Friday, June 29, 2007

Q'eswachaka Inca Bridge

Q'eswachaka bridge. Q'eswachaka bridge. Q'eswachaka bridge.

No matter how many times I read it and say it, I can{t remember it! Maybe after I see it, and walk on it, it will stick?

I went down to the travel agency this morning to pay and the woman there showed me pictures and gave me a bit of a history lesson. I guess the bridge was originally built in the 15th century, and it is rebuilt every year. Luckily, it is rebuilt every June so it should be in good shape. Still looks a little terrifying (and I thought parasailing was relaxing). It is at 11,811 feet, which I think is the highest I{ve been here, but it's hard to tell when things are in meters. We are also going to the famous 4 lakes of cusco and natural cave of carañahui, according to my fact sheet, so it should be a great day trip!
http://www.aboutcusco.com/cusco/tours_peru/tours_cusco/bridge_qeswachaca.asp
http://www.dosmanosperu.com/dosmanos/tours/cusco/english/bridge_of_qeswachaka.php

Here are a few links with pix, I{m not sure if I{ll get mine up tomorrow night or not.

Today being my last day of class, I decided not to go and played hooky. I could rationalize it by saying I used my Spanish shopping in town instead. I went into lots of shops and saw some things I liked, but didn{t end up buying anything. It is so high pressure here-not much of a chance to just window shop. Oh, well... I suppose I{d better pack up. Since we leave at 5am tomorrow, the hotel I{m staying at tomorrow night said I could leave my bags there tonight and get them when I check in tomorrow. Hasta luego!

(Q'eswachaka, Q'eswachaka.....)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Another day, more ruins, of course



It is beginning to seem that a day in Cuzco just wouldn´t be complete without a trip to more ruins. Today, I revisited Sacsayhuaman, site of Inti Raymi, without 5,000 people there for the ceremony. It was great. There were a few tourists, but it is such a big site that you have plenty of space, and quiet. I found myself wondering what would have happened to this area, and in fact this entire group of people, if the Spanish, Francisco Pizarra especially, had made a small change in direction or decision that had not brought them to the area. (Yes, mom, I am reading the Inca book you gave me. And taking my vitamins.) In some ways many of the ruins here remind me of those at Mesa Verde...amazing areas that are difficult to get to, more finely built than what our advanced machinery creates today, empty. I mean, seriously, look at how big the stones behind me are!
Historical note: Cusco and nearby Sacsayhuaman were built in the shape of the sacred puma. In the picture behind me, you can see that the wall comes out in a point. Well, that just represents a tooth of the puma! The wall continues in points for hundreds of yards in this zigzag pattern and also has 3 layers. The Spanish (darn them!) took all the stones small enough back down to Cusco to build their churches and homes, what remains is what was too big to carry.
Technical note: today I am downloading directly from my camera (you were right, Toni!) but the only downside is that I cannot rotate pictures. I have excellent pictures that I could post but you would have to look at them lying down! When I have enough to fill another CD, and time to edit them before saving them, perhaps I can deal with this. I have lots of pictures of staircases. By the very nature of staircases, I am always turning my camera but cannot at this moment rotate pictures!
Anyway. The ruins were incredible, and it was a different experience to have them mostly to myself. And it was warm today! Now it´s freezing again but it was nice to get some sun.
I don´t have any big plans for tomorrow, although I´m pretty excited about breakfast. It´s eggs. Saturday, I have wonderful plans! I am going to a bridge with a very long name that starts with a Q´. I found out yesterday that when there is a Q followed by an apostrophe, it is supposed to be pronounced with a clicking in the throat, but my classmates and I were not very good at this. We all made choking sounds. Quechua spelling and pronunciation is not easy. I will update on the actual name of this bridge. The special thing about it is that it is totally made from straw and is about 100 feet long and umm, 45 feet above a river. (Translating from metric system for you, you´re welcome). Supposedly it is strong enough to walk across. I wonder if my travel insurance has exclusions for walking across straw bridges? We also stop by some lakes and a cave! We leave at 5am because it´s 3 hours away. That night is a party (oh and tonight is a concert by some famous Mexican band on the plaza so it´s also a party) for the full moon. I don´t think a full moon party is recommended for the night before one begins the Inca trail, somehow.
I hope to update Saturday night after the bridge adventure but not sure how late I´ll be getting back or what internet will be like at that hotel. If not, I´ll be doing the IT from July 1-4 so if you don´t hear from me, it is safe to assume I did not fall off the straw bridge, but am rather just hiking. I should be able to get internet in Aguas Calientes and update sometime after that.
Sorry these are so long...I don´t know if I´D want to read them! :) Always so much to talk about....
Hey Deb--can´t say if the series is even yet, 10th inning? Time for bed! Only thing on tv here is the america cup of soccer. Argentina vs. US tonight.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

