The DougBlog
"Et sans savoir pourquoi, disent toujours: Allons!" —Baudelaire

Monday, April 17, 2006

SNOWBLIND!! (a.k.a. Colorado, 2006)

Well I’ve made it back from Colorado—and in one piece to boot.

So the plan was for me and that Most Beautiful Lady Karen Landes to visit Rocky Mountain National Park and go skiing in Colorado. After an early-morning flight, our first adventure was in suburban Denver. Being the mental giant that she is, Karen forgot her jacket—which kinda’ comes in handy while skiing above the snow line. So we stopped at the Super Target to find a cheap coat. She finally found one (in the boy’s section). Even more exciting was the fact that we could stock up on groceries and go next door to visit Bass Pro Shop’s Outdoor World: 186,000 square feet of fishing and hunting supplies sold amongst taxidermied woodland creatures and man-made waterfalls!

Karen finds herself super-charged in front of the Super Target. Target is always such a treat for us city dwellers:

Our groceries from the Super Target. Why is it that—no matter how old you may get—when left to your own devices on vacation you still shop like your parents are away for the weekend?!:

Outdoor World, for all of your huntin' and shootin' needs:

When animals attack…SHOP!:


What are the chances that we’d run into Karen’s mom at the store?!:

Finally we were off to Rocky Mountain National Park. We arrived in Estes Park, the gateway town, pretty late—having been distracted by the wonders of Super Target and Outdoor World—so it wasn’t until the next morning that we headed out to see the beautiful vistas and wild animals of the mighty Rocky Mountains…

Rocky Mountain panorama (as with all pictures, you can click to enlarge):

Traffic jam, Rocky-Mountain–style:


“Um, yeah…I’m gonna have to ask you to go ahead and stop watching me eat…”:


Just before we left I got this snappy new watch that tells you everything you ever didn’t really need to know, including the altitude. Here’s proof that it’s remarkably accurate. Go Finnish design!:

At one point Karen asked me to pop the trunk. I assumed that she needed something, but apparently she just wanted to let us drive 20 miles with it open. Here’s my reaction to that discovery:

A handsome lesbian couple took this shot for us:

“Be vewy, vewy quiet…I’m huntin’ elk…” :

…and here they are!:

Karen on our hike around Bear Lake. The fact that the snow was too thick to see where the land stopped and the lake started—coupled with the fact that ice was dangerously thin—made it a more daring hike than you might imagine:

Here’s some trash in Rocky Mountain National Park (and she’s throwing something in the garbage...hey-o!):

Where’s Waldo? (Karen trying to scare me):

On another hike:

That night we continued on to Breckenridge, where we would be staying for the rest of our trip, and skiing on our first day. Breck is a popular ski resort that’s based in an actual old Colorado town—so it has some history and local charm. We had a nice 2-bedroom lodge with a fireplace and everything, all within walking distance of both town and the slopes. The skiing was great. It had recently snowed, but it was sunny and 60 degrees!!

Karen, ready to go in her new Target coat:

And here’s me, easily mistaken for an Olympian:

Joe Cool on the lift. The goggles help to hide the terror in my eyes. I never did learn to like the ski lift:

Looking down (yikes!). Maybe Joe’s not-so-Cool after all, given that they write your name on your rental skis:

Karen, apparently very excited to be on the lift:

At the top, over 10,000 feet. I did feel a little woozy at times. Karen really LOVED my constantly pointing out our altitude; I mean, if that doesn’t make for nonstop fun, what does?!:

NOW…you can watch video of our skills!! Note that this was early on our first day, so we hadn’t gotten our “ski legs” yet:



You can stop for a snack halfway down the mountain:

Our cozy lodge. The fireplace was gas and operated by a switch, but I still liked to pretend I was all manly and “built” the fire every time. I’m not sure Karen was fooled:

Karen’s room. Talk about “country” décor:

A very candid shot of Karen strolling through downtown Breck:

At The Gold Pan bar in Breck. Opened during the gold rush in 1859, it’s “the oldest continuously operated bar West of the Mississippi:

The next day we drove to Copper Mountain, another ski resort. They had some great trails and some magnificent views from the top.

The view from the top at Copper (the “Copper Top”?!)…note Karen snowboarding out of the picture to the left:

Karen snowboarding at Copper:

Karen’s snack waiting for her at the bottom of the mountain at the end of our trip: sweets, treats, and ibuprofen:

All in all, I have to say that I was pretty impressed by my natural skiing abilities. I was shussing down those mountains by the end like nobody’s business. That said, I should point out (since Karen will post it here if I don’t anyway) that at one point, in Copper, I fell —getting on the ski lift. For those of you not familiar with skiing, falling when you get OFF the lift is not uncommon. But getting ON? You have to be an idiot. Or, in this case, me. I went down and everybody started yelling “Duck! Duck!” At first I thought they were all just calling my name, having read it on my skis. But no, they were telling me to duck before I got bulldozed by the still-moving chair lift! I ducked, and it swung over my head (missing me by a hair) before the operator was able to pull the emergency stop. I wasn’t hurt, except for my pride. But just remember the next time you’re on a chair lift an it stops for a few seconds, and you think to yourself “What jackass fell off it now?!”, that it might—just might,—be me.

That said, in the interest of equal time, here’s a video of Karen taking off like a shot…


That evening we went for a bird’s eye view of Breck from the top of Baldy Mountain (funny, that’s also a nickname of mine):

By the time we got home, Karen’s eyes were red and puffy and sore…and a quick Web search revealed that she was SNOWBLIND!! This is essentially a sunburn of the eyeballs that is more common among skiers because of the reflection off the snow and the stronger UV rays at higher altitudes. So we spent a quiet night at home while Karen nursed her eyes, and we ate Chinese take out:

The next day we headed home with memories to last a lifetime. Not to mention sore muscles. And Karen’s inflamed retinas.


Some random items:

We went through historical Central City, Colorado…a gambling town that has definitely seen its day. But there was this entertaining sign:

Animals? Or donuts? Hmmm…

High voltage can be scary enough. But High Voltage Man really helps to make the point!:

My first interactive feature! Got a caption for this picture? Click the “Comments” link below and post it! (then again, this one is just too easy):


  • Looks like someone has a bit too much junk in the trunk!

    Yep. Too easy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:04 PM  

  • Baby got back!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:17 AM  

  • Hope she doesn't get rear-ended.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:27 AM  

  • Is this the result of you asking Karen to check the oil?

    By Anonymous J D, at 1:57 PM  

  • Who could have predicted Twisted Sister would end up as the house band at the Gold Pan Bar?

    By Anonymous eh, at 7:52 PM  

  • what's up anonymous commentors #1, 2 and 3??! don't dish it out if you can't take it! kiss my snowpants padded patootie!

    By Anonymous MBL, at 9:37 PM  

  • inflamed retinas. gross!

    ps. vmfrdzc (Slovania's most popular fro-yo shop)

    By Blogger Colleen, at 5:31 PM  

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