Thursday, May 17, 2018

Wed 5/17 - Upper

Workout: Club Fitness

44+ 6 = 50 mins

Haven't worked out in about 2 weeks since we were backpacking in Canyonlands National Park. Figure it will take me a couple of WO's to get back to where I left off.

Started with incline and pull-up combo. Incline was tough, pull-ups were decent.  Next was shoulder press with bent-over-row. Then triceps, curls and leg raises. Finished up with rear delt fly's and weighted crunches.  Decent WO to start getting back into it.

I weighed 175.0 this morning. Still dealing with bloat and weight gain from trip out West.

Sat 5/5 through Sat 5/12- Backpacking Trip to Canyonlands National Park

Sat 5/5
We arrived late Friday night in Denver and Jason collected us from the airport and drove us home to his house.  He was a wonderful host all week and did the bulk of the driving all over Colorado and Utah!
We woke up early Saturday morning and drove to Chautauqua Park near Boulder, CO to hike the trails in the Flatirons.  We hiked the trail up to Flatiron 1st/2nd and then the connector to the Royal Arch trail and up to the arch.  The hikes were fairly steep on the way up and we had views out into the valley toward Denver.  As we neared the top to Flatiron 1st/2nd we worked our way to the back side of the mountain and got views into the Rockies that were really pretty.  In the distance we could see big snow capped mountains.  We stopped at a rock outcropping and had lunch with a view.  Then we worked part way back down the mountain, across a connector trail and back up to Royal Arch. Lots and lots of steps up.  I hate steps!  The arch was pretty with more views of the valley flatlands.  We hiked down, drove home and went out for a bite to eat. About 6 miles hiking.

Sun 5/6
Greg Schlenker and I reconnected on facebook and made plans to meet for brunch at Red Rocks, followed by a hike around the area.  Greg and I were childhood friends and did Indian Guides and Trailblazers together, as well as plenty of general childhood mischief and good times together growing up.  We kind of lost touch over the years and we determined it had been about 25 years since we’d seen each other.  It was great spending an afternoon together catching up, talking about old times and catching up on what’s going on in our lives now and plans for the future.  He showed us around Red Rocks, one of the most famous concert venues in the world.  It’s fascinating and beautiful.  We had a nice brunch and then drove a short distance to a trailhead and hiked around the area for a couple of hours while we chatted and caught up.  His significant other, Joy, was with us (Sarah, Jason and I) and she seemed like a sweetheart.  We came across 2 baby rattlesnakes on the trail which was interesting.  Wonderful day, beautiful weather.  About 4 miles.

Mon 5/7
We woke up early and got on the road around 5:45 for the drive to Canyonlands National Park. It’s a very pretty drive through the Rocky Mountains and on I-70 that follows the Colorado River much of the way.  Through the mountains we saw some big horn sheep and elk. Once out of the mountains and into the desert terrain we saw some prong horned sheep and the landscape was really pretty. Later we’d learn that it didn’t compare at all to what we would see the remainder of the trip. 

We arrived at Canyonlands around 1PM, got geared up and headed up a trail leaving the parking lot where we some some hikers walking into the lot. It turns out we started on the Jeep road instead of primitive hiking trail. Didn’t realize we’d make a tragically wrong decision until we’d hiked out about 3 miles. ‘Doh!  We hiked the 3 miles back to the car.  When we got back to the car, we saw the big Elephant Hill Trailhead sign, literally 10 yards from the parked car. Double ‘Doh!  We finally got started on the right trail. We were running late now and in a bit of a hurry so we missed the turn for elephant canyon toward Druid arch & headed toward Chesler Park. We realized we made another mistake & decided to turn around. That’s when Jason hit the wall and threw up.  Sarah and I both took some of his gear to lighten his load. I took his tent and strapped it to the top of my pack and Sarah took the bear canister and strapped it to her pack.  We reversed course and found the correct trail for Elephant Canyon trail toward our campsite.  We hiked up EC a ways, but we weren’t sure where the campsites were.  We hadn’t seen a single sign for a campsite and thought we should have passed EC1 campsite on the way to EC2 and our final camp destination for the night EC3. 

