Sunday, August 08, 2010

the mountain

So, it's been a while since I've written anything.  Shocker, I know.  Sometimes life happens & it means that things like blogging go by the wayside.  What will I ever do if I have a family?  You can probably just quit checking my blog because then I'll become totally oblivious to my lack of updating.  Ha!
I've had the privilege to go out of town a couple of times this summer.  One trip back to KC, one to Gunnison & recently to Big Star Lake, Michigan.  You are probably thinking "Why on earth would you ever go to Michigan for vacation?"  I asked that myself on numerous occasions before going.  One of my dear friends here actually invited me earlier this year to come with her.  It ended up being gorgeous & so relaxing.  I loved how soft the sand was, the green trees & landscape, and (ahem) some humidity.  My skin thanked Michigan for breathing some new life into it.  I also went tubing for the first time and rode a seadoo, which was a blast!  I like swimming, but we never were "lake people" growing up because my Dad was deathly afraid of water.  I also kind of have a thing with water that I can't see the bottom of (like scary gross lakes).  But this lake was beautiful & the cottage we stayed in was situated on a part of the lake where you could walk out into it a ways on the sand.  The conclusion: Michigan was actually a great place to take a vacation!
Enough about the lake, now for the mountains!  My big accomplishment this summer was hiking Mt. Elbert yesterday.  It's the 2nd highest mountain in the contiguous US and the highest in Colorado.  I know that sounds super thrilling, right?  Here's the best part: we made it to the top!  Let me explain.  I've tried to climb this mountain a handful of times.  Once, my friend's boyfriend (now husband) and I tried to climb it when we worked at camp.  We got to the trailhead the night before & he proceeded to have a coughing attack.  I wasn't going to drag him up a mountain lest Marie should kill me, so I suggested we return to camp.  A couple years later I had high hopes of going again, only to realize that May is a bit on the early side for 14ers.  Last year I had hopes of doing it too, only to have it not work out.  So this was a BIG accomplishment!
We decided to leave Friday night & camp at the trail head to get an early start on Saturday (like 4 am early).  We ended up leaving around 9pm to drive to the trailhead.  Oh, and on the road leading to the trailhead, we took the wrong turn at first which brought us to a dead end.  As we drove back to the road, my friend, Nic, told us she thought she saw a sign on the ground.  So I stop the car for her to get out & investigate.  It was this creepy sign that said "This Way" with an arrow all written in what looked like crayon on a paper plate.  The Air Force Academy cadet (Molly) with us said, "This is kind of creepy, like chain saw massacre."  Nic dropped the sign & promptly hopped into the car & I locked the doors & drove like crazy back to the paved road.
Needless to say, there were real signs to the trailhead when we got onto the right road.  We slept for 3 1/2 hours & got up at 4 to begin the trek.  It was pretty uneventful, which was fabulous.  Great weather all the way to the top & back.  We had awesome views of Mt. Massive, Columbia, Harvard, Oxford, Belford, Maroon Bells, Snowmass & so many more.  Below are some pictures to commemorate the event!

  Little clearing before tree line.
 Trail leading back into the trees from the clearing.
Me on the trail!
We made it to the top!
Nic & me with our 14er count - I've done 5 & she's done 6!
The way cool sign in the registry box for the elevation that's on the back of a corona box.  Classy.
Note to self: take off sunglasses at the top of next mountain for pictures!
I managed to get us to K's in BV for ice cream afterward & then back home.  I came home, showered, unpacked what I had to & went to bed at 7:30pm & slept for 12 hours.  Nothing gives you a better nights sleep than hiking a 14er!


Marie said...

Yippeeeee! Dev and I wanted so badly to do Elbert last month when we were at SC. We packed backpacks and borrowed gear and everything, but Ainsley was feverish and up all night the night before. Another crank in Devin's plan to climb Elbert. I am glad you finally got your chance!

Em said...

Awesome, Natasha! Great pictures, too! We miss you!

Keri said...

Yay! Micah proposed on Elbert:) Good memories!