  and we accepted the fact that our dreams of climbing that day were pretty much over.  We knew the weather for Sunday looked worse, so reluctantly we decided to pack up, and head home…. as long as we would make it to the food joint in the nearest town from the trailhead in time to get burgers.

Once back at the car, we threw the packs in, put on some clothes that weren’t covered in sweat and deet, headed to the restaurant, and feasted on bacon cheeseburgers and fries.  As Mike promised himself, he tossed his old beat up hiking boots in the dumpster.  He would now have no choice but to buy and break-in a new pair before next weekend’s adventure.

Though the goal of the trip, climbing McCurdy Tower, never happened, it was still a great weekend spent in a beautiful place with great company!

Thursday, June 27 – Brighton, CO

We had everything set for a day on the rocks… Greg would wake us up on his way out the door at 5:30, gear was organized and packed, hydration bladders were filled, coffee maker was set.  

So much for that plan!  As Alex is brushing her teeth, Dave comes in the bathroom and says “We aren’t climbing today, the car window is smashed, and the gear is gone” (or something pretty close to that!).  Alex had the look of “Are you serious… or is this a joke… I haven’t had coffee yet… and it’s too early for a bad joke like this!”  So without delay Dave says, “I’m not joking… come outside.”

Alas, the gear was gone.  The angry pepper must not have been angry enough to scare off the dastardly thief that struck not only our car, but 6 others in the night.

So instead of a day of fun, the day was spent making phone calls, filling out paperwork, and figuring out exactly what we lost.  

We do have to say, however… renter’s insurance is essential… and having an inventory of all the gear!!!  Having it was the saving grace for us getting ready to climb again this weekend.  

After too much time shopping and the biggest bill we ever had at REI… we had (most of) the essentials to carry on climbing!  Tomorrow, the window gets repaired, a little more gear shopping, packing up, and then we head to the Lost Creek Wilderness (looking like a pair of climbing yuppies with shiny unused gear) to backpack and climb with friend(s) for the weekend.

Time to mark the gear…

Result of “Resupply – Part 1”:

Wednesday, June 26 – Denver, CO

Today was declared a rest day, so we headed to the Denver Zoo with Mom Hefter…

Then we stopped by the massive Denver REI store and picked up some new toys… Then met up with Greg for dinner at Chipolte. Chipolte tastes so good out West!

Of course we had to play around with the new toys…. which have a 35 mile range!

Later that night, we had a gear inventory…

Minus 1 rope, 2 pairs of shoes, and 2 rope bags

Back to Boulder tomorrow…. this time the Southeast Ridge of the Second Flatiron.

Tuesday, June 25 – Boulder, CO

Around 4:45am, after swapping hour shifts of driving (or slightly more for Dave and less for Alex), we were finally at the Hefter’s.  After catching up for a  bit, we headed to bed, while they headed to work for the day.  Four hours later, we woke up, got some coffee in our systems, and headed out to Chautauqua Park in Boulder to climb the First Flatiron.  The route on our radar was the 1000ft, 10 pitch, Direct Route.  

Dave led all the pitches, in his typical style of carrying way too much gear. We climbed fairly straight above us the the “false summit”, then traversed the “roller-coaster ridgeline” to the true summit and rappel station.  After 6 hours on the rock, our hot, tired, and hungry bodies were again on the ground.  We made our way gingerly down the descent trail, and back to the car, eager for food, drinks, and sleep.

Monday, June 24th – Colorado Bound!

4:30pm Central Time

After waking up early to say goodbye to Liz before she headed into work for the day, we spent the rest of the morning getting ourselves ready to hit the road again.   

We were now just waiting for a package with Dave’s new climbing harness, and baskets for our hiking poles to arrive.  About 4pm it arrived and we hopped in the car, stopped to give A.J. back his keys we used all week, and say goodbye until August. 

Now, at 4:30pm local time, the GPS says we have about 13 hours and 900 miles ahead of us.
5:30pm Central Time
This is what $0.50 of coffee looks like in Platteville, WI.  Yes… 50 cents for 40 ounces! Awesomeness in a bottle!

Sunday, June 23 – Madison, WI

Our original plan for the day was climbing at Devil’s Lake, but the heavy overnight rain dashed those plans.  So instead, we started the day with a hike at Blue Mound State Park.  We had the muddy trails to ourselves most of the time, which was nice.  We hiked a loop that included two observation towers before heading out to our next destination.

On our way to Governor Dodge State Park, we came across this creature… We were so intrigued we had to back the car up to take a second look…

Cow, Horse, Bull, Chupacabra???

At Governor Dodge, we hiked around the Stephen’s Falls Area.  Again, it was quite muddy, but since A.J. told us it was just a quick and easy hike to the falls, Dave and Alex just wore flip-flops.  After the falls, we decided to hike another trail. Dave soon opted to ditch his flip-flops and hike barefoot.  Alex ditched her’s after one got sucked off her foot and deep into the mud.

