For vacation this year, Trent and I planned a little trip to Colorado. My 30 before 30 list included hiking a mountain and Trent said that the Rocky Mountains are the only mountains that count. With that as our main goal, we also planned to knock a few others out while we were there (i.e. camping and fishing)
We headed out Monday morning so we could make the drive to Leadville, Colorado in the mountains. The plan was to camp, which I was less than excited about, but again, it was on my 30 before 30. We set up camp at Turquoise Lake, with our site backing up to a mountain stream. It was a fun campsite with mountains all around, a beautiful lake and state of the art mother nature all around.
This is my “I’m happy to be camping, but it’s a little chilly” face…
Trent is a real trouper camping (actually, maybe I am the trouper), but either way since he is the camping enthusiast in the marriage, I basically let him do it all…the cooking, the tent set up, the clean up. If I help too much I’m afraid we will have to camp more regularly! He is happy when he is one with nature.
Our campsite…nothing but us and God’s creation.
The first two days were spent fishing and exploring the area around Leadville. There were lots of scenic spots to check out.
My first fishing license…I have yet to catch my first fish, but there’s always next time, right?
Camping was fun. We were roughing it. While camping I learned that a vaulted toilet is a fancy name for an outhouse…don’t be fooled. For 2 nights I was good. More than 2 nights and I would have complained more than I already did. :)
After two nights of camping we headed to Frisco to stay at the Holiday Inn. I was excited for a shower and nice warm bed. Then, on Thursday we ventured out and took the scenic route to Aspen to explore. It was fun being able to stop off where we wanted along the way and explore or hike a little.
Independence Pass – the high point on the highway. Elevation 12,096 feet…
It gets a little chilly when you are way up there…
There really were a lot of Aspens near Aspen…I like big aspens and I cannot lie!
Friday was the big day…we set out bright and early to hike Mount Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado and the second highest peak in the lower 48. It was a perfect day for hiking as it was warm and sunny with a light breeze.
Quite honestly, when I told Trent I wanted to hike a mountain, in my head I was picturing hiking in the mountains like we had done before. I never expected to climb to the summit of the highest mountain in Colorado, but I guess the Laune family motto could be, “Go big or go home.” We went big. And I think that we would both agree that it was way harder than we expected. First, starting out, I was pretty sure that I was going to die. We were constantly going up, up, up (I know, what did I expect, it’s a mountain). However, once we got above the tree line I started feeling a little better. There were frequent breaks, but we were making progress slowly, but surely. At one point I really felt like we were getting close. There was a lady coming down the mountain so I decided to ask her if we were getting close. To my surprise, she laughed at my question. I think that was my answer. The she went on to explain that what I could see was actually a false summit. Once we reached the top of that, there was another steep climb to the top. I think I can, I think I can. We got up and continued on our way. At no point did I want to quit or turn around, but I definitely just wanted to be at the top. As we climbed the false summit it was so steep that I literally had to bear crawl so I would not tumble over backwards. At one point we were stopping about every 10 to 15 feet for a break because it was that exhausting. However, finally, we made it to the top!
All the hard work was worth it. It seemed like you could see forever from the top…
The view from the top…
Mount Elbert…Elevation 14,433
I came. I saw. I conquered…
So did Trent…
The journey down was a breath of fresh air compared to going up. Going up, there was literally no air!
Back down at the bottom after a 7 hour round trip hike. As you can see from the dark clouds, a storm moved through when we were on our way down. It was actually sleeting on us as we were still at pretty high altitude. Then came the thunder and lightning. The only time I almost cried on the hike was when simultaneously thunder rumbled as I stubbed my toe on a rock. I think it would have been justified, but Trent agreed that I recovered quickly. We did see one good strike of lightning down below us and heard from other hikers that they felt their hair stand up. Thank goodness no one was hurt. You can’t mess with Mother Nature.
Mount Elbert in the distance…
By the time we got back to the hotel Trent was already planning our next trip to Colorado and which 14’er we would hike next. At that point I was telling him that he would be doing it solo, however, I am starting to warm up to the idea of another hike. Next time I will train with hills and heavy incline on the treadmill.
…Round Trip Statistics…
License plate game: 40 States
States Visited: 5
Pairs of Sunglasses I went through: 3
30 Before 30’s Completed: 6
All in all it was a fun and memorable trip.
Summer is fun. Summer is busy. Summer is my favorite.