FINALLY, we passed EC2 and we would have stopped right there but the camp was occupied.  We pressed forward hoping we’d see EC3 very soon.  We went another 1/2 mile or so and Jason was starting to really struggle. We turned back toward EC2 and figured we’d camp there or nearby.  Sarah went and talked to the folks at EC2 and they reluctantly agreed to let us camp with them.  There were 3 of them and the campsites are supposed to accommodate 6-8 people.  I turned out 2 of the women were doctors and they helped determine Jason was probably sapped of electrolytes from drinking too much water.  Jason passed out on the rock while we set up camp for us and him.  We relaxed a bit, Jason finally ate something and we all went to sleep hoping he’d feel better in the morning.  We ended up doing 10-11 miles in 85-90 degree heat instead of the planned 3. Ugh. 

Tue 5/8
We broke camp at EC2 & hiked to Chesler Park campsite (CP4). Beautiful hike up & great camp spot against a rock face looking out on a meadow & mesas in the distance. We emptied our packs, loaded packs with only snacks & water for a trip out of the canyon to the car to load up on water to cache it near Wednesday’s campsite. Each of us carried a lot of water. We had a couple gallons to cache (we’d applied for, & received a permit for this) & a lot for the remainder of the day & the following day until we make it back to the cache.

Sarah and I each carried a gallon of water to cache and we each carried a bunch of extra water back up to camp.  I had the gallon, plus a 5 liter bag, and 3 or 4 1-liter bottles. My pack was HEAVY! Back into the canyon we headed. 
Thankfully, we only had about 2 miles to cache the water near the campsite for the following day in Elephant Canyon (EC1 campsite). Offloading the gallon helped, but the 8-9 liters was still a lot to haul back to Chesler Park in 90 degree heat. 

We made it back to camp with plenty of afternoon left to relax in the shade, eat dinner & lay on a big rock watching the sun set & stars come out. Crawled into the 3F Lanshan2 tent about 10:30 for much needed sleep. 
Total for the day was about 10 miles. 

Wed 5/9
Woke around 5:15am & went out to make use of a biffy bag & watch the sunrise. Beautiful sunrise, and I just love early mornings on the trail and in the mountains. Sarah came out to join me a little while after I was up.
We cooked breakfast (oatmeal, raisins, whey protein & peanut butter), broke camp & got on trail around 9am. Today’s plan was to hike through Chesler Park, then up Elephant Canyon to Druid Arch. After checking out the arch, head back through Elephant Canyon to EC1 campsite & water cache. Total for the day would be about 7 miles.

We were all looking forward to this day because we wouldn’t be so pressed to get mileage done and we’d have time to enjoy the scenery a bit more. The hike up the canyon to Druid Arch was pretty. A lot of walking in the sand in the dry creek/river bed, but pretty high walls all around us. We passed a natural spring in the canyon. It was fairly big and deep and looked really inviting to jump off the canyon wall into the water. We didn’t jump in and finished the hike and final rock scramble up to Druid Arch. The arch is fairly impressive, but the VIEW from up by the arch of was absolutely stunning. We could see down the entire canyon path we’d hike up the last 2 hours.  We took a bunch of pictures and found a spot in the shade to eat lunch and soak in the views. This was definitely the highlight of the trip. We lingered for quite a while, got a group photo with the arch in the background and then headed back down Elephant Canyon toward our water cache and EC1 campsite.

While we were hiking, I started thinking about plans for the next couple of days.  We had permits for campsites both Wed and Thursday nights.  We’d tentatively already decided to forego the final night so we could drive over to Arches National park and spend a day.  Doing a little mental time estimation, I figured if we got on trail Thursday morning at 8, hiked out of the canyon (1.5 hours) and drove from Canyonlands to Arches (2+ hours), fought traffic into Arches, found parking, etc. we’d probably get half a day in Arches on Thursday, at best.  Since we got to our water cache and EC1 campsite in the early afternoon, I floated the idea that we could collect our water cache (drink some, dump the rest) and hike out to the car, drive to Moab, get a hotel and be able to get up early and into Arches first thing in the morning on Thursday and spend the entire day.  Both Sarah and Jason liked the idea so we headed out.  We’d already hike this section of trail 3 times and the 4th time was just as jaw dropping as the first 3.  This place is that pretty and impressive.  We booked a room on the drive to Moab, checked in and then got a good burger dinner at Spokes in town. Finished the day off with a double scoop waffle ice cream cone.  Total miles for the day was 9-10.

