Saturday, July 21, 2012


Outward Bound…recently I completed a six-day Outward Bound leadership course for professionals. It wasn’t life changing but it was enlightening. The Outward Bound course is just part of the year-long Denver Community Leadership Forum class that I’m in. The class and Outward Bound course contains 16 amazing people that I feel lucky to know. For most of the week the class was broken up into two groups of eight. 

Each group had to immediately come up with a name, a song, and a movement.  It’s a little bit of a long story, but we decided to call ourselves The Tykusaurus. Of course, our movement was a T-Rex-like arm movement and a roar.  Here’s The Tykusaurus in mid-roar:

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So what did we do all week? Lots. The days were packed. Day one was a ropes course and an activity called “the spider web.” The physical point of the activity is to get all eight of us from one side of the spider web (a series of holes created by rope and cord) to the other without touching the web. We couldn’t use one hole more than once. After a bit of deliberation and trial and error, The Tykusaurus overcame and eventually got everyone to the other side (not without some man-handling…).

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Day two was devoted to rock climbing. I’ve done rock climbing in the past and used to do it with some frequency so the day wasn’t super challenging but I did have fun getting on some rock. Of course the debrief (which we had after every activity) was full of metaphors for life that were seen in the activity. Anyway, here is me on day two:

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On day three we gathered (“circled up”) at 5:50 am to stretch, do exercises, and go on a run around the Outward Bound campus.  This exertion was all in an effort to make ourselves hot because the thing we did next was strip down into bathing suits and dip our entire bodies into a super cold pond. I was seriously dreading this but after getting sufficiently sweaty, the dip wasn’t so bad.

Later we set off on our backpacking trip. Our group hiked a fairly steep 1.5 miles to Windsor Lake then set up camp.  For a group of eight students, two instructors, and the class coordinator, camp consisted of three tarp tents and an instructor tent. That’s right – a tarp tent. This means you and your sleeping bag are somewhat sheltered from the elements and not nearly enough from the mosquitos.

The next morning we arose at 3:30 am to hike a peak.  We were hiking by 5:00 am and gained a ridge in time for the sunrise:

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I learned a valuable lesson that day about making sure a team is on the same page about the goal(s) for the day.  But I’m not going to go into that. That night was the “solo night.” This means that each of us found an appropriate spot and set up a smaller solo tent that was not within sight distance of anyone else.  We were to spend the solo time reflecting or doing whatever we wanted to do.  I was so tired that I literally sat on a rock and swatted mosquitos for most of the time before crawling into the sleeping bag. This is a side view of my solo site:

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On day five we returned to base camp, ate breakfast, debriefed our solo experience and backpacked out. This is the group at the end of the hike demonstrating the Tykusaurus roar:

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That night each group did a skit to share their interpretation of the experience. So skit planning took up the bulk of the time before and after dinner.

Day six was for raft building and wall climbing – the groups were much more successful at wall climbing than raft building. Here’s a photo of the entire class after conquering the wall:


All in all, I’m glad I did it. The biggest take away for me was to remember that your friends or coworkers may be struggling even when they make tasks look easy.  Many of us are good at putting up a strong, confident fa├žade but you never know what is really going on with someone else.

That is all.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Gore Range Trail…interrupted

Last weekend Lisa and I took three different Summit Stage buses to get to the trailhead of the Gore Range Trail at Copper Mountain. Temperatures were around 100 degrees in Denver, which means it was relatively nicer in the mountains but still pretty warm if you’re hiking with a backpack on in the sun around 3:30 pm.

We got about 5 miles in when we hit Lost Lake and decided to camp for the night. There was not another person to be seen the entire evening or the next morning.  Only an hour from Denver and a 5-mile hike in and we were completely alone at a beautiful mountain lake!

These are shots of the lake around sunrise:

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We ate a leisurely breakfast, which included spending some time just drinking coffee and sitting in the dappled sunlight at the lake’s edge.  This is Lisa and her oatmeal:

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The only problem that we’d had was my feet…I usually hike in trailrunning shoes but had instead opted for hiking boots for this trip.  Makes sense, I was hauling a pack and needed some support and stability.  The combo of my feet and those boots was unfortunate – my feet got huge blisters and I experienced pain in wearing them.  My solution? Hike in Chacos! Chacos are a kind of sandal but they are very supportive and comfortable. I’ve backpacked in them before and thought I’d have no significant problems.

So we set out for the day with the goal of hiking 5-8 miles over two passes.  Here are some of the sights on the way to the first pass and just on the other side:

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After descending the pass for an hour or so, my feet began to get tender and uncomfortable.  This is what one of the blisters looked like:

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After much deliberation and acceptance of guilty feelings on my part, we decided to abort the mission…but vacation was not over! We got a hotel room in Frisco and enjoyed an evening that included beer and burgers on the patio at the Backcountry Brewery.


Sunday morning we made our way back down the hill and into Denver to endure the heat.