Scars and bruises finally fading!

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Dec 102009

I don’t know about you all, but I managed to accidentally embed some of my summer memories on my body this year! Hiking and backpacking can be brutal at times, as I’m sure you know, and it doesn’t help that I can be a major clutz. From hiking 22 miles in a new pair of boots that turned out to be far too small, to swimming in lakes with hidden sharp log appendages, I marked myself with scarred knees and bruised (and oddly mishapen..)toenails.

Stopping for lunch along the Colo. Trail. At this point we were only about ten miles in and my toenails were still in great shape!

Stopping for lunch along the Colo. Trail. At this point we were only about ten miles in and my toenails were still in great shape!

oh sweet swimming in backcountry lakes. If you jump in, watch out for hidden log creatures.

oh sweet swimming in backcountry lakes. If you jump in, watch out for hidden log creatures.










Well, despite the freezing weather, it’s really starting to hit me that winter has arrived because all of my summer bruises and scars are fading away. It’s a little sad, I must admit, because these physical reminders bring back good summer memories from Yellowstone to the Colorado Trail. I guess it’s time to officially say it. Goodbye sweet summer hiking season, hello freezing snowboarding season!

100 days in Glacier NP

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Dec 092009

Today I got an email from a reader with some sweet photos of Glacier National Park in Montana. The photos are “100 Straight Days in Glacier: A photographic journey, celebrating the Park’s first century.” The photos will be published in Glacier Park Magazine in the Spring of 2010 but you can find them here right now! Definitely let us know if you guys find any other cool stuff out there.

Avoiding the frigid outdoors!…just a little

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Dec 052009

I must say, I don’t really like working out outside when it’s 9 degrees! So, this week I found an alternative way to get exercise. Yoga. Four days this week I did yoga for an hour. Initially, I was thinking “Yeah, I could use a calmer mind right now and a little more flexibility. How about some yoga?” What I didn’t realize is that I would be sore all week! My legs, my underarms, my back…sore! This soreness made me feel good about myself though, since I have been taking great measures to avoid the frigid weather, which means missing workouts! For all of you who are anything like me and HATE being hot in cold weather while you work out, I recommend yoga. Get a video though. This is where I went wrong. I have yoga cards and often find myself falling over as I try to read them in wierd positions, which is rather counterproductive. Another great indoor workout I found this week was the climbing gym. Hopefully we’ll hit double digits soon and the I’ll be willing to go snowboarding and snowshoeing and maybe even do a little running!

Help out on the slopes

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Dec 012009

Local ski slopes need your help this year! More and more disabled skiers and snowboarders are seeking lessons, but programs don’t have enough volunteers to meet the demand. There are a lot of ways you can help disabled skiers and snowboarders enjoy the slopes while you enjoy them too! Click here to read a more extensive article done in 5280 last month and to find out how you can help.

The Shambhala Mountain Center – what is that thing anyway?

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Nov 192009

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If you’ve driven deep into the Poudre Canyon, whether for hiking, climbing, paddling or plain old-fashioned sightseeing, you’ve likely passed a single, unassuming sign for the Shambala Mountain Center – the Buddhist temple nestled in our beloved Northern Colorado mountains.

If you’re like me, you’ve been too distracted by the promise of landing a rainbow trout or finally sending that boulder problem to spend the day seeking spiritual wisdom.

Faced with heavy snow Saturday, we abandoned our plans to climb on the canyon’s 420 boulders, packed a dirtbag lunch of pancakes and bananas and set off on our own quest for enlightenment.

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The center itself rests at the top of a steep, winding dirt road reminiscent of the rocky paths leading to the gurus of old comics. Whatever mystique was granted to the approach by the rough road and dizzying drops to the side, however, was lost when we reached the center’s gravel parking lot.

Packed with cars (a disproportionate number of which were Subarus) sporting “Hike Naked” and “Envision Whirled Peas” bumper stickers, the lot seemed to belong more to a farmers’ market or Corepower Yoga center than to a temple of ultimate enlightenment. Needless to say, I was skeptical.

It’s here that I should clarify that I know very little at all about Buddhism or even spirituality in general. Other than a short, marijuana-fueled love affair with the Tao Te Ching, my education on all things relating to eastern spirituality has centered around  fortune cookies and kung-fu movies.

My initial disappointment with the Shambala Mountain Center, then, was less like a literature professor’s disdain for Dan Brown and more like a monster truck enthusiast’s discomfort at a performance of “No Exit”.

As we hiked the snowy trail to the Stupa itself my discontent continued to fester. Where were the spinning prayer wheels I’d seen in all those climbing videos from the Himalaya? Where were the long haired, wild-eyed wise men? All the sights the trail offered at first were cheap buildings, rented trailers and a gift store and bookshop.

I was all but ready to turn around and spit when we reached the Stupa. Some five or six stories tall, the temple is brightly painted and decorated with countless gold lead covered statues, the building –– the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya ­­–– more than lived up to even the most outlandish of my expectations.IMGP1262 008

In accord with what we were told is a Buddhist practice of reverence, we circumambulated the church before entering. Once through the building’s large wooden doors, we were greeted not by a chorus of chanting monks (my secret hope), but by a single room centered around a twenty-foot statue of Siddhattha himself.

