Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Hiking Chief Mountain, Colorado

When planning my trip to Denver, I wanted to celebrate Halloween and go on an awesome hike. You may have noticed this year I did not hike much at all, which is unfortunate because with each year I crave it more and more. It did not take any convincing to get Frank to agree to something on the easy side and within an hour's drive of Denver. What a great friend! And what a great hike we chose!

The Chief Mountain trail on Chief Mountain in Arapaho National Forest gave us epic 360 views of the Rocky Mountains and everything else for miles and miles. I saw my first snow of the year up on the mountain - so peaceful and crisp, unlike New York City slush. Hanging with my friend, taking in the views and feeling the wind at the top made for one of the happiest moments of the year for me.

Hike Length: 3 miles roundtrip
Hike Time: It took us 4 hours because we sat at the top for a while and took a different route back.
Elevation Start: 10,740 ft (3273m)
Peak Elevation: 11,722 ft (3573m)
Temperature: 45-50F (7-10 C)

We initially parked the car and walked around near the trailhead.


Dasha from Russia

Hey there!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Friendship and Halloween, Denver Style

Hello, and welcome back to Denver, where you are greeted by this terrifying sculpture of Blue Mustang to and from the airport. This horse actually killed it's maker. I'm not even kidding, before this demon horse went up a huge part of it fell onto the artist, Luis Jimenez, and killed him after severing his artery. There are all sorts of other strange things happening at the Denver airport that I won't go into.

This is an appropriately morbid beginning to a blog post that has mostly HALLOWEEN photos!! You do know I love Halloween and dress up, right? It's just something that has never come up on the blog before! This year was the first time since I came to America at 5 years old that I was not in New York for Halloween!

Last time I went to Denver (in 2012) to visit my pal Frank, I was there for almost a week and there was hiking, a lot of hiking, never enough hiking; oh, and James and Frank calculating days of the week while playing ping pong. This time around I had bad flight luck (twice in two months!) and got in Saturday afternoon instead of Friday night, but I'm not complaining: 3 days of old friends, new friends, and one glorious hike made for a super fun long weekend!

Cheesman Park
Mike and Frank impressing each other with their hackey sack skills
at Cheesman Park.
What a lovely house and tree.
Almost all of these people have lived in New York at some point.
Every Roy Lichtenstein girl needs a creepy bathroom selfie.
Better to not know who these fine doctors are -
Hunter Thompson and a cowboy from Lonesome Dove.
So much amazingness here, words cannot convey!
Frank, me, Dave. I've known these boys 9 years. Dave looks exactly the same.

I mean, doesn't he? This is Halloween 2006.
(Also, how mediocre/awesome are my photoshopping skills?
There wasn't a photo of all three of us, so I had to do some cutting and pasting.)
Joe has the longest cowboy legs. Is that horse small or is it just far away?
Doctors are the wildest people I know. This takes rooftop party to a whole new level.
Male synchronized dance party

On line to get into Milk Bar
Shaun is pretty cool,
but I don't know what he actually looks like because I only saw him in costume.
Can you spot the gnome?

The elderly deserve to be romanced by young cowboys, too.
Cowboys get down.
This woman photo bombed an otherwise unspectacular photo. Thank you!

The day after Halloween Frank and Dave wanted to look like b-boys. 
Frank and Joe taught me to play Settlers of Catan and I schooled them.
(Thanks to them helping me with strategy. Nerds.) 
What a pretty backyard! Someone should buy this house, quick!
Then I had  to leave...but I'm ready to move here. Look at that view!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Jaunt Around Austin, Texas

Austin is the capital of the state of Texas. The population size is just over 900,000 people. It's got a bustling young people scene which comes with all sorts of hip restaurants, great music and music venues, and sweet shops. The people are incredibly friendly, nice, and easy to talk with. You can eat tacos anywhere and everywhere, and they seem to always be delicious. Texas used to be part of a huge Mexican state called Tejano until a tough war in 1835 through which Texas won independence from Mexico and became it's own country called the Republic of Texas. They were not a country for long due to poor planning, continued tension and fighting with the Mexicans, and a desperate financial situation. The Republic of Texas asked the United States to annex them a couple of times and in 1845 the U.S. finally did. This is the very abridged version of course, the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin provided me a good history of a part of this country that I know very little about. I highly recommend you visit Austin and that museum!

Oh, my friend Anna has been living in Austin for almost two years, kicking butt with her M.P.H. I went to visit her! It was a lovely trip but cut short due to me missing my flight on 9/11, the day I was supposed to fly out of Newark to Austin. It's a story I won't get into because I firmly believe everything happens for a reason, and ultimately it all worked out. Anna showed me a good time and then skedaddled off to Houston for work, while I naturally walked for 12 hours, went to the Bullock Museum, walked to the lake/river, ate tacos, ate other things, went to the Beacon's Closet I visited in Austin 4 years ago on a one day stop over during a 6 week road trip, and then went home.

Overall, Austin makes me want to say A+
Did someone mention tacos?
Barton Springs with Anna
Barton Springs
Anna took me on the bat tour of Austin on Lady Bird Lake.
Ready to see some bats, I got dressed up and everything.
Austin dwellers are very physically active, always jogging, kayaking, paddle boarding, etc.
Seems like the whole town is in on this big graffiti joke.

I've known Anna for 10 years!
Pretty reflections in LadyBird Lake.
Everyone came to see the bats, but they did not rush out that night.
That's a good thing, means they're not starving.
Can you see blurry bats?
Have we been through this that I like Batman?
(Please don't get me Batman gifts. I have so much.)
We returned to Barton Springs by night. It was quite frigid!
Everyone knows how to dance to the 50s and 60s.
Just your average Austin neighborhood street. Like at the cacti on the corner!
Anna denies working in the haunted former insane asylum.
I have this thing for colorful houses.

Bullock Texas State History Museum
Bullock Texas State History Museum
Bullock Texas State History Museum
The historic La Belle, recently found in the sea and restored after it capsized in the 17th century. 
What a funky US flag.
What Texas is really known for.
The beautiful capitol building.

They really love their lone star.

What a bunch of hipsters with their 'staches.
Famous places.
Old western lookin' places.