Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Six Sweet Months

We made it. We moved to Colorado in February and have now been here for 6 months already. I can't say its been easy, but every time I go outside and look up at the mountains, I feel a bit of peace.

What's so great about mountains, you ask? Well.... Mountains are not just majestic and beautiful, but can also be your stairclimber, your therapist, your playground. They call for you from your comfy place on the couch.

You can't possibly think about work when you are in the mountains. When I ride my mountain bike all I can think about is staying on the mountain bike and the 10 feet of trail in front of my wheel. It is not an option to lose control, because if you crash you could tumble right down the mountain (unless there is a strategically placed a pine tree to abruptly and painfully stop your fall). While riding, my sense of hearing is in overdrive as I listen for the tiniest rustle in the woods. Its probably just a squirrel, but I am on the lookout for bears and mountain lions.

Luckily the only bears and mountain lions we've seen were in the visitor center at Mueller State Park.

So this has been a very busy, exciting, adventurous six months. Here are some of the things we have experienced in the last half a year:

1. We went downhill skiing on REAL mountains. Since it was pretty much my first time (my one time at Cannonsburg doesn't count), luckily Chuck is a good teacher.

2. When it was too early to mountain bike, we did some hiking in the mountains (a.k.a. sucking wind and getting used to the altitude).

3. We travelled to the top of Pikes Peak, a mere 14,115 feet tall. Complete slackers that we are, we drove to the top. Pikes Peak is known as "America's Mountain" and is the most visited mountain in the U.S. This is probably due to the fact that there is a road to the top!!! The song "America the Beautiful" by Katherine Lee Bates was written about Pikes Peak. For Purple Mountain Majesties............

4. We went dirt biking, luckily Chuck is a good teacher :^) . I had the time of my life and only bit it once. It was pretty cool riding my own Monster Energy Kawasaki :^)

5. We took a road trip to Michigan, our first time home since the big move. I noticed that all the nephews kept growing without us!
Here are Noah, Simon, Sawyer, and Charlie

While in Michigan Chuck and I learned a brand new sport: wakeboarding! My good friend Angela and her boyfriend took us out on Reeds Lake. I wasn't sure if I wanted to try it--I was actually a bit worn out from trying new things all summer!!! But in the end, I couldn't let the opportunity pass me by.

6. We made it up the incline. Everyone in the Springs knows of the infamous incline. Torture! It is an old railway bed that is one mile long and it goes straight up the mountain. It climbs over 2000 feet in that mile, has an average grade of 41%. The steepest grade is 68%. Being the competitive person that I am, I went for a fast time. Not smart, I could barely walk the first few days afterwards and my legs were sore for a week!

That is not the top of the incline-you can't see the top from this photo!

7. We went to Aspen to ride and visit with friends. It is incredibly beautiful there and we had an awesome time. I actually ran out of memory on my camera (2Gig card!) I took so many pictures. Oh, and on one of our rides, Chuck rescued a dog from a turbulent whitewater river. I thought for sure the poor thing was a goner. The dog got swept away by the water and all I could see was a tiny patch of black on his back, then he was gone. Thank goodness there was a growth of trees in the middle of the river which somehow he got stuck up on.

8. I made it to Fort Collins to visit my friend Jill. She moved out to Colorado 4 years ago so we got together and rode some sweet and challenging trails. To rehydrate from our ride, she took me to the New Belgium Brewery for some taste-testing. They make Fat Tire, my new favorite beer since Founders is 1250 miles away.

Here's Jill on a rocky climb in Fort Collins.

Here I am on a rocky section. There were lots of rocky sections.

9. We got a short visit from my good friend Danielle and her husband Scott. We were pretty excited to see them, our first visitors since we moved to the Springs. We showed them as many gorgeous views as we could, and took them riding at Rampart Reservoir, all part of my scheme to get her back here as soon as possible!

Here are Danielle and Scott posing by the reservoir with Pikes Peak in the background.

Here I am with Danielle on the trail.

10. We have huddled under pine trees during a mountain bike ride to try to shelter ourselves from the hailstorm that suddenly came through. Okay, I huddled and Chuck stood there and took it like a man. Its a good thing it blew over and we didn't have to do anything that I have learned from watching Man vs. Wild.

11. We rode go-karts. I know it doesn't sound any too adventurous, but was actually kind of crazy. We rode these super fast racing karts that go 60 mph+. We had to get all dressed up in safety equipment before we could go--motorcycle helmets, jackets, gloves, and this funny neck protector thingee. Chuck and I raced eachother, and he beat me. :^( He didn't beat me by that much, though!

12. We went to the Olympic Training Center to get pumped up before the Olympics. The OTC is right in Co. Springs and is where many athletes do their training and get expert coaching. It is also where visitors can live out their dreams and stand under the Olympic rings on the top step of the podium, hands raised overhead in victory!


13. We saw our first real live rattlesnake. Snakes don't usually give me the creeps, but seeing this rattler made a shiver go down my spine.

14. We went riding in the mountains and saw the beautiful fall colors. I think I'll save those awesome pics for the next blog. Which will hopefully be soon....