This is the archive for December, 2010.
- RMNP 1 of 5: Odessa Loop
This is the first in a series of five posts about my trip to Rocky Mountain National Park back in August. I anticipated writing detailed posts, but I left my hiking journal at Hillsdale. I will try to recall my hikes from memory, but I will have to rely mostly on photos. I don’t remember the exact milages for each hike, but I do remember the approximate route. I will do my best. If you want a reference to the places I am referring to, consult this map (PDF).
Click on the photos to view them at a larger size.
The Staffords (Ben, Mrs. Stafford, and Mr. Stafford) near Lake Helene:
The Stafford family was very gracious in inviting me to join them for a week-long hiking trip in Rocky Mountain National Park. We all stayed in a cabin just outside of Estes Park proper and drove in to the park early each morning.
The first day we started at the Bear Lake trailhead around 7:30 a.m. We caught the Fern Lake Trail off of the Bear Lake Trail just north of Bear Lake and made our way west and north towards Odessa Lake.
I paused shortly after Bear Lake as the trail climbed quickly upward to snap a photo of the morning light illuminating some leaves (click the photo for a larger view):
We climbed up a little ways to Lake Helene. Here is the edge of Helene with Notchtop Mountain in the distance:
Continuing on past Helene, we went through a pass on the north side of Joe Mills Mountain. This was our highest altitude of that day, at around 10,500 ft. Once while looking down over the valley I saw a massive bull elk making his way through the pines! Thankfully I did not experience any altitude sickness of any kind. I had plenty of water and I kept well hydrated.
Here are the Staffords looking down on Odessa Lake from the trail on the north side of Joe Mills Mountain:
Looking back at Notchtop from the same place:
Once we got down to Odessa Lake we ate lunch. It was a little chilly, but the sun felt wonderful. I hiked in an athletic polo and hiking shorts most of the day.
After lunch, we continued down to Fern Lake and rested there for a little while. We didn’t want to push ourselves too hard on the first day. I kicked back and watched some trout swim around in the cold mountain lake water.
A glacial deposit just above Fern Lake:
Afterwards we went on to Marguerite Falls, Fern Falls, and The Pool. Throughout the day we saw ptarmigan, marmot, pika, and elk! It was a great hike. I think it was approximately 7±1 miles, but I am not 100% sure. (I have it written down in my hiking journal up in Hillsdale.)
Next: Glacier Gorge area
Amanda and I made shortbread together yesterday night. It was very simple and it came out great! We had lots of fun combining the ingredients, kneading the dough, and decorating the cookies together.
We used a recipe from AllRecipes.com:
2 cups butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Cream butter and brown sugar. Add 3 to 3 3/4 cups flour. Mix well.
Sprinkle board with the remaining flour. Knead for 5 minutes, adding enough flour to make a soft dough. Roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into 3×1 inch strips. Prick with fork and place on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake at 325 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes.
We used dark brown sugar instead of regular brown sugar, which gave it a wonderful flavor.
Thank you to my Dad for taking the photo of Amanda and me!
On a side note, being home is wonderful. I’ve been working a little bit, visiting friends and family, reading, and relaxing.
- Summer Job
This summer I had an internship with the Foundation for Economic Education. I was based out of Atlanta where I worked with the Programs branch of the organization. We did a total of 7 week-long seminars in 3 cities (Atlanta, Estes Park, CO, and Irvington, NY) with over 600 students in attendance during the 2010 summer seminar series.
To see more about the summer, check out the Summer In Review book I put together for FEE (3.6mb pdf). It is full of my photos from the summer!
- At Semester’s End, or Home, Relaxation, and Cookies
After a semester-long hiatus away from my blog, I am back. My papers are turned in and so are my finals, so now I am home for Christmas break. I’ve been enjoying the many comforts of home, including the small things: the wind chimes outside, the fireplace, the smell of wood fire smoke outside in the air, and our downstairs clock that chimes on the half-hour and hour. Most of all, I am enjoying being home with my parents. (I haven’t been home much at all this year.)
Today my Mom and I made cookies together. We made Chocolate Mint Thumbprints and Lemon Meltaways.
I found the mint thumbprint recipe over at Serious Eats. We didn’t roll the sugar on the outside, but they turned out great. (By the way, if you enjoy both food and science, particularly together, I suggest you start reading Serious Eats if you don’t already.)
We used a recipe from my grandmother for the lemon meltaways. Email me if you want it.
Side note: This past semester started rather quickly for me. I climbed (and summited!) Longs Peak with the Staffords on a Friday, flew home Saturday afternoon, then drove to Hillsdale on Sunday morning and promptly started with photography and meetings Sunday night. I didn’t give myself much of a chance to relax or even go through my photos from hiking in RMNP. The semester has been pretty busy overall, so I still have not edited those photos. Now that I have some time where I don’t have to worry about papers, math problems, reading old/middle english, or taking photographs for a newspaper, I intend to catch up on my blogging. I have photos from various ventures during the summer, the semester, and even a wedding to post. Stay tuned.