Monthly Archives: August 2014

Labour Day weekend 2014 – what better way to kick off the Fall season than with a 14er hike.  Wait – how ‘bout backpacking followed by two 14er summits.  Sweet!

Because of work obligations, I could not travel down on Friday with my Fort Collins-based hiking friends, Cammy & Erik so woke early on Saturday, loaded the backpack (with newly acquired camping gear) & hit the highway.  Stopping only once along the way, I arrived at Blanca Peak trailhead in under 5 hours (yep, it’s a haul).

Drove a quarter-mile up Lake Como Road & parked – Prius is not the right ride for this extreme off-road trail.

Lake Como Road in the Sangre de Cristos is regarded as one of the roughest in Colorado. Hikers, accessing fourteeners Blanca and Little Bear peaks and Ellingwood Point, hate it. Extreme off-roaders love it.

My 70lb rucksack was crazy heavy.  In addition to a tent, sleeping bag & water, I packed poles, a winter jacket, ski cap, gloves & long johns.  Who doesn’t in August, right?  🙂

Backpack propped on the hood of my car, I slide under the sack thinking this my best approach to stand upright.  100ft down the road, pop – lost 2 straps.  Argh.  Jerry-rigged my tent onto the top of the backpack – off I go again.

7 miles UP.  Really questioned hauling winter gear with starting hike temps in the low 90’s.

Arrived lakeside 5 hours later (welcomed by Cammy & Erik), tent set-up (super easy, thanks Marmot), filled my stomach (dehydrated food packet & hot water), campsite greet by 4 deer, then crashed an hour later.  Early start tomorrow – Blanca awaits!

(After the sun goes down at 12,000 ft, was mighty happy with the jacket & long johns.  Just saying.)

Up at dawn & immediately hit the trail.  Struggled a bit with altitude.  Haven’t climbed high peaks since early July, compensated with extra water intake.

Rock…lotta rock on today’s trek.  Lucky for me, super hiker Cammy blunted skillz on the prior day’s (Class 4) 14er climb (allowing me to keep pace).  Little Bear Friday, Blanca Peak & Ellingwood Saturday.  Seriously HARDCORE.

Abandoned poles & rock climbed the last 500 feet – only scary if you look down 🙂

SUMMIT SUCCESS!  Genuinely stunning, view created by the gods – SPECTACULAR!

Hiked 1,000ft down to Ellingwood junction, said our goodbyes to Erik (ditched us to fly fish) & started navigating a seemingly endless boulder field.  Two misfires, then spotted a descending hiker.  Started climbing UP his direction, gathered advice & just kept at it.  Wasn’t punking out, eye on the prize.  Sooooo much rock.  Lotta short breaks – my stomach was churning (altitude & poor food management – hadn’t consumed enough calories, now couldn’t eat).

10:30am – SUMMIT SUCCESS, 2nd of the day.  FAAAANNNTASTIC!

Lost our way on the trek down.  Climbed back UP, rock traversed & scoured for safe passage down from Ellingwood’s towering rock shelves. Wasn’t pretty but ultimately made our way on trail near Blanca’s base.

Crashed in my tent for the afternoon.  Amazing what sleep can do a body.  Highly recommended.   Downed a 2nd packet of food – refueled, all good now.  Tagged along & watched Erik fly fish at Como – catch n release, fish were a bitin’.

Lack of serving dishes dictated a formal 3 course meal – a camping fiesta.  Hot tea, followed by couscous, followed by Ramen, followed by dehydrated red beans & rice.  Yep, kept re-using the same cup.  LOL>

High altitude air, alpine lakes, sunsets, fly fishing, star gazing, smell of pine, darting marmots & deer.  Absolutely nothing like it in the world.  LOVE LOVE my Colorado life.

 

 

 Blanca Peak summit clip

 

The Ice Bucket Challenge went viral 2 months ago, raising funds & bringing awareness to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Social media feeds have been jammed with ALS challenge videos from family, friends, friends of friends, sports & movie stars, industry leaders & even former US Presidents.

Awesome to see folks from all walks of life doing something selfless, showing a little humility AND donating to a common cause.

Since June, I’ve voyeured in silence, haven’t hit ‘like’ or added Facebook comments – laid low, drawn no attention, thought I’d been spared.  Happy Birthday Keenan! from cousin Chuck & wife Marla – then BAM I was nominated.  Thanks cuz!

Within 24 hours of being challenged, participants have to record a video of themselves in continuous footage.

 

First, they are to announce their acceptance of the challenge followed by pouring ice into a bucket of water. The bucket is lifted & poured over the participant’s head.  Then the participant can call out a challenge to other people. …the participant is expected to donate $10 if they have poured the ice water over their head or donate $100 if they have not.

 

There have now been so many videos – literally thousands – how to make this challenge my own?

Asked Ash & Tom to join me Monday to hike Mount Sanitas in Boulder.  Hit the trail just before 6pm, my bladder bag full of now mostly melted ice (downside of hiking on a work day). Upside?  Hiking on a Monday night – dogs couldn’t have been any happier 🙂

Trekked at a fast clip to summit before nightfall.  BONUS – not only helped raise awareness for ALS but also witnessed a stunning pink sunset, slowly dipping, illuminating the Boulder skyline.  BEE-YOOT-I-FUL!

Thankful for good health & my Colorado life.

 

If you’re also able to give back, here are a few recommended links:

ALS                              http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/ice-bucket-challenge.html

Autism Speaks            http://www.autismspeaks.org/

Juvenile Diabetes      http://jdrf.org/

Multiple Sclerosis      http://www.nationalmssociety.org/

 

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Mount Sanitas

Woke a little stiff after yesterday’s marathon but excited to see sunshine – first in days.  Friday’s attempt at seeing the Tetons ended early, most of the day spent at Visitor Center(s) viewing park films & museum artifacts.

Today with 10 hours before my flight back to Denver, wanted to fit in a hike – the landscape so beautiful, reminiscent of our Colorado Rockies.  And as clouds cleared, snow was visible on the high peaks – first of the season.

Snapped some of my most memorable shots of the trip this morning.  WOW!

Decided on Inspiration Point as today’s hike destination.  Bought a boat ticket across Jenny Lake to cut 2.5 miles off the hike distance.  Jenny Lake, named after a Shoshone guide in 1872, is one of the Park’s largest bodies of water.  That said, the trip across couldn’t have lasted more than 15 minutes.

Stopped a few minutes at Hidden Falls – a half mile UP – then continued on the well defined trail to Inspiration Point.

The quick stairmaster-esque hike & elevation was similar to Boulder hiking but the landscape so more lush. It’s been a wet summer this year in the Tetons; waterfalls & rivers running high, tall Pines & multiple varieties of wildflowers peppered the forest’s green floor.  Only wish there had been more time.

Visiting America’s National Parks highly recommended.

Day after July’s marathon in Missoula I went whitewater rafting, this month I hiked Grand Teton National Park.  Finding creative recovery an active part of marathoning.  A-ok to keep re-setting the bar 🙂

“Keep your dream in front of you. Never let it go regardless of how far fetched it might seem.”

 

 

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