mountain

Semi-Hiking Mt. Huron

Although my bum old lady knees kept me from completing several of the hikes I wanted to this summer, that doesn’t mean I didn’t try. Well… at least it doesn’t mean that I didn’t go along for the ride. Late July Matt set his sites on Mt. Huron, at 14,003 foot peak just outside of Buena Vista and Granite, Colorado. While he got up at sunrise to set out for the summit, I slept in an extra two hours (maybe the only silver lining of these knee problems, if it can even be considered a silver lining) before attempting whatever portion of the hike I could do before my knees started to hurt.

I wasn’t sure how far I’d make it, but as it turns out, it wasn’t far. I got about a mile before the throbbing began and I made the decision to sit and wait in the sun until Matt started his decent and reached me. But, what I did get to see was absolutely breathtaking. What pains me so much about having to stop, is Matt reached the peak and told me it was the most beautiful view of any 14er he has climbed. #fomo #megafomo

When I’m sorted I’ll have to go back to see for myself.

Here’s the view we were met with driving in the night before:

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It was a gorgeous day – maybe the best weather I experienced all summer. Which obviously completely rubbed in the fact that I couldn’t fully participate. But I got to enjoy the coolness of the tree cover and climb over several creeks and brooks that lined the trail.

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I realize these just look like big rocks, but their colors and their imposing size were something to take in on a summer Saturday.

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Don’t let my smile fool you, I was saddened on the news of the views from the summit. But I guess it’s not a huge surprise. Fortunately my discovery of newly bloomed wildflowers and their bumble bee counterparts colored the mood. And then of course there’s the photo of the victor post mountain conquering.

It’s also worth noting that the drive to the trailhead is full of fantastic Colorado moments. From killer camp spots – to historical ghost towns that used to be booming mining metropolises – to a crystal blue lake that was incredible for hawk-spotting, the trek is worth the views.

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From Telluride to Denver | Ophir Pass

Back to Telluride this year for the Bluegrass Festival. Amazing times ensued. The Punch Brothers (who cover Reptillia here… and I like it) and Andrew Bird were fantastic and totally killed it (as expected).

Everything about the Telluride Bluegrass Festival is wonderful: an incredible, surreal location (upon arrival, my friend John appropriately asked, “Is this real life?”), a gorgeous town, great music, a relaxing and community-oriented crowd, and this year, a wonderful group of friends to share the experience with.

Props to Matt, Ryan and DDoll for waking up early to participate in the tent rush to secure us a prime spot for the day that allowed us to lay back and relax with an unobstructed view of the stage. Lazy Days Telluride.jpg Telluride Bluegrass Festival Jumping in Telluride.jpg Telluride Post-Bluegrass.jpg Totally stole a couple of these from Danielle (who documents her Colorado adventures here). Thanks for capturing some of these Telluride moments, DD Mack. :)

As we embarked on the ride home Sunday we decided to forego the direct route and take a scenic pass home.

The ride started smoothly in the town of Ophir (population 113)… but as we headed up the Ophir Pass, the narrow roads and loose rock (we’re talking… should this loose rock give out we will surely plummet to our deaths) was a little too much for me to handle. #whiteknuckles #lastrites #keepthecarontheroad

Props #2 to Ryan for keeping his cool and getting us through the pass without falling off the road. I owe you one. Telluride Pass Telluride Ride Home Okay… this might not look scary, but I swear it was really steep off the side and it felt like we were really close to the side. Fortunately there were pretty things to look at that semi-distracted me. Semi. Okay maybe I’m just being dramatic.Long Way Down Telluride Drive Home The View Below (above) The town of Ophir in the valley below. (below) Reaching the top of the Ophir Pass. Ophir Pass Cross on Ophir Pass Creek on Ophir Pass (below) A view of the road through the canyon. Shot of the Road on Ophir Pass Ryan and D on Ophir Matt & I on Ophir Pass We were rewarded with our efforts to get through the pass by a surprise mega-waterfall. We stopped to catch our collective breath and unclench our buttcheeks… and take touristy photos.

I can’t say I will revisit Ophir Pass any time soon, but I CAN say I’ve checked it off my list and, retrospectively, it was awesome.

Frozen Dead Guy Days | Nederland

Every March in Nederland, Colorado, the most bizarre festival takes place: the Frozen Dead Guy Days.

As the legend goes, for the last 25 years a man (affectionately referred to as Grandpa Bredo) has been cryogenically frozen in a Tuff Shed in Nederland, awaiting the technology to be reanimated and return to life on Earth. The legend is long, interesting, and dramatic. If you’re interested, you can read about it here.

That said, every year Nederland celebrates this frozen celebrity by throwing Frozen Dead Guy Days – a giant, dead guy-themed party in what’s otherwise a quite mountain town. Matt and I headed up this year and will return to do it right next year. We missed most of the action – arriving much later than anticipated – but still witnessed the rowdy crowd, frozen turkey bowling, and enjoyed a beer or two at Very Nice Brewing Company.

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As seen at Frozen Dead Guy Days – March, 2014 – Nederland, Colorado.

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Note to self: next year, wear a costume. And water resistant shoes.

