4th of July and Colorado

Taking advantage of not having to drive up to the Finger Lakes.

Taking advantage of not having to drive up to the Finger Lakes.

We bought Bri-guy a very patriotic outfit for the holiday.  He wore it with pride.

We bought Bri-guy a very patriotic outfit for the holiday. He wore it with pride.

It was good ski'n weather.  I won't bore you with the video.

It was good ski’n weather. I won’t bore you with the video.

After a solid weekend of sausages, fireworks and beer, it was time to head back out west.  I’d never been to Colorado in the summer and it was time to rectify that.  I flew out to hang with Casey from 7/7-7/11.

Our first adventure was camping, so we made a supply run.

We found some awesome coozies at the grocery store.  Mine is the one with the shark (of course).  The full message is: If ya messin with my drink, ya might sleep with the fishes.  Odd threat in land-locked CO.

We found some awesome coozies at the grocery store. Mine is the one with the shark (of course). The full message is: If ya messin with my drink, ya might sleep with the fishes. Odd threat in land-locked CO.

We set up shop in Golden Gate Canyon State Park, which was quite close to Casey's house.

We set up shop in Golden Gate Canyon State Park, which was quite close to Casey’s house.

The park featured some great hikes.  We did one on Monday and a long one on Tuesday.

The park featured some great hikes. We did one on Monday and a long one on Tuesday.

We treated ourselves to some roasted vegetables Monday night.

We treated ourselves to some roasted vegetables Monday night.

Tuesday afternoon we headed back to civilization so we could do some additional adventure planning.  Casey had never been white water rafting, so we had to fix that.

We went with Clear Creek Rafting Co. on a half-day trip through class III and IV rapids.

We went with Clear Creek Rafting Co. on a half-day trip through class III and IV rapids.

Casey and I managed to get front row seats for the second half of the trip.  Invigorating stuff!

Casey and I managed to get front row seats for the second half of the trip. Invigorating stuff!

We dogged some buffalo burgers at Backcountry Brewery in Frisco afterwards.

We dogged some buffalo burgers at Backcountry Brewery in Frisco afterwards.

After lunch, we decided to drive up to Mount Evans.  I had never heard of it, but it’s the highest paved road in North America.  It opened in 1931.  The original plan was to link three 14,000-foot peaks, as part of a Peak to Peak Highway system, but it proved too ambitious.  So, from the comfort of a car, we got to ascend from 7540 ft to just under 14,130 ft in about 45 minutes.  The brochure was full of fascinating facts, like:

*Every 1000 ft gained in the mountains is equivalent to traveling 600 miles north in latitude

*Temperatures drop 3.5-5 degrees F for every 1000 ft of elevation gained.  The average summer daytime temp is around 42 at the top of the road, and it can snow any day

*The sun is 5% stronger every 1000 ft of elevation gained

*The Alpine zone is the treeless land above 11,500 ft.  During the 8 months of alpine winter, most animals hibernate or head down the mountain.  Even the wildflowers have special adaptations; the leaves of Alpine Avens contain anthocyanin, an antifreeze-like pigment that converts sunlight to heat

*The Mount Goliath Natural Area (11,540′) contains Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine, wich are the oldest single living organism on earth, capable of living for thousands of years

Our first stop was Summit Lake Park.  It's the highest park in the Denver Mountain Park system.  The environment mirrors the arctic.  Luckily, we had our rain jackets in the car.

Our first stop was Summit Lake Park. It’s the highest park in the Denver Mountain Park system. The environment mirrors the arctic. Luckily, we had our rain jackets in the car.

 

We made it to the top!  We took the trail from the parking lot, and we could see most of the Continental Divide.

We made it to the top! We took the trail from the parking lot, and we could see most of the Continental Divide.

 

I was tickled by the mountain goats.

I was tickled by the mountain goats.

The views from the top were mind-blowing.  We also checked out the highest observatory in North America.  There used to be a restaurant called the Crest House, but it burned down in 1979.  We walked around the ruins.  I hope they bring it back.  What a place for a cup of coffee!

The views from the top were mind-blowing. We also checked out the highest observatory in North America. There used to be a restaurant called the Crest House, but it burned down in 1979. We walked around the ruins. I hope they bring it back. What a place for a cup of coffee!

One of my friends saying bye as we made our way back down the mountain.

One of my friends saying bye as we made our way back down the mountain.

The next morning we did a fitness class on Stand Up Paddleboards.  This was a first for me.  I made it until about the last 2 minutes of class before falling in.

The next morning we did a fitness class on Stand Up Paddleboards. This was a first for me. I made it until about the last 2 minutes of class before falling in.

That afternoon, we went to the Denver Botanic Gardens, where a Chihuly exhibit was going on. He's known for his glass work and the installation was seamlessly throughout the gardens.

