Archive for the ‘the great outdoors’ Category


by wil — Jan 7, 2013

Nambe Lake

by wil — Sep 22, 2012

A few weeks ago, my wife and I took a hike from the Santa Fe Ski Basin up to Nambe Lake. It’s a moderate hike until the last-third, which is quite vertical — hiking up alongside one of the headwater streams of the Rio Nambe to Nambe Lake.

Nambe Lake

A view from the trail: Santa Fe Baldy

It was our first time to make the hike, and we didn’t realize quite what we were getting ourselves into — it’s a six mile hike with an elevation gain of 1,150 ft. We had to push to make it to the lake and back in 3.5 hours, because we had a standing reservation at Ten Thousand Waves:

Even with the post-hike soak, our legs were sore for days afterward. I would make the hike again, but I’d set aside 4-5 hours for the hike plus extra for walking around and enjoying the small lake.


by wil — Jul 10, 2012

Yesterday, a hawk (after googling, I think it might be a Merlin) was nice enough to pose outside my bedroom window. I grabbed my zoom lens and took a photo through the window screen (my wife pointed out the hawk seems to be standing on one leg):

Then I crept outside and took another before it flew away:

The Icy Claw of Christmas

by wil — Dec 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!


by wil — Dec 14, 2011

Yesterday it rained. Today it snowed.

Ojito Wilderness

by wil — Oct 24, 2011


Sign of the times

by wil — Sep 23, 2011

Happy Autumn!


by wil — Aug 31, 2011

My wife discovered the existence of Denver’s 16-month-old B-cycle program — “the nation’s first large-scale citywide bicycle sharing system” — a couple of weeks ago, and we got to check it out in person this past week.

B-cycle is one of those urban bicycle-sharing/rental projects that seem to be popping up all over. You pay a flat fee to rent (the 24-hour rate is $6, but you can also get better-value 7-day, 30-day, and annual passes), plus a per-ride usage fee. The idea is to use the bikes to take short rides between bike stations (currently there are 51 stations in the Denver metro area). If your ride (between rental stations) is under 30 minutes, you aren’t charged a usage fee, but if it’s over 30 minutes, you are charged.

We used the 3-speed bikes to ride between our vacation rental and the Platte River and then further along Cherry Creek. We successfully carried books and groceries in the bike’s handlebar baskets, and we had a blast!

But it can be a problem if you arrive at a rental station to discover that there are not enough open slots for your bikes. This only happened to us once, but it can be an annoying and costly issue (ex: if you take a 30 minute ride to a completely-full station, so you can’t dock your bike, but instead lock it up somewhere with the supplied lock, shop for an hour, then ride another 30 minutes to dock your bike at a different station, the usage fee is $9). Luckily, there’s a handy iPhone/Android app that maps out the stations and tells you how many bikes and open slots are available at any given station.

To sum things up, B-cycle is a lot of fun, but far more cost-effective if you buy a long-term pass, and be sure to check the station occupancy stats with the iPhone/Android app!

Medieval Camp

by wil — Jun 21, 2011

This past weekend, my brothers flew in for our first annual (?) Medieval Camp. In period costume, with very few modern accoutrements, we hiked in a short way and made camp. We used soft wood chips and branches from fallen trees to create bedding and laid out our blankets. We built a fire and roasted lamb on a spit. We drank ale and wine.

Me playing the ukelele:

My bros:

Unfortunately, with temperatures dropping into the 40s overnight, we all froze. After a somewhat miserable night, we decided to hike out the next day and drive over to Ojo Caliente. We swam and soaked in the hot springs, stopped of at Rancho de Chimayo for drinks and guacamole, then returned to camp for dinner. And this time we brought our back-up bedrolls with us, so we were able to sleep quite comfortably.

Next year, we need to bring LOTS of blankets or find a warmer spot to make camp.

Merry Midsummer!

Igloo #3

by wil — Dec 30, 2010

On the Feast of Stephen (a.k.a. Boxing Day, Dec. 26), my dad, my older brother, and I built our third annual igloo — a 10-foot beauty — in 3.5 hrs.

igloo wall

The finished product:


Entryway (small and low, to help retain heat):
igloo entrance

Interior, with daylight seeping through:
igloo interior


The next evening, after dinner in town, my older brother and I drove up the mountain, spread out our pads, and settled in for a longer winter’s nap. And that’s when the vertigo and nausea set in. The igloo began to spin, and spin, and spin…and I began to upchuck. Luckily, an extra sleeping pad caught most of it. Unluckily, it also began to flow off the pad, down into the entryway.

After a while, my nausea and vertigo subside, and I became quite sleepy. I didn’t feel like crawling out of the igloo late at night and driving down the mountain, so we stayed. The next morning I awoke, sat up, and the nausea and vertigo returned in full force. So I upchucked a bit more into the entryway. But I knew it was time to go, so I slipped on my snow pants, upchucked a bit more, put on my boots, upchucked a bit more, etc. Soon, I was fully dressed and feeling a bit more stable. I carefully moved the sleeping pad out of the way, used a snow shovel to clear the entryway a bit, and crawled out (more or less unscathed). From there, I dizzily walked the 100 yards or so to the car, stopping a time or two to upchuck a bit more. My brother helpfully got the car heater going, carried all of our gear out, and drove me down the mountain. By the time I got home, I had completely emptied my stomach and was feeling slightly better. So I said goodbye to my brother (after spending the night in the vomit-igloo and driving me down the mountain in the vomit-car, one can only assume he was ready for a vomit-break), my wife propped me up on the couch, popped Lord of the Rings into the dvd player, and when I felt ready for food, fed me homemade chicken broth and “jello” (gelatin, fruit juice, honey).

Once home, my nausea subsided, but the vertigo remained, and my lower back went out (it tends to go out once a year, during the winter months). According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, lower back pain and vertigo/dizziness can point toward a kidney imbalance, so the next day, we went to see our acupuncturist. I got some acupuncture and some herbs and I’m feeling better.

Thus ends the the igloo-vomit saga of 2010.

UPDATE: More photos!

My dad and brother working on the igloo:
igloo construction

My brother striking a pose:

Posing in the igloo, “looking scared” — little did we know how much there was to truly fear:
igloo fear