>It’s definitely been a long time coming since I’ve updated. It seems to be a consistent trend with my writing lately. In the past I’ve always been persistent on getting whatever was in my head down on virtual paper. Since moving to Colorado a funny thing has happened. Life’s speed has seemed to pick up but my psychological experiences have slowed down considerably. I tend not to worry so much if I forget a thought, or put it in the back of my memory closet until it’s ready to be released. I have, in a sense slowed down time even though the days seem to click by in an instant as I try and figure out my career choice and cycling endeavors.

Colorado is a beautiful place to live. Highlands Ranch can be compared to thousands of towns across the United States. The only difference is, of course, the mountains. Knowing the mountains are in close vicinity to where I live releases a sign of relief to my senses. I can see their expansive silhouette, smell it’s clean crisp air, and enjoy all those outdoor activities without paving too much of a carbon footprint.

Training in the mountains takes a different type of concentration than dodging and riding along side cars back on the east coast. For the most part, drivers leave you alone and you are left with one thing to do; Climb. Climbing helps me solve both present and future issues. The mountains are always there for me to relieve stored energy. Cycling in altitude and the mountains, even at a slow pace takes a given effort which forces one to hone in on the task at hand and nothing else. Ah, finally less distractions and more riding.

Two weeks ago Maija and I decided to go on a hike. Being the competitive athletes we are it was only obvious we would pick something too big for our bodies to overcome. With every challenge comes new experiences, solutions, and feelings of nature. We headed towards Boulder to hike Bear Peak. The day started off cool and windy with a slight hint of the sun shining. The dogs were full of energy and ready to get to the summit.

We had to park the car a little ways from the trailhead because the actual trail-head parking lot was filled to capacity. The walk over the the start was beautiful even though we were on a busy road. We could see all the trails leading up to the summit. Somewhere a few miles up was the top. 
The start of the climb was steep but easy because of steps which provided good traction. If you are an avid hiker and you take your dogs along try giving them some room to roam. I’ve always believed dogs are better and more balanced off leash. It provides them with freedom as well as grows the connection and trust between human and canine. Here is Coop a little ways ahead. He always turns back to make sure we are still in sight. A true Lab at heart. 

Here we are near the top. Where we were walking was the actual trail. 
Frito is a little harder but not impossible to control in the mountains. Pointers are meant to flush out game in the wild so it’s no wonder they are constantly going off trail. After the first hour of climbing the trail narrows into a single track. The most difficult lies in the middle of the accent where you sometimes have to make sure you are still on the trail. At this point you are using your full body to climb over boulders, loose rocks, and around tress. It’s strenuous for the beginner hiker like myself. I have also acquired a large respect for those who climb at the medium to difficult level. 

Here are the pups at the summit. It was a tough hike for them, especially cooper who is now reaching the age of wisdom. I believe they are watching me eat some peanut butter from one of my MRE’s. We didn’t stay too long at the top. The wind was blowing hard and we were dressed for 45 degree weather and up. 
Maija snapped a great shot of me and my two best canine friends. I’ve experienced so many great times in the wild with them I couldn’t see doing outdoor adventures without these two. They are a man or woman’s best friend for so many reasons. It’s funny but many times in the hike when I started loosing my motivation all I would have to do is look to my side and see the fire in their eyes to keep going. It’s an added mental benefit during challenging times. They are not so much focused on how tired or hard the hike is, but concentrated on where they are headed; Focusing on the present and reacting to what’s in front of them. It also shows me how different they are in tune with nature. Usually they take the path of least resistance when climbing. It’s as if the mountain was made for them and us humans are only along for the ride to observe. 
On other exciting news Maija and I have a new edition to the family. For some time I have wanted to adopt another dog. Another dog? Most people would think it’s a bit too much to have three pups in one house. Maybe so. But I try and see the added benefit another dog can have to our family. Cooper and Frito now have a new best friend they can play with while Maija and I have another outdoor companion.  I found a post about him on Craigslist from a family who couldn’t keep him for various reasons. 
Here are some shots of the new pup. Enjoy! 
His first trip in our car. And yes Beth he does look like Roxy!!

 Cooper or the new pup. You guess! 

We have not picked a name for him yet. Any suggestions? The winner will get the very cool name picking dog award! 
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