RABBIT EARS bataan DEATH MARCH & other whimsies of recent

10k @ 10k , rabbit-ears

There are a LOT of unique trail-running races, and more are created every year.  The (Rabbit-Ears) “10k @ 10k” has been being run since at least 1988, when I first ran it.  It probably started a few years earlier.  The 1988 event I recall, as if it were, say, 10 or 15 years ago (fresher in my me(s)mory than many things).  Before the race I set goals of (1) running the distance in less than 48 minutes, and finishing in the top 20.  A 48-minute 10k was positively pedestrian for me then, whereas I would have to have the wind at my back on a moderate downhill to possibly achieve that time now.  I enjoyed 47:54 of 2-mile-high aerobic tomfoolery, and finished 20th.

Our son, Tom, arranged for him, his novia (Shannon), bro-in-law Ben, and aged decripit dad (who was happy there is now a 5k) to run last fall’s edition.  We all had fun.


Betty and son walk (‘n talk) somewhere downtown Steamboat a couple weeks ago, 4th of July weekend.


I didn’t notice the “dashed lines”, horizontal towards middle of photo.  Usually there’s doves sittin’ on ’em.

We have a new addition, brought home from the orphanage.  Though “Alice” (I call her “1776”) still has to get on friendly terms with the other cats, she has little problem wif da dorgz.



thinkin my bruthur wuzz dyin

Oh yeah, it’s safe to say that most of, if not all of us, cannot be 100% certain how we’ll react to many things.  I have three siblings.  One of whom I had decided to have as little to do with, preferably nothing at all, for the remainder of this life.

My wife leaves me a message at work two months ago.  She’s borderline-crying, having just received a call from my sister, who (apparently) was beside herself with grief and worry — as she had just (apparently) received a call from my youngest brother’s wife, in which said wife was overcome with grief that her husband had been diagnosed with something and didn’t have long to live.  So far, this is all pretty much phone calls and messages left on phone answering machines — except I think the brother’s wife had actually talked to my sister.  Distraught, sister calls Betty, leaves a message.  Betty leaves me a message.  The angst, frantic-ness, world-is-going-to-end is conveyed throughout.

I listen to this latest in the chain of messages, conveying the imminent demise of Brother Youngest, aware of the urgency in Betty’s message and that this is but a relaying of the emotion in my sister’s message, etc.  It’s like the transferred emotion and sense of doom snowballs … and it is but a short matter of time before I am affected by all this.  Though I don’t have a phone number for brother, I look up his business one on the internet.  I call and hear his voice (he’s out for a few daze) … I go almost completely mind-meltingly mental and am damn-near crying as I leave a message.  “Call me if there’s anything I can do.”  Stuff like that.  “Call if you want to talk about anything.”  In retrospect, it’s embarrassing.   I later wished I could somehow hack into the phone lines and erase it!

I surprised myself.  I thought that if ever I heard news like that, I’d be un-attached, oh maybe have to sound and look and act a little concerned and sympathetic, but that would be it.  Definitely not a jello-like quivering emotional mess.

He calls me a week later.  It’s not that bad, he says, inconvenient, mostly.  I’m not too sure what he’s been diagnosed with (previously he’s had severe? gout and not-so-minor assorted stuff, fused back for instance) — fibromyalga, perhaps?  He’ll have to “watch it”, whatever “it” is.  We talk many minutes, trivial stuff mostly, but it was a somewhat long no subterfuge open-ended open-minded heartfelt conversation.

I think I’m over whatever I felt now. Back to the previous normal.


and passover

Betty and I observe a truncated mostly symbolic Passover most years.  I even go outside to pour Elijah’s cup of wine onto the lawn.  And, I’m not entirely sure why, I am aware of Ramadan.  The first New Moon in the first real  heat of summer.  I see the sliver of lunar-ness, not quite rampant but shimmering none-the-less, in the recently-deceased fading daylight of the waxing night — as if, scimitar-like, it had sliced through the heavens to hang tauntingly tantalizingly above the western horizon.


Gato en el jardìn

me and my venus

Speaking of the new moon marking Ramadan, I’ve had an affair of sorts with Venus.

Last October I woke up early to take Betty to the airport.  I noticed the bright star to the east, so bright that for a while I thought it could be an airplane approaching our airport.  Now it is almost a year later and practically every morning I make a point of locating it.  Of course this can’t be done if the sun is up and/or it’s cloudy.   I know eventually it will not be visible — when it’s course takes it into the daytime sky, full time.  However, I am surprised at how long I’ve enjoyed this phenomenon, with no indication of ending anytime soon.  (See my post on “Perils of feline arboreal extraction” for a venus-moon photo).


did i mention Big Hole?

