Monday, July 20, 2015

Epilogue Colorado 2015



Trip Sampler
Overall, this trip was AMAZING! Geoff, Kevin, Kevin and I got a taste of everything, Jeff made sure of that. He also made sure it was affordable!

Staying at a hostel at 10,000 feet
Hiking 14ers of the Colorado Rockies
Backpacking and camping up to 11,600 feet
Class 3 hike to a 14ers
Camping in ghetto campsite
Multi-pitch rock climbing up to 9,000 feet

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!
There was something in it for everyone! To all those that couldn’t make it….too bad you said “No” to all of this! ;)

Acclimatizing
This trip gave me oodles of ideas for future Colorado trips! Personally, I really need time to acclimate and perhaps 3-4 days would be perfect for me. It’s great if members of the group are accustomed to high altitude, but when you have new folks in the group, a 24 hour acclimatization isn't a very good idea. It's a good idea that there will be more folks to split the costs of the trip. But not having sufficient time to acclimatize will set up the “newbies” by increasing their chances of getting sick in the early part of the trip, and then being exhausted the rest of the trip.

Exercise-induced asthma is my reality, but I don’t let it stop me from enjoying the outdoors. I’m pretty sure I can find plenty to see/do in the days while getting acclimated. I also have allergies but on this trip, my allergies were like ‘non-existent’. Also, since it’s my favorite thing, I would love to get a lot more multi-pitch climbing in. There are also plenty of routes that are below 10,000 feet of elevation in places like Leadville, Aspen, Boulder. But my all-time, top bucket list wish is to ice climb and winter hike in Colorado!

Physical Therapy
I had bruised my left knee badly before my trip to Colorado and for 4 weeks leading up this trip, I was in physical therapy twice per week. It paid off as not once did my left knee hurt at all. I did wear my neoprene knee braces but only when backpacking in and out of the South Colony Lake campsite. With a heavy backpack I wanted to make sure my knees wouldn’t give out.

Hygiene & Sanitation
Since we spent 5 days in the wilderness, that meant no showers. So I used baby wipes to keep my lady bits clean so I wouldn’t develop any Urinary infections. And I used Rinse-Free Bath Wipes for sponge bathing. As with hiking and climbing, I brought along a large Ziploc bag packed with sandwich-sized Ziploc bags and packed all my wipes as well as my tissues out in them. The Ziploc bags also come in hand for packing out dirty/wet laundry.

Guidebooks for Hiking & Climbing
In addition to the Colorado’s Fourteeners: From Hikes to Climbs by Gerry Roach, I highly recommend bringing along your Colorado climbing guidebooks if you plan to climb. Don’t have any? No worries! Stop by the REI Flagship store in Denver and you’ll find many local guidebooks there. For the Leadville Climbing guidebook, you can either buy it at Leadville Outdoors store (http://www.leadvilleoutdoors.com/) or online at: http://www.blurb.com/b/6246553-40-minutes-from-leadville-notes-on-rock-climbs-nea





Backpacking Food
Mountain House, Alpine Aire and Backpacker’s Pantry are the three brands of backpackers foods I brought with me on this trip. Although these brands offered tasty meals, they didn't offer any single-serve dinner meals. I ended up wasting several meals and had to carry them out. There are other companies that make backpacking foods as well. Jeff brought along meals he purchased from PackItGourment.com. Here he is making his dinner – Shepherd’s Cottage Pie with mashed potatoes. And Kevin II brought along Salmon from PatagoniaProvisions.com 








Checked Baggage
One 65L backpack, one 25-35L day pack, and climbing, hiking, camping gear - I fit into a large, ultra-light, wheeled-suitcase keeping the weight for Southwest Airlines under 50lbs. Originally I was going to fill the backpack and use it as "checked bagged" but I didn't think I could adequately protect it. Plus, packing it in a suitcase with wheels was easier for me to tote around. My second piece of luggage contained all my clothing and toiletries under 25lbs. It's also on wheels but since it's small, I just put it atop my larger suitcase. I also had a small carry-on that contained some clothing, reading material, plus food and water bottles.

Friendly State
The Coloradians are super friendly people. While walking through Leadville, I always got a smile and a hello from the folks out walking. Some folks even strike up a conversation like you’re old neighbors. That’s what a small town feels like.  I found it easy to strike up a conversation with the locals.

Unforgettable
I will never forget my hike to Mt. Sherman, my first Colorado 14er! It was everything I thought it would be, plus everything I didn’t expect. It was challenging both mentally and physically. The altitude is definitely a challenge, but I loved it and look forward to more hikes in the Colorado Rockies!

Big Thanks!
Thanks to Jeff for inviting me, and sharing his experience and knowledge on this trip. It was indeed memorable and made me appreciate the outdoors and love Colorado even more. I hope to visit again and again. But hoping more for my husband and I to be able to retire to Colorado so that I can play in the mountains like I do the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

If you’re ever on a mountain in Colorado, don’t forget to kiss the mountain goats! :P