Friday, March 31, 2017

Quandary Peak - 14er #2

On August 1st 2016

After spending a day in Boulder hiking the Flat Irons with success, Rachel and Stacy felt pretty confident in attempting a 14er the next day. We got home late and stayed up until midnight trying to decide which one to go for. We contemplated Greys and Torreys but thought trying to do two might be pushing it. 

Some of the others we thought would be good were just a bit too far of a drive. And then some of the closer ones were on a level higher than we thought we should attempt. So right before we fell asleep we picked one of the tallest out of all of the 53 in Colorado. Quandary Peak which is the 13th tallest 14er here and about 6.3 miles round trip. It was near Breckenridge, so not too far of a drive and it was an easier level with well built trails. 

We were failing before we even left the house the next day. We wanted to leave at 6:30am. We actually left at 8:30 and didn't get to Quandary until 10:45. That's a horrible time to start a 14er. A big no, no. The golden rules is that you should be leaving the summit to head back down by noon to avoid the all to common afternoon lightening and showers. Eek.

So we had lots of things working against us already. Lack of sleep, sore from hiking the day before, 2 people that had just 30 hours to acclimate to the thin air and a super late start to the day. The odds were not in our favor.

We thought we'd just hurry it up and go for it. Typical us when we are all together, we can do anything. As we started our hike around 11 we soon passed tons of people that were already on their way back down. That definitely had us a bit bummed. We didn't want to be the only ones up there in case something crazy happened. And we certainly knew that we needed someone on top to take our group picture, darn it. No one brought a selfie stick :)

The weather was A-mazing!! 

The weather on the mountains can be deceiving. One minute sun and the next minute storm clouds could roll in and bam. 

The workers on the trail even gave us the pitty face regarding our late start. 

We stopped and took at least 500 pictures while Stacy yelled at us to hurry and it probably added an extra hour to our time.

These people were on their way down and as soon as they passed the mountain goat mama and her babies, she attacked there dogs right after this picture was taken. It was scary! This was a narrow part of the path and it was straight down on both sides. Mama goat was angry.

Towards the end it got pretty steep. The path in the background looks so tiny.

We were almost there.

We really just got so lucky with the weather. Not a grey cloud in sight.

Off the side was a far, far way down.

So happy and oxygen deprived.

Lunch break with the most amazing view!

I've been best friends with Rachel since we were 6 years old and with Stacy since we were 12.  That's a total of 56 years of friendship with these two. When you aren't given sisters in this life you get the chance to pick your own! I think it's rare to be able to keep long distance friendships up when life takes you in so many different directions. Along with balancing family, lots of kids and loads of activities. Good friendships are work and they are hard to come by so I don't take them for granted one bit. #soblessed

We had to pass more goats. It was scary after seeing the one charge the dogs.

My first 14er had about 30 goats on the mountain.

Obligatory sign and picture.

I think we spent at least an hour messing around on the top, taking pictures and talking about how shocked we were that we made it. We stayed up there until about 2 or 3.

There were 2 people getting ready to leave the top and then one guy behind us. Yeah, we had photographers!

Running on top of a giant mountain. 

The seal.

Dancers pose-- Natrajasana. On every 14er no doubt. 

Proud us.

So there was this hanging cliff-like rock that was sticking out of the side of the top of this peak. The guy that came up behind us wanted his picture taken sitting on it. I thought he was crazy! Then Rachel decided it was a once in a lifetime picture. This picture doesn't do this daring act justice. Her feet were dangling off this thing. Ahh!

I decided to get partially on it. I couldn't scoot all the way to the end. I actually almost threw up just sitting here at the back of it. Like-almost-passed-out and puked. I couldn't even look down or I knew I would just fall in!

All the other hikers were out of sight at this point. It was just us.

I spy a guy sleeping. So camouflaged.

We were so scared to pass these goats again. They kept starring us down. We were trying so hard not to make eye contact with them. I just kept envisioning them charging us right off the side of this mountain. Rachel - the brave one, went first. Then she grabbed a huge rock just in case while Stacy and I passed them, she was our look out. We have each others back :) Literally.

On the way down we were already planning for the next 14er. I can't wait!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Flat Irons With My Girls

When Rachel and Stacy decided they wanted to come to CO and conquer a 14er together, I was SO excited!! 

They booked their trip and we were in the planning phase. Which one, how far, when to go and tracking the weather situation. Our excitement for this trip was taken down a notch when I started talking to my neighbors and researching a bit more online. We began to worry about the elevation change for Stacy and Rachel and if they'd even be able to make it up a Colorado mountain at all? Hearing stories (lots of stories!) of people coming here from the east coast and acclimating for a week, then trying this giant hike only for their fingers to turn purple and almost passing out because of the lack of oxygen just half way up. 

They said screw it. We were trying this regardless! We were determined to make this a reality! Rachel almost bought one of these masks-- they're supposed to help you get used to the altitude change before hand. Your suppose to train with it on. She didn't. We just rolled the dice instead.

The girls had 20 hours to acclimate. Ha! The day they got in we decided to hike the Flat Irons in Boulder. A big 7er (elevation 7,132 ft) Just half of the elevation we'd be trying the following day (14,000 ft). We thought it'd be better than nothing. 

Boulder bound. 

There's the Flat Irons peak.

Some steep parts and lots of rocks.

They crushed it. The girls did amazing! 

They were totally ready for another full day of hiking the next morning ;)