more ruins to explore...





I asked my roommate, who has been here for awhile, where to go for an afternoon trip that is left on my Boleto Turisto. She said, hands down, I need to go to Pisac.

It was good advice.

Yesterday after classes, a few classmates and I EVENTUALLY found the bus to Pisac. This was challenging and required asking many people for directions, but we did it. Anyway, the locals liked hearing us mispronounce Puputi, the street we were looking for. It was about an hour bus ride, 32 km (you know how they are about the metric system in the rest of the world). Anyway, we came around a corner and the view was jaw-dropping beautiful. We were the only gringos on the bus, taking pictures out the window. This part of Peru is known as the Sacred Valley. We got off the bus in Pisac, at the bottom of the valley, where the Urubamba River flows through. To get to the ruins of Pisac, we had to walk through the markets, which were pretty incredible. Then we got to the entrance of the park which was...vertical! I was with 2 Hollanders at this point, Nicole and Jontes. Nicole has been having some health problems so she decided to take a taxi up, and Jontes and I decided to hike. According to Lonely Planet, it is a "steep 4 km hike up to the ruins." Holy cow. When LP says steep, they mean it!

Fortunately, the view on the way up was breathtaking. (Unfortunately, so was the hiking, the altitude, and trying to keep up with someone over a foot taller than me!). The ruins we could see from below were interesting, but I had no idea there were more extensive ones above! This was a bit like a false summit, thinking I was there, only to find there was still a ways to go. The ruins higher up were really amazing. Like I mentioned, I have a fascination with the intricate Incan stonework-the stones fit together so perfectly without any cement or mud of any kind, and you can{t even slide a piece of paper between them, even 500 years later. There were also some walls that had perfect curves to them. The other amazing thing about these ruins was the terraces that the Incas built for farming. We are talking a near vertical mountainside, but terraced all the way up for agriculture. Not only were these Inca industrius (who knows how they got all those stones up there without using the wheel), but there must of been huge numbers of them to need so much land for farming.
I managed to fill up my first memory card on this outing! When we were done looking around at the top and taking photos, it was starting to get dark, so unfortunately we had to take a taxi back instead of walking back down. It was not too terrifying. Then we bought some water, ran into a friend we had lost on the way to the bus stop in Cuzco, started negotiating for a taxi, and ended up hopping on a bus instead. We were hoping the cab driver would chase us and give us a better offer but he didn{t.

So. This bus ride back. All the seats were taken, and people kept coming on, cramming the aisles, and the bus left when people started shouting "lleno!" (it{s full!) with people still hanging out the door! So we ended up standing, shoulder to shoulder, for the whole ride back. At least it was less than a dollar each way! Poor Jontes, couldn{t even stand up without hitting his head on the ceiling of the bus. This country was not made for tall people like him!

Long story short, it was a wonderful afternoon trip. Today I wanted to walk back up to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, but the weather didn{t cooperate so I{ve been hanging around the school.

