Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Colorado Trip

It's been a pretty fantastic week away in Colorado!
BF and I got tickets to fly out early on Tuesday, and we packed excitedly for an easy and relaxing sport climbing trip (no huge hikes in, no carrying a million pounds of traditional gear in the backcountry).  I may have underestimated that hiking in part...
We arrived and drove immediately up into the mountains.  By the end of the day, we were climbing up by Independence Pass at 10,000 ft up!  There was some incredible views, fantastic climbing, and a very nice kick in the pants during the hike up that I'm not in cardio shape at all.  Kind of a tough reminder on day 1 of a trip.
I even had time to monkey around a bit before we looked for a place to park the van for the night.
Did I forget to mention that? :)
Because we signed up for the "Compact Car or Equivalent", we scored a mini van from the car rental place for crazy cheap!  This meant that when it rained every afternoon- sometimes a full blown thunderstorm- we had a great place to spend the night without completely soaking our gear!
Mornings were spent making coffee next to a stream at a completely abandoned pullout, or watching it rain from the trunk as we relaxed, read, played games, and waited for good weather.
With nice sun in the morning and afternoon rain and thunderstorms, it was a little weird weather-wise, but it was still fantastic climbing!
I got to have great views from every perch.
Evenings were usually spent at a local place, looking where we were going to climb the next day and enjoying local ciders and food. 
And even on days that it rained the whole time, we still went hiking!
One morning, we were camped near Carbondale, Colorado, on a very very back dirt/clay road.  We got in late, parked the van, unrolled our sleeping bags in the back, and woke up to sprinkling on and off on the roof.
We made a quick breakfast before deciding to do the short 2-mile hike in to where the climbing cliff was to at least check it out!
We found an amazing place, but the rain was soaking the entire top of the headwall, making it impossible to climb.  
That didn't mean I didn't at least play around a bit at the bottom of the cliff for awhile! :)
The only unfortunate part was that on the hike back, I finally had to come to the realization that my 7-year old raincoat, a long and faithful partner in my adventures, was no longer waterproof.  At ALL.  I kept up my good spirits, because all you can do is laugh in the rain and wonder if it's better to keep a soaking wet raincoat ON or just take it off?  
We also tried to climb near the Aspen ski area, but the rain had different ideas.  
We hiked straight uphill for over a half an hour (oh my GOD am I out of cardio shape), took another half hour scootching around side to side on the hill trying to find the silly climbing area, and then right when we found it, we felt sprinkles.  Down the path we went- doing that in the rain wouldn't have been fun.  The moment we got in the van it began to downpour.  Talk about the nick of time!
After spending most of our time in the mountains, we drove to the front range for the weekend to spend time with my cousin, Seth, who lives in Denver.
His adorable little miniature husky Easton joined us for the last few days at the crag.  I promise he's not crazy, he's just so excited rubbing his face against my leg that he only looks a little crazy. :)
Not very many of my family members show interest in climbing, so it was really cool to get Seth on the rock and trying out a brand new sport.  He was a champ, trying everything we put him on and giving it his all.  He burned out his forearms and fingers, got scraped and bloody, and passed out both nights immediately after dinner when we got home. 
I think he enjoyed it. :)
I wish I had more and better pictures of the actual climbing, but when you have two people when climbing ropes, it's a little tough.  Someone is always climbing and belaying, which means you get little to no pictures.  
Well, unless you're super bored while belaying and like taking selfies and pictures of rocks and your feet... :)
I'll have to work on that for my next climbing trip!
We got partially caught up in the Delta debacle on our way home, but after waking up at 3:30 to catch a plane, hurry up returning the rental, hurry up through checking a bag and security, then waiting for our delayed flight, it was really good to get home yesterday afternoon and relax with my kittens.
I have about a week before school starts, and hopefully I'll get in one more quick backpacking trip before then.  
I mean, what's the point of being a teacher if you can't make complete and full use of your summer vacation? :)

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