Monday, July 30, 2007

Wet, Wet, WET!

Crestone Lake, Crestone, CO
July 28-29, 2007
What a great and unforgettable weekend! As some of you know, I set out with a couple friends to hike Kit Carson and Challenger Point this past weekend, but what most of you do not know, is that we climbed the wrong mountain! I'm almost embarassed to say, but the trail to Kit Carson and Challenger was very well marked and quite obvious, in fact, and yet, we still missed it! I think our eyes must have been closed, or something! Anyway, despite the fact that we did not end up accomplishing what we had set out to do, it was still a great weekend! Aaron, Matthew and I met Heather at the trailhead at about 3:30pm on Saturday afternoon and by 4pm we were loaded up and ready to go! The plan was to backpack up to a lake on the trail, and camp Saturday and summit Kit Carson and Challenger Point on Sunday. Here's what we did instead...
To be honest, I didn't take too many pictures on the hike up because, well, we ran into a bit of rain. And when I say "a bit", I mean steady rain for at least an hour. And a lot of good my rain jacket did, I was soaked to the bone from head to toe! My rainpack cover, on the other hand, kept my pack and all my gear perfectly dry! Luckily, it wasn't that cold out, as long as we kept moving, which made the hike up relatively enjoyable. The trail was fairly remote and didn't seem to be well traveled which was nice, but that also meant even when it stopped raining, we'd get soaked brushing past the plants and trees along the path, it was great ; ) It was wonderful! I remember at one point, Aaron asked, "Are anyone else's feet going squish squish?" We hiked for a couple hours, trying to follow the directions we had printed out, but it was not matching up with the trail we were on, and it had us pretty confused. We finally made it to a lake, the one we thought was the one we had planned to camp at, but it was not! The map had a picture of a huge waterfall with cliffs, and there were neither. Again, confusion... We ended up deciding to hike down away from the lake to camp and there we started a little fire and after about an hour and a half, we were almost completely dry! Unfortunately, I had also laid my socks out to dry, and you can see to the right, one of them got a little too close! Around the campfire, we talked about what we would bring next time...extra socks, fire starter, rain pants, etc...all things we had left at home, oops!! Above is the view from our campsite of the sunset. You can see the lingering clouds that had unloaded on us just a short time before. Gotta love Colorado in the summer!
So the next day, we woke up with the sun, made a small fire, had some breakfast and started discussing what we were going to do for the day. Would we leave our big packs and continue with our day packs hoping to summit something? Take everything in hopes we find the trail we were supposed to be on, summit and then take that one down? We didn't really know what to do, so we decided to just take our day packs and hope for the best. I think we were tired from hiking up with our big packs already. I know I was ready to shed mine! Anyway, so we hiked back up to the lake and as it was a much clearer and sunnier day, I got some great pictures which you can see below. As I said before, Sunday was a much nicer day and it was far more enjoyable to hike dry than drenched : ) So, there's not much else to tell, but it was definitely a great experience, I love the adventures that hiking can bring. Even though we never made it to the top of a couple 14ers, I found a beautiful, peaceful place that I will love to go back and visit again!

More Pictures

Another view of the South Crestone Lake (below)

Waterfall on the hike down

As the sun came out, all the rain that had come the night before evaporated creating beautiful misty clouds. It was incredible!

Not sure if this peak even has a name, but it sure looks majestic!

Another waterfall on the way down. I missed taking pictures of so much because of the rain!

Drying my feet by the fire

This is the map of the area where we were. We started at the "TH" at the very bottom where it says South Crestone Lake. We should have gone straight to the right to Willow Lake and then to Challenger Pt. and Kit Carson Mtn., but instead went left to S. Crestone Lake. We weren't anywhere close! *sigh* No worries, another adventure for another day!

These were some mountain goats we saw on the drive down.

Here's the sign we totally saw on the way up, and yet still went the wrong way!

Looks like we left just in time...this is the storm that was coming in just as we were leaving...yikes! I'd have hated to be caught in that!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Visiting Family, a week in New York!

Pictures from New York!
I had so much fun visiting with my sister and her family and
got some great pictures of my niece and nephew.

Making blueberry pancakes with Jake, yum!

Jacob, the artist!

Going for a trike ride!

nephew & aunt : )

Swinging, swinging...

The adorable Katie!

Girls night out! Heather's laughing b/c I'm beating her in Scrabble...well, sort of ; )

Thank you, Tom, for watching the kids so Heather and I could have a "sister's day"! We drove up to Olde Forge for the day! Here we are at the trail head of our first hike of the day...check out the summit elevation! All of 2,225 ft...whew!!

At the summit.

Canoeing! Just a couple of "Nellie" girls out on the lake!

So the water was a little too choppy to stay out on the lake, so we decided to head in early and went for another hike. We made it to the waterfall...or water-trickle. A great hike, though, and great sister time!

Mommy and baby : )

Mommy and son : )

Jacob at gymnastics! Such a little monkey!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mt. Yale and the near death experience...

Mt. Yale, 07.08.07

I see it's time to catch up a bit, I forgot that I hadn't posted my experience summitting Mt. Yale, and my near death experience! Well, not really, but it was close! The picture to the right is Yale from the top of Harvard the day before. If you look really close, you can see Jodi, Mae and Lexi hiking ; )

So just the day before Heather and I had spent 15 hours hiking Harvard and Columbia, but I had it in my head that I was going to do Yale that weekend too! Heather opted to go home, check out her blog to see what she had accomplished the weekend before and you'll know why she went home Saturday. But anyway, Saturday night, I drove to the trailhead and turned in for the night-I was out like a light! I had a nice long rest in my car and then finally decided to get going and was on the trail by 7:45am. It was a little later than I would have liked to start, but I needed the rest! So the first part of the trail was really nice, lots of trees, and the flowers were breath-taking!

