Thursday, July 29, 2010

Food Guy Guest Spot 2-Boulder Hike

Life out here in Denver is solidly on the not-too-shabby side. The conference was pretty good today. The session was fairly interesting, and I got some good ideas for the assessment course I'll be teaching in the spring. But, the highlight of the trip so far was yesterday's hike up in Boulder.

We snuck out of the conference a little early yesterday, rented a car, and hightailed it up to Boulder to check out the Chataqua trailhead. There were several hiking options there, and we opted for the Mesa trail, which is a nice out and back that offers great views of the Flatirons all along the trail.

Not a bad view, eh?

The trail is a nice one that offers mostly smooth single-track, with the occasional technical section. It would have been a great trail to run, and I saw 5 or 6 trail runners taking advantage of the trail's proximity to town. It's literally about 5 minutes from downtown Boulder. Weaving in and out of a forest, the trail offers some great long-range views.

There are also some really cool meadows filled with wildflowers.

One of the coolest features of the trail is how dog-friendly it is. If you take your dog into town and pass a sight/voice command test, you can get a tag that exempts your well-behaved trail partner from the leash law. I think it's a pretty cool program. I don't like keeping Yellow Dog on a leash, but I understand that some people don't really like dogs and I also have seen first-hand how rude some dogs can be. I think having a system that lets good trail dogs have some freedom is a great idea. I'll have to come back out here with the Yellow One. I'm pretty sure he could pass the test.

I managed to drag myself out of bed early this morning to get my run in, so this afternoon will be pretty laid back. I plan to watch a little Sportcenter, do a little work, and then go out for some good Mexican food. Tomorrow is the last day of the conference. When it wraps up, I'm going to meet Rob and Sandy (some super-cool folks from my canyon trip) to go to the Rockies game. Then, it's back to NC on Saturday. I'll be psyched to grab Yellow Dog and head back up to Boone.

Food Guy Travel Guest Spot 1: Denver

Hey, all. I'm in Denver for a conference this week, and I promised Yellow Dog that I'd fill in for him on the blogospehere. This trip is my first conference since I moved on from being a Doc Student, and I have to say life as a college professor is pretty sweet. I'm staying at the Grand Hyatt in downtown Denver, and the accommodations are pretty over the top. There's a freakin' telephone in the bathroom. Check it out:

I mean, seriously! Who needs a phone by the john? Totally unnecessary! You know what isn't unnessary? The gigantic TV that I've been watching ESPN on from my comfy bed:

Pretty sweet, eh? The room is pretty nice. It rained a little yesterday afternoon, but the result was a cool rainbow outside my window:

I'm telling you- I lead a seriously charmed life. My colleagues who came out here with me are so much fun. Traveling with them has been a great way to get to know them and to get the feel of my new department. I knew for sure that we'd get along great when they decided that we should go to the Rockies game last night. I've never been to Coors field, so I was way into going. It was a lot of fun hanging out with them, drinking a beer, and watching a good baseball game.

The conference has been pretty good so far. The speaker yesterday was great, and I actually learned a whole lot of cool stuff. Today's speaker was pretty lame, and I was getting pretty bored this morning. I wasn't sure what my new colleagues were thinking, but I got my answer when they said we should skip out after lunch and head up to Boulder to go hiking at the Flatirons. How cool is that? I have the best job in the world. I gotta get some sleep, so I'll save our hiking story for tomorrow.

My dad says Yellow Dog is having a good time sleeping on the couch at the lake. I'll be sure to check in on him tomorrow and give y'all an update.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Time for another Lake Vaca

After a nice little run at the Greenway trails this morning, the Food Guy and I loaded up the mobile dog house and cruised down to the lake. He has to go to a conference in Denver (yeah, I know rough place for him to have to go right?), so I'm going to be chillin' at the lake for the week. I have to say that I'm pretty excited about my little vacation. We've been going at it pretty hard since we moved up to Boone. The Food Guy and I managed to hit the trails for a run almost every day again this week and still squeeze in evening bouldering sessions up in Blowing Rock. I really do like that place a lot. There are so many cool things for me to run around and smell. And there are usually a couple of other people there who let me take rest on their crash pads with them. On Friday night we brought my doggie friend Alabama and her Food Guy (Greg) with us. She had never been there before, so I showed her all the cool stuff while the food guys climbed around on the rocks. Greg hadn't been climbing in years, but you would have never known it from watching him climb. He hasn't lost a step at all. The Food Guy didn't shoot any photos because we got up there pretty late and there wasn't much light left. In fact, it was almost completely dark by the time we got back to the truck.

We took yesterday off from running, and I laid around the house while the Food Guy mowed the grass. I was getting a little bored, so we headed up to Blowing Rock last night at 6 to get one last day of climbing in before we left town. It was a really nice, laid back evening, and I mostly just hung out and watched the Food Guy while he climbed.

I'll be pretty happy to spend most of this week on the couch eating dog bones, but I'll be ready for more adventures after my little rest. I'll try to get the Food Guy to do a guest spot or two while he's on his trip. But, he'll probably be working most of the week, so I don't know if he'll have anything fun to report. Well, if I know him he'll find some way to get some adventuring in on this trip. He's pretty crafty at turing working trips into adventures. Plus, can you really expect him to work a full week after not doing any work all summer? I doubt it. The smart money is on him finding a way to do some running and get up to Boulder to hike around somewhere.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

More Pics & A Sunday Stroll

After we got back from climbing and running around yesterday, the Food Guy and Steven went to pick up some of the photos that Steven got developed yesterday. I figured I might as well add some of them to the blog since Steven is quite the photog. Check out this shot of me and Food Guy walking up to the Mushroom Boulder yesterday. Check out the cool Tigerlilly on the right side:

Pretty cool, huh? He also got a couple of cool black and white shots of the Food Guy working one of the problems we found at one of the other boulders:

These days of not having to work have been pretty fun. Today, we decided to take it easy, and just go for a short hike. Since the Boone Fork Trail was so much fun, we decided to go back and explore it a little bit more. Check out some of the cool things we saw:

The Rhodiecaves are really cool, and I think the ladders are a nice touch on this trail. I don't climb ladders, but I can find ways around them pretty easily. You know I am a pretty smart dog. I don't stagger around under the weight of my own brain or anything, but I can find alternate ways around sketchy parts of trails without any problem.