Everyone (I think) was aware of the “man-eating” mudslide in Colorawdough a couple months back.  I could have gone to assess this as there are gas wells and facilities in the area but didn’t.  That was better addressed by our Geo-technical Engineer and an Environmental Specialist.  Something occurred the following day which warranted more of our attention.  So, I spent a large part of the next two weeks “camped out” on a well in the infamous “Big Hole” gas (and oil) field.  A well (a deep one for that area, at 18,000 feet) inexplicably and mysteriously BLEW UP.  We still don’t exactly know why this occurred, but we fixed it.


Big Head Todd and the Monsters play for the July 5 crowd on Howelsen Hill in Steamboat.


You can tell that the closest-to-the-stage part of the crowd is into the music, whereas people further back are not so much into the music as, uh, netwerking? visiting.  schmoozing.  As our son, who, as a banker, goes to press the flesh and mingle.  We had fun doing this too.  We rode bikes from Tom’s house (parking would have been some sort of female dawg) and then back home before it got too dark.

guy doin’ pushups in the yard

A couple weeks back while shuffling about the house at night, I noticed car-lights, a parked car, at the edge of our property.  It had been there a while, and I sauntered out to check it.  There was a guy doing push-ups in our yard!  Now, I don’t know about you, but if you notice a car parked at the edge of your lawn, and the ostensible driver/occupant is conducting a physical fitness regimen nearby, this is cause for, if not concern, at least more than a modicum of curiosity.  He saw me approaching, jumped up, and explained himself.

He was the Director of the Valley-wide Mosquito Control District, and rather than subject one of his seasonal summer employees out to do night-time sampling, he himself would stop at representative locations and count how many bites he’d get in two or so minutes.  He figured that if he exerted himself, say, a dozen or so push-ups, THAT’d help attract the demonic little beasts.  Chattin’ with him, slapping myself (I was shirt-less) frequently, I believed him.

mount whatever

 This is Mount Logan, outside of DeBeque.  Does this (the south side) remind you of anything?

Old Chubb doin’ the Goalie thing

When I sign in on Thursday nights for the “Dave Ash” hockey league, I sign as “Old Chub” — especially when I’ve brought some of Oskar Blues Brewing Company’s scottish ale — Old Chub.  I pass these out after we’ve survived whatever it is — you know, the requisite head-banging and knocking each other over.  And I think it’s good somehow (but I don’t think I can adequately elucidate exactly WHY) that as a senior citizen I can endure a weekly BEATING (though much of it is self-inflicted).  And I think it’s funny that in this “40 & over” crowd, usually about half the players are in their 20’s.  It’s a good thing, ’cause all the other goalies are under-30.


“$17.76” (That’s what it cost to adopt, a month-of-July $pecial) ~

B ‘n mee @ this year’s TRI

Betty and I participated in the local “low key” Triathlon put on by the City Parks ‘n Rec for the 2nd year.  It’s the annual highlight of our joint athletic endeavors — the only such joint endeavor — and a suitable goal to specifically train and “ramp up” for.  She swims in the lake (Highline Reservoir), runs up the hill to the transition area to ‘tag’ me (hands over the computer-chip which I wrap around my lower leg) — and I’m off on the bike most the way to Utah and back.  Sounds far — but Highline is about 10 miles from the state line.  I should-a kept that quiet.  “To Utah and back” sounds pretty far, eh?

Then I make a couple quick-as-I-can garment switches (I ride in light-weight running/racing shoes) and I trot around the aforementioned Reservoir.  So, I’m a Du-Athlete.

We enjoyed this more this year than last, and stayed for lunch.  Last year we were 10th of 16 teams, and were surprized to see we were 4th out of 8 this time.  Awards go to top three.  However, we felt like winners in that instead of a water bottle each (3rd-place prizes) we won a $60 one-hour massage in the random prize drawings.  Which would you rather have?


T (r) ‘n B waitin’ to cross US40/Main Street in Steamboat on our way to the concert

the end draws ever nearer


Yeah, right.  All the time …

the death martsch  –>

Banker Tom, below, looks none the worse for wear ‘n tear after the morning’s “Death March.”  But …


having brought our dawgz along with us for the weekend away, I asked T where in the vicinity could we run and the dogs could also go, leash-less.  Not knowing the Steamboat area that well, I never-the-less suspected that the top of Rabbit-Ears Pass might be a candidate.  He answered quickly — “Rabbit Ears, 10k at 10k area.”

This was just whut the doktor ordurd.  High, wild, still some snow, hopefully hardly anyone else, and a kick-in-the-butt trail run.  We had entered the actual event (usually run in early September) just the year before.

We piled his two and our two dogs into his truck and motored away.  We were there in about half an hour, and there were only two vehicles at the trailhead.  One group of hikers came out and left as we went through pre-run preparations.  I had “fixed” Tom’s girl-friend’s bike (pumped up tires, tried to lubricate gears and chain and cables — can you believe OUR SON does not have a can of WD40 (or equivalent) in his house?!) for Betty to ride.

