Well my friends, it's been a while since my last Colorado adventure. I've been uber busy with weddings, birthdays, applying for my next license in social work (which has been a timely, frustrating and expensive process) and just life in general. I am super excited to share my latest adventure, which took place last Friday. And oh what an adventure it was!
Had I known it would take my buddy Meg and I eight and a half hours to hike our first 14er of the season, I might have chosen a different activity that day. Nevertheless, the endless adventures in the mountains are undoubtedly my most favorite thing about living in Colorado, despite what kind tribulations they might bring. For those of you not familiar with the term "14er", it is basically any mountain over 14,000 feet. They are very popular here in Colorado. Most people hike them, crazy people run up them, ice-pick up them, and even ski up then down them! It is 14,000+ feet of pure hell in some cases as the terrain can be rocky, very steep, and the weather can change rapidly. Combine all that with the psychological effects of the altitude (dizziness, confusion, deliriousness), and you have your day cut out for you. I believe there are 50 some 14ers in Colorado.
Thunderstorms are likely to occur in the afternoon which is why most people choose to get an early start. We left at 5 am and were on the trail by 7 am; however, there are those who start their hike at midnight to catch the sunrise, which I can imagine is like probably one of the coolest things one could ever do. I hope to do that one day.
Luckily, we did not get caught in a thunderstorm; however, we DID get caught in a few snowstorms! Thanks to our dear friend Lara, who was adamant in making sure we were adequately prepared for such likely weather, we had no problem getting to the top! Honestly, I was not even thinking about a snowstorm. If it wasn't for her I probably would have showed up in yoga pants and a sweatshirt and consequently probably would have died. Sooo thank goodness for good friends! (Just kidding about the dying part, at the most would have been completely and utterly miserable).
Here is a little photo shoot of our little adventure:
|Meg! Circa an hour into our trip.|
|These guys were amazing! Hiking in their ski boots with their skis attached to their backs! Not to mention the one on the right is 50+ years old and a total bad ass with his hat turned sideways.|
|That's me trying to not fall over.|
|Potentially treacherous situation.|
|Here are our friends from a distance, skiing.|
|I saw my first avalanche (from a distance, thankfully). SO effing COOL!|
This. This little bitch of a hill in the picture below was PURE hell. Due to the lack of visibility of the trail because of the snow, we basically just scaled the side of the mountain. No big whoop.
|Taking a break.|
|Oh, and this is me dying.|
|Me dying, again.|
|Took this picture while dying, most likely.|
|So many boulders. It looks like you are so close. Alas, you are not.|
|FINALLY! Made it to the top of Gray's Peak!|
|Alive and well at the top of 14,278 feet!|
|Doing some Asian thing Meg always does wherever she goes.|
Well deserved celebratory beers: