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!



Update:
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

Update:
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.


Monday, June 17th – Madison, WI

After a morning run and swim, we decided to head to Lutz Family Farm to pick some strawberries, since last year all our attempts were squashed due to an earlier berry season.  Along the way, we needed to drop some things off at the Goodwill, and managed to score some awesome finds…. Mountain Hardwear gloves for $1.99, and two Colorado guides for $1.39 each.  

At the farm, Alex proved to be the better forager, plucking significantly more berries than Dave.  He claims it was disproportionate rows…

After A.J. and Liz got home from work, we headed to the park for some slacklining, ate dinner, did some yoga, relaxed and played around with “Fitocracy.”  A.J. has been trying to get us to use Fitocracy for weeks, knowing that it combines our active nature and love of keeping track of things into a competitive package…. He won!