If you love the outdoors, Boulder loves you

Trip Start Mar 23, 2010
Trip End Feb 15, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Colorado
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lee: From London started the endless day. As we were flying west across the Atlantic, we were chasing the sun. Touching down in Denver Colorado about nine hours later, it was still light and we'd been awake for 24 hours and feeling a bit time drunk. A shuttle took us the hour out to Boulder where we'd booked our two nights of accommodation at a Best Western.

We woke up in the morning in the outdoor fitness capital of the US. Situated right on the Rocky Mountains, these lucky guys have cliffs, huge mountains, alpine hiking, skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking all available on their doorstep. The people who move here are all outdoorsy folk in either the real or pretend form. The pretenders wear all the gear, look the part, but sit in cafes talking about it. And the real ones were out before we woke up.

Breakfast in Europe was wearing a bit thin with the olives, cheese and hard bread. So it was with some delight we feasted our eyes on the American breakfast buffet. Fruit, yogurt, cereals, bagels, toast, spreads, and the best part...make your own waffles! Yes thanks.

So the basic plan in Boulder was to hit the gear shops and replenish the climbing gear we'd worn out over the past three months. Between Neptune Mountaineering (bigger than all of Brisbane's gear shops combined) and the massive REI (known as 'Return Everything Incorporated' for their no questions asked returns policy), we got everything we needed. Trail shoes, climbing shoes, Rifle guidebook, chalk, Sam even purchased some "cute climbing clothes" or something like that. As we were standing in line to pay, the guy behind us strikes up a conversation. His name is Ben and it turns out he works for Phoenix Multisport which offers tons of outdoor sports to recovering substance abusers! So he offers us a ride into town, and we end up getting the full tour of Boulder, lunch at the best mexican place (Illegal Pete's) and offer to come to the Boulder Rock Club that night for some free climbing. Sweet!

The gym was great. Good vibe, graded routes, everything under about grade 24 was top rope and everything above that was lead only. Great setup. We mentioned to Ben that we're heading back into Denver to pick up our hire car and buy camping equipment to continue our journey and get this - he offers us the use of two sleeping bags, headtorches and a large mountaineering tent. Unbelievable generosity! Thanks Ben!

So back to Denver it was and we picked up our chariot - a 2010 Toyota Corolla sedan. It's good! And unlike Turkey, it doesn't cost $100 to fill up here. We outfitted the rest of our needs at Walmart and Dollar Tree (everything costs $1) and headed back to Boulder the next morning.
We were thinking of heading straight to Rifle, but with all the rock plainly visible from town, I just had to go up and check it out. So we drove up into Boulder Canyon and picked a crag with climbers on it. The most exciting part of the day was the tyrolean traverse across a raging alpine torrent to get to the cliffs (see pic of Sam). This is essentially a flying fox style arrangement where you pull yourself across. It was Sam's first time and she handled it with aplomb. We climbed for the day on interesting granite faces and camped that night on a small patch of level ground beside the river. The noise was deafening. Going from Best Western to tent camping in the wilds was a rude shock for poor Sammi, who was literally not a happy camper that night. (Sam: the temps that night dropped extremely low and we both struggled significantly with the lack of oxygen at this altitude. I think we got about a total of 2.5 hours sleep that night!) But we survived and weren't eaten by a bear or murdered by a drugged up trucker.

We then pointed the car at Rifle and hit the gas.
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Julie and Colin on

Are you driving on the right side of the road ! No your other right.

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