Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wedding Locale Hunting in Zion + Photos from Bryce Canyon & Capitol Reef National Parks

Lafayette, CO - Ok, for these photos we go back to the weekend of February 16th. Before the gas prices went really crazy, Suwei and I took a road trip out to Zion National Park to scope out potential sites for our wedding in September. This time, unlike our last trip to Zion in November, we managed to stay on task for most of the first day and a half.

In order to have a wedding inside the National Park boundaries, one must apply for a wedding permit with the National Park Service. In Zion there are only a few locales where the Park Service allows larger gatherings. Our fist chilly morning out, we were able to quickly narrow down the selection to two choices. The Temple of Sinawava at the end of the valley (where the Narrows Trail pops out) was our favorite, but they only allow up to 30 people. We didn't want to have to pick and choose which friends to invite, so we settled on our second favorite, the lawn in front of the lodge. Although it looked a bit barren in February, I remember that part of the park being quite spectacular in the fall. Settled.

Our next task was to find a place to hold the reception. Now, when we say reception, we don't really mean "reception" in the traditional sense. BBQ would probably be a more appropriate description for what we have in mind. White table clothes, fancy dinnerware, the ching chinging of crystal being replaced by dusty truck beds, camp chairs, a couple of Webers and possibly a keg or few (if we can work that out in Utah). Although we planned on reserving two group campsites inside the park for backup, ideally we were looking for a wilder setting outside the park where we could do as we like. The thought of toning it down after 10 pm didn't rub us the right way. So, we started scoping out every muddy track leading out of Springdale, Virgin and Hurricane. It being February, most of them were made practically impassible by plenty of mud and snow. We saw a lot of nice spots but, to this date, we still haven't fully committed to a site. However, Gooseberry Mesa is high on our list. We're going to put a little more effort into the wedding planning after the canoe trip next weekend.

View from Gooseberry Mesa

With the wedding stuff out of the way we made our way home slowly via Kolob Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park and Capitol Reef National Park. This is where most of the decent photos were taken.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Capitol Reef National Park

Here is the link to the slide show:

Zion, Bryce, & Capitol Reef National Parks, UT

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Ouray Ice Climbing Festival, Ouray, CO

Downtown Ouray

Lafayette, CO - For today's post I'm putting up a bunch of photos from the Ouray Ice Climbing Festival held January 10th and 11th in Ouray, Colorado. We were meeting up with most of our Colorado friends who make this a yearly event. But to top things off, our friend Jen came out from California to join us and then, to make it really interesting, Tommy and Jessica a couple we met on the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal just happened to be in the neighborhood and decided to drop by.

Our Friends - Suwei, Jen, Jackie, Hank, Glen, Jessica, Drew, Tanya, Tommy, Andrew, and Drew.

For the sake of time, I'm keeping this post photo heavy and text light as I went into most everything worth going into in the slide show again. So check that out at the end of the post.

The Ouray Ice Climbing Fesitval

Suwei and Jen Call it a Day.

If you are interested in next year's Ouray Ice Festival (I'm sure we will be returning), check out their official site:

Oh.. one more thing... if anyone is new to this blog and interested enough to come back for additional posts, there is a Google Groups box to the left of this post. If you enter your email address into that box, you will be added to the group and you will get an email each time I update this thing. Whether you're new to the blog or not, feel free to comment on any of the crap I post here. I would love to here from you folks.

Anyway.. here is the link for the slide show. Enjoy!

Ice Climbing Festival, Ouray, CO

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mom's Visit , Estes Park & Rocky Mountian National Park

Lafayette, CO - Back during the first week of December, my Mom came to visit. She wanted to come and check out our new home, visit our new stomping ground, and spend a little quiet time at a time share she booked up at Estes Park. I didn't take a whole lot of pictures of her visit, but I do want to post a few here.

She arrived in Colorado only one week after we did. We had barely had time to unpack the Toyota, let alone the rest of our stuff we had stashed in Suwei's parent's garage & basement last spring. So boxes, dust, and packing material ruled the day. Luckily we were able to get out of town quickly and go to Estes Park.

Estes Park is a popular summer resort town and the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. It is also the home of the Stanley Hotel, which served as the inspiration for the fictional Overlook Hotel in Steven King's book, "The Shinning." Anyway, we didn't stay at the Stanley, and although Estes Park was pretty damn quiet in December, it didn't quite close down completely like the Overlook. There were still a few place open and willing to serve food.

All the pictures here were taken during the few days we spent in Estes Park. Suwei had to work, so we set her up with a halfway decent internet connection, while my mom and I spent our time exploring some of the short walks in Rocky Mountain National Park. I hadn't been up in that park since Derek, Hap and I did our cross country dash after college. It's quite beautiful and very, very quite in the winter.

Rocky Mountain National Park

After Estes we put my mom to work unpacking dishes and we went shopping for bamboo floors. We also showed her around Boulder and took her up to the ski condo in Keystone.

So...if any of you folks reading this are interested in visiting Colorado, just know that we make damn good tour guides (especially now that 5 months have gone by and we're almost done unpacking)!!

Rocky Mountain National Park

Here is the link to the slide show:

Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

2nd Move to Colorado Via Joshua Tree, Zion, and Coral Pink Sand Dunes

Lafayette, CO - I'm still in catch up mode here. We've been super crazy busy as usual. Suwei and I spent last weekend climbing Castleton Tower near Moab, UT. I'll be posting photos of that trip soon enough. Hopefully, I'll be able to include a trip report from our friend Jackie, who at the end of the climb, BASE jumped off the thing. Anyway... check out this link if you want to see what the tower looks like:

I have also been trying to get the annual Russian River Canoe trip together. Suwei and I will be heading back to California June 2nd and staying for a week. We'll be canoeing up near Healdsberg June 7th and 8th. If anyone is interested in joining us out there, here is the link for more information:

Anyway... the photos in this post come from Thanksgiving weekend last November (19th to the 25th).

After returning from Ireland, cheering Jessica, Tommy and Suwei on at the Big Sur half marathon, presenting a slide show of our trip to tons of friends, and trying to work off a few pints of Guinness at the Mountain View 24 Hour Fitness, it was time to get moving again. We packed up the Toyota pickup with all our climbing gear, camping gear, bikes, and house plants and hit the road again. We were on our way to our new home in Colorado for the 2nd time. This time however, we took a southern route via Joshua Tree National Park in order to meet up with the folks from Rock Rendezvous for a mix of climbing and turkey. Other stops on this trip included: a hike up to Observation Point in Zion National Park, sunset at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, a shower and a bed at a Roadway Inn in northern Utah, and finally coffee and pastries in Fruita, CO.

Most of the house plants did not survive.

The View from Geology Tour Road, Joshua Tree National Park

Hike to Observation Point, Zion National Park

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, UT

Here is the link for the slideshow:

Joshua Tree, Zion, & Coral Sand Dunes

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Irish Pubs

Lafayette, CO - Just Pubs.

Work is the curse of the drinking class.
- Oscar Wilde