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Very Nice Brewery

Mount Massive & Mountain Goats

April and May this year were on the chilly side, and June was downright rainy. It’s an understatement to say the weather this summer has been off, and between wet weekends and some knee problems for Matteo, our summer hiking season is off to a late start. We hope to remedy that this weekend, with an aim to climb Mt. Elbert in the Sawatch Range on Friday.

The last 14er we conquered was also in the Sawatch Range: Mt. Massive. The peak of Mt. Massive actually overlooked Mt. Elbert, and if the views from Elbert – which I believe is the highest 14er peak in Colorado – are anything like Mt. Massive’s, then we have a reason to climb.

Massive was the last 14er we did last year in late August, and despite an early start we didn’t reach above tree line levels until after the early afternoon clouds began rolling in. Fortunately, they were something to look at.

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Unfortunately, they had the ability to throw us off completely on how close to the peak we actually were. Several breaks ensued.

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Mt. Massive is the second highest 14er, and the trail begins in the lush San Isabel National Forest. The trail is 8 miles round trip (climbing from the trailhead at 10,500 feet to the peak at 14,421 feet), and the first 1.25 miles you wander through bushes along a river through a peaceful forest. A scenic start to an all around scenic hike.

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The obligatory photo at the peak.

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This hike was a little unique compared to other 14ers I’ve done – specifically due to the amount of wildlife we encountered along the trail.

While resting and refueling at the peak I noticed that we were being approached by a mountain goat – I’m guessing it was a nanny lady-goat from the horn size, but what do I know – and her baby. Listen, I know pretty much all wildlife Hulks out when they have babies around, and I have to say, upon seeing these two bounding up the peak like it was no big deal and approaching us without fear, I was more than a little nervous. I mean, look how tiny the baby is.

Some folks from out of state were on the peak with us, and actually started moving toward the pair – which I tried to express wasn’t a great idea. They got the picture when momma goat juked at them full-speed as Matt and I cautiously were backing away. But not before we got a few pictures to document this special encounter.

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I never cease to be amazed at the things we get to do with our weekends in Colorado. Although incredibly unconditioned and starting my hiking season well into the year, the prospect of gorgeous views and encounters like this will hopefully propel me to the peak this weekend. God speed to myself and my fellow out-of-shape adventurers.

colorado makers farm tour

Life has been nothing short of, in a word, exhausting. Fortunately, in 15 short days I’m headed on a much needed vacation.

That said, if I weren’t going to be gone, this is where I’d be: The Colorado Makers Harvest Party & Farm Tour. Like, for real.

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calibron

As I mentioned, last summer, I completed my first 14er when I hiked to the top of Mt. Democrat.

Democrat is part of the “Decalibron” trail – a trail that passes through the peaks of four 14ers: Mt. Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, and Bross. We went back this past weekend to tackle the rest of Decalibron. #Calibron

I have no idea how long it was, or how much elevation we gained, but I CAN tell you that I’ve slept soundly the last three nights, and my legs are just now recovered from being tired tired tired. I will also note that It’s a very strange feeling to be what I can only describe as “Mountain Hopping” – knocking out three in a day. A strange feeling, indeed.

1 - Cameron's Up there! 1 - Climbing Cameron 1 - View from Cameron1 - Cameron

View from the top of Mt. Cameron! Now, off to Lincoln. This particular hike is GREAT for anyone who easily loses their way on trails. The entire way the trail is very distinct and visible. See below – from the top of Cameron you can see your way all the way to the next peak!2 - Headed to Lincoln2 - trail to lincoln

2 - Mt Lincoln Seal

At the top of 14ers there SHOULD be geological markers (if you can find them). I was only able to track down the marker at the top of Lincoln. I love them so so much. It’s like finding a little piece of treasure where you’d least expect it. 2 - Lincoln Summit TWO! Summitted Lincoln! And off to Bross…

3 - Trail to Bross

Again, off to Bross following a totally defined trail. Check it out moving all the way off to the left.

photo-83 - BrossFinally made it, and not a moment too soon. Gorgeous. Exhausting.

3 - Mt Bross Summit3 - Bross Summit 4 - Long road down

The one really difficult portion of this hike was the way back down. Just when my legs thought they couldn’t take anymore, I forced them to do more. Returning to the base down the back of Mt. Bross you follow a trail that’s under reconstruction – i.e. you follow a trail that is loose rock, narrow, and pretty steep for a really, really long time. The dogs were barking.

4 - Nearing the bottomView from the bottom! Phew! Glorious glorious flat land!


dryer thoughts

Last summer, Matt and I hiked Mt. Democrat, the first 14er on the Decalibron trail – which ultimately leads you to the summit of four 14ers. It was my first 14er, so we skipped the final three, and took Peak 1 as a well-earned victory.

This summer, we’ve made it a goal to tackle the last three, and have planned to do so for like, the last 4 weekends. But, without fail, at the end of every week the weather in Alma shows nothing but thunderstorms lasting the entire weekend. So we’ve skipped it… until now.

Matt is determined to finish Decalibron this weekend no matter what. And guess what, it’s predicted to thunderstorm all weekend again. When I told him the news last night, he told me (in fewer words) to pack a raincoat. Hrumph.

So, I’m asking everyone to send dry thoughts this way. Not for forever (because we sure do need all this good good water), but just for Saturday morning, to keep my tootsies dry and my body unelectrocuted.

Thanks.

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