Colorado Adventures Photo Blog

ColoradoTN

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Colorado Adventures Photo Blog

Wisconsin To Colorado And Back!

There is nothing like a road trip across the USA to remind yourself how much you despise the evil, imposter President and his regime, every single time you fill up the gas tank.

Until the “swamp” is fully-drained and masses finally awakened, we conscious travelers endure the idiocy of this era, whilst dreaming up creative adventures to experience domestically.

Two peregrinas, who’ve missed their beloved, annual pilgrimages on the Camino de Santiago, decided to drive from Wisconsin to Colorado for one week and climb tall mountains.

We left without a plan, agenda or even bookings, and rigged the minivan to sleep in if need be.

Flow with” was our trip motto, as well as “the Camino provides.” And provide it did every single plot twist and turn for 7 days!

Green Bay is 581 feet above sea level, so the mile-high city of Denver’s elevation was immediately noticeable. We jumped in with both feet to acclimate by spending our first morning hiking an incline trail 5x, avoiding the angry rattlesnakes hissing at us nearby. (I spotted 3 of them!)

The following day we raised the bar and conquered the vigorous Manitou Springs Incline, all 2,744 steps and 2,000 feet elevation climb. It was a glorious summer morning in Colorado to take on this feat, and we arrived at sunrise to beat the heat and crowds.

We made good time to the summit, laughing with fellow climbers along the way, and savored stunning scenery of the east slope of Rocky Mountain during our leisurely hike back down.

If you visit Colorado Springs, you must tour Garden of the gods, and we enjoyed a nature-filled day in that area.

My fellow pilgrim friend, Jacki, and I traveled south to Alamosa for a few adventures in the Great Sand Dunes National Park, as well as Crede, a fascinating, old historic mining town. Mother Nature blessed us with up-close animal sightings of 2 moose and a fox!

We tried our luck with a dispersed camping site off the side of a mountain road. Not only was it extremely primitive (zero resources) we also camped in the pouring rain and the windchill went below freezing at night. I’m all in for new experiences and quickly realized I should have packed warmer clothing.

The next morning we rose before dawn and prepared ourselves to climb Mount Yale, a snow-covered summit of 14,200 feet.

Our original idea was to climb Mount Elbert, Colorado’s tallest peak at 14,439 with an easier walk-up trail to the top, not requiring any technical mountaineering skills, however we learned upon arrival it was closed due to fire hazards. Jacki had nearly summited Mount Elbert years before, but had to descend because of its unpredictable weather and dangerous lightening storms.

Admittedly, we knew nothing of Mount Yale and couldn’t even research it prior due to the lack of cell service where we camped the day before. The morning hike began with a chilly and slippery, rocky trail from the prior rainfall, and 4 interesting water crossings. It was great to see a handful of fellow climbers, including one guy with his dog!

An hour into the ascent, my bladder exploded; more specifically, my camelback hydration pack. Icy water soaked through my clothes and down my back and legs, making the climb wet and cold. My niece and nephews had used the camelback a week earlier while camping, so I imagined something had happened to it then. Ditching the bladder and hiding it off the trail to retrieve upon descent, I marched upward with only a 1-liter water bottle for the rest of the journey.

What miraculously-distracted me from the unexpected water explosion was the epic scenery. The air smelled fresh after the rain with nuances of pine, and the viewpoint vistas showcased spectacular mountain ranges. Soon enough we climbed above the clouds and started to feel the increasing elevation.

To our surprise, we hit 2 boulder fields that required to carefully pick our way through via agile scrambling. Albeit, I wore tread-bare running shoes, for what I thought would be an easy walk-up summit, I’d brought with me my beloved flip flops with toe socks just in case. They were definitely out of the question!

With only 1,000 more feet to the summit, I began to feel a little dizzy. The altitude effects people different ways, and during my 19,341 ft Kilimanjaro climb, I fortuitously escaped any altitude sickness symptoms.

It was time to make an executive decision: I also had no water for the final summit, and shivered with a lower core temp from the camelback bladder debacle.

The wise choice was to descend vs. risk injury or health problems.
Jacki climbed onward to reach the summit and I was so proud of her. She reported the last 1,000 feet took over 2 hours and was extremely difficult, as the trail disappeared completely and she scaled her way up perilous snow and icy rock.

That evening we found a beautiful little campsite on Turquoise Lake and relaxed fireside with a delicious meal, after we took our bath post-climb in the frigid lake. We were 2 stinky peregrines after several days of Colorado exploration sans shower!

Sleep deprived with some achy muscles, our chipper attitudes never wavered during out long days of driving and cold, uncomfortable overnight adventures in the van. We had remained true to our motto of the “the Camino provides” and made new friends along the way, devised interesting picnicking opportunities, witnessed incredible majesty that Mother Nature offered, and created beautiful memories on our week-long journey.

Click below to scroll through a small sampling of my trip Photo Gallery and enjoy my video adventures throughout Colorado.


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