Thursday, June 30, 2011
All of these pics are taken in the Rio Grande National Forest...we stopped at a few lakes on the way to the trail that took us to the Continental Divide...we hiked in from about 11,000 ft and we saw the moose in a high Alpine Glacieral Lake....it was so cool we went through a high Alpine meadow (totally bear territory!!!) w/beautiful flowers and just the greenest landscape you've ever seen...and then the trail took us through a heavily wooded area before opening to Hunter's Lake where we got to see the moose...it was just magical!!! The pic of his track is w/ a lighter beside it so you can see how big he is...
On the way to Canyon of the Ancients/Mesa Verde...more pics to come :)
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Sorry...I'm trying to post this via email and hit the send button too soon...anyways the moose was really calm and didn't seem to mind the pics we took.
On the way out we saw a marmot in a meadow & Kota bolted out the window after him...the marmot ran up a rock & started barking @ him. It was pretty funny to watch.
Pics of the moose tomorrow ;)
Albuquerque was so much fun...Friday night Mary took us to the 48 Hour Film Festival and her boyfriend won overall for his graphics in their film so we all went out to celebrate afterwards. The next day, Hamp cooked us all a huge brunch and then we went to Casa Rodena Vineyard http://www.casarondena.com/ for a tasting...this was our first official vineyard tasting and it was superfun!! The staff was really relaxed so it didn't feel stuffy...the four of us shared a bottle and cheese plate on the patio overlooking the vines. After a whole day of vino drinking we didn't feel much like hiking to a camp so we stayed at Mary's and cooked out.
We left Albuquerque with intentions of spending the night in Taos but once we got there we realized how close we were to the Great Sand Dunes National Park so we decided to drive on...Taos was really cool though...there were tons of little artsy shops and restaurants lining the main street and all the buildings were so colorful.
The Great Sand Dunes were absolutely incredible!!! The terrain of the road into the park was kind of "high desert"...not totally barren but definitely not SC...then as you get closer to the entrance the mountains are completely closing in on you and then you see the dunes...they look like something you would see in Saudi Arabia w/camels walking across them.
The next day a primo camping spot opened up and we jumped on it!! It had the perfect amount of shade and trees all around so we were separated from the other campsites better than before and we had a picture-perfect view of the dunes:
Both days we were there, we hiked to Zapata Falls:
After leaving the park we headed farther west to South Fork, Colorado, which is where we are camping on the Rio Grande...the river is strong and freezing cold but in front of our camp site is shallow enough that we can jump rocks and walk pretty far. Totally on accident, we chose the same campsite that they used to shoot National Lampoon's Vacation...which is a huge plus for Hamp since those are some of his fav movies...so of couse he needed to ring the cowbell:
Oh yeah...on the way from the dunes to South Fork we got to go inside one of the Earthships...the totally recycle-built homes that are completely self-sustainable and powered by 100% solar/wind energy...this was awesome b/c we've seen so many documentaries on these homes:
Yesterday in South Fork, we hiked where Spanish monks traveled in covered wagons over 200 years ago and up to a Natural Arch on top of an old volcano:
Today, we've planned a hike that will take us 5 miles up to a lake in Rio Grande National Forest...so hopefully we can post our GoPro videos and pics from today soon!!
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Love y'all and miss you,
Hamp, Brandi and the Boys
Friday, June 24, 2011
The boys got to see their girlfriend, Cassie and we got to see Lindsay...she took us to 2 of her new fav spots...the 1st is a Deli that is way more a live music bar than just a deli but they do offer the #10 best fries in the Nation (according to USA today). After we had drinks/apps there she took us to Local for a late-night dinner outdoors...VERY delicious burger!!
Oh..also Hamp finally changed out of his slippers and into actual shoes for the 1st time since we left Columbia :)
Amarillo, Texas: We left Lindsay's at about 10:45 and drove through the night to get to Palo Duro Canyon...which is just southeast of Amarillo...the canyon was absolutely gorgeous...our campsite was even perfect but it was so hot we tried to walk the dogs to the horse troughs to get them some water and they started crying they were so hot. A park ranger came by and told us they were in the middle of the worst drought in the histroy of the canyon. We then sat at the campsite for about an hour trying to see if they'd cool down but it just wasn't happening so...
