Thursday, December 29, 2011

No Snow?

"Weather is a great metaphor for life - sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, and there's nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella."  ~Terri Guillemets

Colorado's had a slow start to the snow season.  The lack of snow is amplified especially in comparison to last year, one of the largest snow years ever.  Somehow, though, I've been managing to have as much fun skiing as ever.  Even if the snow has been underwhelming, I've thoroughly enjoyed the exploration of a few big backcountry days, the fun of skiing resort groomers with my kids, photographing the extraordinary mid-winter light and an incredible day of hiking and skiing w/ Z.  Conditions in town (where we're ahead of typical averages for snow) have been really fun with skate skiing on the golf course and ice skating at the neighborhood park.

Z ready for a backcountry run in 3,2,1...

The hike up on a particularly nice early December day.

The turns down on that same day.


Rocky Mt National Park just before Xmas.

We found one little place where the wind doesn't blow.

"The hiking was easy" he told me.

Almost there.

Winter sun & wind

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's the Light

Something about the northern New Mexico light always brings out the camera.

Monday, November 14, 2011


A black and white series from a recent day in the hills:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Haiti 2.0

Thoughts on a second trip to Haiti, September 2011

A trip to Haiti, or any developing country, for that matter will quickly help put your life in perspective and help you appreciate all those little things that make life tick back home.  Take a moment from the second day of my most recent trip, for example.  It’s an almost absurd scene watching an expensive 1000-pound fluoroscopy x-ray unit being unloaded off the back of a truck by hand.  No heavy equipment, no crane, and no dolly for that matter.  It’s been a great challenge and success story to get to this point after the machine was generously donated by (our local) Poudre Valley Hospital, money was raised for the logistics of shipping a half-ton, unwieldy machine to Haiti. I’m reminded that nothing is easy here.  But it also makes things we might not think twice about extra special to the Haitians. Consider that after the unloading of the unit the locals carried off every last bit of packing material and cardboard to be used in their homes.

We’d hoped the x-ray machine would help us complete an Orthopedic mission dreamed up by my friend Jana Gottino and me where we would help earthquake victims with follow-up they needed after the initial medical teams came and left. We started this trip with high hopes and expectations but tempered them, knowing they can lead to disappointment when you are heading to Haiti.  We put together a team of 13 people from Colorado with an orthopedist, a pediatrician, nurses, an engineer, a massage therapist, a photographer and great support staff. I was overwhelmed when I asked PVH if they knew where to get a hold of old x-ray equipment and they donated a fluoroscopy unit. Since so much work went into trying to get the unit shipped to Haiti, it was discouraging when we showed up there and it had not arrived. Team spirit soared when it arrived the next day, only one day late! 

When I left for this second trip to Haitian Christian Mission in Fond Parisien I wondered if anything in Haiti would have improved since my June 2010 trip, but I was pleasantly surprised by at least a few things. Some of the earthquake rubble in Port au Prince was indeed cleaned up. New villages are being built for people from the tent cities and one even had gardens in front of each structure and a playground.

But because much of the initial influx of aid immediately following the earthquake has now waned some conditions are now unfortunately worse. This time the electricity was off for hours at a time daily. The kids were not allowed to attend school the weeks we were there because of a “presidential mandate” even though it is a private school and they get no public funding. Cholera, just introduced in the last year, has now killed over 30,000 Haitians.

Despite all of this, this trip was even more rewarding than my previous trip because of our fantastic team dynamics and the feeling that we were able to accomplish some of what we set out to do. Our goal was to do small surgeries with low risk so as to help without doing more harm like causing secondary infections.

