ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
This past weekend, Britt and I headed out on a backpacking expedition to climb the Rio Grande Pyramid (13,821 ft, the 97th highest mountain in Colorado - or possibly the 30th, depending on how you define 'mountain'). I've wanted to climb it for some time; it's a distinctively-shaped peak (the name gives a clue!), much higher than anything else around it and thus visible from most of the high summits of the San Juans, and in 2008 Britt and I attempted to climb it but were rained out.

on the Rincon La Vaca trail

Adventure! Wildlife! Pain and suffering! )

Photos only


Jul. 9th, 2012 09:00 pm
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
We were going to go backpacking in the mountains above Silverton, but the forecast was pretty awful - 80% chance of rain on Saturday, 60% on Sunday - so instead we went to Utah, to do the Fish Creek/Owl Creek loop we did back in August 2010. We figured that now that the rains had begun, it should be okay to do a desert hike in the summer.

Except that it wasn't. We (me, Britt, and our friend Shan) drove out to the trailhead and paid our permit fee, hiked and scrambled down the steep, rocky canyon wall, and found that the rains didn't do diddly-squat. The springs were still running, but the dry winter had failed to fill the pools, and the places we'd swum two years ago had only a few inches of scummy water.

See? )

When we saw this, we decided it would be too risky to continue on the loop, as there was a good chance we would not have enough water further downcanyon. Instead we backtracked to the spring, where there was a decent pool we could swim in, as well as enough running water from the spring for filtering, and set up camp. The next morning we explored upcanyon a bit, and then hiked back out. Phooey.
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
Britt and I had long wanted to climb Grizzly Peak (13,738'), which is in the San Juan mountains not far from Engineer Mountain. It's climbed far less frequently than Engineer, though, as it's harder to get to, sitting back at the head of a valley rather than right out near the highway. (We've been up Engineer a number of times, most recently last fall; this is my trip report from that climb, and here is a photo of me on the ascent; Grizzly is the highest peak in the background, on the right side of the picture.) As we debated where to go this weekend, we decided one reason to choose Grizzly was that it was quite far from the Little Sand Fire, currently stinking up the eastern part of our usual stomping grounds, the Weminuche Wilderness. We certainly didn't want to be hiking through smoke and ash! Ha ha ha! Little did we know.... [cue ominous music]

Ilana on the rocks

(Yes, the sky in Colorado is normally bluer than that. That is smoke haze. That is also me, on the way down, and the pointy thing behind me is Grizzly.)

Read more! See more pictures! )

All the photos [16 total], none of the blah blah blah

Weber Fire incident page (This is not, actually, the worst of the fires in the area; that would be the Little Sand Fire, about 40 miles northeast of Durango. Both of them added together are less than half as big as the one burning near Fort Collins, though. Colorado is seriously on fire this summer. Cross your fingers and hope for rain.)
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
painted wall

This past weekend Britt and I went on our first backpack trip of the season, to Grand Gulch, which is a canyon system in southern Utah which was a major population center back in the 11th century. Lots of ruins and rock art to look at, in addition to the natural beauty of the redrock canyon country; lots of wildflowers and a little wildlife (a big gopher snake, and I didn't put his picture inline here but be warned there is one in the linked photoset, if you are a snake-o-phobe).

short trip report, and a few pictures )

Set of 24 photos at Flickr
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
As many of you know, my husband Britt was working in Bakersfield, CA for much of this winter. As his project began to wind up, I flew out to stay with him (I worked from his hotel, since I telecommute anyway) and then on Friday, January 27th, we packed up the Sportsmobile (he'd driven it out, originally) and headed home, taking our time and visiting tourist traps and national parks along the way.

Joshua Tree

Our first destination was Joshua Tree National Park. We are both rock climbers - or used to be, anyway - and had heard about the climbing there; we were not prepared to actually climb there, but we wanted to see the rocks, and hike around, and so on. We spent two nights at the entirely gorgeous Jumbo Rocks campground, and two days visiting pretty much every corner of the park accessible from the main road.

More photos and rambling about Joshua Tree NP )

Trailer parks and tourist traps. And a wolf. )

Petrified Forest National Park )

Oops, I almost forgot: more photos (a total of 30) at Flickr.
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
Britt and I had been planning to go backpacking this weekend, but work stuff started coming fast and furious for him, and he decided he really couldn't justify taking the whole weekend off. (This is what happens when you have your own business...) Instead we decided to climb Engineer Mountain, a local peak that is just under 13,000 ft; we've climbed it before, but it's pretty, and it's nearby, and there are awesome views from the top.

on the trail

We've hiked maybe a half-dozen times up to the bench at treeline, but mostly we've gone during the height of summer wildflower season, and it was very different to see it, as in the photo above, all gone dry and brown. More story, more photos )

In fact, we made it home in time to take a shower and head out to the orchard of a friend of a friend's, north of Cortez, where we joined in an apple-picking and cider-making party. We now have a good haul of apples and pears, and three gallons of fresh cider - mmmm!

