Back to School – 8th Grade

By BrandonSchoolLeave a Comment

And with that, summer ends. School begins. And the final step in the transition to high school. But Sydney is excited to be the big (wo)man on campus this year. She even signed up to go to school a day early in order to help the 6th graders figure out their transition. It was just a couple years ago that Sydney walked into that first day of middle school after a school change not knowing anyone and ready for a new adventure. And now she is helping others do the same.

Back to School

The traditional silly picture.

Back to School

Group version.

Back to School

Oh, I was asked to post this locker picture to. Apparently, she is very proud of this. Seems like a metal box you store your crap in to me. But what do I know.

Back to School

Avid 4 Adventure Camp

By BrandonAdventuresLeave a Comment

Back to camp! Turns out Sydney is aged out of this camp but we squeezed her in for one last hurrah! She grew up going there and really enjoys it.

Avid 4 Adventure Camp

Did you fall out again?

Avid 4 Adventure Camp

Oh, it was a rescue exercise.

Avid 4 Adventure Camp

Hiking to Royal Arch in Boulder.  They made it to the top.  Most groups apparently don’t.  Not this group!

Avid 4 Adventure Camp

Hawaii?  You are in Colorado!

Avid 4 Adventure Camp

Well, that’s it for this camp.  Heck, maybe she will come back as a counselor someday.

Leadville Firecracker 5K 2016

By BrandonA Day in the LifeLeave a Comment

Distance 3.11 miles
Time 37:04
Rank 131st

It was Sydney vs. Reagan vs. Kayla vs. Dad at the annual 5K in Leadville. We were excited to run as a family but that went to hell as soon as the race started. Kayla took off and passed us all. But we caught her within a few blocks and then Sydney took the lead for the remainder of the race.

Leadville Firecracker 5k 2016

Reagan was bopping back and forth between Kayla and I and Sydney. Thinking she might have been able to take the win if she wasn’t running in Jordan high tops. But they finished about 2 seconds apart in a duel to the finish.

Leadville Firecracker 5k 2016

Hoping to keep this a family tradition!

Mount Antero (14,269′)

By BrandonAdventuresLeave a Comment

Distance 9.5 miles
Moving Time 4 hr 5 min
Summit Elevation 14,269 feet
Elevation Gain 3,023 feet
Route Baldwin Gulch TH (4WD)
GPS Analysis Strava

Mount Antero 2016

Sydney and I had a day to ourselves while the rest of the family had other obligations. I had been eyeing Antero for many years. Some amount of sheer confusion given the whole 4WD road up to the ridge. Would I want to give that a shot? In the Hummer? Or maybe take ATVs? What about this being North America’s highest gem field? Do I need a pick? Could I strike it rich? Decisions.

Well, in order to strike Antero off the list, you gotta hike 3,000 feet. Bummer. So Sydney took up the challenge. She never asks how long or far. So refreshing. I popped out of bed and got her up at 5:30 AM. Lots of light. The sky looked wet but it wasn’t raining. The forecast showed 80% chance of rain and afternoon thunderstorms. Ew. Well, let’s go and check it out.

The trailhead is just down the road from the Mount Princeton Hot Springs. I should have brought our passes. We could have warmed up in the pools after the hike.

Mount Antero 2016

The trailhead greets you with a big map of the area. It proclaims to be the “Highest OHV trail system in the USA”. Nice! There is just enough trailer parking down the road from the trailhead if I did return with ATVs. One question answered.

Instead, I put the H2 back in action by crawling up the trail. It wasn’t that technical but it was a bit thin for Sydney’s tastes as she was against the wall while I hung off the mountain. We didn’t encounter any other traffic so it was pretty smooth. Plenty of clearance in my truck or in a Jeep along the trail. After 3 miles, we were up at the creek crossing. It wasn’t deep. But it was nice having the truck to cross.

We parked just up the road from there at a point where we would still have 3,000 vertical to go. However, we quickly learned that we could have taken the H2 probably another 2 miles easily before it got more sketchy. But on an ATV, I could have been on top in minutes. Easy trail.

