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!

Brown’s Canyon

By BrandonAdventuresLeave a Comment

Sometimes our summer activities are limited by the ages and weights of the children. This activity has been on our todo list for a long time. We pass Brown’s Canyon every time we head to the hot springs and dreamt of the day we can get the kids on the water.

Rafting

The minimum age for class III rapids at about 2200 CFS is 6 years old. Kayla is 6! Off we went. We chose to ride with Noah’s Ark Rafting. They have a great program and the guides are super friendly. We had Tim leading us! We opted for a 1/2 day on Brown’s Canyon which is nearby Leadville. Just a bit south of Buena Vista actually. This areas was moved to National Monument status a few years ago. Very cool terrain. Lucky to have it so close.

Rafting

The water was snow about a day ago so it is pretty chilly. Although the guides are used to it and are not wearing much extra. We rented splash jackets (like rain coats) that helped keep the big sprays off you. Kim took her’s off part way. Your call based on temps.

Rafting

The kids ride rode up front 3 across. Kim and I were in back. Our guide in the middle. These boats have a sweet setup in the middle where the guide has big oars and does most of the maneuvering on the trip. You get involved by stroking with your paddle on his call. Just to help move the boat back or forward.

Rafting

I talked to the guide a bunch to try and understand more about rafting. I was curious about his deal there too. These guides were all from all over the US. They come for the summer and work 6 days a week running 2 trips a day. Fun summer on the water meeting fun folks! I clarified what we could expect on class III with the kids. They didn’t seem to concerned. Class III doesn’t seem to lose people out of the boat. Maybe once a week if someone is joking around. We were in good hands.

Rafting

We rode down the river a few miles before encountering the class III rapids. There were 7 of them. All with names and stories and unique characteristics. The kids got some big air on a few of them. It is daunting when you see that much water in front of the boat.

Rafting

We made it safely! The crew pulls the boats out. You are about 10 miles from the start. Jump on a school bus and they wisk you back to the start. A great time and I would recommend using these guys again!

So I forgot the GoPro at home. Bummer. I tried to film with my iPhone a bit. Just to give my Mom a sense of how I tried to kill her grandchildren this time. I couldn’t do the big rapids because I had to stroke. I captured a few but I have to put the phone down and paddle so it gets weird. Give it a watch anyway. I had the phone in a waterproof bag around my neck. GoPro would have better. Especially on Kayla!

The kids loved it. I hope we go again. There are other class III sections around here. Also some class IV and V too. Sydney is old enough next year for the class IV. And maybe we can get to class V someday. Seems like a worthy bucket list item!

Adventure Park

By BrandonAdventuresLeave a Comment

Just down the road from our cabin, there is a ropes course called Brown’s Canyon Adventure Park.  It is a fun diversion right off the highway.  It costs about $55 and takes 2.5 hours to go through the whole course.  My kids love this kind of stuff so we made a morning of it.

Brown's Canyon Adventure Park

They have 6 different adventures/courses that you go through. You basically get assigned a guide that monitors your progress and helps you get through it all. Multiple groups are out there at the same time so the guides help with the scheduling. Reservations are recommended.

Brown's Canyon Adventure Park

You are strapped to the zip lines at all times with these cool 2 pronged leashes. The device only lets you detach one leash at a time so your are always connected while you move through the course and change zip lines from up high.

Brown's Canyon Adventure Park

They had an attraction called “Leap of Faith” where you climb up a telephone pole, stand on top, then jump to a trapeze bar. It wasn’t too bad but I am getting older and less trusting of heights.

Brown's Canyon Adventure Park

Unfortunately, Kayla did not weigh enough to go on this. Minimum weights are required so you don’t get stuck mid zip line somewhere. And it was a bit tall for her. But she is ready to go back next year.

Brown's Canyon Adventure Park

We weren’t allowed to take phones in because they might drop and hurt someone below. But I shot some video from the side to give you a sense of the adventure. Cool activity!

Lake Wawasee

By BrandonVisitsLeave a Comment

As a kid, I spent every summer weekend at Pier 151 on Lake Wawasee.  The “lake” as it was simply known to me was where we went to play in the water.  Boating, skiing, turtle hunting, and more.  As far as things I miss about my birthplace, that’s right up there.  The access to water and the warmth of that water is so nice compared to Colorado.  Our lakes are probably more beautiful because of the surroundings but you just can’t beat the access back in Indiana.

Lake Wawasee

So we took an impromptu drive from Colorado to Indiana for a few days.  My grandmother owns the place and died in the past year.  So this might be a final chance to enjoy the place and show my kids what I used to do on weekends.  Stuff like getting dragged behind a boat a break neck speeds.

Lake Wawasee

 

My sister, Natalee, got some swans.  OK?  The kids get it.  Swan party.  Swan fight?  Whatever it is, they like it.

Lake Wawasee

The kids got a chance to play with all their cousins.  It is more kids than I can count.  They all get along so good and pick up right where they left off.  Even though they only see each other maybe once a year.

Lake Wawasee

 

Sydney enjoyed getting out on the water with her cousin, Christian.  Even if all the younger kids were still trying to make fun of them for kissing when they were like 5.

Lake Wawasee

Sunset paddling.

Lake Wawasee

It isn’t really a diving board, Sydney!

Lake Wawasee

I guess hanging out with crazy cousins is fun!

Lake Wawasee

Put that back. We can’t take it home!

Lake Wawasee

Thanks for the visit, Nana & Papa.

Lake Wawasee