Thu 5/10
I woke early and went to 7-11 across the street from the hotel for Mountain Dew and coffee.  Breakfast of champions!  We left at 7am and arrived at Arches National Park before the 7:30am opening time.  We swung through the visitors center and headed directly back to the parking area for the 3 mile round trip hike to Delicate Arch.  It’s one of the most popular and we wanted to get there before the crowds.  Side note: On our way to Canyonlands on Monday, we passed Arches NP and there was a LONG line of traffic waiting to get into the park - one of the reasons we left Canyonlands on Wednesday so we could get an early start today.

We hike into delicate arch and it’s really impressive.  It sits atop a natural amphitheater and has long views of snow capped mountains and mesas in the background.  We got pictures standing in the arch and then climbed down into the bowl/amphitheater below for some unique views and pictures.  We got there in the nick of time because about 30 minutes after we’d been there, it started to get really crowded up top around the arch.

We hiked back out to the car and drove to Devils Garden to do the trails to various arches in that area.  Landscape Arch was the most impressive to me with it’s really wide span. It looks like a bridge across a large gap.  We also hiked to Partition Arch, Navajo Arch, Double O Arch, Tunnel Arch, Pine Tree Arch and possibly a few others I can’t remember. The wind was really picking up on the ridge line of the “fins” in the afternoon.  After Devils Garden we drove around the park and saw a bunch of other arches and landscape features: Balanced Rock, Turret Arch, the Windows, Courthouse Towers.  All very impressive, but I think we all agreed that Canyonlands was significantly better.  The scenery was more impressive, more vast and open, long range canyon views, and almost as important, LESS people/cars/crowds.

We stopped in the visitors center on the way out and read about the park history, formation, etc., before heading back to the hotel in Moab and dinner at a Mexican restaurant. We collected some souvenirs and walked around town before crashing back at the hotel. Total for the day was probably 9 miles (3 to Delicate Arch, 4-5 in Devils Garden, 1-2 walking around to various other arches and features.

Fri 5/11
We planned on an 11-mile loop in Grand Mesa, but we got to the park entrance and the road was still closed for winter (10,500 feet elevation). So plan B was a hike to Hanging Lake that was absolutely gorgeous. I’d highly recommend visiting this lake if ever in the area. Then a dinner in Buena Vista (really cool town) & finally a stop at Mount Princeton Hot Springs for a soak. Great way to relax at the end a week of some incredible, but tough hiking. Because of the snow melt, the natural hot springs were in the creek next to the resort were flooded with cold water and were “unofficially closed”.  We “officially” opened them!  We were hanging out in the man-made hot pools and decided to go for a dip in the creek.  It was FREEZING, but invigorating.  The water numbed our limbs and when we laid down in the water, it took our breath away.  Then we jumped back in the hot pools to warm up.  We repeated this process 3 times and all had a great time doing it.  The first trip down to the river I slipped and fell down the rocks a ways almost landed right in the water.  Thankfully, I didn’t get hurt but was real careful from then on.  Total for the day was 3-4 miles.

Sat 5/12
We left for Pikes Peak around 10am and drove to the top of the mountain, 14,114 feet above sea level.  We passed a beautiful lake on the way to the top and stopped at it on the way back down the mountain.  After running around the summit taking some pictures we headed into the gift shop and Sarah and I both could feel the altitude.  It was cool in one aspect to be at the peak of a tall mountain, but just like at the top of the Smokies, the views are often better part way down the mountain.  It was a big time investment driving up and down the mountain and not worth it, IMO. After Pikes Peak, Sarah found us a hike to a waterfall nearby that we did which was nice. Then we drove to Garden of the Gods and walked round a little bit. It was really crowded, took a while to find parking, and after being in Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, it just wasn’t that impressive.  Any other time, I’m sure I would have been more impressed, though I can always do without the crowds.
We drove back to Denver and stopped for dinner on the way.  About 3-4 miles.

