Monday, September 19, 2011

Much Needed Camping Trip

Sunday, Cowboy and I headed to the base of Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive for an overdue camping trip. We drove up Halfmoon Creek Rd just passed Leadville until it became a 4-wheel drive trail. Kicking the 4Runner (man I love this vehicle) into 4-lo we kept going on the rugged single track. We picked out a campsite right near the creek nestled between the two mountains. It was magnificent.

Tonight's dinner: Foil packet dijon chicken, Rice-a-Roni mixed with chicken kielbasa, and toasted marshmallows with hot cocoa. 

The area was almost completely void of other campers so Argos was free to roam and frolic as he wished. He LOVED the water and would play for hours in it, dunking his ball in the water, chasing sticks, and just swimming in circles against the current.

We spent our days lounging, reading, napping, and hiking. It was perfect.

 What a handsome boy.

 I love my life.

 We hiked to a really cool waterfall 

 We nicknamed this "Elephant Butt Rock" 

 How's the view from your bedroom?

Tuesday we hiked Mt. Massive. I had been wanting to run both Mt. Elbert (monday) and Mt. Massive (tuesday) but the weather was being unpredictable- drizzling, temps down to 20's-30's in the morning and evening, and thunderclouds rolling overhead in waves. Between the thunder there were long periods of sun and warmth. It didn't affect our activities down at our campsite but at 14,000' I didn't want to take the risk of getting zapped. Hindsight: I'm glad the way things turned out. It was nice to hike and chat and be together. The running of the two fourteeners will be on my to-do list for next season!

 Memorial for soldiers who died in a crash during training. 

 Cowboy: "Holy crap we're going all the way up there?!"

 Click pic to enlarge: there's a cool lake across there, nestled into the mountain. It's so blue-green and although it was a little chilly on the mtn, I wanted to dive into that lake!!

 Argos had found a little mud puddle which he played in then promptly laid down and took a nap while waiting for Cowboy to catch up.

I thought this mountain face was cool- looked like some big monster had taken his nails and carved a claw through the side of it.

"CHIRP" says the marmot.

Cowboy had to be back to work that night so he decided to turn around and head back down, "you keep going." He said to me, "Try to reach the summit and you'll catch up to me on the way down." So I left him with the already pooped pup and I ran ahead to see how far I could get.

The 14er book I owned stated the trail we had chosen was only 5.8miles round trip. Either the book was horribly wrong, my GPS was completely off, or we had taken a wrong turn somewhere and ended up on a different path...

At nearly 6 miles up, I was still not at the top and had passed a gentleman hiker who told me I was a good 1-2hrs from the summit. WHAT?!?! I convinced myself for sure he was wrong as I could see I was nearly to the top of the trail. I gave myself 15 more minutes to then stop and re-evaluate my situation. Time was ticking by and I knew I had to head down soon. 15 minutes later I was closer to the top but still had a good bit of climbing to go. My boots (I had chosen hiking boots over my running shoes that day) were starting to rub me raw in the heel and my choice of Smartwool socks were causing my feet to sweat. Dang. I turned around and started running downhill to meet back up with Cowboy. I sure did have summit fever, but after making the choice to turn around I instantly knew it was the right one. 

As soon as I caught up with Cowboy he breathed a heavy sigh of relief. He told me how he had met the same hiker who had told him how far I was from reaching the summit. Afraid I was going to try to keep going, he had gotten worried about my safety and my being alone. It didn't give him a good feeling and obviously troubled Argos as he had utterly refused to continue down any further without me. He had sat his furry butt down and wouldn't budge. Cowboy gave me a huge hug as Argos danced happy circles around us and we all headed down together. It is good to feel loved!

We all piled back into the car, tired and soaked with sweat, and headed into Leadville for a bite to eat. A greasy but delightful meal later (I had the Philly cheesesteak with hot chicken veggie soup) at the Saloon and we continued our trip back into reality...out of the mountains and towards the city.

I used a new product this trip called wetfire firestarting packets. They turned out fabulous, are nicely compact, and I would recommend them.