Lofty goal setting this week: Mt Elbert. Colorado’s highest and USA #3 behind Denali in Alaska & California’s Mt. Whitney.

Out of work early, rushed home, packed up Ro — destination Leadville CO, 3 hours away.  Weather on the high peaks doesn’t clear for more than half day, even during summer.  And if I’m to complete additional 14ers this year, probably have only 6 more weeks left ’til snow. Packed a throw blanket, pillow, and rested snuggy behind my Prius front seat.  Set the alarm for 5am — living BIG on a Friday nite.  LOL>

5 miles of dirt down Halfmoon Road to our hike start. Took a shot of Saturday morning’s sunrise noticing I was not ‘lone hiker’ today — parking was already half-full.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this place! 🙂

Today’s hike was our most ambitious — not only our highest peak to date but also our longest elevation trek: 4700 feet UP.  After a mile half hike thru lodgepole pines, we cleared treeline and caught first glimpse of the ‘false’ summit — a well-known ‘lesser’ peak, elevation 13,900. Stopped every hour for water and a quick meal break — friends advised this would better refuel my tank vs. holding out for summit lunches.  Goal — happy, healthy, no puke hike day (last 2 weeks have ended with lunch ‘on the trail’).

Enjoyed the company and chatter of many hiking groups on today’s trail.  Ro met 2 other four-legged friends, both well-behaved & carrying their own water on backpacks. I can only dream; my 8-month old is still all over the trail — after black squirrels, marmots and pikas this day.  600 more feet to go — straight UP of course but adrenaline was gonna make this happen.

SUCCESS!  Ro’s 4th 14er summit of 2012 — and they say most dogs are not fit enough for high altitude climbs.  My Ro’s a machine!

Summit pics, short video, quick 10 minute nap…then the treacherous trek down.  Dog on a rope — tied around my waist to slow the energetic tug down [the mountain].  Drop, drop, drop — a steady light rain begins.  All the ingredients/in-the-moment motivation for a fast-paced jog return. Unfortunately, I hampered today’s slog back by emptying my stomach & lost some mojo — 3rd straight week. Argh!

Knowing I couldn’t blink myself home, sent up prayers to my maker and continued steadily down for the next 3 hours — stopping along the way until I was left to nothing but dry heaving.  Pretty visual this week, huh?  Sorry, they can’t all be ROCKSTAR days. An hour nap in the car, then targeted Georgetown — an hour-half away (mid-point) & much-needed, civilized visitors centre.  Water clean-up, quick dog walk, and a 6-inch cold-cut sub for Ro (heated of course), that’s his fav road-trip fast food — lucky dog 🙂

Next morning — showered Ro (just didn’t have the energy nite before), off to church, then paid to get ‘smelly dog’ scent out of the Prius.

Dang, we hiked USA Peak #3 — look at our bad selves.  That said, might take a ‘pass’ on next year’s resolution.  HA!

 


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