Thursday, June 30, 2011

Adventures in Cycling: Road to Nowhwere II

Just a day after investigating the new bike sidewalk (?) on Bannock, I saw this incredible event:

Yes, it's someone on a B-cycle that would be going the wrong way on the bike sidewalk, but is in fact out of the sidewalk altogether. It's things like this that make bike commuting interesting.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Adventures in Cycling: Road to Nowhere?

I was riding up 14th Ave., and the new bike lane in front of the former courthouse on Bannock caught my eye:

No, wait, the new bike lane:

Oh, that's pretty funny - but let me try again:

There it is! It looks pretty cool - of course it will lead to pedestrian/cyclist collisions (because it looks like a sidewalk) and there's a crazy suicide bike lane across the street that could have been avoided by making it a bi-directional lane:

But wait, where does it go? Currently it leads to Colfax, which may have well just have a skull and crossbones for cyclists, and up against traffic coming out of 14th St. So basically the only way to go is on the sidewalk east on Colfax:

Maybe this lane is part of a big cycling infrastructure project, but currently it's utility (but not its expense) is a mystery.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Father's Day - Gibson Lake Trail

We started driving towards Jefferson Lake, but decided on a backpack towards Gibson Lake. We really like backpacking. We parked where Road 120 splits at the campground and gets rough. I'd like to report that our Will-J hiked maybe four miles, and acquiesced to his Dad carrying him/postholing about half a mile through snow to our camp - and then happily turned in for a long sleep with no worries.

Photos here.

We're using (at least what I find) an interesting setup for taking Will-J hiking. Catherine takes it easy on her knees by carrying the bedding/clothes for Will-J (he just uses an adult zero-degree bag) in a larger GoLite pack (actually an old Jam 2). I use my lightweight backpack, don't bring very much for me, but stick our hand-me-down made-in-America bombproof-but-heavy four-person North Face mountaineering tent on top (it's the big tube in one of the photos). This really gives me some peace of mind while backpacking with a four-year-old. Maybe he gets tired, and wants to stop. Maybe conditions are poor. No problem - we have a tent suitable for the Himalaya where he can bed down into for the night. It gets quite warm in there with just our heat, and he sleeps well. Very good.

Part of the point of this blog (or really, the main point) is to remember what the hell I did a few years ago. As such, it also helps keep me honest about past conditions. Everyone this year is talking about what an extreme snow year it is, and certainly that seems confirmed by us not being able to hike much above 11,000 feet last weekend. But wait, on the last weekend of June, 2009, I hiked from Kenosha Pass over Georgia Pass (only a few miles from Gibson Lake) and then to Copper Mountain (hike 3 of my Colorado Trail section hike). And indeed I never actually touched snow on that hike. The verdict - this year indeed has much, much more snow than a relatively good snow year such as 2009.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wallow Fire - Arizona's disappearing forests

Yes, I find the Wallow Fire upsetting. I spent two weeks on the Arizona Trail in April, and hiked through large burns. The worst were the incredibly striking Mazatzals. Clearly the area had basically been abandoned from a management perspective, had become seriously overgrown, and went up in a blaze in 2004 (Willow Fire). Here are some opinions. My view is these aren't cyclical/natural fires - the entire Mazatzal (and the entire Santa Catalina, etc.) range burned up in an inferno - in some areas, there's just nothing left. This is very different than a slow-moving ground fire or variation that clear out some young trees.

Which is happening now outside of Alpine. I hiked around the area a bit at the end of college. It's incredibly rugged country - and like most areas of Arizona I've hiked - it has a land-that-time/tourists-forgot feeling. It's out there - you don't do wolf reintroduction just anywhere. Few trails, and those that exist are overgrown. Few roads. Little management. And yes the forest was unnaturally dense for where it...