Friday, September 3rd 2016
Fly to Denver to meet my friend Kirsten who I have known since first grade. I have never been to her Denver house so was excited to see her home and spend the day with her. As kids, she and I did everything together, including burning our school uniform after 8th grade graduation. (sorry mom) She is one of the funniest and sweetest people and I was so glad to be able to visit her and do something that I had never done.
After I got in, we had an awesome brunch at a place in downtown Denver called Sassafras. This restaurant was an old home, turned into a brunch place and just as cute as could be. The waiter talked me into the chicken fried eggs and buffalo hash. It was REALLY good. Kirsten said Denver people LOVE to brunch!
After brunch, we visited the flagship REI store that was so unbelievably large you could get lost inside. There were four levels and a Starbucks with a large outdoor patio.
After taking in Denver and seeing Kirsten’s cute house, we head to get a few more items like peanut butter packets, beef jerky and granola bars at Whole Foods and come back to get to bed. We had to get up EARLY!!!
Saturday, September 4th
3:15 AM Alarm goes off to get up and going for the drive to the base of Gray and Torrey’s Peak. Kirsten’s finance Chris, drove us there in his new Subaru (which is a super popular car in Denver) and we were so glad to have him as our personal expert. He and Kirsten have done several 14ers and know exactly what time is best to go, what to pack, where to park and what to do. He was a lifesaver!!
5:30AM We arrive at the base of Gray and Torrey’s peak. You know that feeling you get when you are about to compete in something like a game or a race? That is how I was feeling. Adrenaline was flowing and I was so excited to get started. It was only 38 degrees when we started, but I had many layers on so I was fine. Kirsten and Chris wore headlamps to get us through the trail until the sun came up.
I have to admit, it took a little while to get adjusted to the altitude so I was glad I had spent the day before in Denver. As we hiked higher and higher, I was huffing and puffing. You defiantly need to be in shape to do something like this.
6:30 AM-The sun comes up and it is breathtaking!
There were several difficult parts of the hike. I thought this rocky part was one of them. It was steep and your legs are already tired from walking uphill for a couple hours.
Here we are pretty close to the top. Above us is the ridge that connects Grays to Torreys.
The forecast the night before called for storms and snow, so we were happy to have a little sun. As we hiked higher and higher the wind was colder and stronger. My gloves were wet as we got close to the top so I had to take them off and my hands were absolutely freezing. I did bring an extra pair of wool socks in my back pack so I put those on my hands and it worked to keep me a little warmer.
Around 11:15 AM We celebrated with a beer at the bottom! It was close to 6 hours of hiking and seeing some of the most beautiful scenery I had ever witnessed. According to my watch, (this screenshot was taken right after we had finished) it was close to 10 miles. After running a marathon and a few other races that might not seem like much, however this was a MUCH different 10 miles. It was constant climbing and altitude. My legs were on fire and afterwards I was quite sore.
Cheers to 14ers and Colorado! This one was AMAZING and I would love to do another 14er again. Did you know there are 53 different ones in Colorado? Ours was class 1 and that was plenty for me. Some other classes require ropes and climbing. This 14er at Gray and Torreys was perfect. Great views and just enough challenge to make it fun!
How did I benefit from this months challenge?
- Got to hangout with a good friend, Kirsten in her city, meet her fiancé and see her favorite places in Denver. She and Chris are so cute!
- Learned what it takes to do a 14er from getting up early and on the trail to all the supplies needed for if I choose to do another one. (which I hope to do)
- Learn how to control altitude sickness….LOTS of water and a little help from my doctor who prescribed me something to help
- Got to take an impromptu trip with my family (who I didn’t think would be able to come)
- Walked around Vail Village and watched the boys throw the football in the green space and have a fun family dinner
- The Cook boys got to rent ATV’s while I was hiking and had a blast!
7. My family and I got to White Water Raft down the Colorado River on Sunday. There were amazing views, lots of fun and laughs. Our guide Zach was awesome. I highly suggest Sage Outdoor Adventures. Patrick used them for the ATV rentals and for the White Water Rafting. Nice people that do an awesome job!
8. Got to see my two boys share lots of laughs together. It is nice when it is just the two of them and they have to learn to entertain each other. Made this mom happy!
Stay tuned for next months challenge…….