97 degrees.  Been a hot week at 5500ft.  Solution?  Go higher 🙂

5 days after my disappointing Bighorn retreat, HIKE weekend.  Chicken soup for the brain.

Friday drive after work, 3 hours to Leadville on the Continental Divide.  (first time ever) Rented a Ro-friendly cabin just north of town.  Pup & I would hit it hard early a.m. – but not too early.  Taking advantage of the area’s cool mountain air, good sleeping weather.

Backpack, boots, multiple shirts (I hike in layers), whole lotta water.  8am start, trailhead parking already FULL.  Found a spot quarter-mile away on the road to Massive.  Today’s hike destination: Mt. Elbert, first 14er of 2017.  FAAANNNTASTIC!

Summitted this peak in 2012.  Not a technical hike, but remember it being one of the longest.  Tallest peak in Colorado, 2nd highest in the lower 48.  This early in the season (mid-June), just happy to ferret out a hikeable peak.  Heavy snow season.

3 false summits, whole lotta up-n-down.  Challenging but doable, did my online research.  Almost 4 miles of treed wildlife: ground squirrels, chipmunks & (surprisingly) a flock of prairie hen.  Kept Ro tethered to my belt – he’s a big FAN of chicken ❤

UP UP UP, water break.  Different set of muscles used [vs marathoning].  UP UP UP, ‘nother water break.  the Scenery?  No comparison.  Thin air, wildflowers, intermittent tuffs of green – life finding a way above 12,000ft.

False summit snacked.  Took in the panorama, circled by mountains & snow pocked tundra.

1100ft of vertical to go.  UP UP UP, ‘cross a large snow field.  Teeny tiny people visible high above, our first summit view.  Let Ro romp in last winter’s remnants but kept Pup leashed.  Season change/high altitude sun, unexpected crevasses/cornice breaks.

400ft more, SUMMIT SUCCESS!

Pulled a jacket out of the backpack & hunkered behind a large boulder.  Chicken jerky for Pup, Turkey avocado for Dad.  Long hike back – best part?  No return drive ‘til morning.  Weekend cabin rental, highly recommended – even Ro got a bath 🙂

 

 

Mt Elbert 2017

 

 

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