After so much run, run, running – was super happy to touch base with my Fort Collins-based hiking friends & schedule much needed time in the mountains.  Nothing provides more clarity & re-centers the spirit like time on our high peaks.  Cammy listed 4 or 5 14ers on her summer wish list (yeah, she’s pretty hardcore) & I chose Sherman (Blanca Peak is next on my list).

Exactly what I needed.  Biking & swimming will soon be on hiatus as I return to my true love.  Still sticking with this year’s Ironman challenge – at least I’m gonna try – but after August 3rd, you’ll find me in the mountains.  Rainier, Hood, Shasta, Denali – so many West Coast peaks are calling.

Caravanned to Mt. Sherman trailhead Friday night.  Just past Fairplay, first snow.  Couldn’t stop grinning.

The drive ended on rough dirt roads, lotta rocks for a low riding Prius (my next car will be a truck 🙂 ). Cammy & Erik set up camp near a small runoff stream – their huskies Knook & Nikita expected to keep the two warm from blowing wind & 31 degree temps.  I chose the easy way out, unpacked my sleeping bag & slept inside the car.  Blindfolded a shirt over my eyes after struggling an hour in search of darkness – the night’s full moon shone bright.

Woke in time to watch the moon slip beneath the ridge – my first clear vision of the snow-covered peaks.

Packed up, watered up, ready to hike.  Passed an old mining shack, remnants of Colorado past.

Chose to bypass a series of switchbacks & scree scramble UP to the saddle.  SNOW!!  Conditions couldn’t have been any more perfect.  I brought poles this day & easily moved up the ridge.  Wind blew cold, helping to regulate my internal temp (running hot under 3 layers). Straight ahead I could see my first 14er summit of 2014.  Woo-hoo!

Have never felt so strong before on a hike – attribute 50% to mental drive (I really wanted to summit today), the other half to consistent marathon training.  Crazy lung capacity these days.

Summited at 8am – what to do?  How ‘bout descend & climb nearby 13er Mt. Sheridan.  Sheridan was lot more rock scramble (not my fave) but the payoff was the same – that view.  SPECTACULAR!  No bigger rush in life.  Absolutely nothing like it.

Slid down two glaciers (super fun) & examined an old mine shaft on our descent.

Day’s over?  Heck no – it’s not even noon yet.

On our drive return, stopped in Fairplay & toured South Park City – a historical mining town reconstruction from the days of the Colorado Gold Rush.  LOVED it!

Marathon in Duluth next weekend, followed by two triathlons – training for Ironman Boulder.  Most every other weekend between now & Columbus Day, you’ll find me sleeping under the stars anticipating my next climb.

 

Mt Sherman summit

 

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