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The following images appeared on the covers, table of contents, and 'Exposed' section of Adventure Insider Magazine in June 2011
  Trekking Great Sand Dunes National Monument, ColoradoTable of Contents: A photographer works to get the last light in Sand Dunes National Monument, Colorado. Photo: Nate Burgess  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

There are few things that top off a day of climbing properly: cold beer, red meat seared on a hot grill, and plunging into fresh cool water. For the latter there are a few places are gaining popularity thanks to the facility of the Google search: Paradise Cove in Colorado, Mill Creek in UT and Split Rock in NY. We’ll save you the trouble. Mill Creek, UT

Mill Creek, UT

Mill Creek is a short hike to a nice pool with some shorter cliff diving, making it a popular destination. If you’re truly adventurous, treat yourself and hike further up  the canyon to another pool.  It does not have the sheer cliffs of the lower pool, but it is much more secluded. If you climb up the small waterfall at the end of the pool you can walk around to a small natural water slide. The waterfall is the destination for most, but continuing up canyon provides a nice hike in a beautiful setting. Climbing areas nearby: All the awesomeness near Moab. Getting there: From downtown Moab, head east on Center Street, turn right on 400 E, then left on Mill Creek Dr. Follow Mill Creek Dr. when it bears right at Sand Flats Rd. Finally, left on Powerhouse Lane until it ends at a dirt parking area. From the pullout you will see the trail heading east on the south (right) side of the stream. Less than 5 minutes from the car is a sandstone gorge below a small dam that provides a great place to hangout a short distance from the car. For the more adventurous, continue heading up canyon, staying on the well-used trail. The trail crosses the stream a few times, so don’t be afraid to get your feet wet right from the start. Paradise Cove, CO

Paradise Cove, CO

Paradise cove used to be a word-of-mouth, locals-only hangout. Today it’s much easier to find this retreat, thanks to blabby writers like us. Here you’ll find sheer rock leading down to a very respectable pool.  The pool is deep enough that only the truly brave touch bottom, and the water is free of obstacles.  There is something for everyone -- from the tame 16 foot jump to the crazy 100 footer.  There are also plenty of sun-soaked rocks to warm up on.  Year round the water is brisk at best. Best visited on really hot days. Climbing areas nearby: Eleven Mile Canyon. Everything else in the South Platte Getting there: From Colorado Springs, drive west on U.S. Highway 24 for 26 mi. About a mile past Divide, turn left onto Twin Rocks Road. Drive 5.8 miles until the road dead ends at Teller County Road 1. Turn left and drive 5.9 miles to a fork in the road. Veer right on Teller County Road 11 and continue 4 miles until the road dead ends. Turn right onto Teller County Road 112. Drive 2.7 miles to a dirt parking lot on the left at the top of a small rise. The trail to the cove starts across the road. Follow a clear a half a mile to the pool. Split Rock, NY -- Photo: Kate Galecki

Split Rock, NY

The Mohonk Preserve outside New Paltz, NY is a climbing mecca. Home of the ‘Gunks’, the Mohonk preserve attracts thousands of climbers from around the world each year. However, during the summer, the heat and humidity can be nothing short of brutal. A dip in Split Rock can be more than just a welcome relief. Although Split Rock may not be the biggest secret, there are many places to swim in and around the preserve but Split Rock is not only the most secluded and serene but also contains the coolest water. Climbing areas nearby: The Gunks Getting there: From New Paltz head west on Co Rd. 299 until it dead ends. Make a left onto Hwy. 44 for about 1.5 mi. Go under the small bridge and follow the road to the bottom of the hill and look for the parking area on the right. From the parking lot head south on the trail to the Trapps and make the first left. In a few hundred yards find your refreshing oasis. You are required to have a preserve permit to use the area but if you show up early enough you may sneak by before the ranger station is staffed. Obviously, reverse the direction if you are coming right off the crag.
Hydro Flask 64 oz. growler

Hydro Flask 64 oz. Wide-mouth Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Growler

Call it four pints or just shy of a six-pack, or you can just call it awesome. They call it the Hydro Flask 64 oz. wide-mouth vacuum insulated stainless steel growler. I mean, sure you could put something else in it (water, chili, what have you...), but I purchased mine for beer transport. My local brewery offers growlers and six-packs to go. For the sake of convenience I prefer a large vessel (no bottle deposit or return, and I do all my own recycling -- if you know what I mean). Previously I have used a glass growler for these purposes, but this poses its own challenges: how do you keep it from getting broken? In the past, I’ve used bungee cords to hold my growler down, but on one occasion somehow it freed itself and broke in the back of my  Jeep... $11 wasted and the great the smell of barley and hops is replaced by the rotten egg smell in few days. (Then I had to break out the vinegar and clean like a madman.) Also, keeping a glass growler cold can be an uphill battle.  All in all, I’m left wishing I had something better.  With a Hydro Flask Growler, now I do. Hydro Flask makes great vacuum stainless steel insulated bottles that have kept my coffee hot for up to 12 hours and my water cold for up to 24 hours. They come in sizes ranging from 12 to 40 oz. Yet even the 40 oz. size was not enough capacity to satisfy for my passion for good brew. Enter the Hydro Flask growler. The beer is fresh and cold when you get home or four hours later or even the next day.  This past weekend I filled up my growler with some Mackinac Island Fudge Stout from the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, MI. This beer is pretty rich, so I could only drink a couple pints.  The next day I finished off my growler and was amazed that the beer was cold and fresh just like the night before. Plus, the double insulation prevents sweating, so no coaster required! The lid is not insulated but Hydro Flask has informed me that they will be offering an insulated lid soon. Cheers to that. $49.99 www.hydroflask.com Christopher Sorel -- Saline, MI Platypus PlatyPreserve wine preserver

