Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summer is the time to be in the mountains

Within a couple hours of school getting out for summer, Micah, Maddie, Shadow and I were heading for the mountains, specifically Vail, Colorado and the Teva Mountain Games.  We spent the weekend camping with good friends, running, hiking, climbing, SUPing, slack lining, getting muddy, cheering, telling stories around the campfire, singing happy birthday (to Chris), roasting marshmallows and checking out all the fun outdoor sports stuff on display around Vail Village.  This was our 4th Summer TMG and we had as good a time as ever.
Our campsite on Homestake Road

Micah in Gear Town

Maddie, testing out the stand up paddle-board (SUP)
showing off her amazing balance on the slackline
Mud Run             Photo by Chris Hinds
an after dinner climb above the campsite with Alistair, Maddie, Mike, Nick and Shadow

After the games in Vail ended, Mike and I headed up to Leadville for one more mountain adventure.  We camped Sunday night on Halfmoon Creek and woke up early Monday to attempt the Halfmoon Half Pipe.  This is the name given to climbing Colorado's two highest mountains, Elbert and Massive in one day.  The run up Massive was great.  Beautiful trail, perfect weather and awesome views from the top.  The run back down went well too.  We stopped at the campsite for some lunch and resupplying and then headed for Elbert.  We missed the trailhead and put in 3-4 extra miles on the road before we started the tougher climb of the day to the highest point in all Colorado.  I was feeling pretty worn down already as we started up the immediately steep climb on the Colorado Trail and by the time we hit treeline, I was toast.  The weather made a turn for the worst at about the same time.  Dark clouds gathered to the sorth and the wind got nasty.  Mike pushed ahead as I was moving very slowly, but I kept moving determined to get to the top.  Steep trail turned in to talus slope as I climbed on and then finally after one too many false summits, I hit the top.  I sat behind a pile of rocks which provided some protection from the fierce winds, ate a Snickers bar, took a few pictures and admired the view of surrounding mountains then got up and headed back down.  It was an 11 hour, 27 mile, 9800 feet of climbing day and I was about as tired as I have ever been.  Another great day in the mountains.
On the way up Massive

top of Elbert

a friend I met at the top of Elbert - I think he was eyeing my Snickers bar