How is everyone at home?
How about those Rockies?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday, already?

Today{s headline in the newspaper? Bill Gates and Cameron Diaz were at Inti Raymi....oh my, is it becoming trendy? It is definitely a tourist event but there were actually more locals there than tourists.

So yesterday was the big day, Inti Raymi, festival of the sun, Incan festival held in the 1500´s to wish for a good harvest and for the sun to come back. I must say, it was quite a production! A few downsides: others would say the major hike up, but I think it was good training. I should probably do the same one, every day with a big pack on my back!

We left at 10 to get seats but it didn´t start until 2 so there was a lot of sitting on a very steep hill, which eventually got a bit uncomfortable. The ceremony was interesting and fun to watch but all of the speaking was in Quechua, which of course I do not understand. According to above mentioned newspaper, there were audio problems anyway.

I think photos will describe this event more accurately than words can, though I will admit I am a bit disappointed in both my blogging here and my travel journal. I have found that I am spending so much time recording the many things I have done and places I´ve gone, that by the time I have done that, I am not spending a lot of time on thoughts or reflections. Hopefully I can get better at that but it has been a whirlwind week! Photos below are worth enlarging for detail! (in my humble opinion). Also if I ever figure out how to post a video I took on my camera, it should really capture the music, language, and movement. (any suggestions, John?)

Anyway, after many hours of waiting, we could see in the distance hundreds of brightly dressed people filing into Sacsayhuaman, an Incan ruin used for the festival. The way they filed in was very dramatic, as there are several levels of the ruins. First all the warriors lined up in formation in the distance.

Then, dancers and musicians came on the side, on a terrace. Then a group carrying rainbow flags (which are, by the way, the Cusqueñan flag, not the gay pride flag) came in and lined up up and down the hills. The Incan King was carried in on a golden throne. He got on stage and called in the warriors.

They were in 4 groups. In Inca times, Cusco was the center of the world (sometimes called the navel of the world) and the rest of the world was divided by the 4 cardinal directions, north, south, east, and west of Cusco. So the king called in each group or tribe by their direction and that´s how they assembled. Each group also had its own group of dancers.




When the king got to the stage, he and everyone else faced the sun and bowed down and he said something in quechua, presumably about the sun coming out. Amazingly, it did, right on cue, during this overcast day! He was good! :) There was also a supposed llama sacrifice but we decided that it was fake. It was quite a production, all in all, but it ended quite suddenly. People were still dancing in the field when tourists started walking through to leave.


We were wiped out after a day of hiking and then hours of sitting. Sadie and I got dinner back in Cusco, which is never a short experience, and I went to bed early. This morning, a new week of classes with new professors started. I did get down to a museum this afternoon and found the famous 12-sided stone. I have found myself having a fascination with stones and Inca rocks here!


Count ém, 12 sides!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A busy Saturday






First, a quick update from last night. I tried alpaca in a restaurant. It was okay but kind of dry. Could have used some gravy.

Today, Sadie and I met early in the morning, but first, I started my day with breakfast (bread, marmalade, cheese, and coffee) and met a Bolivian girl who I got to practice my Spanish with, since she knew no English! ¨Next, I got a tourist ticket and we went to Temple of the Sun, also known as Qorikancha. Lots of the spellings of ruins and such are in Quechua, which is the indiginous language spoken here, and apparently it has lots of Q´s in it! Anyway, it was originally an Incan temple but when the Spaniards came, they took all the gold and melted it down, and turned it into a church, but some of the original Inca masonry still exists. It was pretty interesting. We had plans to go to several museums this morning as well, but most things are closed for the holiday. The parade started lining up on the main street around 10am. It´s now after 6 and STILL going. I don´t know how there can be any Peruvians left to watch! We sat in the Plaza and watched the proceedings for awhile, but I´m not sure how long you can really watch a parade. After a week it is starting to all look the same, even with the incredible costumes, dances, and music. While we were sitting and relaxing by the fountain, Sadie got her hair braided (just one braid, with beads in it), venders came by constantly to sell their wares, and a street child befriended her. Patting her hand, leaning on her knee, and trying to sell her dolls. It was quite sad, and he knew how to lay on the guilt.