Platypus PlatyPreserve Wine Preserver

The PlatyPreserve wine preserver from Platypus is a pretty sweet way to keep a bottle of wine in decent shape for your outdoor adventures. However, the only difference between this and a Platypus SoftBottle seems to be that the PlatyPreserve is about the right size (800ml) to hold a standard bottle of wine (750ml), and costs two dollars more. Although if you do decide to go the route of the SoftBottle ensure you get the screw-on closure cap as you wouldn’t want a bottle of red and a bottle of white to spill all over your gear. We did test the PlatyPreserve at picnics, day hikes, and over-nighters. I wouldn’t recommend putting a 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild in one of these it held up rather well. And if you need to store wine longer than a couple days, you, my friend, need to drink more wine. $9.95 www.cascadedesigns.com Erick Pound
This article originally published in the June 2011 issue of Adventure Insider Magazine. Blue skies above
No one complained during their commutes to work, but those of us who enjoy a good day of skiing on our local backcountry 14er looked painfully upon barren Pikes Peak.  After a glimpse of spring in early March that had me excited for warm days of climbing, the snow and rain hit hard.  From the end of March through most of May the Front Range went from a drought to above average levels of precipitation. Long after I had decided that it was time to pack away the skis for the summer, my roommate Josh, floated the idea of a ski day ‘the Peak’. After a few phone calls it was set, and I committed to the trip so long as the weather wasn’t more conducive to rock climbing.  I woke up on May 15 to rain and really wanted to stay in bed. Josh told me there was enough new snow on Pikes Peak that the road was not currently open far enough for us to get any decent skiing. The ranger advised us that they were working on getting the road open to the summit and it was currently sunny with no wind. Skeptically I continued to get my things together hoping for any news that would let me return to my pillow. Weather down below
One thing you should know about my friends and me is we don’t do things halfway. So I hit the road to grab the pop-up tent, table, grill, cooler and a host of bar-be-que supplies.  The burgers were made, the beer was cold, and thank God the ranger was right.  After driving though clouds we hit 10,000 ft. and saw the sun for the first time that day.  With palpable excitement we set up camp in no time, piled in the pick-up, picked up some fellow skiing hitch-hikers, and headed upwards.  Although there is an old ski area with a few runs cut into the trees that can be accessed from the road, we spent our day riding what most people consider to be the better terrain. Glen Cove offers something for everyone.  There is a nice run that is easy to reach less than 50 yards downhill from a pull-off on the side of the toll road.  There is also more technical terrain to descend, like the W’s, and wider shoots like Little Italy, which offer a nice mix of open terrain and narrow shoots.  It allows you plenty of area to turn out of the fall line but is still reasonably steep with enough consequences to keep your attention. Hero Snow on Pikes Peak
It was the kind of day that keeps the smiles coming and makes for great ‘you missed it’ talk at the bar later. I can’t say enough about the snow.  True hero snow. It was soft enough to let your edges dig in, but firm enough to let you rip.  That day in May we were all better skiers.  The endless number of tourists made us feel like better skiers as well.  Questions like “are you going to ski that?” poured out of car windows. And the people forced to pull over with overheated brakes near to our base camp further reassured us of our awesomeness. After a handful of runs we broke for lunch. Unbelievably the majority of the conversation that day wasn’t about how great the snow was.  It was about how we still could not believe the weather. From the top of Glen Cove to our base camp at the bottom, the usually visible Colorado Springs was amazingly obscured -- buried under thick clouds.  Our smiles grew as we donned some more sunscreen and thought of all of our friends stuck in the rain.  In town it was the kind of day you could only enjoy if you were miserably hungover. It was dreary and you wouldn’t feel bad about staying at home and watching ski movies all day. We were living it. Since that day in May, Pike’s Peak has gotten more snow and I can happily report that my skis are still out and ready to hit ‘the Peak’ again.  Just waiting for another rainy day... At least for those who stay in town.

CJ Sidebottom
About CJ Sidebottom

C.J. Grew up a long way from anything resembling the Front Range of Colorado where he now calls home.  He was closer to the highest point in Kansas that the red sandstone towers of the Garden of the Gods.  C.J. left cow-tipping country and headed to the big city for college.  He stumbled upon a couple of climber while in college and quickly developed a passion for the sport.  Working as the climbing coordinator for the college and as a guide for the Front Range Climbing Company during the summer his skills and love for the sport grew rapidly.  While in college C.J. took the opportunity to dabble in white water kayaking, mt. biking, backpacking, and some backcountry skiing.  Today C.J. spends almost all of his free time pulling on rock across the western US.  He retires a lot of ropes falling on cams, nuts, bolts, old scary pins, crash pads and the occasional ice screw all within the given year.
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