When Dustin and I first got married in 2010, we expected to spend a majority of every summer working in the mountains of Colorado like he had done since his middle/high school days. It was a dandy plan until we experienced firsthand how much time and effort wee ones require.
The 20-hour drive (one-way), the 8,600′ elevation of base camp (when we normally live at a whopping 1,000+’), and the rocky drop-offs made us hesitant to bring a passel of youngsters to Colorado. So we waited.
And waited. And dreamed periodically about the someday.
Now that our kids are almost 9, almost 7, and 3, we decided to give it a shot. Now, if you’re reading this and your COVID radar is fritzing out at our decision, let me tell you how many people (outside our group) with whom we came in close contact in the mountains:
ONE. And he’s a longtime family friend. The other hikers we saw on trail were far enough away to look like specks, so it was a very socially-distant vacay, and you can read the rest of the story in enjoyment. Now, back to the good stuff.
We planned an itinerary, packed meals accordingly, split the drive into attainable amounts of time, and headed southwest.
Some highlights for us included seeing Dustin’s grandpa on the way, checking out the [fully masked and socially distant] Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, KS which beautifully complimented our science study of astronomy, seeing wild bears, bringing our family to the same mountains where we spent our honeymoon guiding Boy Scouts (romantic, I know, haha – but adventurous and memorable like none other), and helping our firstborn make it up her first summit! The younger two and Grandma made it well past tree line but chose to wait just below the ridge while we ventured to the tippy top.
Now for the visual aids:
The East and West Spanish Peaks (think of them as cousins to the Rocky Mountains)
That’s the East Spanish Peak, aka the East Peak or even simply The East
Waking up to the East Peak through the tent window was a real treat! If you look closely you can see the silhouette of Chief Grandote in the bowl of the mountain. There’s a legend about about him and the mountains, and his face shows at sunrise (and occasionally a full moonrise); the legend also includes miners, and the miner’s face can be seen at sunset in the bowl. Due to cloud cover I wasn’t able to get a picture of the miner’s face this trip.
Ever feel like God is making a water color painting for you?
This is where the West Peak Trailhead overlooks the area at tree line.
A wildfire swept through here (the East Peak) in 2013, so it was interesting to survey the new growth and burned timber.
She was a real trooper and hiked all the way up Trinchera Peak (13,510 feet). She takes after her dad! This is where our younger two kids and Grandma waited patiently (ahem) below the ridge for us.
If you had felt the wind up there you would not judge my hair. My hat kept flying off.
We hiked up THIS? “Shrek, I’m looking down!”
Tell me about your adventures, with or without children along. Have any of your trips inspired you to write? How have adventures and challenges shaped who you are? I’d love to read your positive comments below.