After that we returned to our respective homes for lunch and made a plan to meet in the afternoon. After I got quite lost looking for the intersecting streets, we found each other, and took a taxi to look at some ruins.

Side note: anything involving vehicles here seems to be quite dangerous. When you are walking, it seems they try to hit you, and riding in them is also an adventure. We zipped through all these tiny one-way streets, somehow avoiding pedestrians, a little old lady (barely!) and even llamas. There are llamas all over this town today. Apparently they can be quite uncooperative.

Anyway we made it safely to our destination. My roommate recommended that we take a cab to the farthest ruin from town, and then walk back, stopping at 4 different ruins, so that was the original plan! First stop: Tambomachay. Small Incan ruins with some neat water drainage. Took a picture of a little girl with a baby goat.


Side note #2: it is not free to take pictures of people here. After pictures they hold out their hands for payment.


Next we went to Pukapukara (I swear I am not making these names up) and checked out the ruins there. Then we decided to take a bus to the next ruins, Q´enqo. We were going to go last to Sacsayhuaman, which are the biggest and best ruins, but it was getting late, and we are going there for all the festivities tomorrow, so we decided to head back to town. Another bus, another adventure, we figured out where we were, and stopped in the markets on the way back. Made my first 2 touristy purchases (well, almost) and got a sweater and a zamboña, or panflute, which is what we learned to play, sort of, in the music class. Now, we are in the ïnternet bar¨on the plaza where we might actually eventually eat dinner!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday evening...

Not too much to report, really. The town is still a party: music, dancing, tonight there are also fireworks and a free concert of popular peruvian music.

One of my highlights yesterday was a hot shower! I also wandered around Cusco, sightseeing, and actually found a little cafe with no tourists, and a menu only in Spanish. It was a bit of a relief-this festival is the biggest event of the year, with tourists from all over the world here. After class, the school offered a free class on local music and we learned about sikus, and even got to play them! It is hard to describe, but 2 sets of pipes bound together that you blow into, and local to the region. It was actually pretty fun to learn and I think they sell sikus in town! After that I went out for dinner.My new dining experience was chicha morada-purple beer made from corn! It was actually quite delicious-apparently the stuff from yellow corn isn{t as good. I wasn{t adventurous enough to order the quy, or guinea pig, which is quite common here. I couldn{t get the picture of the one I saw on the travel channel, standing on a plate, head and all, out of my head. One member of our group did order it, and it arrived lying down and headless.

Today is the Cusco{s birthday, apparently. There were more dancers, tourists, locals, schoolkids, and street vendors in the square than ever! I met Sadie (someone I met from England) in the plaza and we went to the Museo Inka, which I thought was pretty interesting. There was even an exhibit with mummies! I had my last class of the week this afternoon. Next: dinner somewhere (they eat so LATE here! I{m starving!) and then down to the plaza for the evenings festivities.

Tomorrow Sadie and I are meeting in the plaza early. They sell tourist tickets here that get you into about 10 places, so we will see what we can get to. Sunday is the REALLY big party, Inti Raymi, which starts in the plaza and then moves to ruins called Sacsayhuaman (pronounced "sexy woman"). Again, pictures to follow! I do miss you all at home, so now say hi even if it IS to criticize my punctuation....but hey, I found parentheses and quotes today! Love to you all!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

¿Did I mention theres a party going on here?