Eight photos on Flickr
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
the walls get bigger

Spring is here, and with it the jones to go hiking in the desert. This is the perfect time for the Utah canyon country; the bugs and heat haven't arrived yet, but it's no longer winter-cold...or so we thought. Our original plan was to spend a long weekend, but the forecast was looking grim (8°F overnight low?!?! Snow?!?!) so we delayed a couple of days and headed out with our friends Doug and Anne on Sunday morning April 10th.

We were able to pick up our original itinerary permit and get it rewritten for our new dates. Our plan was to hike in via Kane Gulch, which is the trail closest to the ranger station, and camp near its confluence with the main stem of Grand Gulch. The next day we'd continue to the confluence with Todie Gulch, where we'd camp and hike out the following day. The daily distances we'd planned were quite short to accommodate side visits to the many pre-Puebloan cliff dwellings, some marked on maps and unmarked ones we hoped to spot, which are the main attraction of Grand Gulch. Back during what passed for the medieval era in Europe, Grand Gulch was relatively densely populated with the pre-Puebloan peoples who are often referred to as the Anasazi. Now there's nothing there but ruins, rock art, potsherds and corncobs - and the occasional hiker.

Trip report and about a dozen pictures... )

Or just go look at the pretties on Flickr: 34 pictures, mostly captioned.
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
The day after the Canyonlands Half, Dee and I went to Arches NP for a little recovery hiking.

Delicate Arch

a couple more photos )

See all nine photos at Flickr.
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
I've been doing stuff! But somehow failing to update.

Labor Day weekend near Taos: gawking at hot-air balloons, climbing Wheeler Peak, and getting stitches in my elbow )

This Saturday I'm running the Imogene Pass Run for the third time. (First, second.) I'm not sure how I'll do this year; I'm not running as much as I was last year because of my recovery from peroneal tendinitis, but I've been faster at the short distances. My A goal is 3:49 or faster; my B goal is to beat my last year's time of 3:55, and my C goal is to just get under 4 hours. We shall see.
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
On Sunday, Britt and I climbed 12,504' Grayrock Peak:

Grayrock ridge

Huh, I wonder why it's called that? :-) It's actually a semi-detached point at the southeast end of a long, flat lump of rock called Graysill Mountain, connected by a skinny ridge. (In this photo, I'm standing at the end of Graysill looking at the ridge and the Grayrock summit.) We had actually tried to climb it from the east last year; we'd gotten lost and ended up wandering around a cliffy steep face that was no fun at all before picking our way down again. This time we drove around to the southwest and hiked up an old, closed logging road that eventually petered out into a trail, which eventually disappeared entirely, but by that time we were above treeline and just aimed for the high point.

More pictures )

The slopes of Graysill from where we parked around 10,200 to a bit above treeline were thick with mushrooms. This has been a banner year in Colorado for wild mushrooms. Last Sunday we went on a dayhike specifically to look for and collect them, and we came back with something more than 20 pounds of mostly Hawk's Wings and King Boletes (as well as a few random samples of other things to try or investigate); on our way down from the peak, we collected Saffron Milkcaps (Lactarius deliciosus) and King Boletes (Boletus edulis). Our dehydrator has been running nonstop, and we've been eating mushrooms with nearly every meal, yum!

Mushroom pictures )

The weather was pretty marginal all day, but it didn't start actually raining until we got back to the vehicle. (And then it hailed!)
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
Thursday night was the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, so Britt and I had plans to drive out to Cedar Mesa in Utah, figuring it would be warm enough there to sleep out and look at the sky, as well as clear (rain was predicted for Durango) and dark (the nearest town being Mexican Hat, population 88). And it didn't really make sense to drive out around 3 hours just to spend one night and drive back in the morning, so at the last minute we decided to bring our gear and go backpacking on the Fish Creek/Owl Creek loop, a highly-rated hike that goes through scenic canyons with arches and ruins, with quite a bit of rock scrambling and route-finding required. Most people, of course, do this in the spring or fall, when it's not brain-scorchingly HOT. On the other hand, it had rained across the entire region the previous week, so the intermittent streams would be running and the pools would be full, and with predicted temperatures in the upper 80s to lower 90s it was still on the cool side. (For the desert. In August.) Best of all, we would have it to ourselves - because nobody else would be nuts enough to be there.

