Weekend Recap: Virtual Wine Tasting and Bear / South Boulder Peak Loop

Friday was a good day at work, and it ended with something extra fun: a healthy happy hour riding on the Peloton with two of my coworkers! We did a Kendall class that was all emo music from the 2000s, and it was really fun. There was something wonky going on with the leaderboard, so we couldn’t high five each other, but I found it actually didn’t take much away from the workout to keep my phone perched on the handlebars and send messages to each other in a group Gchat while we were riding. We are going to make this a regular Friday thing, and I can’t wait!

After tying up a few other loose ends with work, and taking one more conference call, I then joined a real happy hour – a virtual wine tasting with about 50 of my neighbors, sponsored by our Superior Chamber of Commerce and benefiting JWILL Pink Village, a nonprofit started by my friend Jenn that delivers heart-shaped pillows to women who have had surgery for breast cancer, to help make riding in the car more comfortable. I’ve volunteered many times before making the pillows for JWILL Pink Village, and Jenn has been a wonderful resource and friend for my mom as she navigates her treatments, so it was especially fun to get to give back a bit with this wine tasting!

And… the wine tasting was pretty fun too! The Chamber did an amazing job organizing the evening. Rather than needing to pay exorbitant shipping fees, all three bottles of wine were available at our local liquor store for a very reasonable price of $35 combined. (And for those participating from elsewhere in the country, I understand they weren’t too hard to find.) There was a wine expert who walked us through the actual tasting, but the Executive Director of the Chamber, who hosted, also did a great job making the entire night engaging – from organizing a trivia contest and a “best whine” contest with prizes for the winners, to providing updates about how much money we were raising for JWILL (and getting to see Jenn’s excited face on the call as we ended up raising more than five times her expectations).

Wine_Tasting_JWILL

While I had split my bottles of wine with a neighbor, since we were both drinking solo, this was still far more than enough wine for me to drink, especially since I hadn’t had a drink since New Year’s Eve.

And as for that last part – I realized only the day before the wine tasting that this was going to be the first time I had drank all month. How ironic that when friends asked me in December if I wanted to do Dry January with them, I said no… but then I inadvertently went 29 days of January without a drink. COVID19 has definitely changed my drinking habits – where I used to have drinks with friends at least once a week (and sometimes more), I’ve realized that alcohol is purely social for me; I rarely want to have anything when it’s not with other people. I will be really curious to see if / how this changes once my friends and I get vaccinated and start seeing each other in person again. Have I now become someone who rarely drinks, or will I go back to what I used to do? Time will tell.

But after not drinking, and also eating a ridiculous amount of the cheeseboard I had prepared to go with the wine tasting, I woke up Saturday morning not feeling so great. As the day went on, I realized that it actually wasn’t the wine; all that cheese just made me feel terrible! There is a reason I answer the question of “what would your last meal on earth be” with “a gigantic cheeseboard where I would eat every last bite and not feel guilty.” Turns out, if I’m going to wake up alive the next day, the stomachache is not worth the delight of eating all that ;) I accidentally woke up at 5am, so my unease was compounded by not enough sleep (and alcohol-laced sleep for what I did get), and also a disrupted routine. Whereas normally I get right up and workout, I read in bed until the sun could come up for my morning run.

Unfortunately, when I don’t work out immediately upon getting up, I struggle to get the motivation to go at all. I had breakfast with Mom, and then started procrastinating. The first snag came when I tried to light the (automatic gas) fireplace for her, and it wouldn’t light. Since the pilot was going but it was just the switch that didn’t seem to do anything, I went outside to check the fuse box, and smelled a strong odor of gas. Yikes! I called our power company and had to wait for them to come; fortunately, they didn’t find a problem, and said it was probably just the fumes escaping out the vent when the fireplace failed to light. (So, exactly what’s supposed to happen when the fireplace isn’t lighting, though of course that latter part is a problem.) But since it took the technician an hour to come out, I had been curled up on the couch with a good book, and then I wanted to finish the novel. I told myself that I’d run right before lunch, which became right after lunch once I got hungry. Oops.

Finally at 3:30pm my best friend Chris texted that she was out for a walk with her husband, and that it was cold and miserable and windy. She actually told me to just skip the run and not go, but somehow her comments actually galvanized me into going! Since I knew temps were in the 50s, I was wearing very light clothing, but every time I stuck my head outside, it seemed really cold, which discouraged me and made me feel like I was being a wuss. Once I knew it actually was cold and not as warm as the thermometer indicated, I put on a fleece jacket, a headband, and gloves – and that made me feel brave enough to head out.

Sunset_Run_After_Procrastinating

And I was so glad I did!!