There were all kinds of cool boulders to walk around on and look down at the creek.

After walking through the caves and on the boulders, you pop out into this cool bald.

This trail is a must hike/run if you're ever in the Boone area.

It's been a nice relaxing day overall. The Food Guy and I have just been chilling this afternoon. He's been fixing some things around this crazy old house we are renting right now and watching the tour. Me? Well, I've been catching up on my sleep. Somehow, I think we'll end up going for a long run in the am before the Food Guy heads out to ride his bike. You know we can't sit still for very long.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Adventures Continue

It's only saturday, but the Food Guy and I have had a pretty good weekend so far. Brian came up from Mooresville yesterday morning, and we headed out to the local boulders to try to get some climbing in. It didn't turn out to be much of day for the people to climb. It rained on the way up there, but we decided to hike down to the boulders anyway. The Food Guy and Brian each managed to climb one problem each before the rain and thunder really started. Now, y'all know I DO NOT like thunder. We huddled up under one of the overhanging boulders to wait the storm out.

It was fun though. I took a nap on the crash pad while Brian and the Food Guy hung out and watched the rain. After the rain let up, we hiked back up to the truck and Brian helped the Food Guy fix the screen on the front door of our house. That really made the day a pretty productive one because it's much cooler in the house now that we can have the door open. I mean, it's cool here in Boone (it's usually in the 70s or 80s) but the fur coat can get pretty hot sometimes.

Brian stayed till around 4 and Steven had driven up from Athens around 3. The people hung out while I took a nap. A little while before dark, the Food Guy and Steven woke me up and told me it was time to go for a run. We loaded up the truck and headed up to Price Park and went for a run on the Boone Fork trail. The BFT is a 5 mile loop that is one of the coolest trail runs anywhere. It follows the Boone Fork and has some of the most varied terrain in the area. There is even a ladder to go up around one of the steeper sections. It was a fantastic run.

This morning Food Guy and Steven took me for a run on the Greenway trails, and then we headed back up to Blowing Rock to get some climbing in.

It was threatening rain the whole time, and I could hear some thunder rumbling in the distance. It all worked out pretty well, and it didn't rain on us until we got back to the truck. Steven and the Food Guy both got to climb lots of problems and we hiked the whole loop to get a good look at all of the boulders.

It was another great day here in Boone. I'm glad the Food Guy had a little company because it made it a little easier for him to get a bit of a rest. He's been running in the am and riding his bike in the evening. If you ask me he's been at it pretty hard. But that's probably because I'm still re-adjusting to life after spending a bunch of time lounging around at the lake. The Food Guy and Steven will probably head up to the parkway to find a good trail to run if it's still raining in the am. If not, it sounds like some climbing is one tap. I'm loving exploring all the new places around here. Gotta love summertime.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Tuesday Adventure

Well, I know most of y'all were probably working today, so the Food Guy and I want you to know that we were out adventuring for all of you who are stuck working somewhere. It's a tough life we lead here in Boone, but we are willing to take one for the team and make sure that the trails and boulderfields don't feel neglected during the week.

The Food Guy's buddy Steven made the trip up here from Athens yesterday to do some climbing. It rained most of the day, so we had to drop back, punt, and think of an alternative plan. We went to a cool overlook called Howard's Knob and then went for a run/hike on the trails at the local greenway. The weather gods smiled upon us last night and in the am; there was a break in the rain long enough for the rocks at the Blowing Rock Boulders to dry out. We jumped on the opportunity, skipped watching Le Tour this am (don't worry we'll watch tonight-- my nickname isn't Maillot Dog for nothing), and jumped in the mobile dog house and headed out to the boulderfield.

We were pleasantly surprised to find some relatively dry boulders and the Food Guy and Steven managed to knock out a couple of problems at two of the main boulders before it looked like the rain was about to start up again. Check out Steven and his fancy red shoes climbing away:

I had a lot of fun running around, smelling all the cool stuff out there, and taking naps next to the crash pad.

After we left the boulders, we decided to drive up the Parkway to the Linn Cove Viaduct. This place is really cool. It's a place on the Blue Ridge Parkway where they used 8 huge sections of concrete to build the road over the side of the mountain. They used a giant crane to set each section, so the huge boulders and rock formations wouldn't be disturbed. The view is out of this world.

There is a great trail called the Tanawha Trail that runs along the Parkway and under the Viaduct. It's a 13.5 mile trail that is just begging for the Food Guy and me to run it. The mountain laurel, Rhodie, and other native plant life are really impressive.

There are also some really cool boulders on the side of the trail that you can climb out on to get a great view of the area from. You can also find some sketchy trees along the trail to climb around on if you are feeling like climbing on rocks isn't enough for you. Check out Steven showing off his tree climbing skills:

All in all, it wasn't the worst Tuesday a Yellow Dog can have. I'm pretty tired right now. I'm slowing working my way back into active dog shape. The 5 miles we put in yesterday were my longest effort after my lake vacation, so I'm a little whooped after today's adventure. I'm sure the Food Guy will find some more cool stuff for us to get into tomorrow. Wednesdays need adventuring too, right? He needs to go into the office for a bit, but I doubt that will keep us from doing something cool. Stay tuned.