Saturday hike day; awesome hike picked out – another 14er.  5am alarm start but woke up in a funk.  Frustrating to have a down day for absolutely no reason.  Rare for me too.  Double argh.

So on this day, relied on Ro to pester me for 2 hours until I donned a ski cap, ate a cup of oatmeal, and bumbled thru packing for today’s day hike.  Beautiful sunshine, cool temps – start of Colorado autumn.

Grays Peak – missed this peak in early July when I climbed its sister Torreys by accident.  Today I know the way – stay left at the trail divide, don’t ask fellow hikers for directions (that’s how I missed Grays the first time…LOL>).

Took the Bakerville exit – just before Eisenhower tunnel.  The Aspens popped bright yellow against a peak backdrop covered with  a fresh dusting of snow…not glacial snow, but actual snowfall.  WOW! that was today’s destination.  And to think only 2 hours earlier I was contemplating lazing at home.  Would have missed out on an amazing LIFE event.  Lackluster attitude goodbye 🙂

Knew to park my Prius midway up the rough dirt road; then a 2 mile hike to Grays Peak trailhead.  Ho, hum.  Strike that – NOT ho hum.  Had I been able to drive UP to the trailhead directly, would have missed out on some amazing colour.  Less than a mile of this hike is at treeline, giving away to dense thicket, followed by tundra & rock.  Still partial to New England fall colour – because there are so many colours – but admit our native Aspens are gorgeous against their evergreen backing.

Two months since our first attempt at Grays; today we barreled up the trail.  Ro & I have since expanded our high altitude lungs and improved our climbing stamina.  Started this hike challenge in January but not ‘til mid-June did my body catch up with my mental desire for more.  Bring it on, I see snow on the horizon!

Half-mile to go and start passing other hikers…chatting it up with a few.  Hikers are an easy-going, centered breed.  We love being outside; we are amazed by the ease, the sheer beauty of nature’s wonders.  Older folks, young guns, families, folks with/without dogs – doesn’t matter – same breed of people, same awe, same self-centeredness.

SNOW…real snow, not glacial snow!  Finally our longest Colorado summer in years is nearing its end.  Sno Ro reemerged, started rooting his nose under the pre-winter covering.  My dog LOVES snow!

UP a little further and SUMMIT SUCCESS!  Our sixth 14er of 2012!

Snapped a few pics and settled behind a rock enclosure, ready for lunch.  Several other hikers summit.  We take turns shooting group pics for one another.  Chris from Iowa/getting married in October, Boris/another guy/his son, 2 Texan college gals who summited their first (and maybe last) 14er (think the elevation got ’em), a super-fit Colorado mom and her 22-year old son…and my favs — a family with their 6 year-old son & 8 year-old daughter.  How cool is that?  PLUS the boy’s name was Keegan — kept thinking his mom was calling me.  A family that hikes together…stays together.  Super inspired!  AMAZING folks!

Three consecutive weeks of big climbs.  13er, 13er, 14er – who I am ?

Welcome to my FAAANNNNTASTIC Colorado life!

 

Grays Peak (summit clip)

 

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