Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Mountain West fun siblings!

May 21-31:

Post-mountain biking through Red Canyon, we were about ready to collapse. We ate some pie and went to bed at a nearby campsite. We decided to save nearby Bryce Canyon for the next day so that we could really appreciate it. Unfortunately, when we woke up it was freezing and raining (for the first time in awhile), so we opted for an old person style drive-by tour along the 17 mile road through the canyon.  

Mike's general state throughout the morning. It was still beautiful despite the snow and freezing fog.
After a scenic drive through the heart of southern Utah, we arrived in Heber City, in the mountains just outside of Salt Lake City. The next day we golfed nine holes and then drove up Bald Mountain Pass in the Uinta Mountains, which are the highest in Utah. We camped near the pass in our classic style: drive to altitude, snowshoe a short distance, and camp in a spectacular place that looks hard to get to. The approach maximizes the vista to effort ratio and avoids aggravating Nellie's many foot problems. Snow hiking and camping is so great because you can pretty much go wherever you want; plus, there are no people around. 

Mike made a fantastic fire in the snow! We had some wind problems the next morning - the price we pay for the view.
Someone brilliant fashioned seats out of stones on this summit. It felt like the roof of the world. Can't imagine a better place to sit back with a good book.
On Sunday afternoon we excitedly headed to Salt Lake City to pick up Libby and Billy. On the way we went to REI and splurged on awesome backpack-ready camp chairs. At this point Mike designed a crude but crafty bungie-and-rope roof rack system in order to accommodate all the additional stuff and people that would soon be arriving. It was pretty hilarious watching him work alongside another dude in the parking lot who was putting on a brand new car rack from the store at the same time.

Airport! The bags never fell off...
The next four days were jam-packed with a slew of awesome adventures. It was so much fun having two more companions! Activities included: Arches National Park, watching the Thunder-Spurs basketball games, car camping, white water kayaking down the Colorado River, and a snow-shoe hike/overnight in Colorado's San Juan Mountains. See pictures below!

The sibbies gazing out at the top of Double-O Arch.
The whole team!
Brothers conquering mountains...
And puddles. Billy face-planted the landing.
Glorious campsite along the Colorado. 
I guess I have to mention here that I, um, locked the keys in the car again. Also our food, phones, etc...which we realized at like 7 am (trying the beat the heat). We had to trust young Billy to go on a solo rescue mission into town with some nice camper neighbors. Luckily he returned with Trusty Dusty from AAA an hour later.
Since we don't have any photos from kayaking, I'll just mention here that it was SO FUN! The rapids were exhilarating. The non-rapids still carried you down the river at a good clip, and were smooth enough that I actually fell asleep in my big inflatable kayak for awhile. The sun was warm and bright, the canyon walls were towering, and it was all together pretty darn idyllic. 

After two days in the desert of Utah we drove about four hours to the mountains of southern Colorado. It was quite the change in scenery. 

The team again!
Beautiful spring growth peaking up

Billy looking good on the way up. He is exhausted (12,000+ feet of elevation), but is hiding it well.
Another amazing snow campsite. Really prime 270 degree views.

After we dropped Libby and Billy off at the Durango airport on Thursday, we were pooped. We spent two more nights in Durango, but didn't really do much of anything (camped, played tennis, ordered in Chinese food and watched basketball). Oh, and accidentally threw out all five of our Sporks. Oops. 

One of the unique parts of a trip this long is that, despite being in an incredibly novel and stimulating part of the country, and despite being fairly hyperactive people, we still have enough time to happily spend a morning lying in a park reading, sipping coffee in a local coffee shop (can't get enough. yum), and shopping for new Sporks. 

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