Rambling report and a bunch of photos )

All 26 photos (these plus more) as a Flickr set
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
I am trying to get out of the habit of only posting when I have something major to post about. Not that I plan to tell you daily what is in my fridge. (That's for Twitter. And no, I am not on Twitter - well, I have a couple of accounts, but I use neither.)

- On Saturday we did a guided edible and medicinal plant hike, which was pretty nifty. The most useful things I learned were that the berries of this plant (Twisted-stalk) are edible and taste like cucumber, and that harebell flowers and sweet cicely are yummy in a salad. I can also identify arnica and valerian and know to bind open wounds with the mossy stuff that drapes from the trees, and can poison you with Death Camas if need be, la la la. The volunteer instructor didn't know mushrooms, though, so we gleefully pointed out (and picked) the boletus edulus and scaly urchins we saw. Still on the early side for mushrooms here, but it was nice to come home with a pound of scaly urchin (hawks' wing).

- On Monday Britt left for a week of backpacking with some guys. He's sort of the guide. I would be annoyed at not being invited on the trip, but it's been raining a lot and expected to continue raining. So la la la, have fun, I am hanging out at home with the kitty, drinking wine and eating wild mushrooms.

- I am running! Still feel a little twingy in my peroneal tendon, but it doesn't actually hurt, and I got in a beautiful 15-miler on Sunday morning up Junction Creek and the Colorado Trail. Junction Creek was flooding the color of tomato soup as I ran along it, quite dramatic. I didn't get a super-early start but was still ahead of all the mountain bikers so only saw them while I was heading back down. 37 miles for the week, finally up in respectable territory again, although I would really like to get back to the 50-65 mile range and 6 days per week. Probably not until late fall, though.

- Speaking of running (I know, I speak of running a lot!) I ran a tempo run today which leaves me cautiously optimistic about my fitness. I was worried that I had lost a lot over the summer of injury recovery, but I was able to run 3 miles at an average 7:35 pace, which is about what I was running my (longer, though) tempos at in the winter. I have signed up for a 5K on Friday night and although I know I am not in PR shape, am hoping for at least better than the 23:58 I ran last year on the same course. In fact if I can hold 7:35 I will run 23:30, so that is my goal. The race course is hillier than my morning's run, but on the other hand, races are always faster for me. So we'll see.

- I made lemon squares with this recipe (that I had printed out from at least 15 years ago) and somehow the lemon topping slipped around the edge and under the crust (guess my oven isn't exactly level) and made half the pan turn into lemon upside-down bars instead. Not that they are bad, mind you; just that it was unexpected. Also, as some of you know I recently got an ice-cream maker, and I have all the ingredients for chai ice cream. Britt thinks I am going a little overboard with the weird ice cream flavors and so I was going to make it this week, while he is gone, but somehow the idea of ice cream is less attractive when it's cold and rainy. Also when I am still 5 pounds up from my March weight, despite my increased running and mountain biking. Phooey.

- I got two phone calls from political campaigns or organizations today. Yesterday I got one political call and a call from a polling organization. I think we answer on average one poll per week; I know it's random, but I think they are trying to sample all Colorado counties, and there just aren't that many people out here in the SW corner of the state. I am really looking forward to this election season being over just so the damn phone will stop ringing.
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
I was going to write up all the stuff we did, but I don't really have the energy. Hiked in past gorgeous waterfalls to a pretty lake, set up camp, hiked to another pretty lake, hiked up a mountain to the 12,640 ft high summit where we were attacked by hordes of ladybugs, hiked over a stunning high pass to another pretty lake, hiked back to the trailhead. Woo.

Here are the equivalent of 16,000 words, on my Flickr page.
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
On Sunday, Britt and I drove about an hour north to a new-to-us trailhead in the mountains between Silverton and Telluride. It took a while to find the trail, off a jeep road that inexplicably made a loop above the highway (presumably it originally gave access to a mine); once we did, we climbed a bazillion switchbacks through a pretty pine forest carpeted with early wildflowers, until we broke out into a beautiful treeline basin. Pictures of mountains and wildlife and snow! )
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
So far this week (which I count as beginning on Monday) I have mountain biked on three different trail systems, hiked, gone for a run, and rowed my raft down the river through town - and only the last activity required use of a vehicle. (In addition to my bicycle - I dropped off Britt and the boats at the put-in, drove to the take-out with my bike, left the truck and hopped on the bike and rode back up the rec path to the put-in, locked my bike, and got on my boat! Pedal powered shuttle FTW!)

