Monday, August 18, 2008

Mount Sanitas on August 17th 2008

If we can not decide which hike to do then we do Mt. Sanitas, it was the same mountain that the group hiked on to kick start their hiking craze. Since then this hike holds some sort of mystic value - you wont be considered part of the group unless you hike on Mount Sanitas. Kamal and Naim were baptized into group, here is the link to the pictures from this hike:

It was great hiking in relatively cooler weather.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cricket less summer – but full of hiking trips

I’m a person of many contradictions, I adore the sport of Cricket but at the same time I have a distaste for organized sports, I have never been into hiking in Pakistan but now I love hikes – mountains have always lured me.

Since 1998 I have played regularly in the premier cricket championships in Colorado Cricket league:

2004: bowling in the nets

I had the great honor of playing cricket for the team of Colorado in 2005 and 2006. This summer (2008) I got infected with the cricket-boredom bug – I unsubscribed to all cricket TV channels that I had, rarely visited premier cricket web sites and asked my wife to throw away my beloved cricket-bowling shoes. I called my team captain and informed him of my decision, I am glad that he knows me well enough that he honored my decision.

One more contradiction is despite all this boredom I won election to the General Secretary of the Central West Cricket Board, elected as the President of my local club, wrote few articles on and have a plan to conduct some interviews of ex-Pakistan players. Absurd, go figure!!!

As I wasn’t playing cricket so I needed an activity, which I did: I got into a group of very cool guys and with them we formed a group of hiking enthusiasts who all share similar passions; Hassaan and I love talking (some would say that is talking-loud, but that is just not true), Abbas wants to end the hunger from the world, Junaid would never quit telling stories about his beloved Toba-Tek Singh, the mild mannered Irfan fills the air with his acute sense of humor and Kamal Tamton (believe it or not Tamton is not a western last name) shares his very educated opinion about every topic under the shade of blue sky. And oh yeah Zedi continues to confuse us how come he is a Zedi and has a different last name too?

This small little group every Sunday morning takes a challenge to hike a mountain in or around beautiful Boulder, Colorado – for most of my desi friends, remember its hiking not rock climbing. The goal of the group is to hike a simple mountain every Sunday, we do one big mountain every month, one really long and big hike a year and we might do one crazy hike in our lives – like twenty-two days trekking to the base camp of K2.

One such big monthly hikes was last weekend (August 10th 2008) when went to the top of Gray’s peek. It was about a nine-mile return trip. In all of my hikes this year I always carried my winter-hiking gear, with the rationale that guys in the Colorado weather you never know. For this hike I intentionally left all that at home or in our ride and of course we faced terribly cold weather, I feared of frost bites – ok I am over-reacting but you get the picture, if not then have a peek at our pictures.

Next month is the holly month of Ramazan and I am not sure we could do much hiking, but the winter will be full of fun filled activities too.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Heck of a time!

Heck of a time!

What do you get when you get a late start from home, amazingly bad road, heated automatic transmission, very late start from trail head, amazingly cold weather, snow in early August, not proper clothing for the weather, and above all... totally infuriated wives!

A 14er hike worth writing about!

Our plan was to get two 14ers down. Grays and Torreys via the standard combination route. The plan didn't work out as expected. Our late start and lack of proper clothing for the cold weather was the biggest hurdle in getting to the second summit. In one of my earlier posts I had said that preparation is the key to success. None of us took that point seriously!

We started off about 20 minutes late, but with fast driving from Kamal, caught up with time a bit. It wasn't until we hit the really really bad entrance road to the Grays peak parking lot at the trail head that we lost a lot of time. The automatic transmission on his Honda Pilot had heated up quite a bit and was smelling really bad so we had to wait a bit before moving on. Finally at the trail head, we started our hike.

The hike itself is very smooth. The trail is well maintained and the views are nice. Nothing much to note though. Just a long winding trail going up the mountains. When we did finally get up top, it was cold and cloudy. I didn't have gloves and my fingers felt like icicles and I was pretty sure I was going to get frost bite, in the middle of August. The clouds were moving so we could get a few glimpses of the amazing scenery behind the summit. It always great to get up to the top and view the world!

I got up to the summit first and waited for others. Irfan got there after me and feeling really cold, I thought I should check with others when they will be getting up here. Not having my own cellphone with me, I called home to get Jarrar's cell number. Which triggered the panic back home. Why are these guys not together. What's happening with others etc etc. Finally, I got the number and talked with Jarrar and found out it will be some time before they get here. Too cold, I decided I cannot go to Torreys this time around. None of the others wanted to go either.

After everyone got up there, we had eggs and sandwiches and took some pictures.

Cold and miserable, we started back. Total, it took us about 6 some hours from start of trail to back. It was tiring and the wives were upset. It was all good! We had just done a 14er! Not many people do that. Although the trail was crowded, I don't recall seeing another desi there!

The joke of the trip I guess would be the punch line, it shrinks!

To sum it all up, the entire trip was a blast and I am sure all of us had a lot of fun. I hope we can do this again soon. With the hope that we piss off our wives a little less next time.

Junaid strategically timed his West-coast trip over this weekend, and was truly missed by all of us.