Last Hike of the Season + Next Steps
Good morning! This week is jam packed for me, because we are getting ready to fly back to Atlanta for a wedding, plus, we are finally preparing to go to Wyoming! I am full of mixed emotions about this move and our next steps in life. I am so sad to leave my new friends at the gym, and the old friends I've reconnected with, but I am also so pumped to get out of a hotel room and finally feel somewhat settled again. I am nervous to be in such a small town and have less access to all the comforts that a big city has to offer, but I am anxious to get there, move in, and start job hunting. Speaking of jobs, I am so excited to work again! Maybe that sounds weird to some of you, but not working for over 2 months has been tough for me. I miss my clients, connecting with people in person, and coaching in general. It's my passion, and I can't wait to start that back up again. I am also terrified for winter. It is very possible that I will freeze to death in all the snow we are going to get. Pray for me.
Over the weekend, we completed our final big hike of the season- Grays and Torreys peaks. This one was special to me, because we got to take Tucker on this one. Some of the peaks don't allow dogs, and others would just be too difficult to take him on. We decided to end the season on this one, because it seemed lighter on the difficulty level, and there were lots of reviews that mentioned that plenty of dogs were able to make it up. I am pleased to report that Tucker was a freaking trooper, making it all the way up two separate peaks and back down without pulling either of us off a cliff. To be honest, I think he could have done it all in half the time if he didn't have us holding him back. He's such a fit dog.
The goal was to start this hike before sunrise, but we ran into a bit of trouble with the 3 mile dirt road up to the trailhead. It was littered with potholes, enormous rocks, and sharp turns that turned that last bit of mileage into a 20 minute minute rollercoaster ride. Let's just say I am thankful for the 4-wheel drive in the truck, and for the fact that I didn't eat breakfast before that little trek.
Even though we missed sunrise, it was an absolutely gorgeous morning for a hike. It was a little chilly at the start- around 46°. However, we warmed up quickly, since the entire first 4 miles was incline. Rough times. We thought that after climbing Longs, nothing would be tough. Think again! Even though you can follow a trail the entire way, it was a difficult hike because of the steepness of some of the inclines and the fact that there were hardly any breaks. Even the switchbacks were pretty solid inclines, so your legs are working the whole way up:
I mean, what?
We did take some moments to chill on the way up, check out the beautiful scenery, and give Tucker some water. He was loving life out there. I don't think he could have been more in his element.
After a four mile hike up, we made it to the top of Grays. We took a break up there, congratulated our pup on completing his first 14er, and shared some snacks. Tucker's favorite hiking snack: beef jerky.
To get over to Torreys, you have to hike down the saddle between the two peaks and back up to the top of the next mountain over. It was about a mile total to get to the other peak. We summited Torreys around 10:20am, just in time to catch some mountain goats relaxing in the morning sun:
Tucker was so distracted with the goat smells and trying to find other animals that he was not having it with all the photo taking we wanted to do.
We took some time up there just chatting and relaxing before the long climb back down to the truck. Even though we were exhausted from the hike, I'm so glad we gave ourselves this last experience on the mountains out here before we head out to Wyoming. I mean, not many people get to experience this indescribable beauty in their lifetimes, let alone spend 2 months doing it. I feel so lucky that I got to do multiple climbs while we were here.
On the way back down, we found some snow patches that we let Tucker check out. I wanted to start his exposure early, before it hits us hard in the coming months. He was totally unfazed. I wonder how he'll feel when he gets into snow that piles up taller than he is.
The hike down was actually not terrible. I'm honestly incredibly proud of my dog for being so cautious with the down climb. He even checked back multiple times to make sure I was ok.
The best news of the day was when we finally arrived back to the bridge to the parking lot. Another day, another two 14ers in the books! That brings our total 14er count to 8. Only 50 more to go! Haha. Maybe across our whole lifetime we'll get there. Bucket list?
On the way home, we met some friends at Jelly Cafe in Denver for a celebratory brunch. Their donut holes are amazing. My favorite was the salted caramel. I am still salivating over it. Afterwards, we all went home, took showers, and passed the heck out. Hiking at very little oxygen levels is hard work, and my lungs and legs were beat.
I'm definitely going to miss these long hikes over the next several months, but we have fallen so in love with this state since we've been here, that we really hope to make a home of it one day. I guess we'll have to see where the wind blows us after this Wyoming job!
In the meantime, I'll be packing up my life (again), buying all the winter gear, and preparing to deal with the subarctic temperatures of Rock Springs, Wyoming. In case you were wondering, yes, indeed, I did buy this amazing parka at the North Face outlet over the weekend. #worthit. Buying a new winter wardrobe makes me feel like I'll be able to survive the conditions ahead. Stay tuned for more adventures and all the excitement our new small town has to offer!