Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My Solo Trek up Mt. Massive

Mt. Massive
June 25, 2007

What a great hike! The summit of Mt. Massive was my 8th 14er...only 36 to go, haha! Here's a picture of Mt. Massive from the road. The summit is the second peak from the left. The trail I took led me to the saddle between those two peaks to the left, South Massive and Mt. Massive, and then I climbed the ridge north (to the right) to the summit!
Finally on the trail at 8:30 am, I started my ascent. Here I am with a beautiful mountain stream flowing. We've had a lot of snow this winter so there is a lot of melting this time of year in the mountains. I started on the Colorado Trail, but here I go, connecting with the main Mt. Massive Trail.Just above treeline, a great view.
Most of the snow had melted, but there were a couple snow fields I had to trek through. Lucky for me, I wasn't the first to go through : ) There was one snow field closer to the summit that I tried to go through, until I realized that the snow that had been packed down had melted too much and I was falling even further through to my waist. Not a big deal, except for the fact that I was in shorts!! Brrr!

Almost to the summit, this is a picture to the west. And finally, the summit! Check out my crazy hair! It was pretty windy, so I didn't stay at the top for too long. I met a couple who had hiked up the back side and had an adventure of their own, after losing the trail and hitting North Massive before making their way over to the summit. Losing the trail? I have no idea what that's like ; )Mt. Massive's neighbor, Mt. Elbert, the tallest 14er in Colorado.A little mountain goat! Believe it or not, the first one I've ever seen on a mountain!
He was cute : )
This is the trail...flooded from all the snow melting!Some pretty flowers : )
All in all, it was a great day! Unfortunately I neglected to put sunscreen on my legs and incidently, they got fried and I'm paying for it now! But it was worth it! There were some great views, great pictures and a great experience : )

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Court & Donald's Wedding!

Congratulations to my friends! After listening to Courtney,
my former roommate, count down the months, weeks, days and minutes,
they finally made it, Courtney and Donald just got married on June 23, 2007!

Here they are, their first dance as husband and wife.

The head table.
Donald giving a toast to his wife.

Sam, the best man, giving his unforgettable speach..."in Jesus name..."

Three roommates no more! Michelle, Courtney and me.

At the reception...Me, Leah & Sarah

Steph, the Bride, and me (and Layne's finger-lol!)

May God Bless the happy couple in their new marriage for the rest of thier lives together!

Rafting through the Royal Gorge

Here we are, getting ready to go rafting! We drove out in the morning expecting to do some little class 3 rapids, but when we got to the "Lost Paddle" we decided to truly make the most of every opportunity and upgrade to the Royal Gorge and take on those class 5 & 6 rapids, and it was worth it! We almost didn't get wetsuits, but after thinking about it, we decided to go for it, and it's a good thing we did! The water was somewhere in the 50's and the wetsuits definitely shielded us from the cold : )

To the left is Crystal, me, and Leah.

Here we all are (Leah, Parker, Crystal, Jim, me, Heidi and Sara), suited up in our sexy wetsuits and ready to go! Our guide, Jim, was fantastic! He was a ton of fun and we knew that he was in this buisiness because he loves it. So, we hit some really great rapids, and on one, I literally felt like I was about to pop out of the boat, which would have been fun, but I'm glad I didn't! We had beautiful weather, too, and we couldn't have asked for a better day!

After the rapids, we had a bit of drifting time, and Jim said if we wanted, we could jump in and float down the river! We would never pass up an opportunity like that, so in we went!!! The water cold, but so nice and refreshing, too! We floated down the river for a little bit until Jim called us back and dragged us back into the boat. After he pulled us up, he, literally, piled us on top of each other and something about that was so funny to me and I was laughing so hard I couldn't move! I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard-what a great day!

