Saturday, July 9
Hiked a trail up to some Alpine Lakes at 10,000 ft and into some major snowbanks northwest of Denver. The dogs absolutely loved it, rolling around in the snow and playing. Sandy, not so much, when she ended up hip deep in a snowbank. Hiked back down through drizzling rain.

Sunday, July 10
Waited for REI to open to buy new water filter. The repair kit didn’t work. :-\ Drove to Leadville and checked into the Hostel and bummed around town.

In Leadville - a fence made of skis

In Leadville - a fence made of skis

Monday, July 11
Reconnoiter hike for a Mt. Elbert summit (second highest peak in lower 48). The road to get to the trailhead was marked as a 4-wheel drive road. That could mean many things out here. We parked at the lower trailhead and hiked to the upper trailhead to see how far in I could take my wannabe SUV. Turned out, pretty far in – to within a 1/2 mile or so of the upper trailhead. That still left 4 miles and 4000 to get to the summit but better than having to hike from the lower trailhead.

Tuesday, July 12
Hiked to the summit of Mt. Elbert! Painful, painful hike. Most of the 4 miles was pretty steep – gaining about 1000 ft/mile.
About 30 minutes from reaching the summit, a cloud moved in and enshrouded the peak. Boo. We stayed in the freezing cold air of the summit with light drizzle until we couldn’t feel our hands anymore. Looked like the cloud was there to stay. All that work and no reward. Not even a marker to take a picture of at the summit.
We were accompanied by rain the whole way back down. My rain jacket kept me dry until a 1/2 mile from the car where I tried to cross a creek on a log and fell off. Both feet in the creek halfway up to my knees. Grrr.

Trail head to Mt. Elbert

Trail head to Mt. Elbert

early season wildflowers above treeline

early season wildflowers above treeline

Clouds rolling in on the ascent on Mt. Elbert

Clouds rolling in on the ascent on Mt. Elbert

Clouds rolling in on the ascent on Mt. Elbert

Clouds rolling in on the ascent on Mt. Elbert

The summit! But no views. Boo.

The summit! But no views. Boo.

Clouds rolling on on the Mt. Elbert ascent

Clouds rolling on on the Mt. Elbert ascent

A view of Twin Lakes

A view of Twin Lakes

Wednesday, July 13
Late morning to recover from yesterdays climb up Mt. Everest (felt like it anyway!). Thought I was feeling fine until I jumped out of bed to my calves SCREAMING at me when my feet hit the floor. Apparently my heart and lungs weren’t the only thing that got a workout yesterday.
Bummed around the hotel drying out yesterday’s gear and getting ready to go back on the trail on Friday. Did laundry, grocery shopped, and got my pack set. Then set out on the road back to the Bailey area – Pine, CO – for some puppy schooling. Met with a canine behavior specialist to address some issues with Cassie and Cooper. Highly recommend Suzi from the Canine Psychology Center for obedience and behavior training.

Thursday, July 14
Original plan was to hike another 14er – Mt. Sherman. Google said it was only a 1/2 hour away. Unfortunately, it turned out that 20 of those 30 minutes were on a rough 4-wheel drive road. Not gonna happen in my wannabe SUV KIA Sportage. So we turned around and headed to Mt. Evans which has a paved road to the top. Awesome views but it was thundering and lightning in the distance so we didn’t stay long.
Back to Leadville and my “last supper” – steak, potatoes, and cheesecake! The majority of my meals for the next 30 days or so would be trail food.
Back to the hotel and I continued to eat everything in sight. Tried to turn in at a decent hour but paper thin walls at the hotel and a neighbor thwarted that plan. Finally, at midnight, I unpacked my tent and got my earplugs out of the little side pocket and took an Ambien. Apparently I slept through more loud talking and the neighbor’s dog howling….thankfully.

From the peak of Mt. Evans, a 14er

From the peak of Mt. Evans, a 14er

From the peak of Mt. Evans, a 14er

From the peak of Mt. Evans, a 14er

From the peak of Mt. Evans, a 14er

From the peak of Mt. Evans, a 14er

The geological marker on the summit of Mt. Evans

The geological marker on the summit of Mt. Evans