I told myself I needed to just do two or three miles to satisfy my goal of getting Sadie out for a short run each day, and then I could always hop on the Peloton when I got home. But instead, Sadie and I stayed out for 8 miles! I felt pretty good until the very last mile, when my stomach started rumbling again, but I was really proud of how far we went.

By the time I got home and showered, there wasn’t much of my night left, but I curled up with Mom on the couch to watch a few episodes of Schitt’s Creek, and then I went to bed early to start my new novel. I get pretty excited about reading when it’s page turning novels, even if they aren’t particularly didactic!

On Sunday morning, I had learned my lesson about staying in bed – so as soon as I woke up, I started getting ready to go. It wasn’t light out yet, but I immediately popped some coconut chai-spiced baked oatmeal into the oven, and then used the 45 minute bake time to do my core workout, wash up, and get myself and Sadie bundled up to head to NCAR trailhead for a long hike. It was only 25 degrees when we started, but the sun was out and I knew it was going to eventually be a warm day. I was just thrilled it wasn’t colder than 20 at the start – with all my layering, I was pleasantly surprised to discover I wasn’t cold at all!

Since we started at 7am on a weekend, and it was a pretty cold day, I was surprised to see that there were already quite a few people on the trail – including plenty making their way down, having already summitted. I kept Sadie on leash for the single track beginning of the hike, on the popular Mesa Trail, but after having completed her voice & sight tag certification, I was excited to be able to take her off leash on the more secluded parts of the trail. She was really good until we got about two-thirds of the way up, and passed two guys who had paused for a hiking break. Sadie was super excited to see them, but when I held her collar and urged her past, she was a big bundle of energy. A minute or two later, we came upon a snowfield just off the trail, and she went nuts bounding in and out of the snow and frolicking.

Sadie_Bounding_Through_Snow

It was actually really adorable… doesn’t she look SO full of joy?!

We kept going and hit the summit of Bear Peak, where I kept her on leash due to all the people around and also the steep cliffs of this peak. Sadie wanted to go up higher, like all the other people, but I kept us pretty low – enough to enjoy the view and have a spot to ourselves, but not where she could fall. She loved basking in the sun up here!

Sadie_Basking_at_Bear_Peak

It was definitely pretty warm in the sun.

We came down from Bear Peak and started moving on toward South Boulder Peak. I pulled off trail a little bit to go to the bathroom, and while I was doing so, Sadie ran a little bit ahead of me on the trail, then came back to me off trail. I started heading back to the trail, but instead of staying with me, Sadie bounded further off trail… and then kept going. I called her to come back, and punctuated my commands by beeping her e-collar, but she ignored me and kept going despite my increasing frantic cries. And after a minute, I stopped hearing both the beep of her e-collar and also any movement of her crashing through the brush!

I started freaking out, worried that something had happened to her, and started hiking off trail in the direction she had gone. But as I hiked, I still didn’t hear anything. Right when I was going to completely panic that I had lost her, I finally heard the e-collar beep, and headed in that direction. I continued to hear the beep, but no sounds of movement, so now I worried that she had fallen off a cliff and broken her neck. But after another moment, I spotted her next to a tree. Her ears were back and she was wagging her tail sheepishly, so I thought maybe her collar had gotten caught on a branch and that’s why she wasn’t coming. But when I finally got close enough to untangle her, the little minx bounded off again – she thought it was a game we were playing! I was so mad and freaked out that she didn’t listen to me; I immediately put her back on leash and kept her there through our summit of South Boulder Peak.

Views_from_South_Boulder_Peak_Winter

On a clear day, I can see forever…

It wasn’t until we were headed down Shadow Canyon, on a route we had done a few times before, that I experimented with letting her off-leash again… though this time, keeping her super close to me at all times. She was good for the rest of it, leaving me to wonder if maybe my pit stop off trail had confused her into thinking the trail up top went the other way, and that she thought she was just leading the way for me?! Either way, her recall is clearly not good enough to be off-leash; I want to take her to some obedience training classes, maybe later in February after I’ve finished the time commitment of studying for my ski certification. What a scary experience! I definitely do not want to repeat that.

We finished hiking just before noon, by which time the day was really starting to heat up. Colorado weather is so crazy – a jump of 20-30 degrees over the course of a morning is pretty normal!

Sadie_on_Mesa_Trail

It was definitely too warm for Sadie in her coat at this point, and I now regret that I didn’t take it off. While I would never have had her wear a coat if it were this warm at the start, I’m having trouble figuring out at what temps I should have her wear a coat or when she’ll be fine on her own. Right now, my rule is below 30°F and I put a coat on her, but I think I may drop that line to 20°F…

In the afternoon, I made a quick grocery run, and then lounged around at home a bit, but I got productive in the evening and knocked out a bunch of work I was behind on. So, yay for that! This weekend had a lot of down time, but I think I made up for it with what I was able to get done when I was on a roll.

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