Saturday, June 23, 2012

You Should Have Seen That Sunrise!

My theme for today's Blog (inspired by my sunrise hike this morning to Baldy Peak) would be John Mayer's song "3x5" (from his first and best album - Room for Squares). He sings about seeing a sunrise, and about how he wants to see the world through his eyes, rather than through a camera. Now, don't get me wrong, I love taking pictures. I get a little obsessed actually (ask anyone I've traveled with - I literally take hundreds, if not thousands of pictures on any given trip. I'm just always afraid I'm going to miss something. However, on this particular hike, I kept thinking about this song and how I really do need to be better about actually experiencing what I see, instead of just taking pictures and looking back on them.

So, here are the stats -

Description: Hike to Baldy Peak (between Ouray and Ridgway, Colorado)
Date: June 23, 2012
Round Trip Distance: 7 Miles
Starting Elevation: 8,700 feet
Ending Elevation: 10,600 feet

If you read my last post, you probably saw that one of my "summer bucket list" items was to hike to the top of a mountain and watch the sunrise. Well that is what we attempted to do today.

We woke up at 1:00am (probably when most people are just getting to bed on a Friday night/Saturday morning), and left the house at 2:00am. We would've been at the trailhead around 3:00, but took a wrong turn and had to back track a bit. So we ended up starting close to 3:45am. It was pitch black out, and completely clear skies, which made for some quick stargazing. Nothing extensive, as we were already behind on time, and wanted to make sure we still had enough time to see the sunrise.

So, as I just said, we started about 3:45am - it was very dark, and we saw multiple signs warning that this was "bear country," so needless to say I was a little freaked out for the first hour or so. We moved fairly quickly (mostly because I was scared), and honestly I don't remember a whole lot from the beginning as it was all dark. About an hour or so in, we could start to make out some of the surrounding mountains which was helpful, and about a half hour or so later could start to see a little yellowish glow coming from the east (below). We took a little break then, and tried to decide if we wanted to stay here for the sunrise, or to continue on and try to get to a higher point. I was nervous we would miss it, but we decided to keep going, as the spot we were at just wasn't quite right.

About a half hour later, we came upon a great spot to stop and watch the sunrise. I was a little bummed that we were still over 1/2 mile away from the top of the peak, but I knew that if we kept going we would've definitely missed it. So we found a great spot on the top of a  nearby hill and rested awhile while we waited for the sun to rise. We only had to wait about 10 minutes or so for it, and there it was:

It was while watching this that John Mayer's song came to mind, and so I tried to take some time to just watch it without the camera. It was still difficult, and as you can tell - I still took several pictures. Of course I'm never going to completely follow the song and not even bring a camera (I don't think I would know what to do with myself). The point I'm trying to make is just that I want to try to be better about really enjoying something while it's happening.

After we enjoyed the sunrise, we decided to continue on and make it to Baldy Peak. It was just over 0.6 miles later that we made it to the top, and while the view from the top was pretty, I'm not even sure we would've been able to see the entire sunrise. The name "Baldy Peak" was a little misleading, as the northeast side was covered in pine trees. So overall I'm glad we decided to stop where we did, and eventhough we didn't watch from a "peak," I think the bucket list can still get checked off.

Here are a few more photo's from the peak and surrounding areas -

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

And so it begins...

Well here I am, creating my first "blog."

I know what you're all thinking (if there even is a "you" out there) - another blog out there that no one is going to read!? I know, I know... I've thought it too. But the truth is, the purpose of this blog is more for my own personal use. Somewhat like a journal. You see, about a year ago I decided to take up hiking. Mostly as a way to do something fun with my husband (newlywed at the time), and a way to do something that HE actually liked, as opposed to always doing what I want to do.

Well several months, 80 or so miles, and three fourteeners down the road, I determined I actually enjoyed it. For starters it gave me a way to exercise without having to go to a gym, but more importantly the reward of making it to the top of a mountain, or even to just a secluded spot in nature was far worth it. And of course, I got to spend quality time with my Hubs!

So a year later, another summer, and a new part of the state (Southwest Colorado now vs. the Front Range), I've decided to start a blog. A place where I can keep track of some of the awesome things I've seen and done. Not to mention that I think it will also work as a nice story board for when I go to scrapbook these adventures come the end of the summer (scrapbooking being one of my other favorite hobbies - I guess my "winter" hobby, you could say).

Unfortunately I've already missed a few adventures from this year, so here's a quick recap:

Description: Hike to the top of Mount Garfield in Palisade, Colorado
Date: April 7, 2012
Round Trip Distance: 4 Miles
Starting Elevation - 4,800 feet
Ending Elevation - 6,765 feet

Description: Hike to Delicate Arch and the Fiery Furnace in Moab, Utah
Date: May 27, 2012
Round Trip Distance: 3 Miles
Starting Elevation: 4,300 feet
Ending Elevation: 4,800 feet
(Also did the Fiery Furnace Guided Hike, which was about 2 miles, not sure on the elevations - although nothing too strenuous)

Description: Hike within Lizard Head Wilderness Area near Telluride, Colorado (and camped afterwards)
Date: June 16, 2012
Round Trip Distance: 12 Miles
Starting Elevation: About 10,000 feet
Ending Elevation: High point was 12,000 something feet (it was a loop, so technically we ended at the same elevation)

And this last picture isn't a hike, but I just want to brag about my Mountains (yes, they're mine!) - only 45 minutes away from my house are the gorgeous San Juan Mountains. I grew up on the Front Range, and while the mountains on the east side of the Rockies are definitely pretty, I'm just in love with the ones over here in rural Southwestern Colorado. Not only are they more rugged looking, but there are less people on this side of the mountains! When you explore them, you are actually are alone most of the time! You get solitude, and can really experience and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you! This past weekend I was able to enjoy a wonderful kiss with my wonderful husband on top of a mountain (of course with Norah Jones playing in my head - "Come Away with Me and We'll Kiss, on a Mountain Top"). You don't get a lot of opportunity for little moments like that on the Front Range.

So there it was, my first blog post, of what I hope will be many - as "many" means I will be experiencing amazing things this summer!

Here's a sneak peek on what may be happening this summer -

Summer 2012 Bucket List:
1. Visit and Hike in Moab (Check!)
2. Camp at the Great Sand Dunes (scheduled for July 7)
3. Camp and visit Telluride (Check - Although I plan to do more here if possible)
4. Hike from Crested Butte to Aspen (Very excited and nervous about this one - lets hope I don't chicken out - it's scheduled for August 18th and requires an overnight)
5. Hike into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison
6. Hike Mt. Sneffles (the closest fourteener to where we live)
7. Hike a summit before dawn and watch the sunrise
8. Hike half of the trails on our Ouray Topo Map
9. Hike on the Grand Mesa
10. Drive the Million Dollar Highway from Ouray to Silverton

Flattop Mountain & Hallett Peak

I've been wanting to hike to the top of Hallett Peak ever since I found out it was the gorgeous mountain towering above Dream and Emera...