The Kiddo’s First Weekend in Vedauwoo

June 25, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Its the end of June, the sun is shining, the rain has (finally) stopped, so what do we do? Go to Vedauwoo! We pack up the 7 month old baby, two out-of-shape parents, two friends from the other side of the planet, an 18 ft camper trailer, and our crag dog, and head to Wyoming!


Vedauwoo is one of my favorite places on this planet. The wind, the rocks, the wide open feeling of the high plains, all combine to produce an area full of adventure and wildness. I was excited to take our friends and G up to visit the area, but a little bit apprehensive, knowing that weekend was Fronteir Days in Cheyenne, and the place would be hopping with other campers.

Sure enough, most of the sites are full when we pull in around 9p. But our favorite site on the hill, the one Mark and I have used over and over again, is empty and waiting.

Our camper in Vedauwoo

G camping in with Kyle and Daddy at Vedauwoo

On Saturday, we head over to Blair III for easy top-ropes in a low key setting. Kyle and Briana tape up for crack climbing, something they don’t do very often. And we all climb The Sweet Variation of Go Left, Old Man, Go Left (5.7-) and Random Crystals (5.8-), two classic climbs that we’ve hit up about once a year for the past 4 years.

Climbing on Blair 3

Sweet Variation

The Californians do great on the sharp, crystally crack climbs. I manage to bruise both of my hands, and peel some skin off even under the tape. Mark, of course, feels great, and has a ball. And G takes a short nap under the aspens.

Babe in the Woods

G playing in the woods for the afternoon

We check out a couple of long, bolted climbs on the opposite side of the Blair 3 formation. They look really interesting: very tall slabs protected by a huge number of bolts… that start about 30 feet off the ground. Briana is concerned about the chimney start, and I’m concerned about G’s lack of afternoon nap. So, we pack up and head to the Nautilus instead.

Briana hops on Stand and Deliver (5.10a), which has a very tricky and difficult start. She takes a couple of tries and eventually figures out a move or two that she feels are more like high-5.11, but the rest of the route is full of crystal-pinching loveliness, and she ends up with a big smile on her face.

Briana on the rough start to Stand and Deliver (5.10a)

Briana climbs, Mark belays, Kyle watches, and G sleeps

Mark and Kyle lead it after her, with Mark abusing his height on the start, and Kyle abusing the first bolt. I give it a few attempts, but give up quickly and yard on the first draw to get on the route. The rest of it goes smoothly and happily for me, which is nice as its clearly been a rough spring for my climbing ego.

The awesomest giant marshmallow treat ever!

In the evening, G goes to sleep in the trailer early, and we hang out, roast giant marshmallows over a fire, and watch distant storms on the high, windy, Wyoming plains. The next day, we’ll hang around camp. We’ll pick wildflowers, whittle tiny game pieces, and play a kick-ass game of Settlers of Katan under the awning of our trailer. The Californians will head north to the limestone of Lander and Ten Sleep, and us Calders will head south, back towards our crazy lives in the Fort.

Wet Camping in Rocky Mountain NP

June 19, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Rain pattering on the roof of the camper. Trickles of water merge into small streams and creeks and run down the streets of the campground. Clouds billowing over high craggy peaks that loom over us. Rivers raging over mountainsides, boulders, trees, and trails.

Our weekend of camping in Rocky Mountain National Park (RoMo) is a wet one.

Ouzel Falls

The rain starts as we drive up the Big Thompson Canyon on Friday night, and it just keeps going throughout the night. Our friends arrived at the campsite a few hours before, and are sitting in the cab of their camper/truck waiting for us as we pull our rig into the site behind them.

We met Kyle and Briana in Thailand a year and a half ago. Mark and I were just starting to try to get pregnant at that time (and more successful than we realized), and they were on the first leg of their year-long around-the-world trip. In the last year, Kyle and Briana have climbed on four continents, bicycled through 50% of the countries in Europe, been caught in riots in Thailand, and toured dozens of climbing areas around the US while living out of their truck.

Kyle plays an awesome banjo
Briana plays mandolin in the rocky mountains

In the last year, Mark and I created a human being, and have managed to keep him alive so far. Its been a good year for all of us.

G really loves listening to the music

Back to this weekend, and we’re camping in our deluxe 18ft trailer, so it doesn’t matter that the rain is pouring down. We convince G to fall asleep, and then sit around the table telling stories and killing a Bota Box of Malbec as the rain continues through the night.

The prettiest campsite in the rockies!

When we wake on Saturday morning, the air is chilly, the wind is howling, and the rocks are very wet. We decide against trying to climb, in favor of a low-altitude hike to see waterfalls during prime snow-melt season. The hike to Ouzel falls is 3 miles long (6 miles round-trip) and follows a VERY full St. Vrain river starting in the Wild Basin area of RoMo.

We stop for a lot of pictures on the way up. G naps on and off. This time, I remembered his hat, sunscreen, diapers, and bottles, but forgot to stick toys on the backpack for him. He gets a little bored after 2.5 miles, so I tie a carabiner to my hood drawstring and hang it from the backpack to entertain him. This works, but not as well as some face time with Dad next to the waterfall.

Taking a break to play by the waterfall
Rocky Mtn Waterfall 1
Briana and Kyle enjoy the low-key afternoon
Taking a break on the way home

In the evening, we pile our dinner fixings together for a huge skillet of squash, sausage and couscous. Kyle and Briana rock out some great bluegrass tunes. G is fascinated by the banjo. My dehydration headache returns, and I crash with G in the trailer before dark. Mark, Kyle and Briana start up a (typically) heated game of Settlers of Katan, as the sun sets over the continental divide. Eventually, it starts to rain again.

Kate’s Free Desktop Image 18

June 5, 2011 at 7:35 am

Wow, its been almost a year since I last posted a high-res image for your desktops! I can say, I haven’t been out shooting as much as I have in the past, and I don’t feel bad about it either. :) Right now, photography isn’t at the top of my list of things to do in my spare time. But, I still get out occasionally, and this shot came out so nice and summery, I thought I’d share it.

As usual, I’ve saved the image as a few different sizes for the most common screen resolutions. Feel free to download the one that works for you by clicking on the link to the correct size below each shot! These files can be a bit large, so be a little patient as your computer downloads them.

Summer on the Front Range

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