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Shoulder Season Ski Town

I had this crazy idea to drive all the way out to California and back between my Colorado stay and flying out of Denver to Japan just so I could summit some more 14ers and then visit Death Valley for the first time, but sometimes plans change a little bit. First, Death Valley shut down because of flooding. Second, after talking to Joe about the eastern Sierras and getting sick of being in hotels, I decided to rent a two-bedroom condo in Mammoth Lakes instead of a hotel in Bishop, which would have been much closer to the 14er trailheads. I'm so, so, so glad I changed my mind. I'd never heard of Mammoth Lakes before and was a bit dubious about because it's a ski town, and I'm not a fan of Breckenridge or Vail or other ski towns in Colorado. But Mammoth Lakes is amazing. I fell in love with it immediately. It has everything I want in a vacation destination: short beautiful after-work hikes, long stunning weekend hikes, paved running paths, epic trail running trails, intere

Ouray at Last

I posted last week that my long-term stays in Colorado have come to an end, but I did have one more week planned before I really left. That was back down in the beautiful San Juans, which you might recall, I lived in during the summer of 2021 . Including once on that trip, I can remember four separate times that I've been to Ouray, though it could be more than that. Regardless, my six-day stay at the beginning of September was the first time I really did the Ouray touristy things. And I had a fantastic time! My partner and I spent the first four nights at the  Abram Inn and Suites , which was a lovely place to stay. The Polish woman who owns the place is really helpful and friendly, and the stay includes a breakfast voucher every day for Mi Mexico restaurant. We ate there two of the mornings, and then also had breakfast next door to the hotel at the excellent  Artisan Bakery & Cafe . I had to work during the days, while my partner went out mountain biking, but I also did a few

Goodbye, Colorado

My first few hours in Colorado last year were filled with regret. As soon as I crossed the state line from Utah and got trapped on a winding mountain road behind a massive RV going 10mph under the speed limit who refused to pull over and let me pass (despite going by multiple turnouts), I remembered all the reasons I left and wondered why I'd signed up to come back. But then, I had a wonderful seven weeks! I ran races, hiked ten 14ers, saw all my friends, explored beautiful wilderness, and did all the things.  So, still having more 14ers to hike and wanting to run some cool races, I signed up for another five weeks in Colorado this summer. This time, it was definitely the wrong choice. I wanted to be in Carbondale or Basalt, but there was not a single affordable, decent place. So I opted for Glenwood Springs. I'd been there several times before as a tourist and liked it, so I thought it would be fine.  No. Not fine. Holy cow Glenwood is sooooooooo touristy. The traffic is insa

The Vail Visit

In twelve years of Colorado residency and three years of random visits, I never once went to Vail. My friends seem surprised by this, but I don't ski and what other reason is there to go to Vail? Well, my friends found one.  In my third stay in Colorado as a non-resident, I was in Glenwood Springs. Obviously I came for 14ers, but with Vail being only an hour away and with one of my friends' favorite bands playing a show there, plans were made.  And when I say one of their favorites, I mean seriously. Three of my friends are major fan girls. I can't imagine driving two hours from Denver just to go to a concert, especially when you've already seen the band twice that year. But that's just me - I'm not really into live music anymore. I haven't been for the last eight years or so. So this was the first real concert I'd been to since seeing Marc Broussard in Savannah, Georgia in November 2021. I've seen a dozen or so bands playing in small bars, but I mea

More Utah!

Although my primary purpose in coming back to Utah was to explore more slot canyons, I actually did quite a few other things. If you head down to southwest Utah at any point, here are some outdoor adventures worth checking out. I stayed in Hatch and found that it was a perfect jumping off point for all these activities and more. There were a handful of restaurants in town, plus a few more in Panguitch and at the intersection of 89 and 12, but you should stock up on groceries and booze before you arrive. Supplies are pretty limited for sixty miles in any direction. Snow Canyon State Park (7/22) This park is down near Saint George, so I stopped here on my way from Vegas to Hatch. It wouldn't be a place to day trip from Hatch. Jenny's Canyon was cool, but the Petrified Sand Dunes were the real park highlight for me. I did a loop of the Butterfly Trail, Lava Tube/Lava Flow, back route up Snow Canyon road, part of Red Sands Trail, and then up the backside of the Petrified Dunes. I w