The two spring houses we found along the way proved to have VERY cold water… refreshing, exhilarating, and painful!

After doing some research, aka Google image search of “long haired cattle” we decided our mystery creature was not in fact a chupacabra, but a yak!  This has led to further research about yaks, owning yaks, and yakpacking.

Saturday, June 22 – Madison, WI

We spent the morning perusing the Madison Farmer’s Market located on Capital Square.  In Wisconsin style, there was plenty of amazing cheeses to taste, and also lots of fresh fruits, veggies, and flowers.  We couldn’t help but leave with some cheese…. including “squeaky” cheese curds…. they squeak when you bite them!

Later in the afternoon, we visited Wollersheim Winery for a tasting.

For dinner…. homemade pizzas were on the menu…

Broccoli & Garlic, Taco, Tomato Basil Pesto, White with Broccoli

Friday, June 21 – Madison, WI

We spent Friday mostly relaxing, and cooking after we got back from Governor Dodge State Park.  In the evening we went to Quivey’s Grove Stable Grill for dinner, then to the University of Wisconsin’s Memorial Union Terrace to sit on the dock and listen to a jazz band.  

We wrapped up the evening with some yoga and a pretty interesting  documentary, Kumare, about a guy who makes himself into a fake guru and creates a following. 

Yoga videos on Youtube: Yogamazing

Thursday, June 20th – Madison, WI

A.J. took Thursday and Friday off from work, so after Liz headed to work, we packed up and headed to Governor Dodge State Park to climb, boulder, and camp overnight.  After requesting the most secluded campsite (the ranger probably thought we were up to no good…. when in reality we just like to be away from people!) we set-up camp in our walk-in backpacking site, ate some grub, and headed out to climb.  

We were not really sure of the grades at the time, but they all looked reasonable, so we roped up and had an enjoyable afternoon on the rock. 

Sport Climbing Area:
Warm-Up 1 (5.9)  — Dave(S), Alex (TR), A.J. (TR and S)
Warm-Up 2 (5.10-)  — Dave(S), Alex (TR), A.J. (TR)
Pocket Warm-Up (5.10b)  — Dave(S), Alex (TR), A.J. (TR)
Left Wing (5.10-)  — Dave(S), Alex (TR), A.J. (TR)

After some snacking to refuel, we headed over to the bouldering area.   We, unlike A.J., do not call ourselves boulderers, but figured it would be good for our climbing and A.J. enjoys it… so why not!  After cranking on some problems…. both successful and not…. and several statements of “I hate bouldering!” we wrapped up another session of fun (we did actually enjoy ourselves though our statements regarding bouldering may sound otherwise) and found some space to cook up some dinner. 

Bouldering Area:
Separation Face (V1) — send by all of us
Smack Crack Right (V0) — Dave and A.J.
Smack Crack Left (V0+) — Dave and A.J.
Get the Hell Out of Dodge (V4) — A.J. send, Alex and Dave played
Hangman (V5) — we all played
Ashmatica (V2) — send by all 

Two cans of black beans, seasonings, 2 avocados,  3 tomatoes, 1 head of red leaf lettuce, 6 wraps, and some cool beverages later, we had a legit and fulfilling meal.  After cleaning up, despite the yet unset sun, we walked our tired muscles back to camp and settled in our tents for the night.  

Apparently we need a new can opener…

Around 4am Alex awoke to notice thunder and lightening in the distance… so out of our tents we moved to put the rain flies on, then settled back in for a few more hours of sleep.

Around 7am, the rumble of thunder and heightening breeze roused us again.  After some back and forth over what we should do (wait it out or pack-up) we quickly packed up camp, briskly walked the half mile back to the car, just in time to beat the rain.  After rechecking the weather, the day looked to be a washout, so we headed back to Madison, picked up some groceries ( Willy Street Co-op and Costco rock!) for and afternoon of cooking, brewing, and trip research.

Wednesday, June 19th – Madison, WI

After some morning yoga, fruit dehydration, and time zone confusion, we headed over to meet A.J. for lunch at his place of employment, Epic.  Epic is EPIC.  It looks EPIC, the offices are EPIC, and the food is EPICALLY good!  

The Farm Campus….Notice A.J. and Dave were twinsies today!
How many people get to ride a slide at the end of each work day?

We rode A.J. and Liz’s bikes from their apartment to Epic, and then for a ride around Madison, with a stop at the University of Wisconsin Geology Museum.  Notice a trend here…. A.J. and Liz go to work… and we play with their toys!  About 33 miles, and 2 hours and 50 minutes of biking later, we were back at their place and starving!  

Currently we are chilling in their living room with A.J., waiting for Liz to get home, and deciding what to do with the rest of the evening

After our nightly maulfest of chips and hummus/guacamole/salsa, we decided to head over to the Ice Age Trail for a 4 mile hike where we got attacked by skeeters.