Well, there is. A huge party, in fact! I have heard conflicting stories about the reason...which is why I need to replace my Lonely Planet book. Anyway, this weekend is the biggest festival of the year in Cuzco (and, I suspect, Peru), called Inti Raymi.It is for the winter solstice, when the Incas begged the sun (Inti) to come back. After living here for just a few days, I can see why! Apparently you are all roasting in CO but it is quite chilly here, as I may have mentioned already. The other reason I have heard for this week´s partying is that it is some anniversary of Cuzco´s becoming a city. Who knows.

So, every day this week there is a massive parade through Cuzco with groups of costumed schoolchildren dancing, which ends in the main plaza, where there is music and more dancing. This starts at about 8am and goes past midnight. I finally made it down to the plaza today-I wanted to go yesterday but was having a major case of lethargy-I blame the altitude. It is hard to describe, but it is quite a sight. I´ve never seen anything like it.

What have I been up to since I last updated? Ah yes, I had the new student dinner at a nearby restaurant-who can turn down free dinner? Especially when a pisco sour and another drink are included? seriously! So pisco sours are the local drink here. From what I can tell, they are made of pisco (local rum), lemon or lime juice, maybe some sugar, and egg whites. I thought it tasted kind of like a margarita. They come in bitsy glasses as they are quite strong. Dinner, oddly, was the same as lunch (breakfast & lunch at the school are included in my package). Rice, potatoes sort of like french fries, but not as salty and without ketchup, and meat cooked with onions and peppers. We also got a salad, which was really a tomato stuffed with some sort of veggies. Dessert was ice cream on this peice of sweet bread which I{m not very fond of....think if twinkies made bread...I had some on the flight from Lima. Anyway it was a lovely time. Lots of people went out to salsa lessons afterwards but I STILL hadn{t slept by then so I came back to crash!

12 hours later I woke up. My room is right by the terraza or common area so it{s pretty noisy but I still managed to sleep until 10Ñ30! Remember, I think that{s only 8Ñ30 at home. So I had been planning on going down to the square La Plaza de Armas to sightsee and buy some things,b ut i was REALLY lethargic. Got dressed, checked my email, did Spanish homework, was cold so I got back into bed to read and doze. Although I slept through breakfast I did make lunch. It was different. I don{t knwo what anything is called here. It was potatoes covered in a strange yellow sauce which I{m not sure how to describe, but it wasn{t bad. We also got a salad of tomatos and olives and i think tofu, and these fried "yuca" which are apparently some sort of root related to a potato, it was white and not too flavorful. We got dessert too'watermelon'because here lunch is the main meal of the day. Spanish classes that afternoon, then I went out to dinner with a group from Holland, England, Germany and Canada. It was sort of an aggressive experience, people in the plaza all try to get you to come to their restaurants and show you menus and sort of corner you. I was glad to be in a big group!Anyway we went to a place where we got 5 courses (2 were drinks) for $3-4 so that was pretty impressive. After that we went to the highest British pub in the world for giant sized beers, and then to some other bars-clubs in the plaza. All these people offer you free drinks to go in their places so I don{t think we bought anything at the next 3 places. (I was ready to go but the group I was with wanted to dance all night!)

Today I did go to the plaza and took some amazing pictures of all the dancing, which you do not get to see yet! Oh, and I found my camera, which I had lost, and VERY luckily was turned in to the office. Yay! After writing this epic blog, there is a bingo game, something involving quinoa for lunch (and rice and potatoes I{m sure), I have Spanish homework, and class. Then, who knows?

That{s it for now, hope everyone at home is doing well!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Cusco, finally!

This is the view of ¨downtown¨ Cusco I get walking down the narrow cobblestone street to the Plaza de Armas.

Phew, I have made it to my first destination! After 4 takeoffs and landings in 24 hours, my ears are a little off, and I was huffing and puffing after walking up a hill-you try it at 10500 feet-otherwise things are good! Oh, but it{s winter here, and the keys don{t actually type what is printed on them, so try to excuse the punctuation!

Today was a lot like the first day of school as a kid-you hope you can find the classrooms, what if the other kids don{t like you, and you can{t get your locker open¿ But you go home at the end of the day and tell your mom what a great day it was.