The hike up was actually pretty nice along the road. Given the grade for 4WD, you aren’t really taxing your climbing. Keep a good pace and you make quick work of the distance. Kind of a nice change from the usual hands on knees grind.

Mount Antero 2016

It started to lightly rain and we started adapting. However, I was underprepared with the clothes. I had what I need when I run. I did not have enough stuff for a wet kid plus a hike speed Dad. We made due but I was worried how it might play out later on.

Mount Antero 2016

The trail was pretty straightforward. We stayed on the road and didn’t cut switchbacks, even though there are some iffy cuts you can make. As we came around the final hill before the ridge, the cold winds came. And with that, the rain turned to snow. Sydney had the majority of the clothes on and she was cold. I kept checking with her but her spirit was going downhill.

Mount Antero 2016

We made it to the start of the ridge where the 4WD road ends. The last section of that is only drivable by those with skills or no fear. Anyway, we made it out on the ridge and Sydney was starting to feel the pain of the cold. I asked her how things were going and she was crying. She doesn’t cry as in “cry like a baby” but more that cry when you are working and it isn’t going your way and you push through. I have seen it before. It’s a strong cry and she doesn’t like me to see it but I did.

Mount Antero 2016

The summit was just ahead in the fog. We were full whiteout. Other than the fact that I knew to head in whatever direction was up, we really couldn’t make out much on the ridge. I knew to stay centered on it so we did. As soon as we got to a point that seemed to flatten out, we called it good and turned tail back down the mountain. By this point, my hands were gone too and my shirt soaked. But I have been in worse situations. And when your kid is there and you have to return her to Mom in one piece, your comfort is not important.

Mount Antero 2016

We made quick work of the ridge down and were back on the road in no time. Still cold. Sydney couldn’t really hold her poles anymore. Her gloves were soaked through. We just kept a good pace and moved down the mountain. When we got maybe a mile off the summit, the sun started poking and the storm cleared in minutes. We had blue sky. Still cool out. But we stripped the wet stuff and let the sun dry us out.

Mount Antero 2016

I could see the thunderstorms from the forecast to the west building. Just a rough day with the forecast. Should have went another day. But this is the kind of stuff that makes great stories. So it was fun. Sydney was very excited about the adventure. The whole 4WD adventure, the dogs, the snow, and all. Everything seemed to fall in place. We chatted and finally arrived back at the car as it started to rain again.

I only have Holy Cross left in the Sawatch now. Kind of bitter sweet. I sort of came to like those mountains. I am sure I will continue to repeat some even if I have my sights set on the San Juans.

We finished at K’s in BV. Hot dogs & free doggie cones for the kids!

Mount Antero 2016

Until next time…Ozzy and Lizzy, out.

Mount Antero 2016

Summer Fun @ Copper Mountain

By BrandonA Day in the LifeLeave a Comment

We spend a lot of weekends at Copper Mountain skiing in the winter. But it turns out they keep the place pretty busy in the summer too. Festivals and events are happening all the time. But during the weekdays it is nice and quiet and the kids love to go there and play. You can get a “summer season pass” where you can enjoy their activities. Ride the chair lift. Play mini golf. And do some of the stuff shown below. I may even drag my bike over there and have it drop me off up top and ride down.

Copper Mountain

The go karts are the best part.  Hard to find a decent track around here these days.  This one is short but got my juices flowing.  I started in the back and passed all cars.  But one girl was killing me.  Looking over her shoulder and blocking me in the turns.  She was probably 10.  I noticed her whole family cheering her on from the bleachers.  I kept working her and finally took her in traffic to win.

Copper Mountain

Bumper boats are always a good time.  Spraying other people with water in the face.  Kayla got pushed out in to the center of the lake (see below) where the fountain was spraying.  Her boat was going in circles and it was just raining down on her.  She was soaked when she got off the boat.  Still had fun!

Copper Mountain

See Sydney and Reagan to the left of the fountain on the zip line.  More zip fun in Colorado.  This one just runs across the lake.

Copper Mountain

Pretty big rock wall.  About 40′ up.  Quite the challenge for any climber.

Copper Mountain

Bouncing our way through summer! But it will be fun when this place goes back to snow and we ski once again!