Posts Tagged ‘REI’

Denver

June 22, 2014

Sunday, 22 June 2014

On the 7:30 flight to Denver, arrived about 11. My boss was on the same plane; we shared the ride into the city, checked in at the Embassy Suites. Pretty nice room, expensive, but all of the hotels here are expensive.

I would like to get one of these baseball caps with a burnoose shroud that protects cheeks and neck, so I asked my smartphone if there was a nearby REI. Yes, it was a mile or so north-ish on 15th street. An excuse (if I needed one) to go out for a walk.

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Not a bad city. Fair number of people out, restaurants, pubs, some worthwhile architecture.

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REI is just north of the S Platte river at Confluence park, where Denver started out, some number of years ago.

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Pretty classy park, lots of people (and dogs) enjoying the day, enjoying the water.

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Shortly there will be some new art overlooking the scene.

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REI occupies this old warehouse, three stories, mostly open space. In comparison to the REI stores I have visited before, it’s enormous. Pleasant young woman steered me toward the triathlon department, where such caps would be, if they had any in stock. She thought they might be out of stock, and they were indeed.

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The REI building shares part of its space with a Starbucks, busy with all kinds of folks, but especially cyclists. There is a riverside bikeway that goes on much further than I cared to explore. There is a big amusement park here, enormous swing, waterslide, at least three rollers coaster and who knows what else. The riverfront used to be industrial dump, broken pavement, discarded railroad ties, abandoned vehicles, and such, with warehouses on the streets. Now it’s mostly parkland, and the warehouses have  become upscale loft apartments.

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Back in the city, I walked along 16th street, a mall whose vehicle traffic is restricted to bicycles and shuttle buses.

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Bicycles of all kinds.

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One block had several chessboards set up, a couple of which were in use.

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Pedicab entrepeneurs.

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Each of four or five blocks had a piano, most of which were in use. The talent ranged from minimal to not bad.

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But I eventually drifted to the end of 16th and around to what its posters proclaim to be a Pride festival. I had been noticing various forms of weird costume and make-up, and here’s where it all centered. I have no idea how to estimate the size of crowds, but I would be greatly surprised if there were fewer than 10 000 people here. Loud, crowded, but mellow. The smell of smoke was definitely not that of tobacco.

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Back to the hotel just as a few sprinks started. Got on the web and ordered a couple of burnoose sun hats for store pick-up at the end of the week.

New boots, Windy Hill, Small animals

May 25, 2013

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Last weekend, I had new hiking boots, and set off on a 19-mile hike under the assumption that they were going to be just fine. Not!

REI took them back without a squawk, dusty as they were. What a great company! How many places would do that!

With a new, new pair of hiking boots today, I’m a little more cautious. I went to Windy Hill, whose short loop is about 8 miles, and whose long loop is about 12. As well as being able to turn around and go back, I can stitch these together to a total trek from roughly 8 to 24 miles, in 4-mile increments, assuming I go around not more than twice.

Bottom line: twice around, once on the outer loop, again on the inner loop. 15 miles, 3000+ vertical feet. Sore medial malleolus of left tibia, until I loosened the laces. I think they will be okay.

It was chilly. I set off without a jacket, but there was enough wind that I went back to the car and put on my padded vest. Glad I had it; even in the afternoon, it was chilly.

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The day started off with a dragonfly, considerately posing on the trail for photos. I hope no one steps on it.

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When a millipede goes for a walk, it’s a really big deal! Either that, or it’s nothing to even think about. Or maybe both.

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But when mom takes the kids for a walk… well, shouldn’t the kids do at least a little bit of the work?

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By the way, this is a really special sighting, one that doesn’t happen very often at all!

She got tired of posing for photos and headed for a convenient hole at the side of the trail.

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An unintended consequence, but a good one: minutes after she ducked into her hidey-hole, upward of a dozen runners came along the trail. I probably increased her odds of survival by several orders of magnitude.

The trail is indeed a pretty dangerous place. I noticed another millipede, squashed, an antique Packard beetle, squashed, a little snake, likewise, a lizard, flattened. Mountain bikies are worse than pedestrians because riders don’t see as much, and they flatten more territory.

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It is the time for larvae and pupae.

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I was thinking about the common and the rare small animals, and how they change, year by year. Some are obvious: last winter was relatively dry, and I find few banana slugs, scorpions and newts. But some animals vary a lot, for no apparent reason.

Assuming that I spend about the same amount of time, at about the same locations, the same seasons, the same time of day, and that I am no more nor less observant in one year than in another — questionable assumptions, all — assuming all that, I think there are radical changes in the population of small animals over time.

Some years, I see no tarantulas; some years there are dozens. This year, there seem to be very few snakes around; some years, there are lots: gopher snakes, rattlesnakes, even ringnecks, not all of them in the same years. Fewer snakes? I don’t even see very many snake tracks in the dust of the trail this year.

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This year, there seem to be a lot of alligator lizards.

Some animals have found the area a congenial habitat recently. For example, it is only within the last five years, to pick a random number, that I have seen wild turkeys, and now they are quite common.

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It is the season for moths. Lots of them flying in clouds. This one was on a moss-covered oak in the forest.

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I stopped for calories at the top of the climb, second time around, and this little guy came out to cross the trail. Pretty! Notice the nozzle with which it can suck up nectar from flowers.

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Finally, just before returning to the parking lot, I stopped at Sausal pond and waited quietly for whatever might be in the neighborhood.

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I continue to boggle at the fact that the leading edge of a dragonfly’s wings are completely open, no membrane whatever. I wonder whether some aeronautical engineering student (or professor) has analyzed and simulated this with a view to using the idea in short takeoff or hovercraft.

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Ribbit!

REI: also for the wannabees

November 27, 2011

I like REI, a lot. Great store, terrific people. So don’t get me wrong about this post — it is not a ding.

Among a few other things, I picked up a new pair of walking shorts at the REI sale the other day, and was once again bemused by the fact that small waist sizes are in the very distinct minority in REI’s stock of clothes. I don’t care how tall you are: if you need a 38 waist, or 40 or 42 or (good grief!) more, you’re only in shape if you’re a sumo wrestler.

Those who fantasize about being active outdoors people would seem to outnumber those who actually are! Or maybe Jacky got it right: the small sizes sell out immediately, and all we see are the oversize orphans left behind for the clearance sales.