Well the Saturday after Christmas saw both me and my parents up really quite early for the trip to Heathrow. Things didn’t really start getting eventful to I was checking in and they decided to put me on an earlier flight. I agreed to this thinking it wouldn’t be a big problem but I’d failed to take into account security that wanted to go all through my hand luggage and some stupid extra immigration check. You see my first flight was to Dublin and the UK and Ireland are in the Common Travel Area – once you’re in one there’s no checks when you enter the other. Because I’d gone into the departures lounge (you have no choice) the theory goes you could now be an arrived international passenger with no right to enter the UK/Ireland so they have to check you’re the same person that checked in. All seems unnecessarily complex to me! Why not just have a way of not going into the main departure lounge. Anyway all that meant I only just made the flight – I certainly wasn’t running with my ankle!

Not too much interesting happened in Dublin. They have US pre-clearance and the immigration officer told me I didn’t need a visa, although he agreed better safe than sorry. Not sure how much I believed him anyway – not sure he really understood my situation. There was a small delay while they catered my plane but I was soon on my way to Boston. After some time hanging around Boston, which included a couple of beers, I was on my way to Denver. I spend most of the flight asleep and my sleeping continued on the way back to Kim’s after her and Kyrie had picked me up.

Sunday the plan was to go snow-shoeing. No one had a particularly quick start to the morning – at least I had the excuse of over 24 hours travelling the day before so we didn’t actually spend too much time snow shoeing – especially as we had a couple of young children, Kyrie’s boyfriends children, with us who quickly tired. Still it was thoroughly enjoyable and I’d like to do more in the future although at the time I was mostly quite pleased with not doing much as what with the tiredness, the ankle and the altitude, which I was not yet used to, I’m not sure I could have done much more. Photos are here.

Monday daytime I left to my own devices as Kyrie and Kim were working. About the most exciting thing I did was find the local Subway for lunch. Once Kim had returned from work we went to the local wall for a while, where I past both the belaying and lead tests, and did the first climbing, of any kind I’d done since Jackson Falls. Good points – nice wall, I got to lead, good company. Bad points – the price and my ankle which hurt more than I’d hoped it would. After climbing we went for some food and then headed back to Kim’s and watched some Firefly. I’d seen the pilot when I’d visited Adam and Kate and Kim decided I must see the rest so watching Firefly became a regular occurrence during my time in Denver.

Tuesday was New Year’s Eve. Everyone else was working again so I decided to walk to REI and Best Buy – about an 8-mile round trip. I’d intended to get the bus back but just missed one and then my stubborn streak kicked in so I walked. Didn’t buy anything at either. Did get Chipotle for lunch which upset my stomach a bit – I’ve clearly become less accustomed to hot Mexican food. :-( Once Kim get home we watched some more Firefly before heading over to Kyrie where we joined her and her boyfriend watching more Firefly and drinking. We got kicked out just before New Year (hmmm….) and went back to Kim’s where we saw in the New Year and watched some of the fireworks across the city. Carol unexpectedly called from Vegas to wish me a New Year which was a really nice and totally unexpected surprise.

After being up to about 2 we once again didn’t have the quickest start on New Year’s Day. Once we were finally up we went and joined Kyrie and Patrick (her boyfriend) at IHOP for lunch before Kim and I went for a hike in the hills near her. When we started out it was really quite nice but by the time we finished it was snowing and getting dark. Still had a good time – it was quite scenic – even if I didn’t like walking on ice with my ankle. Definitely think that Kim and Kyrie chose a good place to live what with being on the edge of the city and so near the hills – photographic proof is here. That evening was spent playing games with Patrick and Kyrie. I discovered that the Americans think that Cluedo is called Clue. Wierdos!

Thursday daytime I was back to occupying myself but didn’t get up to anything exciting. The plan had been to go indoor climbing again once Kim was home but she was tired and no one really fancied it so the evening become one of getting Chinese food and finishing watching the Firefly series. The next day Kim had to work again but had had enough quite early in the day so headed home. Kyrie and Patrick were also done early so we all headed out climbing and we managed to get a couple of climbs in before it got dark. Although it was one of Colorado’s more accessible locations I had a really good time, especially as it was my first time outdoors in a while. However the time at my parents and the effects of my ankle showed as I’d last a fair bit of stamina and ended up resting on a 5.7. :-( As well as a nice time climbing there was also a stunning sky around sunset, of which I took far too many photos – there’s also some climbing photos! On the way back from climbing we got food before Kim and I finished my Firefly marathon by watching Serenity. Saturday would see me flying to Canada to start the new job.

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