A Long Way from Vietnam

My hike yesterday up to Cub Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park was made all the better by virtue of the companionship of two new international students from Vietnam attending CSU this year, Chi and Phuong.  Watching them discover the beauty of autumn for the first time in the Rocky Mountains brought me a healthy dose of happiness.  I believe innocence is the basis for many positive things.  Please enjoy the pictures …

 

South Dakota, 2015

Over the weekend, my friend Yun Jianjing and I enjoyed traveling around western South Dakota.  We first took a scenic morning drive down Spearfish Canyon, replete in its autumn colors.  There was a stop at the iconic Mount Rushmore National Monument to marvel at what took 14 years of passion and dedication to construct.  In the evening, we took a 4.5-mile hike through the hauntingly beautiful Badlands National Park and watched the sun set over the vast emptiness that is the South Dakota prairie.  All this culminated the next day in a windy climb of Harney Peak, sentinel of the Black Hills, highest summit in the U.S. east of the Rockies.

 

Mt Evans, CO

This morning, Casey Quinn and I climbed the 14er Mt Evans taking an unusual off-trail route.  We parked over at Guanella Pass and bushwhacked through a couple of miles of swamp and willow.  This led us to a climb of a steep, long gully that deposited us up on the ridge line.  In the mountains of Colorado, the weather is changing now; up top, it was windy and there was about 0.5″ snow.  We picked our way along the West Ridge of Mt Evans up to the summit.  On the way back down, the snow and the sleet intensified.  All told, a stout 10-mile climb that was made all the more memorable with good conversation, volatile weather, and the adventure of going cross country!  6 down, 48 to go.