So we had had a great morning rafting and now we were
hungry! So we asked Jim what was good in Canon City and he directed us to this great little family Mexican restaurant for lunch and it was delicious! We ended our meal sharing some yummy fried ice cream. Mmmmm! Parker and Heidi were a little more excited than the rest of us ; )

After lunch, we wanted to find a good place to swim, or at least jump in the river so we went for a walk down the riverwalk, I think it was called, but didn't really find anything mostly because the current was too strong for us to enjoy it. So after a nice leisurely walk, we jumped back in the car to drive to another spot and this one was perfect! Nice and shallow and the current was fairly calm. I put my feet in the water, and swiftly decided that I would not be getting back in the water! It was cooooold!! Leah and Parker, however, were brave enough to jump in while I remained dry on the beach taking pictures : )

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Lost on Huron Peak

Huron Peak

I never thought I'd go through so much for Colorado's third shortest 14er! At 14,003 ft, Huron Peak has been my most difficult 14er thus far, though not because it was a difficult climb, but because not only did we take the wrong trail, but we also got lost on our way back down! So the story begins on Thursday, when Crystal and I set out to conquor another 14er, but it required a true battle and tested us far more that we had anticipated. We hit the trail at 10am and had anticipated on driving two miles up the trail, but it turned out to be far too rocky for my little CR-V, so we parked and started hiking up the road. You can see in the picture above that this is where we made our first mistake. We came to a fork in the road and we, well, let's just say, sometimes it's better not to take the road less traveled by, because that made all the difference!
Not realizing we had gone the wrong way, we were having a wonderful time, and truly enjoying the hike! We couldn't have asked for better weather. In the picture above, we had just summitted our first 13er, not realizing it was a 13er, and boy was that a discouragement! We should have known it was too good to be true. To the right is the second 13er we hit before conquoring Huron on the left.

There it is again, Huron Peak

Here's a shot on our traverse from the second 13er to Huron. Here we come!!

Do you see Crystal? Look closely, down at the bottom in the rocks.

Frightening, huh?! Still a long ways to go...

At last, victory! And it was truly worth it, even if it did take us 6 and 1/2 hours!!

The view of the two 13ers we summitted from Huron.

And now, the decent. We didn't spend too much time at the top because we had no idea how long it would take us to get down. This picture is after all the snow and slush we slid down from the summit. I only slipped once, Crystal was amazing and didn't fall at all! I'm still not sure how we made it down-it was scary!

This was taken right above tree line around where we lost the trail. You can't really see it from this picture, but there was still a lot of snow down here that was melting, creating little rivers below the snow fields. Furthermore, due to all the melting snow, these little rivers were causing us to lose the trail...not good! Anyway, we followed a trail down the mountain until it somehow disappeared, and we were stuck on the wrong side of the mountain. We tried to make our way back across, but it was a very slow process because the slope was getting very steep! We ended up following various deer trails and it was getting late very quickly. We knew we only had an hour or so of sunlight left. Crystal suggested that we go back up to tree line, hopeful to find the trail that way. At least we might have been able to get cell reception. Anyway, long story short, we found our way back to the trail, but not before we had run out of water, that made it rough!

Here the sun is setting behind the mountains. We were close enough at this point and we weren't worried about losing sunlight and we finally made it back to my car at 8:30pm. I don't think I've ever been so excited to see my car! Now that it's over, however, I don't think I would have done it any other way. It was a fabulous hike, with spectacular views and to say it was an adventure would certainly be an understatement. And if you know me at all, you know I live for the adventures of life!

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Week in Virginia!

Yay for Virginia! One week after the last day of school, I flew out to Virginia for a week long vacation, and it was full of fun and adventures! The first part was a four day backpacking trip along the Appalachian Trail.

Here we are at the very beginning, packs packed and ready to go, even Merlin, the dog, has his own little doggie pack! Crysty's on the left, then me in the middle and Jane is on the right.

These are the trail posts telling us we're going the right way.

Thanks to Jane and her fabulous map, we never lost our way : )

Here we are and it's starting to get dark! Luckily, we won't be camping too far from here!

