Cold Camping

When I was leaving to go camping yesterday morning, this is what it looked like outside:

Dumping Snow in Aspen

Even though I was going to the desert, I knew it was still going to be a cold night. On the way out of town I stopped to do an interview for Aspen Grassroots TV with Walt Evans of the Aspen Valley Ski Club.

Interview with Walt Evans on Grassroots TV

You can check out yesterday’s thirty minute “Weekly with Walt” show here. I enjoyed being on the show, and I feel that I am getting more comfortable with filmed interviews.

After the interview I made it to Grand Junction just in time to pick up my friend Karel Tammjärv, a World Cup cross country skier and 2010 Olympian from Estonia. I first met Karel at the Under-23 World Championships in Erzurum, Turkey in February of 2012. In that race series’ 15km individual start classic race he started 30 seconds ahead of me, and I caught him after two kilometers. I then sat behind him and let him dictate the pace for the next 12 kilometers. In the last kilometer he put 15 seconds back into me (but because of the different start times I beat him by 15 seconds). I ended up in 2nd place and he finished in 5th. On the awards ceremony that evening he came up to me and said jokingly, “can I have half of that” and nodded towards my medal. We’ve been friends ever since. Karel’s aunt lives in Seattle. He is on a three week trip to the states and came to visit me to break up his time in Seattle. He’s never been to Colorado before. I’m psyched he’s here.

My friends from Norway that have been here visiting for a week, Astrid Slind and Kristin Gausen, also drove over to the Grand Junction/Fruita area to camp with us. After we all met up we chose a campsite and set up the tent. The temperature was right around freezing.

Cold Setting Up Tent in Fruita

I’m not used to seeing snow in the desert.

Snow in Fruita, Colorado in April

The trails were too wet and muddy to bike on yesterday afternoon, so my friends had to join me on a hike. Here are Astrid (right) with Kristin and Karel:

Karel Tammjärv, Kristin Gausen, and Astrid Slind

We built a big fire to stay warm yesterday evening.

Karel, Kristin and Astrid staying warm by the fire

It was not the best camping experience I’ve ever had.

Cold Camping with Fire

We did have delicious S’mores.

Delicious S'mores

Karel, Kristin and Astrid had never eaten S’mores before; I think they enjoyed them. Here’s Astrid:

Astrid Slind Eating Marshmallows

Then we played some night Bocce. Astrid won.

Cold Night Bocce in Fruita

Then Astrid did some dancing.

Astrid Slind Dancing by the Fire

Then we ate more S’mores.

Roasting Marshmallows

This morning Astrid, Kristin and Karel went mountain biking on the awesome trails around Fruita. It was brutal for me to watch them ride away and not be able to join them. However, I like showing off Colorado. Here’s Kristin:

Kristin Gausen Mountain Biking

I went for a hike on some of the same trails. I could see them for a long time as they wound their way through the desert.

Biking in the Desert

They said they enjoyed the trails and the scenery.

Karel, Kristin and Astrid Biking in the Desert

It was not nearly as much fun to hike the trails as it is to bike them.

Horsetheif Bench Trail, Fruita, Colorado

Astrid, Kristin and Karel passed me midway through the workout.

Karel Tammjärv and Kristin Gausen

We were on the Kokopelli trail system in the morning. The views of the Colorado River are awesome from the trail.

Colorado River View from Mary's Loop Trail

In the afternoon they went for a second ride on the Bookcliff trails. I sat in the car reading my book as I wasn’t up for another hike.

After riding the girls headed on to Moab. (My parents, Karel and I will join them there on Saturday.) Karel and I drove back to the Roaring Fork Valley (where Aspen in located). On the way home we went to a dinner party at my good friend Zeke Tiernan’s house. Zeke is an ultra-marathoner, a middle school history teacher and a father. He is single-parenting this week as his wife is leading a school trip. It was really fun to see Zeke and his daughter Jude. Here he is spiking Jude’s hair while giving her a bath in the kitchen sink:

Jude Tiernan in the Bath in the Kitchen Sink with Zeke