Even though our focus was these minor surgeries, Haitians come from far away with every conceivable malady.  One of the most memorable parts of my trip was an obstetrical case. A pregnant woman showed up with the baby’s umbilical cord exposed below the baby’s head. This is an obstetrical emergency because it will quickly cause fetal death from cord compression. John, our pediatrician held the head off of the cord and we were able to hear that the baby still had a heartbeat. We decided to start a Cesearan section on the mother. The 2 anesthesia providers, the pediatrician and I have attended hundreds of those surgeries but none of us had ever performed the surgery alone. We worked well as a team in less than ideal conditions with the electricity out and the wrong instruments and had a good outcome with a healthy mom and baby.  This experience exemplifies what it is like to practice medicine in Haiti where excessive bureaucracy and malpractice fear are removed and we can focus solely on the question of whether or not we can help a person with only the people and limited tools available.

However, the high points are contrasted with equally low ones. For example, I’ll never forget when a lifeless young woman was carried in with diarrhea and fever. She was so dehydrated from her cholera that we could not even get a blood pressure to register on her and she was the closest living thing to death I’ve ever seen looking like a skeleton with sunken black eyes. This is an image that will stick with me forever.

The most lasting and powerful gifts from my trip are my relationships with the Haitian interpreters. HCM provides the mission teams with interpreters who have grown up attending their schools. These people are brilliant young men and women who speak multiple languages and have even learned impressive amounts of medicine from visiting physicians. They are so eager to learn but they have exhausted the Haitian educational system and even if they could get higher education they might not find employment in a country where few people can work.

It’s hard to understand but I’m comforted by the belief that there is good in the world and that the human spirit can overcome hardships if we simply work together and know that things can change. It’s humbling and inspiring to see these interpreters have such positive attitudes and strong faith despite their lack of opportunity and lot in life.

My trips remind me not to take my shelter, my clean water, my electricity, my food, my opportunities and even my education for granted. I feel blessed to have what I have and all that I have learned from the Haitian people.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


The 2010-2011 ski season was one giant highlight reel. It started early, went late and never really stopped snowing in between. Here's what the camera saw. One for the ages.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tour de Fat 2011

Not much to say about this craziness except it's becoming my favorite day of the year in Fort Fun.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


I grew up with a rocky canyon for a backyard; aspen trees and higher terrain were in the neighborhood, too. But trips we took to the high, cool mountains of Colorado left a lasting impression on me.

My sister and me 27 years ago at a friend's cabin in Mt. Crested Butte. It's still there. And the view is unchanged.

These places still mean a lot to me. Being able to "imprint" the sights, sounds, and smells of the Colorado high country on our kids is great fun. Circle of life, eh?

This trip was all about bikes. Bikes, bikes, bikes. Dirt jumps, singletrack, riding lifts, biking around town.

Oh, and flowers. This trip was about flowers, too.

Happy Birthday, America!

My Dad rolls his fat tire cruiser under the backdrop of the Butte:
Here's to hoping some places never change.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Point of View

The perspective from my bike seat last weekend:




Monday, June 13, 2011

Vedauwoo - Land of the Earthbound Spirit

We took a little northern pilgrimage this weekend to bask in the view of surreal stacked and balanced boulders and to sacrifice a few marshmallows into the fire.

This place Rocks!

Free Solo:


Garden Tour is just getting started:

Aspen Leaves:

Sundowner Part 1

Sundowner Part 2

Friday, May 27, 2011


There are a lot of ways to link together the 25+ miles of trails in Horsetooth Mountain Park. But including a climb of Audra Culver and a descent of Wathen never gets old.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Historic Snow Pack

Up high in the mountains in our neck of the woods it's been an incredible snow year. We skied powder day after powder day and knew it was good. But now were seeing just how big a year it really was. Snow pack measurements are showing 200% of normal, but the proof is easy to see for yourself.

I skied a favorite line of mine on Sunday and took a picture from the same place as when I skied the line 2 years ago (pretty much an average year).

April 2009:

May 2011:

Fun. The boaters are frothing at the mouth waiting for the river to come up. Almost makes me want to take up kayaking again. Almost. :)

And the result of playing around with my new camera. Music is by Steve Martin. Yes, *that* Steve Martin.