Santa Rosa, New Mexico: We left Palo Duro Canyon and drove about 3 more hours west to Santa Rosa Lake State Park...this campsite was more than perfect...we were atop a rocky ledge that you could easily walk down to the beach and the lake was crystal clear...even though we really wanted to camp in Texas it was so much nicer to have a breeze and cool water. We dined on smoked oysters and wine mini bottles (no fire b/c of all the wildfires) and watched Captain Ron on the laptop once the sun went down...
The next morning we went to a diner on Route 66 to get breakfast...huevos rancheros and a sausage smothered burrito...perfection on a plate :) Mary suggested we go to a place called Blue Hole and jump off the rock...best suggestion ever!! Its an 80 foot deep natural well that is so clear people come from all over to scuba dive in it: http://www.dtmag.com/dive-usa/locations/BlueHoleStRosaNM.html
Albuquerque: We finally made it to Albequerque around noon today! Mary is letting us stay with her so we have a shower!!! Tonight we're going to a film festival/competition that her boyfriend is in and then tomorrow she's taking us to some wineries and then camping with us that night.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Camping Trip Take Two: Once we got back on the road...we discovered a quirky feature on the AC in the Jeep...whenever you accelerate it automatically shuts the vent door which causes the car to be warmer than expected ...Kota is of course crazy panting..so we stopped at a truck stop and purchased a Turbo Fan w/a clip mount and 2 super-snazzy sun shades w/suction cups.
Take Three: We finally started making some good time and of course since mishaps normally travel in 3's we were due one more unpleasantry: the sky completely fell out...I mean the rain was sideways!! We decided to pull over beneath an underpass and wait it out for a while.
Due to the delays we decided to spend the 1st night in Mississippi w/Wesa and then travel to Memphis in the morning...we'll spend all day in Memphis and have dinner w/Lindsay and then drive through the night to Amarillo, Texas!! We should arrive in Texas just in time to catch the sunrise...stay tuned :)
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Hamp (boyfriend), Skoolz (dog #1), Kota (dog #2) and I (obviously) are embarking on a 2 & a half week camping trip out west...we've borrrowed his dad's jeep b/c neither of our cars are fit to make the trip (Thanks again, Bubs!) and are leaving Tuesday, June 21st. We've been compiling a list of necessities for the last couple of weeks and so far we feel confident that we haven't left anything vital off the list (fingers crossed). I leave for Mexico on a family vacay tomorrow so Hamp is in charge of packing the said "gear."
In terms of an official route...we've decided to pick places that we each want to see and then figure out which places will be the most dog-friendly (lucky for me I found a dog-friendly vineyard on the way: http://www.blackmesawinery.com/ )...our main stops will be: Albuquerque & Taos, New Mexico; Cortez and surrounding areas, Colorado; Zion and Arches Nat'l Parks, Utah...this itenerary is very flexible/still growing...so please share suggestions! Also, we're going through Mississippi to see Hamp's sister, Wesa, on the way out and then through Memphis to see my little sis, Lindsay, on the way home.
For accomodations we will mostly be camping...yes, like in a tent w/ a fire...I still have mixed feelings about this. Most of me is super-excited and pumped up for the challenges of longterm camping and the opportunity to really soak in some awesome nature...but there is a small voice in my head that keeps reminding me how much I appreciate a hot shower everyday and just indoor plumbing in general...luckily a friend that lives in New Mexico, Mary, has offered for us to stay with her if we need a break from the Great Outdoors :)
Hamp's bringing his GoPro (a tiny, virtually indestructable video camera) to shoot some downhill mountain bike footage and the regular digital camera so we can document everything we see...please follow along w/our adventure and post any suggestions you have on places we MUST visit while we're out there :)