Pikes Peak (7.02.13)

I know this is pretty late, like three weeks late, but whatever. I’m back in Michigan now and since I finally went to an Actual Doctor who Actually Told Me that I Actually Shouldn’t Run if I ever want my Actual Stress Injury to Actually Go Away, I have some time on my hands. I’m starting biking and climbing again, and once I have access to a pool (aka once classes start again), I’ll be Actually Swimming and maybe pool running. (How does pool running work? I need to look that up.)

So! Pikes Peak happened. It was a great hike. I went out not for speed because I didn’t think I had a chance of beating my time up from last year, since I was in kickass shape last August and I hadn’t been able to really run for six months this time. So I went up to just enjoy the mountain, take it all in. Funny thing is, I ended up beating my time. Last year was 4:42, but I didn’t count time spent resting/breaks. This time was 4:47 counting breaks, and I know I rested for more than 5 minutes last time. So that was satisfying.

As always, the mountain was glorious. I started off early to be at the top before noon. The trail goes something like this: first three miles, uphill beginning switchbacky sections, not too much fun (but still fun). The next three miles are really runnable – nice flat dirt, even some downhill sections, smooth nontechnical trail. You could fly through here. The next three are more rocky, technical, mountainous-feeling miles, very fun. The pines and aspens are close to the trail here and towards the end you start to see a lot of lightning-struck trees. It feels very… mountainous and rocky. Is good. Then come the last three miles, which are above the treeline. Now, the last time I went up, I remember thinking that they lasted forever, but this time they went by pretty quickly, relatively speaking. Especially the last mile with the dreaded 16 Golden Stairs.

It started out a clear blue sky with a ground temp of between 60 and 70, meaning that it would be pretty chilly at the top – but absolutely perfect for hiking. Maybe 8 miles up, I noticed that clouds were really starting to gather and wondered if I should worry, but they seemed to be mainly fog-type clouds, nonthreatening. Sure enough, the only harm they did was block off some views by providing cool clouds-rolling-up-mountains views anyway. I talked to some lovely people on the trail, got passed by a 10-year-old-ish kid running up (actually running, camelback and inov8s and salomon socks and all!)(I was too stunned to be able to say anything to him), got passed by two glorious Krupickza types, saw some cool birds, didn’t encounter any dangerous wildlife, ran a couple middle miles, and had a great finish at the top. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of reaching the top of a mountain.

Picture time!


Setting out.


One of the nice path sections along the ridge at about mile 3-4, I think.


Favorite sign. It means I’m at the treeline! And being above the treeline is one of my absolute favorite things ever.


Oh hello entire world. (I didn’t bother taking too many picture below the treeline because 1. it’s less spectacular, and 2. I was busy hiking and just enjoying everything.)


The clouds


The Barr Trail is so perfect.


Getting closer… with clouds all around…


These went by so much faster this time.


Da daaa! It’s cool. If you hike or run up, people are in awe of you. I had one guy tell me I looked like “a hardcore hiker,” and the woman who took this picture gave me a big hug and her congratulations, others too. And this might sound terrible, but it kind of bothers me that they have a train going up. I think you need to earn the view from the top (unless you’re handicapped or elderly, then it’s great).

So there you have it. Happy hiking, everyone! Climb a mountain at least once in your life.

peace love and colorado,
bec

PS. Sorry the pics are just from my phone, but whatever.

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Stir fry

This will just be quick, since it’s late-ish. My little brother flew out here to hang out for a few days, then drive back to Michigan with me. I picked him up at DIA, we hiked for a while in the afternoon, then we decided that stir fry sounded perfect. So I made this.

Sorry it’s such a bad picture, I didn’t think to get one of my bowl or the process since (a) there was no recipe and (b) I didn’t know if it would be good. It was. Oh, it was.

Unfortunately, I didn’t write down what I did, but here’s a rough approximation.

INGREDIENTS
3-4 cups brown rice
2 blocks firm or extra firm tofu (extra firm is best)
1 bag mung bean sprouts (about 2 cups)
1 package of sliced mushrooms (or equivalent amount of your choice, we were in a hurry)(baby bella caps would be great)
1/2 bag baby carrots or preshredded, although I liked the chunkiness of quartered baby carrots.
1/2 red onion (or to taste)
3 broccoli crowns
1 can bamboo shoots
1 can water chestnuts, sliced
snap peas and baby corns (both of which we forgot to pick up,  but would be great)
ginger root
sesame seeds
paprika
salt and pepper

soy sauce
balsamic vinegar
white wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
flour
sugar (I just threw in white cane but I’d imagine dark brown would be better)

Start water for the brown rice. Get that going ASAP as it will take the longest. Preheat the oven to 350 for the tofu.
Next is the tofu, firm or (ideally) extra firm. Cube 2 blocks to your desired size, put in a dish and cover in soy sauce (not too liberally, just enough for a light marinade), add two liberal dashes of olive oil, pinches of paprika to taste, and sesame seeds. Mix that up, making sure that all the cubes are covered, and let that sit for a while while you prepare the other veggies. It’ll all cook down quite a bit so don’t worry if it looks like a massive veggie mountain (but it definitely makes enough for 3-4… or me for a few days). The tofu needs to bake for about 30 minutes, make SURE you flip it halfway, otherwise it will stick and leave sad tofu skin on the pan.

The veggies are pretty straightforward. I throw in the onions first (with some olive oil, pepper, garlic, and grated ginger – grated large for pops of flavor), followed by the carrots, then broccoli*, the mushrooms and mung bean sprouts, water chestnuts, bamboo, peas, whatever else you’re adding. Let that sizzle and snap deliciously away for quite a while, maybe half an hour. Add the leftover marinade once the veggies are getting all soft and limp. While that’s going, do the sauce. Most unfortunately, no amounts here – I just poured a bunch of soy sauce, maybe 2 T of balsamic vinegar, just about 2 tsp white wine vinegar, and flour for thickening… and I don’t know how much sugar. Not much, just enough. Let that sit and thicken, stirring with a whisk.

FLIP THAT TOFU!

Hopefully everything will all come together around the same time, then you dump the sauce on, mix it all together, and pile it on a heap of rice and dig in. So good.

peace love and noms
bec

*the broccoli: I forgot to add it until the end, so it wasn’t super soft/limp, which I actually like. So there’s that.