Ryan has had a dream for years that we would take our kids to hike a fourteener with us. (Fourteener, def.: In mountaineering, a fourteener is a mountain that exceeds 14,000 feet (4,267.2 m) above mean sea level.) There are quite a few of these in Colorado and when we realized that there was going to be one Friday in September that all of our kids were actually out of school at the same time, we decided this would be the year to summit.
We left early on Friday morning and enjoyed the incredible scenery on the way.
Have I mentioned how much I love living where we do?
We found a camping spot near the trail head. Please realize that camping to me involves sleeping off of the ground and near bathrooms, preferably clean ones with flush toilets and showers.
At least we were off the ground. We were in the middle of nowhere. When the sign on the freeway says"Exit 221 No Services", they aren't kidding. No bathrooms. No water. No showers. This was as primitive as it gets. Good thing Ryan thought to bring a shovel. (Think about that one for a minute.)
We set up camp and had a fun evening enjoying being the ONLY people around for miles.
|Ryan was having fun, I promise.|
We got up at 6 am on Saturday morning, bundled up and hit the trail by 7:00 am.
Don't our kids looked thrilled to be hiking a fourteener?! Well, let me tell you, they WEREN'T!! It was freezing cold. Freezing. At one point we had three kids in tears complaining of frostbite. We knew that as soon as the sun came up we would warm up so we pushed them on. Mean parents? Maybe a little. But by the end of the day they all four said they were glad we kept going even when we wanted to quit.
Finally we hit the sun! And went up over the tree line. We were in a barren wasteland. This hike was HARD. Really hard. There is a 3000 foot elevation gain over just 4 miles. For those of you who don't climb a lot of mountains that basically means that we were hiking UP, UP, UP. There was nothing flat, ever. Just UP. And it was really rocky to boot, so it wasn't easy to get secure footing.
Yes, the kids got tired. Sometimes taking your kids on hard hikes means doing things like this...
|That would be me, carrying mine and Isaac's backpacks on my back, the girls' backpacks and Lincoln's camelbak in my hands. Burns more calories, right?|
It was hard, but you know what? We did it. And we had fun! I think everyone is capable of a lot more than we think we are--especially our kids. Push them! Show them what they can do!!
After 4.5 hours of hard core hiking, we could see the top and knew we were close. Then some kind old man told us we were only half way. Talk about a blow. Looking at the map later, we realized he meant we were halfway to the top of the second peak, when we were actually only intending to go to the first. In reality we had about 900 more feet to go. 900 more feet straight up a steep mountain. We decided to call it a day. After all, one of us was only 4 years old and three of us wanted to get down to the vault toilets at the trailhead. (It's pretty sad when you are looking forward to a hole in the ground.)
|Us at our turn around point.|
The view from where we stopped was pretty incredible. We were proud of how far we got. We want to try it again in a few years and see how we fare. (This time we will bring gloves and wool socks for the morning!!)
Everyone we passed on the trail commented on how far our kids had gone and how awesome they were. One lady asked Isaac, "Do your parents make you hike all the time?" I thought that was pretty funny.
So proud of my kids! And they are proud of themselves too!!