Final Thoughts
That about finishes up our trip other than an uneventful flight home Sunday morning.  All in all, a fabulous trip.  One I will not soon forget.  Weather was about as good as it possibly could have been this time of year. No rain at all.  It was warm in the desert, but not oppressive and a dry heat so we weren’t drenched in sweat the entire time.  Clear blue skies most every day and we even had a touch of cloud cover on Wednesday to cool things down a bit during part of the morning.  I’d call it perfect.

We hiked about 55-60 miles for the week.  Certainly not super high mileage, but a couple of the days in the canyons with heat and heavy packs made it a pretty good effort. Definitely different than sitting on the beach or pool-side all week!

Looking back, Canyonlands was the highlight by far.  I’m glad we went to Arches, but in hindsight I think we would have enjoyed a day at Dead Horse or even driving to Zion for a day or two and skipping Saturday back in Denver.  It’s easy to nitpick and second guess things now and I think we did an excellent job of planning our first trip out West in an area we’d never been and knew very little about.  I’m lucky and blessed that Sarah and I share a love and passion for the outdoors.  It’s a bonus that she’s also a strong hiker and can handle herself very well in the backcountry.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Wed 5/2 - Upper

Workout: Club Fitness

44+ 6 = 50 mins

Upper WO today after work. Reduced carbs this week to flush out some bloat from the weekend so I wasn't sure how much energy I'd have for this WO. Started with incline and heavy pulldowns.  I did 2 heavy sets of each and then a lighter set.  The lighter sets were both still quite hard. Glad I didn't try to do 3 heavy sets of incline, I struggled with the lighter weight on the 3rd set.  Next I raised angle of incline and did 2 sets with 2 sets of seated rows. 

Then I did overhead triceps extensions with curls and leg raises in the captain's chair, 2 sets each.  Then I did rear delt fly's and weighted crunches, then a set of band pulls and crunches.  Decent WO.

I weighed 171.4 this morning. Down from 180.8 on Sunday. Cutting carbs fairly hard this week because I was really bloated after the weekend and I need to fit into my hiking clothes for upcoming trip :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Sun 4/29 - Pull Day

Workout: Snap Fitness

40 + 6 = 46 mins

Pull day today. Started with pull-ups for 2 sets and then 2 sets of pulldowns.  My elbows have been bothering me, so I didn't want to do more then 2 sets of pull-ups.  Next we did 4 sets of seated rows.  Then we did rear delt fly's with crunches.  Finished up with a bunch of curls and more crunches.  Decent WO. Weight shot up after sushi last night.

I weighed 180.8 this morning.

Sat 4/28 - Push Day

Workout: Snap Fitness

54 + 6 = 60 mins

Push day. Started with incline, 2 heavy sets, 2 medium sets.  Then we raised angle of incline and did 3 more sets.  Next we did 3 sets shoulder press and crunches. Finished up with chest fly's and skull crushers.  My right elbow has been bothering me, so after 1 heavy set, I dropped the weight.  Decent WO.

I weighed 176.6 this morning.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Wed 4/25 - Upper

Workout: Club Fitness

42 + 6 = 48 mins

Evening WO after work. Wasn't planning on going heavy on incline, but the 70#DB's were taken and I figured if I was going to do 75's, I might as well do 80's because 75's are not light enough to be a true "easy" lift for me. So, anyway, I did 2 heavy sets of 8 reps and then a set with 70's (they became available), supersetted with 3 sets of 10 pull-ups.  Then I raised the angle of incline and did 3 sets with 3 sets of inverted rows.

Then I did overhead triceps extensions and curls. Finished up with band pulls and weighted crunches.  Pretty good workout.

I weighed 174.0 this morning.

Sat 4/21 - Hiking on Mountains to Sea trail in Linville Gorge

We got up early and drove to Linville Gorge and hike about 4.5 hours on the Mountains to Sea trail. It wasn't super hot, but no shade and a sunny day took a toll on Salem.  Last 2 miles is a tough uphill climb and she was spent. We ended up stopping a few times to give her water and she'd lay right down on the trail.  We took her pack off and strapped it to the top of mine and finished the hike.

We'd set up our tent near the parking lot at a nice overlook campsite, but Sarah wasn't feeling well with really bad allergies and Salem was done, so we packed up and headed home.  Probably the best decision.  And, we ended up getting a lot of yard work done on Sunday that was long overdue.

About 4.5 hours hiking, 9 miles.