All of Colorado air smells fresh, but the higher you go and the further you remove yourself from cars, the closer you get to vanilla pines, which means everything smells amazing. I’d bottle the scent and pack a few for Asia if I had the space. So, I was very thankful that we were invited to camp with a group from church. I loved it. I must have read the wrong weather report because I did not dress warm enough–that meant the same pair of jeans pretty much every day since it rained and was cold!
There were soooo many kids. They went crazy with all of the rocks, dirt, and free space to play. You could hear bits of their plot lines from through the trees as imaginations ran wild and adventures were afoot.
And then, a friend randomly asked me to climb a mountain with her. I’ve pretty much avoided climbing mountains since I really just like exploring and I don’t like plodding up a hill with no end in sight. We were super close to the trailhead for Mt. Elbert and she has four kids, which means likely this opportunity would never come again, since it’s a 3 hour drive from town up to this area. So she sequestered a school backpack from a friend’s kid and my backpack didn’t look much different. We had protein bars, camping leftovers (including hotdogs), cookies, two bottles of water each, a camera, and a first aid kit. I already mentioned that I really didn’t have proper clothes–so blue jeans, Chacos, and a rain jacket were my choice of clothing, and she found some yoga pants, a pair of old shoes and a decent jacket. At 4:45 am we got up, drove our minivan up the 4WD trail until we parked at the spot where we couldn’t ford the creek, and began our journey by the time 5:30am rolled around. I’m still really not sure what I was thinking.
This rocky junk was about the spot where I decided that it was never going to end, and I didn’t really want to keep going. Heather totally kept me going, assuring me that it really wasn’t that bad and we were really close. Although at 14,000 feet, it’s terrible to breath and we had to stop every 50 steps or so to catch our breath.
And we made it to the top! At which point, being afraid of heights, I promptly sat down and ate a much-needed hot dog. Heather took lots of pictures and borrowed a sign so we could document our crazyness.It was beautiful and the endorphins as we were heading down the mountain were even better!
Once we made it down and back to camp at around noon, Heather had her coffee and I had a plate of breakfast that Payton had saved. Can I just say that I am so thankful for the guys being willing to let us go up there? If they had went we’d never have been able to keep up with their pace and also no one would have been able to pack up camp and watch the kids! It was quite the adventure we had…but the adventure was only going to continue because the guys and another couple had hatched a plan while we were gone…
Turns out there was another beautiful spot 20 miles up the road that had good camping. Plus we all had some extra food between the three families and about 7 gallons of water, so we figured we mind as well keep camping since we already had everything in the car anyway. Best idea ever.
It was beautiful! And we got to enjoy fresh brook trout and elk burgers. Yum.
This is what happens to Payton when kids are around. He’s like a magnet. He was called Chief Noodle for most of the trip because they found him on a rock in the middle of the woods when I took them on a hike and they were playing Oregon Trail and watching for Indians.
I managed to keep all of them safe on a crazy hike that had treacherous rapids and huge rocks. Kudos to their parents who taught them to listen!!
And we can’t forget the littlest member of the trip who loved rocks and sitting on a particular stump at the campsite.
And then we finally had to go home since we were all stinky…so we crossed Independence Pass (below) and returned with all sorts of good memories of the mountains! God’s magnificent creation left us smiling and full of fresh air!