And it's only Thursday. :-)

(This is also why I love having a job where I telecommute and set my own hours.)
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
Britt and I wanted to get out of town, so we hopped into the Sportsmobile for a weekend in the canyons of SE Utah. He had in mind a place he'd heard of called Johns Canyon, at the south end of Cedar Mesa, just north of Mexican Hat on the San Juan River.

It took us about 2.5 hours to get to the turn-off. Then we spent the next hour winding along a tiny high-clearance dirt road that skirted the edge between Cedar Mesa looming above us and the side canyons that cut through to the river below us. We parked under a spreading cottonwood tree, had lunch, and then pulled on our hiking boots and spent a pleasant cool and sunny afternoon exploring a branch of Johns Canyon which ended about 3 miles upstream of our camp in a large pour-over alcove.


We got back to our van in time to relax with some wine and snacks before I made dinner, although the wind had picked up and although it was still sunny, it was more pleasant to hang out in the van than outside. Our plan for the next morning was to explore downcanyon on the opposite side from where we'd come in, then drive back to Durango in the afternoon.

Except we woke to this: )

12 photos (including more Sportsmobile pr0n just for Eric W.) on Flickr.

Also, a big thank you to whoever gave me (another!) month of paid time on Dreamwidth! Which is a good lead-in to tell you all that I'm directing comments to Dreamwidth now. I am still crossposting to LJ for the moment. If you would like a Dreamwidth invite code, just holler.
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
I have a [ profile] traveller42! He is on a road trip and stopping here for the purpose of buying me beer and giving the guest room a dry run before my parents arrive on Thursday. But this is not why I am posting. Rather, Britt and I hiked up Silver Mountain (12,450') in the La Platas yesterday. Gorgeous, gorgeous day, the kind of crisp blue-sky day which is why autumn is my favorite season. We hung out on the summit for a long time (us and the flying ants, WTF?) and then merrily traipsed along the connecting ridge to Deadwood Mountain (12,285') and then down via the west ridge to the Neptune Creek jeep road, which, meh, and then along the La Plata Canyon road back to our truck, which, double meh. But! This kind of scenery only a half-hour's drive from our house!

moonrise over Silver Mountain

That moon is rising RIGHT OVER the peak we climbed. (It's the highest one in that group; the others are just closer.) Photo taken on the way back to the truck. More pictures from the actual hike: )

All 7 photos at Flickr.
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
In reverse order:

1) I changed my journal style on LJ, mostly because I upgraded to Firefox 3.5 and thus lost the NoSquint extension, and my old style wouldn't let me change the font sizes. Also I wanted to have tags on the main page, so, might as well change. Note that I still have a paid LJ account but once it runs out, I will not renew, and therefore non-LJ users will see ads (yuck) and so you might want to read me over at Dreamwidth instead.

(Also, I have tons of DW invite codes, if anyone would like.)

2) OMG IMOGENE ON SATURDAY EEPS YAY YIKES WOO! My excitement cannot be textually rendered. I'm leaving tomorrow mid-afternoon and meeting up with my running buddies from the Runner's World Online forums for dinner and outhanging. And then Saturday morning it's race time! EEEEEEE!

3) We were going to go backpacking on an obscure and trail-less route in the Weminuche over the long weekend, but the forecast was for rain (and it rained) so we went to Utah instead and did a bunch of dayhiking. 12 photos here which don't really do justice to the trip, as we forgot to bring the camera along during the hike in Hovenweep (amazing pre-Puebloan ruins) and the Dark Canyon pictures didn't turn out so great. But there are some nifty ones of the Valley of the Gods near Monument Valley, and Sportsmobile photos especially for Eric. :-)
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
Britt's birthday was on Saturday, and as is our custom we headed out of town to spend it in the wilderness. Along with us were our friends Kristen and Rolfe; Rolfe wanted to hike up Hossick Peak, in the eastern part of the Weminuche Wilderness (near Pagosa Springs; we live closer to the west side and tend to hike that part of the Weminuche) and it is very easy to talk us into things that involve hiking and wilderness.


Read more! See pictures! Click links! )

17 photos without annoying commentary!
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
Hiked again. It snowed again. Only flurries this time, fortunately.

Then we went to Steamworks and got drunk.


ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)

August 2017

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My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

You can reach me by email at heyheyilana @



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