Wednesday, August 6, 2014

backpacking at mount sopris

i have tried subscribing to the idea that kids don't have to change your active, outdoor lifestyle, but i am beginning to wonder if they do... is it too difficult with too many risks to do activities, such as backpacking or camping during a thunderstorm, with young children? should we give up trying? these are the questions we are left asking ourselves. it's not that we don't enjoy the challenge of learning to adapt, but the weather here in our neck of colorado consists of pretty consistent afternoon & nighty summer thunderstorms. and that makes both of us nervous with a baby around.
but i couldn't wait to try backpacking with a baby, and mt sopris was calling my name. i ordered a wrap just for the occasion, which made it possible to wear baby & a backpack. despite a few clouds in the sky that morning (and a swollen foot from a recent bee sting), i said "let's do it!" we got to the trailhead by 9:30am with the plan of dropping our packs at camp 4 miles up and continuing on to the summit. 
summiting was not my goal. i did want to be realistic, and considering this was our first backpacking trip in over a year, and first ever with a baby, i was happy we were even trying. 
it was a lovely hike up to thomas lakes, and just started to rain as we found a camp spot. we waited it out under a pine tree, watching for blue sky to appear over the peak. and there it was: a blue clearing! we set up camp and made the call to continue on while we had a chance of fair weather.
now i was only carrying harper (who is 4 1/2 months old), but the steep trail seemed much more difficult than when we climbed sopris last year, sans baby. i was taking it slowly (a little too slowly?) when we got above tree level, getting ever closer to the top, and the rain clouds began rolling in overhead. we made the call to turn around. it's not the rain that worries us as much as the high probability of being accompanied by thunder & lightning.
we did get rained on as we neared camp. laying in the tent, we went back & forth if we should camp out for the night or head back, not knowing if the weather would get better or worse. with a break in the clouds, we packed up and headed back, regretting our decision with every step. garrison & i were both more than a little grumpy as we hiked the last 4 miles back to the car, wanting so badly to stay & camp but both being worried we would make the wrong call and spend the night in fear of a lighting strike. of course the evening was one of the most clear & beautiful we've had in a while. it was a long day, 10 hours spent outside hiking at least 12 miles, 8 of which with large packs and the other 4 on the steep mountainside. 
after leaving camp we passed by 3 young girls. they reminded me of myself 8-9 years ago, just after high school when i was doing the same thing with friends. one girl said that backpacking with a baby was "one of the cutest things" she's ever seen, followed by "you are my inspiration." and that's why i was even on the trail in the first place... because i have been inspired by other mother's, before i had kids, to get out and try. go as far as you can. turn around when you need to. but don't stay home. 
along the trail the wildflower blooms were out in force. it was a beautiful sight. and one of my favorite motherhood moments to date was nursing harper for nearly 20 minutes as we hiked. i felt like a true mountain mama that day.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

somewhere there's a mountain

somewhere there's a mountain
it must be far away
'cause i stand on my tiptoes
and i can't see a thing.

somewhere there's a mountain
i heard the prophet say
that we'll build a home there
and never have to go away.

and it's a long, long way to walk
but one day i'll climb to the top.

somewhere there's a mountain
with flowers in the spring
i will take my shoes off
and wade the mountain stream.

it's a long, long way to walk
but one day i'll climb to the top.

and it's a long, long way to walk
but one day i'll climb to the top.

and that's where i'll find jesus
and when i see him smile
i'll put my arms around him
it will be worth every mile.

somewhere there's a mountain...

four young girls sang this beautiful song in church the other day. it touched my soul and reminded me of brittni's life. she loved the mountains & jesus!

the month between her passing in july & birthday in august i miss her so much. i find myself getting (more) teary eyed at every hymn sung at church, making recipes that remind me of her (pesto pasta, extra garlic in everything, rhubarb cake...), putting more heart into my runs, and trying to hike the tallest peaks. that girl knew what to live for! her spirit lives on through all of us.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

mountain fair

our town held it's annual mountain fair this weekend. it's full of tie-dye, fair food and music. everyone attends and it's hard to find parking - luckily we live close enough to walk. while garrison and i shared a burger + mini doughnuts, harper got her fill of people watching (the best part of fairs!) then fell asleep while we watched the band. mountain fair is almost as good as forest fair back in alaska. i love this hippy community we live in!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

lincoln creek swimming hole

sometimes we feel like we have to go camping on garrison's days off. like if we stay at home we are wasting precious summer days. don't get me wrong, we love camping, hiking + just being outside, but there are weekends that just need to be spent around the house, even in the summertime.

this weekend was one of those we want to stay home + work on house projects, but we don't want to waste an opportunity to camp. so we drove past aspen, up independence pass, and set up camp along lincoln creek road (ps: campsite #5 is the best). 

the sky was overcast, which made us sad because we wanted to spend the afternoon in the creek, and were hoping for a really hot day. we found a beautiful swimming hole, with plenty of shallow + deep parts. but just as we got in the water, the clouds rolled in. we got our feet wet before walking back to camp. we were still optimistic, looking forward to lying in the hammock with our books. but just as we settled in, the rain started. we moved into the tent where harper was napping, and just as we reopened our books, it decided to downpour mixed with pea-sized hail and thunder. not knowing if it was safer in the tent or car, we had no choice but to run to the car once we realized our tent was set up in a low spot, and it was suddenly floating atop a small lake. 

at this point, our campout was unsalvageable. the bottom of our tent was soaked through, and most likely our sleeping bags were too. with the storm still raging, garrison managed to break camp and get our muddy gear shoved into the car. we headed home through the lightening storm, watched some tv, and worked on house projects the next day...just like we had wanted to all along.

it reminded me very much of the children's song "the wise man and the foolish man"

  1. The wise man built his house upon the rock,
    The wise man built his house upon the rock,
    The wise man built his house upon the rock,
    And the rains came tumbling down.
  2. The rains came down, and the floods came up,
    The rains came down, and the floods came up,
    The rains came down, and the floods came up,
    And the house on the rock stood still.
  3. The foolish man built his house upon the sand,
    The foolish man built his house upon the sand,
    The foolish man built his house upon the sand,
    And the rains came tumbling down.
  4. The rains came down, and the floods came up,
    The rains came down, and the floods came up,
    The rains came down, and the floods came up,
    And the house on the sand washed away.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

telluride, co

telluride, colorado is our most favorite mountain town (and apparently so many other people's too because the town campground is always full!). we are so glad we discovered it last year and have been lucky to return a few times since.
our plan was to camp in town this time, but since it was full even on a wednesday, we camped at alta lakes as we have previously done. but before we pitched our tent, we rode the gondola, ate dinner at brown dog pizzeria + attended a sunset concert in mountain village.
in the morning we got an early start to grab our favorite salt bagels with veggie cream cheese for breakfast + walked all around town. it was a great getaway...we only wish it wasn't a four hour drive!
^ an awkward nursing situation in a cramped car :)