Today’s hike destination, Mt Princeton – my 14th 14er.  Woo-hoo!

Early 3am Saturday start.  Drove to the Collegiate Peaks near Buena Vista with my friend M, 3 hours away.  Geared up – water, sandwiches, cranberry-almond trail mix & sunblock.  Ready to start the 13 mile trek up this Class 2 mountain.

3 miles to the radio tower, then another half mile to the trailhead turnoff.  REWARD – cool mountain air and the beginning of autumn.  Aspens are turning yellow – fall time in the Rockies (fade in, a John Denver tune 🙂 )

Past treeline, the trail snaked over miles of ‘broken mountain’ – boulder fields.  Rock, rock and more rock.

Lost the trail approx a mile/mile half from summit.  ARGH!  Our only solution – hike UP.

Looking UP 1500 vertical feet, just seemed impossible.

Broke it down in parts.  Ro went off leash as we climbed in short calculated bursts with brief oxygen breaks.  Quick climb to a large rock outcropping, followed by another brief break.  Tough climb.  Kept a good attitude and encouraged Ro up the steep slope. Clapping, cheering, whistling – UP UP UP we climbed.

Almost 2 hours later we popped over the top – maybe 200-300 feet from the summit.  Amazing limit-less day!

Positives – (1) perfect weather, (2) amazing team attitude (made ALL the difference), (3) physically pushed to another level.

Probably my hardest hike mentally – just behind Barr Trail-Pikes Peak in July & my lightning strike on Mt Audubon in Aug 2012.

The REWARD – HUGE boost in self-confidence.  I pushed myself.  I finished.  I can do ANYTHING.

Ended the day with a natural hot springs soak.  Super nice, highly recommended 🙂

 

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