While we dusted the snow off our coats and Steve, apparently unaware of the glares coming from the other visitors, took countless flash photographs, we managed to overhear the last of the tour.

Though the details of the construction and history of the Stupa are fascinating, I’ll leave those to the experts – an account of the building’s history can be found here.

In talking to those in the Stupa and around the mountain center in general, I learned that many live year-round at the center (the reason for the cheap trailers), practicing archery, yoga and other traditional Buddhist arts pursuing their own paths to enlightenment.

Seeing the blissful calm in the faces of the center’s residents, I found it hard to resent what had seemed to me to be the shoddier aspects of the center. It occurred to me then that these cheap buildings were part of the very nature and idea of this place. Their very cheapness seemed to say that the day-to-day activities that they housed needed no frills or reverence. That those activities, like the buildings themselves, were peripheral — scattered around a magnificent, ornamented center.

Photo Cred: Stephen Benton

Driving Directions from CSU:

  • Head north on Shields St.
  • Turn west at CO-14/US-287 N
  • Follow CO-14/ US-287 N and take a slight left at Co Rd 74E/Red Feather Lakes Rd.
  • Turn left at Co Rd 68C
  • Turn left, destination will be on the right

Directions courtesy of Google Maps

FREE! CSU Outdoor Club shows new ski movie "Flakes" tonight in LSC

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Nov 182009


Our friends at the CSU Outdoor Club will be showing PowderWhore‘s new ski film, “Flakes” at the LSC  theater tonight at 8pm. The event is FREE, but the club will be taking donations in support of the Larimer County Search and Rescue Team. Before the film begins the club will hold a gear swap where anyone is welcome to bring old (or extra) gear they’d like to trade.

Click here for a preview of the film, or here for another, more energetic preview from Black Diamond.

Welcome to Your Feat

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Nov 162009
Wouldn't we all rather be here?

Wouldn't we all rather be here?

As outdoorsy folks, we want to connect with all of you other outdoorsy folks at CSU. We want to share stories with you, and we want you to share stories with us. Now, while you’re sitting in class wishing you were outside, you can check out this blog to get some ideas of where to go.
            Your Feat will serve as a forum for all of us who love to be outside. Several times a week we will bring you everything from personal accounts, to snow reports, book reviews and information you need to get out, including a calendar of local outdoor events. We also want you to share with us. Look to us as your guide to what’s outside, and let us know where to go and where you’ve gone.
            That’s what we have to offer ­­–– but what we here at Your Feat want to know is what do you want to know? When you go out, whether for an afternoon hike or a week-long epic, tell us about it. If you don’t want to go out, tell us where you want us explore.

Good read: Eiger Dreams

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Nov 152009

Until I read Jon Krakauer’s Eiger Dreams, I could honestly say that I had no desire to attempt ice climbing. I like waterfalls, but I never would have considered visiting one in the winter to scale up it. After reading the book though, I am a little curious about the sport and about mountaineering in general.
The book is a compilation of twelve articles on mountaineering written by Krakauer. Of all the arms of mountaineering presented in this book, ice climbing has stuck with me the most for some odd reason.
Krakauer outlines the sport of climbing in these articles, covering everything from ice climbing to climbing legends to canyoneering. The book conveys the stories of climbing in detail and made me want to try it out. Even though it sounded kind of miserable at times, I still felt inspired.
This kind of odd inspiration seems to be the point of Krakauer’s book. In the introduction he says, “Even so, by the end of this book I think the reader will have a better sense not only of why climbers climb, but why they tend to be so goddamn obsessive about it.”
Most people have probably read Krakauer’s Into the Wild and some may have read Into Thin Air or Under the Banner of Heaven  but if you’re looking for a quick read about Krakauer’s personal experiences and climbing knowledge (which is extensive), I recommend picking up Eiger Dreams over Thanksgiving.
If you are as inspired as I am by these stories, rent some gear and get out!

Get into gear

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Nov 152009

In the upcoming months, we’re going to lead you through the Fort Collins area (and beyond) by foot, car and watercraft. We want you to know where to get all the gear you need to follow in our footsteps. Not only that, we want you to know where you can try out specific gear for the weekend before you spend your hard-earned paycheck on it. Here’s a list of gear you might need this winter that you can rent in Fort Collins on a college kid’s budget. Check in with us in the Spring for watercraft rental prices. Get into gear, get out and have fun CSU!


REI: 4025 S. College Ave. Fort Collins, (970) 223-0123
*prices are for one day rentals

1,2,3 person: $20 for members, $25 for non-members
4-person: $25/31
6-person: $30/37

Sleeping Bags and sleeping pads:
Summer bag: $16/20
Winger bag: $16/20
Junior Bag: $12/15
Extra foam pad: ??
REI Sleeping Pad: $7/9

External Frame: $12/15.
Internal Frame:$12/15 .

Camping Stoves:
2 burner :$8/10
1 burner: $6/8

Trekking poles: $4/6
Ice Axes: $7/9
Climbing helmet: $7/9
Rock Climbing Shoes: $12/15
Snowshoes: $15/18

The Mountain Shop: 172 N College Ave # D, Fort Collins, (970) 493-5720
*prices for one day rentals

Snowshoes: $10
Nordic Ski Package (skis, boots and bindings): $12
Telemark Ski Package: $30
Alpine Terrain Ski Package: $30