Monday, August 10, 2009

Green Chilie Mania!

In New Mexico there are green chilies in everything you eat, seriously, not exaggerating. You eat them for breakfast in your eggs, at lunch in your sandwich or taco, and for dinner in a number of different ways. They love this stuff in NM.

Driving back from Bloomfield to Farmington, we saw some for sale. According to Pat, I got the full authentic green chilie experience. We parked the car opened the door and were overhelmed by the amazing smell of roasted green chilies. The guys selling them were all Mexican and barely spoke any english.

They take a burlap bag of the chilies and throw them in a rotating cage over a propane heater. One guy turns it on, while the other turns them like a rotisserie. It takes about three minutes to roast them. the chilies are thrown back in the bag and you buy the entire bags worth. Needless to say we have and entire cooler full of green chilies to take home. Yes! Can't wait to eat the food of Pat's people.

Summer 2009 Adventures

Two weeks before his trip to Canada, Pat had to cancel due to a shoulder injury. So instead or sitting around the house moping he decided to delve into a list of Colorado 14ers that he never got around to while living in the west. Thinking it would be a great way for me to get a taste of some alpine climbing and mountaineering, he brought me along. So naturally I jumped on the opportunity and packed my bags.

We got in the car early on a Sunday morning and hit the pavement in my VW Golf. It started out a little painful; the night before we had gone to a pig pickin' at a friends house (what a great way to say goodbye to the South for a little while). Our first stop on the trip was St. Louis to visit my friends Heather and Tim , and to break up the drive. Like many climbers that have those very influential people in their climbing lives, Heather is one of those people for me. She took me climbing with her almost every weekend when I was a kid and helped me make the transition from indoor to outdoor climbing. After a long and hot drive we made it to St. Louis, ate dinner, caught up, and got some sleep.

The next day we woke up and started the even longer drive to Farmington, NM to visit Pat's family. Nothing notable happened on the drive other than the typical thunderstorm while driving through Kansas.

Part of the idea for this trip was to suprise Pat's Mom and Dad; as far as they knew Pat was on his way to Canada. Our timing was a little off getting to Farmington, so we stopped and got breakfast and coffee in Durango, CO. We ate at one of Pat's former local spots when he used to live in Durango for some of the best Huevos Rancheros that I will probably ever eat. Wow, what a great intro to the Four Corners area.

We finally arrived at his Mom's house and suprised his Grandma and Mom. Hung out with them for a few days and started making out way back to CO.

Our first item of business was Mt. Sneffils in the San Juan range, the Snake Coulior more specifically. This would be my first ice and snow adventure. On the drive to the trailhead the weather looked very ominous and we debated bailing. After some thought we decided to go for it despite what the locals were saying about the weather.

We hiked in to the base of the climb and made camp for the night. The next morning we woke at 4am to clear skies and started walking toward the base. I was very nervous and had no idea what to expect, I had never put on crampons or swung an ice ax. As we got closer to the route, I started to get a little scared. Before I knew it I was in my crampons kicking my way several hundred feet up the coulior, in it to win it. It wasn't as bad as I had imagined, I just needed to try to keep up with Pat and not look down. My legs burned all over and my arms were exhausted from swinging an ax, the only way out was up. After the strenuous climb up the ice and snow, we got to some rock in the last 50 feet to the summit.
At about noon we summited Mt. Sneffils and signed the register with the fifty others who had walked up the cattle trail on the other side of the mountain. It was a little frustrating seeing the mountain being so over run by so many tourists, but they didn't have anywhere near as much fun as Pat and I did climbing up the coulior. We quickly started heading down the back side passing people going both up and down who were dressed in their hiking shoes and shorts, while we had crampons, axes, gaiters, and the rest of our mountaineering get up. At the saddle the decent consisted of some, but not enough skree skiing and dodging huge blocks falling off Sneffils.
It took me a great deal longer to get down than it did to get up as with any long route. My legs and knees were killing me and poor Pat was constantly yelling at me to hurry up. At 6pm we arrived at the car and headed to his sisters house in Montrosse to eat and rest.