I had my last flight for awhile, from Lima to Cusco, after a traditional breakfast of bread and cheese, and instant coffee. I am also 0 for 3 on flights being on time but it was nothing like the 3 hour delays yesterday! I was picked up in Cusco by Victor fromt he school, and enjoyed the ride through town. It{s stating the obvious, but it{s so....foreign! Cusco is interesting, surrounded by mountains, and the town is an interesting mix of Incan stonework and walls, Spanish churches they built after invading, tourists and stores catering to them, and third world poverty.

After arriving at the school, I was offered a Mate de Coco, which is just what you drink when you{re here'not bad! Better than all the instant coffee I keep getting. I got a key to my room, which was the metaphorical locker I couldn{t open, but I am taking fewer and fewer tries each time, now that I{ve gotten a demonstration! I met my roommate, Marlene from Holland, who was quick to sit down and chat and make me feel welcome. Finally I thought I should get something figured out about classes, since everyone else took the placement tests while I was on the plane this morning, so I did that and got put in a 2Ñ30 to 6Ñ30 session. Imagine the Ñs are colons. Then I had lunch and loved being the only American at a table of 9'there were 3 Koreans, and one person each from England, Holland, Switzerland, and 2 from Irelend. My class is also pertty international'2 other Americans and 1 girl each from Switzerland anEngland. We are all close in age and hit it off. 2 people from my class and several from lunch are coming to the welcome dinner they do for new studnets tonight so it should be fun getting to know them better! I had been nervous, and forgot how easy it is to meet other people when you{re all traveling in a foreign country alone, together.

It is colder than I thought it would be here. The good news is I have my sleeping bag and Inca Trail layers of clothes! The bad news is that none of the buildings )like oh, say, the classrooms and bedrooms) have heat. I can{t imagine taking a shower! It{s lovely during the day if it{s clear and not windy, though, so I think I will survive! Tomorrow I want to walk through the markets and do some shopping and sightseeing. Not sure when I{ll get pictures up...I{ll have to see how long it takes to download them, if I can download directly from my camera card to my jump drive, to the blog. It could be awhile. Go to the website in the meantime if you want an ideaÑ http://www.amautaspanishschool.com/

I{m thinking about a catnap before dinner...I{ve slept maybe 6 hours the last 2 nights combined. The professors come to the dinner and apparently we all get a free pisco sour )remember guaro sours¿) with our dinner. Party time! If, that is, I can stay up past 8Ñ00.

Leave a comment, unless you are criticizing my punctuation, I love to hear from people!

delays, diversions, and crying babies....ah, air travel!

I have 4 minutes until the shuttle back to the airport arrives. Quick update though-I survived my trip to Lima! Although I was diverted to San Antonio on the way to Houston and every single flight out of houston was delayed by several hours or cancelled. The baby on my flight finally fell asleep half way through the 2nd on flight movie so I could rest! I landed in Lima around 12:30 a.m. but was able to find my ride to the hotel and got here a little after 1...and now I´m up and back to the airport! Will update from Cusco, adios!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

One last hike, a poker game, and packing...



Yesterday I did my last hike before I leave, to the Royal Arch in Chataqua park in Boulder. Short, but steep. I am feeling nervous about my Inca trail hike in Peru, mainly because I haven't been hiking with a heavy pack! I'm cheating with the picture...I didn't bring my camera, but did the same hike with my mom last year! So my mom and Lucy (the dog) weren't really there this time.


Today was Toni's poker invitational, so I was hoping to leave with some extra travelling money, but that was not to be. I've been running around all over the place taking care of last minute things, but I'm just about ready to go! About 28 hours from now I'll be in Lima! Hopefully will be able to find a computer on Monday to update...

Monday, June 11, 2007

One week from today....


...I will be on a different continent!