Merlin found this little guy, probably scared the poor thing half to death! Aside from being a little frightened, I think he was ok and was shortly reunited with it's mom.

Stopping to refill our water. Luckily we were hiking by a stream most of the weekend, so that was convenient : )

This is where we stopped for lunch and I think Merlin was pretty tired! The night before, we had a family of deer and probably a variety of other nocturnal critters wandering around our campsite and I don't think Merlin slept much!

Here Crysty and I are splashing our faces with cool stream water, it was hot! We hiked mostly in the shade of the trees, which helped for sure!

These are a couple of group pictures on our last day.

One of the few places that had a nice view of the mountains. Merlin and I are posing for one of our final pics : )

Overall, the trip was a blast, but we were definitely ready to go home after four days : )

On our way home, we stopped at a couple of wineries including the prestigious Linden Vineyard. We had an educational wine tasting upstairs and then signed up for a cellar tour.

Here we are in the wine cellar with our fabulous tour guide, who after we told her about our camping trip, gave us a free glass of wine in celebration! She was sweet : )

We got home Sunday night and then Monday and Tuesday, I got to hang out with my brother Matt. The last time I visited Virginia I didn't get to see any of the sights, so I put my brother through the torture of checking out all the memorials. I got to see the WWII memorial for the first time, and saw some others that I hadn't remembered from when I was a kid. It was great, and I loved getting the time to catch up with my "little" brother : )

The Hope Diamond, a girl's best friend ; )

Tuesday, Matt and I drove up to Charlottesville and he showed me where he and his wife, Courtney, will be living when they move in a week or so, and it was really beautiful! After, we took the afternoon and toured Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. We couldn't have asked for a better day!

That night I met up with some old college friends for dinner and then went back to Jane's for my last night in Virginia. It was a fantastic trip, and I only wish I could go more often! Thanks to all of you who made it a great trip!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Mt. Elbert, my 6th 14er

Well, I successfully summitted my first 14er of the season! And what an incredible one to start with! Apparently, Leadville and surrounding areas had a little storm the night before we drove out there. Initially, we were worried that there'd be too much snow, but it was nothing we needed to worry about. So Friday, June 8th, Crystal, Aviv and I began the drive out to meet the great, Mt. Elbert!

We were on the trail just a little before 9am and began the climb, and a climb it was. So in all the books I read up to arriving at the trailhead, I got the idea that although Elbert is Colorado's highest peak at 14,433, the hike is steady at a Class 1. Well, steady works when describing it as steadily steep! It helped that we met two other groups of hikers on our way up, and they were all really nice and shared some good conversation. It definitely took my mind off the pain of hiking : )

I only wish this picture did justice to how steep the slope was! Oh, and the "summit" you see in this photo is actually a false summit...the true summit is still about 500 ft higher. The first time we were actually able to see the summit was not until we rounded the ridge to the left, I think.

This is the first view of the summit...oh no wait, that's another false summit! We've definitely got more snow though! Luckily, very little, if any postholing : )

Finally! The summit! For real this time...only about 30 minutes to go! Unfortunately, I was still stopping every 20 steps or so...the altitude was killing me!

WE MADE IT!!! And check out that view! Whatever amount of snow they had had the night before really added to the mountains behind us! The weather up there was great by 1:30pm when we summitted, occasional winds and gusts, but we probably stayed up there for a good half hour at least simply enjoying our victory!
Now it's time to go home! Down, down, down we go! Can you see how steep it is?! We met a couple of little critters on our way down too. We actually saw lots of marmots throughout the whole day, but this one was brave and came right up close to us!
I do have a question, however, does anyone know what kind of bird this is? It was moving really slowly and didn't seem to be able to fly, at least it didn't around us. It totally blended in with the rocks too, I never would have seen it except that it started moving right as we were passing it. Interesting.
Anyway, it was a blast and I would recommend this hike to everyone! Thanks for reading my first blog, and I hope you enjoyed it!