This was definitely one of the more scenic trails I've been on all summer! It really made hiking alone a lot nicer.

Somewhere around 9am I broke above treeline and got my first glimpse of the summit. Yeah Yale, here I come!! (I'm not sure what kind of face I'm making, I think I was just trying to get myself and all of Yale in the picture!

There were quite a few people on the trail that day, including a group of 7 or 8 hikers with, if I remember correctly, 5 dogs with them! It was great! If you know me, you know I love dogs and it was fun because we kept leap-frogging each other and their dogs did great! Just goes to show there are well behaved dogs, and owners, for that matter!! Maybe that'll be me one of these days...

Getting back to the trail, which was quite steep by the way, I continued trekking onwards, and finally got up to the ridge, and everyone that had passed me on the way back down said once you got to the ridge, it was much easier, so needless to say, I was relieved, however, only for a moment. I realized quickly that the wind was picking up and that the storm clouds that had been gathering were getting closer and soon, it started to snow. Yes, it was the beginning of July and it was snowing! Granted, I was somewhere around 13,000+ feet, but still! I was not ready for this! I put on every layer of clothing I had and the wind was still getting to me! I climbed over to the other side of the ridge where it wasn't so windy and continued to climb. I reach the first false summit, if you can really call it that and by then the snow had stopped and there was very little wind, thankfully. However, as I stood looking to the summit a roar of thunder came out of seemingly nowhere! I had not seen any lightening or heard any thunder prior to this. I quickly scrambled down out of harms way. I sat, guarded by the rocks for a moment, comtemplating what I should I'm not one to give into "summit fever" but it was killing me to be so close (less than 10 minutes to the summit) and turn around giving up the summit for that day. A couple of hikers passed me coming down from the summit, and I asked them how the clouds looked from the summit and where they were going. I was encouraged when the one guy said that the clouds were actually moving away from the summit and if I waited it out maybe five minutes or so, I'd be in the clear! Woohoo!! Just the news I wanted to hear! So I took his advise, waited five minutes or so, and then went for it. And just as he had said, the summit was clear and the clouds were quickly moving away. Even though the storm had passed, I didn't know what was in store for the rest of the afternoon so I only stayed on the summit long enough to get a couple of pictures and then scrambled down. As you can see, I replaced my yellow "Life is good" hat with my was cold up there! The other picture is of the storm that had just a short time before been hovering over the summit of Mt. Yale. The rest of the descent was quite windy, threatening snow the whole way and it held off until I reached timberline. I finally made it back to the trailhead around 3pm. That was the first time I'd ever hiked three peaks in two days! It was great, I'm glad it's over and I can't wait to do it again : )

Monday, July 9, 2007

Harvard & Columbia:The Longest Hike of my Life!

07-07-07, an epic date with an epic adventure to go along with it! Saturday morning, my friend Heather and I set out from the N. Cottonwood Trailhead with Harvard and Columbia on our minds for the day. We met at 4am and were on the trail by 4:11am. It was a little chilly, great for hiking but by the time the sun came up, we were ready to be warmed by it's rays! To the right is Mt. Columbia as seen from Harvard's summit ridge.
You can't really see the sign, but Mt. Harvard is to the we go!

We didn't take too many pictures on the way up, but here we are on the summit of Harvard. We arrived at 9:01am.

Mt. Columbia and the traverse from the Mt. Harvard summit. We actually went down in the basin on the other side of the ridge. I think the real trail was supposed to stay closer to the ridge, but we made the mistake of following the people in front of us. We ended up practically sliding down because it was so steep. There were a ton of loose rocks and at times, I thought I might end up in a rockslide! I was able to avoid some of the loose rock and ended up literally climbing down parts of it...well I always wanted to go rock climbing!

Here are a couple pics from the traverse. Truthfully, it was pretty miserable, but one of those good experiences. It really started to get scary when the storm clouds started rolling over Columbia's ridge. The only problem was that the only way back to our cars was over that ridge. We had two options, we could hang out and wait for the storm to pass, or keep going and hope for the best! As it turned out, the clouds only hovered over Columbia for about 30 minutes and then started to move South, it was great-truly the answer to prayer!

We had slowly descended the ridge of Harvard and came up across this little pasture, and with the mountains all around, it was very Sound of Music-esque.

Finally, at 4:09pm, 6 hours and 38 minutes after we left Harvard's summit, we conquered Columbia!! In the background, you can see Harvard.

This picture is from the summit of Columbia. These are the storm clouds that were only a short time before, stuck over Mt. Columbia. We even saw lightening, it was amazing! I do need to point out that we were perfectly safe though this whole adventure : )

The storm clouds were moving away, but nevertheless, we didn't stay on the summit for very long, just enough for a couple pictures, and then started the descent. After an incredibly steep descent, and a seemingly endless hike through the woods, we finally made it back to the trailhead a little after 7pm...making that an almost 15 hour day!! Aside from being a little delirious from exhaustion and hunger, we had had a great day, but we were really glad it was over! Now all that was left to do was rest up for the next day...

Yale, here I come...

Kathryn & Perry:Two More Friends Hitched

Congratulations, Kathryn and Perry Bacalis!!

What a beautiful wedding! I only wish I had taken more pictures! The wedding was outdoors in a gorgeous park in Denver and the weather was perfect; the sun was setting over the mountains and there was a nice breeze through the collesium-like structure.

Leah, Sarah and Me before the wedding

This was the runner, 1 Cor. 13, very elegant.

Thanks, Leah, for grabbing this shot, they look perfect!

And the kiss! Congrats, my friends, I love you both and couldn't be happier for you!!

The reception was tons of fun, too, but unfortunately very dark and none of the pictures came out, but trust me that it was one of the best receptions!