Cami and I took a quick overnight backpacking trip to Holy Cross Wilderness near Minturn. This was such a pristine location. Even though we knew this was such a heavy snow year and a cool summer, we were surprised to see that the high lakes were still partially frozen over....in August! Also, there were waterfalls everywhere. I don't think I've been on a hike with more waterfalls. This was truly a hidden gem!
We only met one other person up there on the whole trip. A man stopped us and asked if we could filter some water for him because his filter wasn't working. He was a minster who worked in hospice care and we had a great talk about our faith and Jesus. I have found that the kind of people that you run into deep in the woods are generally very friendly folks. Or maybe its that friendly folks tend to enjoy getting out to enjoy God's creation.
As we approached the end of the hike, there were some more difficult rocks to scramble up what were smooth and wet. Cami decided to wait at the lower lake while Molly and I continued to the upper lake. The sun came out just for a few minutes and the views were breathtaking! I always love to hear the marmots chirp at you as you trespass in their tundra territory.
Our daughter hiked all the way to the top of an unnamed peak at 12,812 from Independence Pass. The trip was about 4 miles and 800 ft. of elevation gain. She was a TROOPER and never complained once. We were so proud of her! One of the ways she was motivated to keep going and get to the top was the hope of finding "gems" under the rocks at the summit. She found a couple along the way on the trail (carefully placed there by unknown mountain creatures) that kept her excited to get to the top, but also slowed her down as she was searching for more along the way :)
Lady Washington is that "little" bump of a hill to the right of the famous 14er, Longs Peak. It sees little traffic due to it's elevation being only in the low 13,000's. Longs is a physically and mentally challenging peak to climb. When you finish, you have a sense of accomplishment, but you just want to sleep afterward. For about half the distance and a thousand feet of of elevation gain less, you get to enjoy your day a bit more and have one of the coolest views from the summit of any mountain in Colorado.
The hike was pretty fun and there was a bit of scrambling up large boulders toward the top. Tim has been running marathons and pushes me on the trail sections of our hikes, but slows down closer to my pace when we start scrambling up or down. Overall, I think it took us about 6 hours of hiking time from car to car with the true reward being the airy view of the east face of Longs Peak!
Mt. Silverheels is an off trail hike of 9 round trip miles with 3,500 ft. elevation gain starting from Hoosier Pass near Breckenridge. Though there is no trail, the hiking on tundra is pleasant. I'd hiked Hoosier Ridge and North Star Mountain in the past from this trailhead and thought I was pretty familiar with the area so we didn't study the route very well beforehand. We ended up getting a little bit off and descending a bit further down below the mine which added about 4-500 ft. of unnecessary gain.
The rest of the way we went slower and took our time enjoying the views. We reached the summit around 10 a.m. A thunderstorm moved in very quickly from the northwest and we didn't linger long.
360 summit video
Grays and Torreys at center
As we descended, the storm grew closer. We could hear thunder claps right up toward Hoosier Ridge and we considered bailing down into the shelter of the trees to bushwhack down Scott Gulch. Hopefully, we'd find our way back to the highway and then walk up the road back to our car. This would have taken much more time than the direct route up to the ridge and back down. We couldn't decide what to do. So, we said a prayer and made the choice to hike up toward the storm and the standard route with the intention that if it got worse, we would quickly descend back down. The higher we hiked toward the ridge, the more the storm cleared out! By the time we reached the top, the storms had cleared all the way and it was sunny and pleasant. We had a lunch break and enjoyed the rest of the descent back.
Cami and I went for a sunset hike up in the Indian Peaks Wilderness west of Boulder. It rained on us for about an hour while we waited under the shelter of some thick trees waiting for the storms to pass. We weren't sure if there would be any color in the skies that evening. Many times the clouds linger into the night. We were blessed as the clouds lifted just in time for the last light of the sun to illuminate the scene.
Just finished a super fun design of icons of the different classes in
fantasy role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. Each image was
done with colored pencils on paper while the background was sponge
painted. We have been playing D&D 5e with a couple groups and are
having a blast. So I thought I would make something that goes well in
our game room downstairs. I title it, "Tools of the Trade".
The icons and respective classes (left to right, top to bottom) are as follows:
This year, I'm working on a handful of four season photographs from Rocky Mountain National Park as well as the Collegiate Peaks area near Buena Vista/Leadville. This is kind of a cool new experience for me in that I get to visit these locations four times (or more) in one single year and get to explore a little deeper and see the different moods of the landscapes. It is amazing how drastic a mountain scene can change over the course of two or three months! Totally looking forward to putting all these photographs together side by side at the end of this summer. Winter is my least favorite experience wise. Not a big fan of waiting for the sun to come up while standing outside in the -10 degree windchill factor, but the scenes themselves look awesome. In my opinion, mountains look most majestic covered in a blanket of white.
Old Cabin in the Sawatch
Mt. Elbert (Tallest Peak in Colorado)
Sunrise - Indian Peaks Wilderness from the Front Range