That afternoon, we went to the Denver Botanic Gardens, where a Chihuly exhibit was going on. He’s known for his glass work and the installation was seamlessly throughout the gardens.

We finished out the day by lounging at the roof top pool, riding the Denver equivalent of Citibikes, having a delicious dinner at Root Down and drinks at Linger.

We finished out the day by lounging at the roof top pool, riding the Denver equivalent of Citibikes, having a delicious dinner at Root Down and drinks at Linger.

We packed a lot into 4 days.  I can’t wait to do it again.  The losers at Frontier Airlines wouldn’t let me on my flight Friday morning, but there was no way I was going to miss this:

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June Highlights

Early in the month, I headed down to FL to visit with my folks.  My aunt and uncle were there as well.

We went out on the Pastime Princess for a day of fishing.

We went out on the Pastime Princess for a day of fishing.

Uncle Rog did the best.  Here is he with a keeper snapper.

Uncle Rog did the best. Here is he with a keeper snapper.

Collecting our bounty.  We had enough for a fine feast.

Collecting our bounty. We had enough for a fine feast.

One of the more exciting aspects of the trip was Uncle Rog's new boat.  Here we are in the intracoastal.

One of the more exciting aspects of the trip was Uncle Rog’s new boat. Here we are in the intracoastal.

I did my first dives in this region of Florida with Sea Dogs.  We did two different wreck dives about 10 miles offshore.  The visibility was only about 40 feet (I’m spoiled), but I did see my first goliath grouper.  I also saw some giant cobia, a few turtles and a sting ray.  Two other divers were spearfishing and they brought in some beautiful flounder.  I forgot the GoPro, so stay tuned for future dives there.

One weekend Noah and I went out on a head boat off of Captree State Park.

One weekend Noah and I went out on a head boat off of Captree State Park.

I caught a goofy looking thing called a stargazer.  We had to buy our fish for dinner that night.

I caught a goofy looking thing called a stargazer. We had to buy our fish for dinner that night.

It was a very boat-y month.  I went to SUNY Maritime Academy and got my safe powerboat handling certificate.

It was a very boat-y month. I went to SUNY Maritime Academy and got my safe powerboat handling certificate. I now have an anchor on my driver’s license!

We trained on 18-20 ft. center console boats.  The docking practice was particularly useful and the high speed maneuvers were quite fun.  The 10 year old in the class (pictured here) made me feel like less of a badass.

We trained on 18-20 ft. center console boats. The docking practice was particularly useful and the high speed maneuvers were quite fun. The 10 year old in the class (pictured here) made me feel like less of a badass.

One night we went on a dinner cruise in the East River called the Water Table.

One night we went on a dinner cruise in the East River called the Water Table.

The Revolution is a 62' yard patrol boat that was built in 1944.  It was used by the Navy to teach seamanship.  It has also served as a fire boat and as a ferry boat in Boston.

The Revolution is a 62′ yard patrol boat that was built in 1944. It was used by the Navy to teach seamanship. It has also served as a fire boat and as a ferry boat in Boston.

In addition to drinks and dinner, we went on a 2.5 hour cruise.

In addition to drinks and dinner, we went on a 2.5 hour cruise.

It's always nice to see where you live from the water.

It’s always nice to see where you live from the water.

A lovely early summer evening.

A lovely early summer evening.

Eager to keep our boating fresh, we took the ferry to Atlantic Highlands and rented a boat one day.

Eager to keep our boating fresh, we took the ferry to Atlantic Highlands and rented a boat for the day.

Another day when we'd be buying our dinner instead of catching it.

Another day when we’d be buying our dinner instead of catching it.

Always fun getting these guys off the hook.

Always fun getting these guys off the hook.

Our ride back to the city.  This ferry will always be one of our favorites.  Super fast, great views and they sell beer.

Our ride back to the city. This ferry will always be one of our favorites. Super fast, great views and they sell beer.

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Bridesmaid Detail Memorial Day 2014

May saw the girls back together again, to celebrate Sarah’s wedding.  We’d be in our old stomping grounds, in the Finger Lakes.

Noah and I headed up a few days early to visit with our buddies.

Noah and I headed up a few days early to visit with our buddies.

The action kicked off Friday night with a rehearsal dinner.  The weather was fairly ominous during the day, but ended up clearing.

The action kicked off Friday night with a rehearsal dinner. The weather was fairly ominous during the day, but ended up clearing.

We had our own little photo session since the light was so eerie.

We had our own little photo session since the light was so eerie.

After practicing our positions in the processional, we sat down for a meal.

After practicing our positions in the processional, we sat down for a meal.

Casey and Carroll anxiously watching the speeches at the evening's welcome party.  We were next up.

Casey and Carroll anxiously watching the speeches at the evening’s welcome party. We were next up.

