Last year I met up with my college friends, John and Howell, in Washington D.C. (pictures here). This spring we were looking for an excuse to get together again. Out of the deep and murky waters of our brains was birthed the Man-Venture™.  The idea was to squeeze as many manly activities into a visit as possible, each adding more hair to our chests than the last. Ryan was able to join us as well making a quartet of quirky Quatermains. In under a week we raced karts, did car work, played frisbee golf, hiked and camped, scaled precipitous heights, and went off-roading. We were dripping with manliness (or something) by the end. Unfortunately, we ran out of time for rhinoceros hunting, spear fishing, and volcano jumping.  Maybe next year.

We had perfect weather and fully enjoyed the beauty of God’s creation.  Click on the “more” button for some highlights.

Howell and his lovely wife Mary Kate arrived on Friday night. The next morning, MK tolerated us working on the Sidekick (our very manly 4×4) as we install a roll cage. John arrived in the afternoon and then we played disc golf.  That night, we watched fireworks. After church on Sunday, we raced karts at Action Karting.

Here I am skidding around the corner.  Probably not the fastest method, but fun.  Oh, and manly.  Howell is back but coming up quickly.  Howell had the fastest laps of the day but we all had a lot of fun.  We averaged high 30’s around the course, so probably hit in the 40’s. We celebrated Howell and Mary Kate’s birthday and then took MK to the airport.

Monday morning the four boys packed up the Sidekick and headed into the mountains. We drove to Eldora and took the Eldora Mountain trail.

It was a great trail to get used to off-roading. It had some fun rocks and beautiful scenery.

After driving over to the deserted town of Caribou, we went to Nederland and had delicious Indian food, then went to the Fourth of July Trailhead to hike into the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area.  Luckily, it was the 5th of July and most people were leaving.

The “before” shots often show people smiling like this. The hike up the valley to the Fourth of July mine had wonderful views, small cascading falls to cross and Columbines aplenty.

We camped near the mine in a sheltered spot that had beautiful views and a patch of snow nearby that was great for cleaning dishes.

That evening we hiked up to Arapaho Pass, which is on the continental divide.  We saw two little fang-shaped mountains that we ended up climbing. There are the lower two in the picture below.

On one of the “fangs”:

The view from the divide was amazing. We could look down toward the west and see Caribou Lake.  To the north were jagged mountains.

We even waded thigh-deep into icy Lake Dorothy, but since we were in our boxers, Nicole thought I should leave that picture out. But here is the lake:

After dinner and a night’s sleep (notice the omission of “good”?) we headed up out of the valley toward South Arapaho Peak.  After a while we go to the pass and saw the Arapaho Glacier, the largest in Colorado and part of Boulder’s water supply. The pointedness of the peak was a little intimidating.  Note the people below for scale.  Once we got to the top of that point we saw that it wasn’t the ultimate peak and had a little farther to go.

Looking down into the valley below:

The peak offered splendid views, easily worth the hike. We could see Eldora and Winter Park ski resorts as well as a host of 14ers.

This little guy tried to sell us climbing insurance.

John, Ryan, and I hiked a ways along the ridge to North Arapaho peak, which has a few class 3 sections.  Here’s Ryan on one of them called the Gendarme I believe.

The weather was absolutely perfect.  In the 70s and 80s with almost no wind.  Ryan referred to it as one of the most beautiful days he’d ever spent in the Rockies.

Clouds started to gather on our way down so we picked up the pace, though we didn’t get rained on.  One last view of the peak:

We packed up camp and headed out.  The next day, Howell, John, and I went off-roading in a light drizzle. We went on a forest road off of Peak-to-Peak Highway.  This was a little more advanced than the previous off-roading and was a blast.  Here’s a section we weren’t exactly sure how we’d get through, but we made it fine.

This particular trail goes to the crash site of T-33A jet.  This was a personal jet that crashed in the 60s and the wreckage is spread along the hillside.

We then hopped back in the Sidekick to make our way out.

Howell headed to the airport that evening.  John and I sneaked an additional round of disc golf in the next day.

It was a very fun, very manly, vacation.  Very manly indeed.

-Mark.