It is hard to believe, after so much planning and anticipation, but I leave for Peru on Sunday! While there, I will be taking Spanish classes in Cusco. I have also planned my trip around Inti Raymi, the Incan Festival of the Sun, which occurs on June 24, their winter solstice. This is one of the biggest festivals in all of Peru so it should really be something! After my 2 weeks in Cusco, I will set off to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu! This will be a 4-day hike, and I'll spend 2 additional nights in the town of Aguas Calientes, the nearest town, to make sure I can really see it all, instead of just a one-afternoon tour! Then it will be a train back to Cusco, flight back to Lima, and bus ride to the Reserva Nacional de Paracas-the "Poor Man's Galapagos." This park is on the coast and boasts seals, flamingos, and even penguins! After that, I come home!

Machu Picchu is something I have always wanted to see, so this should be a trip of a lifetime. Be sure to keep posted to hear about my trip!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Bear Peak Hike (oh, my legs!)

Today was by far my hardest hike yet. I hiked Bear Peak, which is part of Boulder's Flatirons. My book listed it as strenuous, which it certainly was! To compensate, it also had awesome views in all directions. Not only could I see Boulder, but the Indian Peaks to the west, and Mount Meeker tand another flatiron mountain to the north. The first few miles of the hike were pretty mellow, through NCAR's informative walk, then down through a forest where I crossed over the same stream many times. It was nice and cool-a break from the heat in Boulder! Warning: whenever you go down early in a hike, that means you will have to go back up later. This is not good! Anyway I stayed in the forest with the creek and many wildflowers for awhile. Then started up toward a ridge-this was a lot hotter with more sunlight, and steeper. It was really cool when I got high enough to see not just Boulder, but over the other side of the ridge to the mountains to the west, too. However, seeing actual Bear Peak was a little....concerning. For good reason: it was STEEP! The last mile was very difficult, it felt like I was going straight up! I had to take lots of breaks, that's for sure. I kept thinking about how I'll need these leg muscles for the Inca Trail! I did eventually make it up to the top.



I took more pictures but I was hot and tired, and out of water (oops, that has never happened before!) so decided to head back down. The route down (Fern Creek) was different than the one (Bear Creek) I had taken up. It was really, really steep-I lost about 2,000 feet of elevation in about 1.5 miles! It seems like going down should be easier but this was so steep it was pretty difficult. I was very happy to get back to my car, out of my hiking boots, and get to a gas station for water and Chipotle for some food-I ate a whole burrito! Part of my training plan is to hike a few days in a row to get my muscles used to it, but at the moment that doesn't sound like much fun! We'll see how tomorrow goes....
Pictures are of...Bear Peak (the pointy bump in the middle is it), the trail during the steep last mile, views to the west (Indian Peaks) and east (Boulder), and the view from the top to the north, of the flatirons.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mount Galbraith hike

Last Monday I went for a hike in a park called Mt. Galbraith, right outside of Golden. The views were phenomenal! As you hike up you get views of Golden and even downtown Denver! Then you hike around the whole mountain, with views of Lookout Mountain and then even some of snow-covered Mount Evans (I think) to the west!



Although it wasn't terribly long or steep (which I need for my Inca Trail training), it was beautiful. Above is a view of Golden, North and South Table Mountain, and if you enlarge, you might see downtown near the middle beyond the mesa on the right. Below, the snow-covered mountains to the west, and a HUGE butterfly I saw! To give you an idea, I took the picture from about 8-10 feet away and zoomed in on it. I am lucky to live in Colorado; this hike was only about a 20 minute drive from where I live!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Ah, summer!





School ended a week ago. My last week was so crazy, I wasn't sure how to mentally move into a summer mode, after so much worrying about my students. So I decided....do some hiking and therapeutic work in my "garden"-aka flower pots on my deck! So here are a few pics from those activities. The hike pictures are from Lookout Mountain in Golden. The flower is Linnea Borealis, my namesake. :)