We nailed our speech.  I know this because it was mentioned multiple times throughout the weekend, including during the ceremony.  If I can find a video of our delivery, I will post it.

We started bright and early on Saturday morning with a yoga class, before moving on to the primping stage.

We got the full treatment, including air brush make up.

We got the full treatment, including air brush make up.

We got ready in a house right on the lake, with great views.

We got ready in a house right on the lake, with great views.

We got the party started back in our room, with a little Champagne.

We got the party started back in our room, with a little Champagne (and some dirty jokes).

Backdrop for the big day.

Backdrop for the big day.

Don't we clean up nicely?  Yes, I am wearing clothes.

Don’t we clean up nicely? Yes, I am wearing clothes.

If you’re interested in checking out the professional photos of the event, click here.

Things definitely got silly as the night progressed.

Things definitely got silly as the night progressed.

On our way back to the city, we tricked our friend Scott into stopping at The Farmland Animal Park.  Always trying to broaden his horizons, we convinced him to do some animal feeding.

It was quite a successful weekend.

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Divemaster Internship St. Maarten 3/16-4/26/14

As the ski season was coming to a close, I decided that I wanted to keep pushing my dive skills.  I called Luciana at Ocean Explorers to see about getting my dive master certification and she suggested an internship.

In exchange for my PADI certification, I would work at the shop.

In exchange for my PADI certification, I would work at the shop.

I stayed in a studio efficiency within walking distance of the dive shop.  I picked up some decorating tips during my stay.

I stayed in a studio efficiency within walking distance of the dive shop. I picked up some decorating tips during my stay.

Because I wanted to save time and money (and eat healthy), I would cook enough food on my day off to last the whole week.

Because I wanted to save time and money (and eat healthy), I would cook enough food on my day off to last the whole week.

As the week progressed, the combinations would become more interesting; i.e. combine whatever's left in the fridge and put a fried egg on it.

As the week progressed, the combinations would become more interesting; i.e. combine whatever’s left in the fridge and put a fried egg on it.

I am not a morning person, but for my time in St. Maarten, I pretended to be one.  Six days a week I was at the shop by 6:45 am.  It was busy season for them and most days we had multiple boats going out twice a day.  Similar to running a restaurant, more often than not, the work in a dive shop is not glamorous.  Sure, I was in the water most days, but I was also cleaning the toilet and lugging tanks around.  For my certification, I had to assist with various PADI classes, such as Discover Scuba Diving, map a dive site, compose an Emergency Action Plan, complete several swimming exercises, demonstrate multiple surface and underwater diving skills, and pass a written exam.

When I wasn't at the shop, I would be brushing up on my fish id skills or preparing for my PADI exam.

When I wasn’t at the shop, I would be brushing up on my fish id skills or preparing for my PADI exam.

One Saturday night, we had a party.  A shot of most of the crew.  Brazil, Portugal, Ireland, Canada, England and the US are represented.

One Saturday night, we had a party. A shot of most of the crew. Brazil, Portugal, Ireland, Canada, England and the US are represented.

The last week I was there, I was joined by Noah and my folks.  Here we are on a sunset sail.

The last week I was there, I was joined by Noah and my folks. Here we are on a sunset sail.

A big thank you to Lu and Jef and the OEX crew.  See you soon!

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Hittin’ the Slopes Feb. 5-24, 2014

A week later I was back on the road for the best ski season of my entire life.  I skied 17 days straight, with full cooperation from Mother Nature (one exception noted below).

My first stop was to see Casey in Golden.  I got in Wednesday night and decided to ski by myself on Thursday at Loveland.  It was close to her house, I had never been before, and it had an impressive vertical drop.  It was also freaking freezing.  I’ve never called it quits early out on the slopes, but that day the temps with the wind chill dipped down into the -20s.

Casey took Friday off from work and we headed to Carroll's in Breckenridge.  Getting Casey out on the slopes is no small feat.

Casey took Friday off from work and we headed to Carroll’s in Breckenridge. Getting Casey out on the slopes is no small feat.

I'm standing out on Carroll's porch.  The snow had been coming down and it did not stop.

I’m standing out on Carroll’s porch. The snow had been coming down and it did not stop.

Saturday morning we did some yoga and then Carroll gave me a ride to meet up with some family who had rented a place in Avon for the following week.

There were fields of pow to be had.

There were fields of pow to be had.

We split our week between Vail and Beaver Creek.

We split our week between Vail and Beaver Creek.

This video is a little nauseating.  The wrist mount for the go pro is not the way to go for skiing.  The guy in yellow is my cousin, Pete.

We worked hard for these apres ski beers.

We worked hard for these apres ski beers.

When the week for the family ended, I headed back east to Breck.

I took advantage of the free bus to the slopes and was amused by the graffiti.

I took advantage of the free bus to the slopes and was amused by the graffiti.

