Saturday, September 29, 2018

14er! 19th Anniversary!

For Chris and my 19th wedding Anniversary, Chris wanted to go camping in Colorado. After last year, he had his sights set on hiking Mt. Elbert (Redemption!). So we set out for Twin Lakes, CO and Lake View Campground on Saturday, August 25. We arrived around 4, pitched a tent, set up camp, and I was asleep. Not kidding. I felt like I was drugged.

Sunday we woke and decided it was a good day for a little hike around Twin Lakes. Not having researched the lakes or the trails, I just went along with Chris and his plans. The lakes are just down the hill from our campground. Looking at the lakes it looked like maybe 6 miles around one lake. Okay, let's do it.

Oh boy was I wrong. First of all, we were not on the trail system, so we were weaving in and out of all the little lake fingers. Once we found the trail it was much easier. Okay, it was a little easier. Over 11 miles! later, we made it back to the car. Ugh. That was one hell of a hike! We were exhausted, hungry and sunburned. That is one way to get acclimated.

So Lakeview Campground is at 9500 feet, so elevation sickness can (and will) occur. Last year, Chris and I both woke up at night short of breath. This year we did not have that problem at all. Sunday night, again, I was so tired I could hardly swallow my dinner. I was asleep about 6pm. Chris thought I was a total bore. I awoke at midnight with dizziness, nausea, headache followed by vomiting, in a tent with rain outside. It was ugly. I said to Chris numerous times, I am not hiking tomorrow. Our plan for Monday was to summit Mt. Massive, Colorado's second highest peak.

Monday morning came to a chilly yet sunny start. Chris says, "Looks like a beautiful day for a hike. Do you feel better?" So I pulled it together and we set out for Mt. Massive, arriving at the LONG trail head just before 8am. This is a long hike. We hiked Mt. Massive Southwest Slopes route. It is to be 7.25 miles from the top of the high clearance 4 wheel drive section which we could not drive up. Thinking it was maybe 9-10 miles from where we parked. It was long. We hiked from 8am-5pm. It was beautiful. The summit was, ugh, okay. I was expected more. It was just a couple piles of rocks in my opinion. Gorgeous views though. Tough hike. I felt a little nauseated towards the top but was able to pull through. We lost the trail a few times and scrambled more than we needed to. And, it was a little windy. Some girls were turning back because of the wind. We were happy we were able to summit! My First 14er!

Tuesday, our actual anniversary, we spent relaxing. It was so nice. The campground had cleared out, so Chris and I were all alone! I heated up some water and took a bath, shaving my legs. It was wonderful! It was a great way to spend our day. Chris wanted to be hiking Mt. Elbert, but this was a much better way to spend our day in the end.

Wednesday Chris and I set out to hike Mt. Elbert, Colorado's highest peak, via black cloud, Southest Ridge (the toughest route to summit of Mt. Elbert).  Round trip this route is to be 11 miles, 5300 feet in elevation gain. We hiked much of this trail last year when I got such elevation sickness we had to turn back. I will always get sick. Period. But it is the amount of sickness that is the issue. I was able to pull through the sickness this time too. The elevation sickness is similar to that sickness I get when running marathons or half marathons. I get dizzy, nauseous, headaches, vomiting. I never vomited while hiking but had all the other symptoms. Last year it was awful. This year, I ate and drank more to try and hold off the symptoms and took a lot of breaks. I liked this route but it was VERY TOUGH! The ridgeline was insane! You get to the top of the mountain and see the hour plus hiking of the ridgeline and think you are going to die (okay, I thought I was going to die). Chris thought the ridge line was the best part of the hike. It was beautiful for sure. The views from Summit were absolutely amazing! Gorgeous!! But others hiked up in 3 hours from other routes totally making me jealous. I knew we had a long way to hike down. I believe we started at 5am and finished at 4-4:30pm. LONG DAY! But, worth it. We bagged 2 14ers in 3 days! Yipee. Chris now has 5 14ers under his belt, Longs, Grays, Torreys, Massive, and Elbert! He tried Capitol but was not ready for that yet!

Wednesday we relaxed again, ate a lot, and enjoyed quiet camp without people. SO NICE!! Thursday we closed out camp and set out for Aspen via Independence Pass. It is beautiful but the road is creepy. We got to Aspen, got some food, and snatched a hard to find parking spot in front of hotel , We like our hotel, but the rooms appear to be getting smaller.

Thursday we shopped around Aspen, getting frozen yogurt and eating sandwiches and shopping. It is a fun town. We watched dogs at the dog park and watched them set up for the Labor Day volleyball tournament. Friday, Chris and I got up early and caught a bus. Yes, a bus. The buses are free in Aspen. We took the bus to Aspen Crossfit! While Chris got his workout in, I ran 6 miles on the gorgeous trails of Aspen. I was planning on just resting the rest of the trip after all of our hiking, but I was happy to be able to run on these trails. Beautiful! After working out, we went back into Aspen for more frozen yogurt, pizza and more pizza. Yes, we got pizza twice. We wanted to try it all! We tried New York Pizza and Taster's Pizza, liking Taster's Pizza best. (but New York was a reheated slice, so who knows how it is fresh). We worked out a lot, so had to eat a lot! Chris and I relaxed, watched more volleyball and walked around Aspen. It was a fun trip.

We enjoy our annual anniversary trips. Next year is our big 20th Wedding Anniversary. We are still trying to come up with a good trip for that. Maybe we will camp and climb a 14er, who knows?!?! :)