Monday, August 18, 2014

Celebrating BR's Birthday

The joy of weekends, well life, in Colorado is that the mountains and climbing are never far away.  In fact, it's rare when the entirety of a weekend isn't spent hiking and/or climbing.  Being that this past weekend was also Brian's birthday weekend, some time in the Park was a must.  It is, after all, his favorite place. 

Earlier in the week, some pals from home, Billy and Andrew, joined us in Colorado.  We tried to pack in as much as the greater Boulder area has to offer in the few days Billy was in town (Andrew is sticking around a bit longer); Brian didn't waste any time showing our guests around, and on Tuesday evening, their first night in town, we went to the Park.  Rounding off the whole experience was the chance to chat with a RMNP legend and professional climber.  I think the guys enjoyed day one. 

The next few days required less hiking - we went to climbing gyms - but involved a lot of climbing.  I was sore every day and crashed every night.  I'll consider that part of my birthday gift to Brian as I drive him crazy every night when he's ready for bed and I'm ready to talk, watch a movie, tell stories, anything but sleep. On Friday evening, we made a little run up the Second Flatiron, which Brian and I enjoy, and which Brian loves doing when friends are in town.  

Brian and Billy checking things out in Lower Chaos (RMNP)
Sean, Nat, Brian, me, Billy and Andrew atop the Second Flatiron

As it was his birthday celebration, I couldn't protest, so on Saturday morning we woke up very early and made our way to Upper Chaos, one of the great climbing areas in the Park, but one that requires the longest of the trail hikes followed by a bunch of talus hopping, jumping from giant rock to giant rock, or in my case, crawling up and down between giant rocks because my legs are too short to reach across them or I'm too wimpy to leap across them. After circling around the parking lot to find a parking spot (and avoid taking the shuttle, which is fine to use if you don't have a ton of gear - giant crash pads - and plans of staying until late in the evening) and two hours of hiking, we arrived at our destination.  I regret not taking pictures of the area as it was gorgeous, but I go caught up in getting in some climbing and taking pictures of the marmots that were hanging around and cheeping at us.  

Brian has been plagued with some knee issues for a while now, blame it on his loose tendon condition, but he was really excited to climb one problem and brought his knee brace to be safe.  While he did use the brace, it didn't prevent him from injuring his knee again. I was totally bummed for this to happen, and especially sad it happened on his birthday weekend, but he did check 'Skipper D' off his to-do list, and he was able to make it back to the car without much issue and without me having to carry him (only our crash pad).  We were pretty worn out after our hiking and after getting up so early, but we decided not to give up and headed out for Brian's birthday when we get back to Boulder.  

After dinner, margaritas, bourbon, and giant boots of beer, we called it a night and headed back to the condo to recover.  Brian remained in good sprits despite the involuntary time off he'll have to take from climbing, and despite the fact that he had to say goodbye to his pal Billy, who headed back to Wisconsin on Sunday morning.  From what I hear, the spent the drive to DIA talking about what they like most, climbing. 
Just the boys and me hanging out about five miles from our car
Billy, Sean, Andrew, and Brian 
Brian at home among the rocks in the Park

Sad for his bum knee, so happy he completed his birthday goal

After a birthday breakfast treat once Brian returned from the airport, and for the first time in the two summers we have been in Boulder, we decided to visit the Boulder Reservoir.  Andrew, Brian, and I found a sunny spot to relax for the afternoon, did a bit of swimming and caught up on the rest we missed out on the day before when our alarms went off at 6am, which is against my summer rules but happens often with my husband and his love for all things mountains.  When we all had our share of the sun, we headed back to the condo to clean up (one of us was especially into nerding out and spent some time listening to some programming podcast, though I won't name any names) and get set for the birthday barbecue later that night.  We got very Wisconsin and drank beer and grilled brats, which was the perfect way to cap off Brian's birthday weekend.  

the birthday boy at the Boulder Rez

Happy birthday, Buddy.  May this year be filled with all the best things in life -- including lots of time in the Park and topping out 'Whispers.'  

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