hiking

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

 

 

Dropped Ash & Tom at DIA, their next stop: Reykjavik, Iceland.  [after work] returned to pick up Marty, my first (& only) grandpup.  Year-half living with Ro, knew this 2-week reunion would be appreciated by both.  BROs reunited!

Spoiled?  Well…maybe a little.  Pup-Peroni snacks, hot dogs, fried eggs each morning.  Eggs are good for their coat, right? 🙂

Short work week, family & friends now gone, weekend plans?  A June SNOW hike…of course.  Travelled north to Brainard Lake, short 45 minutes away.  Generally roads open Memorial Day weekend.  No such luck this year.

Originally had hoped to hike Lake Isabelle.  2 mile jaunt to Brainard, beautiful sunshiny skies.  Lotta hikers.  Brainard still half-frozen.  Kicked back & people watched.  BIG smiles from BOTH pups.  Ro loves the snow, Marty loves to hike.

Circled ‘round Brainard.  Met by a wall of snow.  No Isabelle in today’s hike forecast.

Home returned via Nederland.  In-town cell reception, received another batch of texts from Iceland.  Wouldn’t trade our Colorado snow hike…but this particular weekend, think I got aced by Daughter.  Volcanic hot springs, Icelandic ponies, oceanside boulder hike, spelunking & whale watching – that doesn’t include a 2-day jet set to London.  Well done Ash.  Nothing left undone.

 

 

Ash & Tom’s Icelandic Adventure

 

 

Alarm came early, morning after the wedding.  Hike day!  But first, another 4 mile trek along Silverthorne’s Blue River Trail (’cause every day’s a run day).  Altitude, check.  Thin air, check check.  Guilted Sis into joining me.  St. Louis has peaks, right?

Clothes change, backpack, piled into the Grecos SUV rental – heading UP.

The Buffalo Mountain Trail is fairly short but strenuous, gaining over 3000′ in just 2.75 miles. Portions of the trail negotiate steep switchbacks and rugged talus fields above treeline, which require careful time management and equal exertion on the descent.

Short quarter-mile trek thru lodgepole pine then SNOW.  Entire Greco family on today’s hike PLUS Stephen (working next week from Colorado).  Sis & nephew Jack went out fast.  In theory, niece Victoria doesn’t hike – she’d finish the same snow trek UP UP UP, all while holding a GoPro.  Despite the snow, sun blazed warm.  Perfect hike weather.  The trail itself, crazy steep.  Snow, snow melt, ice.

 N39 37.217 W106 07.809 — 1.5 miles : Rapid climb through high subalpine forest

Breathe.  Hike.  Suck down more water…and hike again.  Snow to the left, snow to the right, surrounded by pine – but the path always UP UP UP.  Never reached a point where the trail leveled off.  Going back was crazy fun.  Mix of slide, backside & feet.

For the record – I’m the one who called it.  No mas.  PLUS we’ve got afternoon plans 🙂

Splash bath in the hotel public restroom (already checked out of my room).  Saved a table in Frisco while Team Greco took proper showers.  Lunch choice: Greco’s Pastaria.  Seemed fitting (‘though we failed to receive any ‘Greco family’ discount) 🙂

Day’s last activity: Frisco Escape Room.

Colorado’s Favorite Historically Inspired Escape Room!

Frisco Escape Room is a fun, challenging, immersive, interactive game experience taking place every day. While it looks like an ordinary room, it’s actually a puzzle. During your adventure in our escapes, you will find yourself flexing your brain and looking in nooks and crannies you never even noticed. Find the hidden objects, figure out the clues and solve the puzzles to earn your freedom. You have a limited amount of time, so be quick!

Entered the room, received our instructions.  No cameras, phones allowed.  Timer started & the game began.

In 1898 Pug Ryan and his gang robbed the Denver Hotel on Main St. in Breckenridge making off with considerable loot. The men fled to a cabin in Kokomo where they were soon caught up with by two lawmen. A shootout ensued, resulting in the death of Pug’s partner and both lawmen. Pug narrowly escaped leaving behind his ill-gotten gains. Ten years later, school children stumble upon the treasure while having a luncheon on Jacque Mountain. Among the loot, was the gold pocket watch that belonged to Robert Foote, the owner of the Denver Hotel.

 

The year is 1908. You’re a miner who’s been down on their luck. You’ve just heard that some school children have found the loot from the Denver Hotel heist. Rumor is that they have stashed it in the schoolhouse until they can get it back to Mr. Foote. Can you sneak into the classroom and steal the watch while the kids finish their luncheon?

Locked in a 1908 schoolroom.  Blackboard, desks, lockers.  US Map & The Periodic Table, hung from the wall.

Tick, tick, tick.  10 minutes in, nothing.  Bell rang, timer revealed a hint.  Closer on the 2nd clue.  Bell rang again, ARGH – soooo close, seemed so obvious.  Clues progressively got harder.  At the same time, we grew stronger/more intuitive/worked together as a Team.

Periodic table — NINE — 3rd # of the combination lock.  Got it!

  • N – Nitrogen
  • I – Iodine
  • Ne – Neon

School books found inside each desk.  Puzzle piece on top of the lockers, placed over page 53 in ‘Treasure Island’ revealed 4 letters, to be used on an alpha lock, drawer in the Teacher’s desk.  Inside?  Answer key to the students’ history tests.

That’s it, no more spoilers.  Locked in an old schoolroom with family – absolutely the BEST!!

 

 

Buffalo Cabin Trail  (short video before GoPro died — thanks Victoria!)

 

 

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