Shortly after arriving back in Breck, I was joined by Mike and Noah.

Shortly after arriving back in Breck, I was joined by Mike and Noah.

We got in a couple good days at Breck and then headed to our favorite spot: Snowbird.

We got in a couple good days at Breck and then headed to our favorite spot: Snowbird.

Noah enjoying the view and the pow at the Bird.

Noah enjoying the view and the pow at the Bird.

I could get used to this much skiing.

 

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Nitro Circus January 2014

When I was invited to the Nitro Circus, I had no idea what it was; I just liked the name.  It was the right choice to attend.

Indoor fireworks at one of NYC's most recognizable venues.  Yes, please!

Indoor fireworks at one of NYC’s most recognizable venues. Yes, please!

Here are some videos for the uninitiated:

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Other December Highlights and Heading Out West

Michael opened his climbing gym in late December, and we got a sneak preview.

Cesari showing us how it's done.

Cesari showing us how it’s done.

We met our friend Jim's baby boy.

We met our friend Jim’s baby boy.

We had our first xmas tree in our new apartment.  We got it from the bodega across the street.

We had our first xmas tree in our new apartment. We got it from the bodega across the street.

We snuck in a quick weekend to South Beach.

We snuck in a quick weekend to South Beach.

On December 21st, we headed out to New Mexico

On December 21st, we headed out to New Mexico.

We checked out some petroglyphs outside Albuquerque.  They were carved into volcanic rock by Native Americans and Spanish settlers 400-700 years ago.

We checked out some petroglyphs outside Albuquerque. They were carved into volcanic rock by Native Americans and Spanish settlers 400-700 years ago. We referred to this one as “lizard with lollipop”.

We had an awesome tour at Gruet.  It was really special to see the place that had produced a wine I had served so much of over the years.  I can’t find any pictures.  Must be the sparkling was too good.

I got lots of quality animal time.  I might be allergic to cats.

I got lots of quality animal time. I might be allergic to cats.

I took the dog walking job whenever possible.  The sun was shining every day we were there.  I could get used to that.

I took the dog walking job whenever possible. The sun was shining every day we were there. I could get used to that.

We liked Ojo Caliente so much, we went twice.  It was especially nice after a day of skiing.

Noah showing how the mud baths are done.  Pretty neat to be covered in mud in the middle of winter.

Noah showing how the mud baths are done. Pretty neat to be covered in mud in the middle of winter.

We skied at both Santa Fe Basin and Taos.

Santa Fe Basin was pretty impressive.  Only 16 miles from downtown Santa Fe, its base was at over 10,000 ft.  Since the air is so dry, any snow they get stays powdery for a long time.

Santa Fe Basin was pretty impressive. Only 16 miles from downtown Santa Fe, its base was at over 10,000 ft. Since the air is so dry, any snow they get stays powdery for a long time. I’ve always wanted to ski on Christmas Eve day!

 

This sign cracked me up.  There was a surprisingly large number of very bad skiers.  I thought it was because of the holidays.  Someone on the lift told us it was because of the proximity to Texas.  Oh, dip.

This sign cracked me up. There was a surprisingly large number of very bad skiers. I thought it was because of the holidays. Someone on the lift told us it was because of the proximity to Texas. Oh, dip.

Selena joined us snowboarding at Taos.  She scraped her outfit together with what she found at her parents' house.  It looked like we were there with our pre-teen son.

Selena joined us snowboarding at Taos. She scraped her outfit together with what she found at her parents’ house. It looked like we were there with our pre-teen son.

John took us shooting one day on some public land.  We brought some cans to shoot, not knowing there would be other fun targets already there.

John took us shooting one day on some public land. We brought some cans to shoot, not knowing there would be other fun targets already there.

Here’s a video with me and a .380.

NYE with Kaye and Nick in downtown Santa Fe.  At one point, almost all of Noah's family was out west.

NYE with Kaye and Nick in downtown Santa Fe. At one point, almost all of Noah’s family was out west.

We played quite a bit of Mexican or Train Dominoes while we were there.  No one could explain the name to me.  In case it wasn't offensive enough, we added a sombrero to the mix.

We played quite a bit of Mexican or Train Dominoes while we were there. No one could explain the name to me. In case it wasn’t offensive enough, we added a sombrero to the mix.

I got to pretend to be a cowgirl for a day, too.

I got to pretend to be a cowgirl for a day, too.

I came to think of New Mexico as the land of giant breakfast.  Huevos Rancheros, Chilaquiles, breakfast burritos; oh, my!

I came to think of New Mexico as the land of giant breakfast. Huevos Rancheros, Chilaquiles, breakfast burritos; oh, my!

It was also the land of beautiful sunsets.  I'm looking forward to returning.

It was also the land of beautiful sunsets. I’m looking forward to returning.

 

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