One year ago today, Joshua and I were exploring our new state. I feel as though I’m in a time-warp. This seems like a century ago; it feels like a minute ago. Since then, we’ve explored our state even more: using the guide, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles (which you can read about here), we’ve walked all over the front range near Boulder and Denver. Just before we became pregnant, we took 10 days exploring the Weminuche Wilderness, and before the summer was over, we hiked a few fourteeners, including Mt. Yale with Brian and Brittaney (interesting side note: in the picture of the four of us at the peak, there’s actually six of us – Brittaney was 10 weeks pregnant and I was probably a few days pregnant at the time), and Grays and Torreys. When we started teaching, we managed to get out nearly every weekend, even if it was just a short hike at Mt. Galbraith (one of my favorites) or Berthoud Pass for some high-alpine views and deep powder.
Some of my favorite adventures of 2011 – 2012:
1. Buena Vista – I love this little mountain town. It’s the sort of place that you yearn to live in. Joshua knows when I’ve found this sort of place because I salivate over the cute little (usually ramshackle) homes and cottages and say, “what do these people DO for a living?”
2. Snowshoeing – I’m a HUGE fan. In high school, I was a member of the Roseville XC Ski Team (back when I was Ellie Kuhne), and while I still lust after the soft swish of newly waxed skis on cold snow, snowshoeing is a happy alternative. Among the benefits are less gear, less time spent waxing, and no need for trails. Joshua and I are known for picking an obscure forest service road in the mountains, driving until our little Hyundai can’t make it any further, and then strapping on our snowshoes. This past year, we’ve gone to a few places, including Cottonwood Pass, Berthoud Pass, Boreas Pass, and Mt. White near Salida.
3. Mt. Audobon, Indian Peaks Wilderness – This was my favorite hike of 2011, and it was not without a few comical hiccups: Kyle P forgot his hiking shoes, and thus, hiked the 8 mile round-trip (with some very snowy patches) in his huaraches (home-made footwear…). At the top, we encountered a swiftly moving thunderstorm, so we ran much of the way down. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful hike with gorgeous high-alpine views.s
4. Mt. Galbraith – we’ve been here a handful of times, and I love it each time we go. Whether on snowshoes, micro-spikes (best outdoor purchase of 2011 – not including our gaitors, which were gifted by Boobah and Zedah) , or foot, this hike offers beautiful views of the front range and the eastern plains, all within a 20 minute drive.
5. Mt. Yale – our trip up our first fourteener was fittingly exhilarating.
6. Sylvan Lake – we had fun showing off our new state to Ashlee.
7. Santa Fe – I never did write about our adventure to Santa Fe. Joshua and Kyle signed up for a Fat Ass 50 K ultramarathon outside of Albuquerque the first weekend of February, so Stacy and I decided to tag along. Thanks to Stacy’s mom, Sandy, we were able to use her frequent customer points to score a free two night stay at a Marriott. We arrived Friday night and made a beeline for Tomasita’s, a restaurant claiming the best of Santa Fe’s already famous cuisine. We were not disappointed. Pinto beans cooked to perfection with the most delicious red chile sauce adorned tamales, enchiladas, and burritos… We ate all weekend, and while Joshua and Kyle ran, Stacy and I toured the many galleries in downtown Santa Fe. We admired the high-rise free, strictly adobe architecture, and when Joshua and Kyle returned from their epic run, we started eating again. That night, we went to see some live music, and the next day, we went to tour the Georgia O’Keefe museum (LOVE).
8. Salida – one cliche pregnancy experience I was not about to pass up was a Babymoon. At 34 weeks pregnant, Joshua and I packed up for a three day weekend. On our way to San Isabel Bed and Breakfast, we stopped just outside of Fairplay to snowshoe. The weather was perfect, and we enjoyed blue skies and warm temperatures on our snowy hike. At the Bed and Breakfast, we unpacked our things and then headed into town, where we enjoyed pizza. The next day, we snowshoed just below Mt. White for a few hours, and when we were done, I was absolutely exhausted. That evening, we cuddled up in the cabin. The next morning, we drove back to Denver, and along the way, we stopped for a windy trek just past Jefferson. Now, thinking back, I have decided that Babymoons are thoroughly fantastic ideas. Now that I’m waking up every two to three hours to feed little Lily, our Babymoon sounds absolutely idyllic (and restful).
9. Bierstadt – although I have yet to hike this relatively easy fourteener, I have had the pleasure of visiting the trailhead twice. The views are spectacular, and in the fall, the hillsides outside of Georgetown are electric with yellow aspens.
10. Mt. Eva – Brian, Joshua, and I went on a camping trip in St. James Wilderness towards the end of last summer. Despite the less than stellar camping site (there was a garbage heap with a rotting mattress and a rock spray painted with the word, “VAGINA”) and the loss of a trail, we managed to find a beautiful alpine meadow and climb Mt. Eva, a thirteener with gorgeous views.
This year, our adventures are bound to look a bit different with Lily. We’re committed to unconventional parenting – parenting with a sense of adventure – but we have yet to work out the kinks of traveling, hiking, and camping with a baby who nurses every two to three hours and renders the two of us sleep deprived and weary. We’ll keep you updated 🙂