Monday, January 14, 2019

Scaling Colorado's Uncompahgre Peak



My Dad, seen here, accompanied his cousin, Jake, a U. S. Forest Service ranger in Colorado, to the top of Uncompahgre Peak (14,309 feet) via horseback in the 1930s to change out the sign-in sheets at the top...




Since Dad had been there 60 years earlier, it was a thrill for me to backpack in the Uncompahgre Wilderness .  Uncompahgre Peak towers over the Big Blue River Valley in Colorado as seen it in the far distance. 




Here's the peak after 2 days of backpacking up the valley...





On day three of our backpack trip, we began the final approach and climb up to the peak, and though quite arduous, the feeling of accomplishment when reaching the peak is indescribable. Below you see me as we near the peak...





...and here's Len resting. Back in the 1930s when Dad was here, the trail still existed all the way to the top allowing Jake and Dad to scale the peak on horseback. The trail has now deteriorated near the top due to weathering of the friable rock, so we had to scramble up the loose rock the last quarter mile or so...




...and here we are at the top...



...enjoying the views looking back at the Big Blue Valley which we had hiked two days to get here...







Another view from the top. The single peak centered below is called Matterhorn (13,590 feet tall) since it resembles its more famous Swiss Alps cousin. The Wetterhorn is just beyond it to the left.









Tuesday, January 8, 2019

23rd Anniversary of My Websites

Twenty-three years ago (January of 1996) I began a website called Chuck's Backpacking Bonanza which documented with photos and information my 60+ backpacking adventures across the country. There were very few Internet gateways to online information back then (pre-Google) and my site became one of the three go-to tools for such information. For those who recall, uploading photos and webpages back then was slow and arduous and done by telephone modem. What takes seconds now took minutes back then and the resolution of the photos was poor.

As the years progressed and technology improved, I added my biking, rafting, kayaking, and canoeing adventures to the site as well as my volunteer trail projects and changed the name to Bike, Hike, and Paddle which now serves as the index for my Chuck's Adventures site. Together the two sites have had over 587,000 visits and contain over ten thousand photos. A decade ago I began making videos of my adventures, and my YouTube channel has 150+ movies with 468,000 views. It's rewarding to share my outdoor adventures with so many people!

You'l find this index in the sidebar on the right:




Monday, December 31, 2018

My Year in Review (in photos)

2018 was another active year for this 73 year old outdoorsman. My annual winter trip to Florida began with a stop in Indiana to visit my youngest son and his family -- OK, maybe mainly to see my grand-daughter and newborn grandson. A trip to the fabulous Indianapolis Children's Museum was a must...




Here's the newest young man...





My older son and his family were also there for the baptism, so I got my first photo of all four of the grandkids together...



Louisville was the next stop to see my cousins and my 99 year old uncle...






This turned out to be my final visit as he passed away on December 31st, just weeks before my next visit.

And then another stop in Nashville to visit my sister and brother-in-law and do a few days of biking...






Then it was on to Florida for three days of mountain biking in the magnificent Appalachicola National Forest...





...followed by a week of canoeing and camping down 74 miles of the Suwannee River from Fargo, Georgia, on a Sierra Club Outing...














Then I had a beautiful 2 weeks of biking a dozen of my favorite northern and central Florida trails in Chiefland, Gainesville, Brooksville, Ocala, and elsewhere, including...

...The Nature Coast Trail over the Lower Suwannee River...




...The Cross Florida Greenway on the Land Bridge over I-95...



...The Santos Trails out of Ocala...


Then it was time to head back north, stopping in Alabama to bike a new trail (to me) near Atlanta, the Silver Comet Trail, a Hall of Fame trail...






Then a stop in Chattanooga allowed another ride on their scenic Riverwalk Trail...



...which, I discovered, connects to their South Chickamaugua Trail (another new trail to me), which has more boardwalk segments than any trail I've ever biked (and I've biked 240 trails across the country.)







Next stop was Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in Tennessee near the Kentucky border, for a week of camping as we did a week of volunteer trail work...











Back home, I continued biking my local forest preserves, finishing the year with 2201 miles along with 857 miles of hiking and 74 miles of paddling. In 1999 I began logging my exercise mileage on spreadsheets, and the mileage totals after 20 years are biking (39,371), hiking (12,806), and paddling (2077). In my spare time, I also set a personal record by reading 66 books this year. Retirement is wonderful!






And yes, the hiking continues all through the winter...




The saddest part of the year was in early December, when it became necessary to let my 18 year old housemate, M&M, depart peacefully after oral cancer had ravaged her. I had rescued/adopted her 16 years ago and we'd been fast-pals ever since, with her following me from room to room, always on my lap or sitting alongside me. RIP dear friend!




But then the Christmas season returned joy to my heart, first with our 23rd annual church choir Christmas concert with orchestra...




...and also our family's Christmas Eve party -- a tradition for six decades and four generations.



And here's a brief video of our family celebration...




And the season's festivities also brought my grandkids together again...









A great year! And my wish to all of you is for a Happy and Healthy New Year!


Monday, December 24, 2018

Biking Daytona International Speedway


In 2014 I participated in a Road Scholar biking program in DeLand, Florida. Our second day of the program had a very special treat. Bike Florida Week was in progress and happened to be in nearby Daytona Beach, so we joined the 800 other bikers on 38 miles of their 50 mile route, which included biking one lap (2.25 miles) around the famed oval of Daytona International Speedway.  













Below is a photo I took on the 31 degree banked turn (which we not allowed to experience on our bikes.) The banking is so extreme that it was not possible to hold the bike upright on the banking -- the pedal would hit the high side!




I stopped at the famous Winner's Circle...




Some big names in racing were evident there...