I wasn’t that keen on negotiating the entire 10k (it’s closer to 11k) but here we were.  We told Betty we’d be back in one hour and up the hill we went.  The average elevation for the loop is 10,000 feet — and I don’t know about you, but when there’s even the slightest uphill at that loftiness above sea-level, it’s a struggle for me to even pretend to run.  Betty gamely rode uphill more than I would have imagined, but on many sojourns she frequently rides tougher and farther than I would have bet.  If I bet ($$) on such things.  The trail (actually a forest-service fire road) switch-backed and we gained elevation with periodic flat stretches for what seemed like three + miles.  Tom kept saying that “this next stretch was the high point” and it would all be downhill afterwards.  He announced this perhaps five or so times.  We had been encountering snow banks across the road for over a mile, interspersed with swampy patches.  The mountain-bike tire tracks which presumably were made in the previous day or two indicated ambitious efforts and ability.  I think.

Just as we slowly began to descend my dog RockSea scrambled quickly uphill.  The other dogs followed and I heard mass snarling, barking, yipping.  RockSea had chomped down on a marmot and the other dogs were all trying to get their bites in.  This sort of thing rarely happens with my dogs and if I can intervene quickly enough, I will.  Trouble was, we were at 10,000 feet on a steep slope and the dogs were perhaps 50 feet higher up a steep road cut.  If I hurried, I might get to them in a minute or so.  Tom and I yelled as angrily as we could, him because I think he didn’t believe his dogs would participate in such a thing.  Well, ya’ know, dogs in a pack…

We didn’t see any end result, but chances were good (um, I mean “bad”) that the poor creature probably wasn’t entirely dead but would become so soon.  This sort of thing puts a damper, a negative spin, on subsequent proceedings.

And things didn’t improve after that.

A half-mile later the dogs took off pursuing deer.  Most of them came back quickly but looney-dawg JaJa (yes, mine ‘n D’s) had never chased anything that big and wild before and was totally gone in seconds.  T and I yelled for a couple, three, minutes and finally, over a ridge maybe 1/2 mile away we saw a brown streak heading back our way.  We kept a closer eye on them after that, in fact I had JaJa on a leash for much of the remaining jaunt.  Had I known at “the top” what I knew thereafter, I would have turned around at that point and been back to the truck in a time-li-er fashion.

T and I wallowed through waist-high snow drifts alternating with swamps, several downed trees, more snow, another swamp, losing the “trail” altogether, a stream perhaps 2-feet deep (we somehow didn’t fall in) and this went on for what seemed like a couple miles but probably was only a mile-and-a-half.  We met three mountain-bikers trying to go the other way!  We didn’t envy them.

Finally we made it to another “forest road” which was level and served as the lower dike for a long-ago abandoned irrigation ditch.  We encountered a few people, but none so dis-connected and deserving to be returned to the Loony Bin as the woman and her almost-as-frightful-of-canines male companion who went hysterical at the sight of dogs trotting up to her.  People like that should never leave the apartment.  What were they doing out here?

I slowed to what runners affectionately call the “bonk pace” (a.k.a. “survival shuffle”) run, JaJa often leashed to me as we passed campsites along Dumont Lake.  Betty had been waiting over half an hour past our expected return and the trailhead was jammed with several dozen vehicles.  It was definitely Miller Time.


11 thoughts on “RABBIT EARS bataan DEATH MARCH & other whimsies of recent

  1. Sometimes just reading your blog is exhausting! I mean, riding a bicycle through mud and slush at ten thousand feet isn’t my idea of “fun.”

    I love your photo of that tree. The sunset (sunrise?) makes the bark look red – really cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “understanding” might be asking too much! just thought i’d start with the “death march (run)” and like the title says, other random whimsical events of recent. thank you y saludos a tu tambien~


  2. Holy cow, I can’t believe after such an adventure(s) you still have energy to write about them! Strength of ten men – except when it comes to siblings being ill – then you showed the strength of twenty. It’s hard not to care. Nearly impossible. I hope you don’t regret it.
    Congrats on the race. Can’t imagine the strength one needs for something like that, but obviously this post displayed bucketfuls.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “My” fellow(ess) whiskey afficionado: thanx for the compliments, but didja notice the lack of FREQUENCY of my posts? it’s been > 3 weeks. i’m too tired to write! yet you write cleverly (well, ‘Rob’ helps …) and it’s actually GOOD writing, be-sigheds. (i hafta resort to cheep trix, often). ((your trix, as far as i can tell, are not cheep ones but seem to be XXXpensive/xpansive). and you write often. i’ll try. it’s summer. it’s hot. ex-key-yooses, yea …


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