On a whim, Emma said that she wanted to go hike a 14er with me this weekend. So after biking 43 miles on Friday morning with Sara, and spending the afternoon with Madeline in the pool, we packed up the truck and headed out to Alma and then up to Kite Lake. We got there around 8:30 PM and Emma pitched the tent and we attempted to sleep at 12,000 feet with the stars shining brightly down on us. At about 5 AM, we packed everything back in the truck and headed up the trail to the summit of Mount Democrat. Emma has Peter's ability to race up steep slopes with her heart rate staying below 100 and talking the whole time while I am completely out of breath in some sort of arrhythmia trying not to die. We gained the summit of Mount Democrat in about one hour 20 minutes. We passed about 100 people who noted that Emma was kicking my butt. It was really satisfying as a father to watch my little girl blow past people like she was going upstairs to grab a cookie. After Mount Democrat, we headed over to Cameron and then quickly on to Lincoln. At the top of Lincoln we broke out the Toblerone and it gave us the strength to head over to the top of Bross. After that, we did the miserable decent back down to the parking lot. We stopped for lunch at McGinty's pub in Divide (a favorite place of ours) and shared a pizza. Emma claims I ate more of it than her, but I'm not sure if that's true or not. Either way, there wasn't a crumb left of that pizza by the end. what a fun adventure!
Emma hiking across Mordor
For most people, Saturday is a day to sleep in, but I think I forgot how to do that somewhere along the line. After a ride on the bike, I went upstairs to see if Sara was awake (which she was). It had snowed a ton, so I figured it would be a day to just relax inside. Instead, for some reason, I suggested that we go snowshoeing, and Sara thought that would be fun.
We got out our snowshoes, all of our hiking gear and got ready to go. We decided to head up to Spruce Mountain Open Space, which is just a great place to go snowshoeing. There was only one other car in the parking lot, so we had the area to ourselves most of the time. We broke fresh tracks for much of the hike. It was quite beautiful and very quiet. Usually, it’s very windy in Colorado, but today, it was really quite nice and there was hardly any wind which made the woods extremely quiet. The only sound was the occasional chirping of a bird and the wondrous thud of snow falling from the pine trees. I can't remember the last time it was so peaceful and serene.
We hiked up the trail to the first overlook and then decided to keep going to Windy Point. One our way up, we saw a very beautiful and striking bird that must have been migrating through. It had a yellow body and red head. Against the snow it was quite impressive. Turns out it was a male Western Tanager. Other than the bird, we saw one other couple with their dog but they didn’t make it all the way to windy point because it was quite difficult to hike in the snow. Cutting fresh tracks in 1.5 -2 feet of snow was honestly quite brutal. By the time we got there, we were both pretty tired. We had some snacks, then headed back. By this time, the sun had come out, so it was really quite warm. Even though the temperature was only in the 30s, the absence of wind made it quite comfortable so I hiked in a T-shirt the whole way back.
All in all, it was over 5 miles of hiking in the deep snow. What a glorious way to spend the morning.