Monday, September 6, 2010

Grays Peak

Ephesians 1:17 "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation."

Revelation: The act of disclosure or making known, more particularly, God's self-unveiling, his deliberate disclosure of true knowledge of himself and his purposes and actions on our behalf.
Grays Peak 14,270'
Who: Sarah Pasquel (my beautiful), Aaron "Lu" Lawler, "Tired" Alf
When: 09/06/10
Mileage: 7.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 3000'
Class 1 hike

This was the last day of hiking on our first 14ers trip...I learned many things. For starters, class 1 (easy) doesn't mean your in for an easy day. Grays was no different...this hike was long and tiring. Especially after spending the last two days reaching the summits of Quandary and the Decali...I also learned that you have to be patient...take your time...look around...breathe (if you can)...and take the opportunity to thank God for giving me this time with Sarah, Lu, the people I met along the trail and for continously revealing Himself to me in so many different ways. On this trip...God was everywhere. Now, I can't say he revealed any specefic outline or plan for my immediate future...but that's ok. That's not what God needed to teach me...On this trip, I was learning about perseverance...and that perseverance is a matter of process. God's on His time, not mine...and for that, I need perseverance. The hike up Grays was a small exercise on let us begin!

We stayed in Georgetown the night before and left the hotel 8 at 5:30am…we got the lower TH at 5:45am and parked my little Prius there. I was not going to attempt to drive my sedan up this gulch…which would have devoured my lovely Prius. So we started our hike from below and hoped to hitch a ride. We really, really hoped...because it would have added 4 more miles and several thousand feet to our already long day...So we walked up the dirt road with our thumbs up...

Fortunately, within 10 minutes, a couple picked us hitchhikers up and gave us a ride all the way to the Gray's Peak TH…so grateful...we just avoided our worst case scenario.

We began our hike around 6:30am…there were tons of people on this day (Labor Day). Which bothered me at first...but you know what...who cares, I'm on a mountain and not at my desk…

We were hoping to do the combo-Grays and Torrey's…However, after two consecutive days of hiking up 14ers…we could definitely feel the fatigue. And we literally were dropping to our knees before we even reached the base of the mountain.
Our plan was to summit Gray's first, via standard route and hike the ridge over to Torrey's Peak. We were definitely more tired today and our pace reflected it. We were sluggish...not as motivated as the days before...and really, really cold. But we kept on...there was no way we were going to leave without bagging at least one peak...nonetheless, we still found time to enjoy the views.
I will admit...we did a lot of stopping...and just sitting down.
We finally summited Gray's at 10:15 a.m. It took us quite a while…
This is where the trip became really interesting for us… our way up to Gray's we ran across a few folks who had already summited and had mentioned how their camelbak's had frozen up there within 10 minutes…surely they were lying right? Well, after finally gaining the top, we felt the winds…and boy they were fierce. 60 mph gusts, plus freezing temps made for a very uncomfortable Summit. I don't think I have ever been this cold…I've been in several feet of snow, ice storms, etc…and I never remember my hands hurting so bad (I was wearing gloves too!) My wife almost began to cry and my buddy Lu who was not wearing gloves could care less about the views and decided to run down the mountain. I don't know if a cold front came in, we were right under the jet stream, or if we were being babies (which I doubt since the other 20-30 folks up top did the same as us…) So if any of you were on the Gray's/Torrey's Peak Summit on Labor Day and know the answer, please share…

Does he look happy to you?
Nonetheless, we decided to skip Torrey's and head back down…it took us about 10 minutes to descend about 500 ft...we were sprinting down the mountain.

We finally completed the hike at noon, spent, headaches, and all. We finished this hike on fumes...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Decali Bross

God is amazing...He's also an amazing artist...look around, look at His creation. I'm no artist, but I do like to dabble in some painting. And I will be the first to tell you that sometimes...when things aren't going well artisticly (Is this misspelled?)...I will put my brush aside and not look at my painting for a while. I believe God sculpts all mountains...but on this trip...two of the four peaks looked like unfinished work. Quite honestly...they were ugly. I think God put down His tools and moved over to the Elk Range and started working on the Maroon Bells instead...just saying.
The Decalibron = Mt. Democrat 14,148', Mt. Cameron 14,238', Mt. Lincoln 14,286', and Mt. Bross which we did not hike because it is on private property and the owners do not want anyone on the mountain. Hence...the entire thing is referred to as the Decalibron.

Who: Sarah (my wonderful), Aaron "Lu" Lawler, and myself
When: 09/05/11
Mileage: 5.25 miles
Elevation Gain: 3300'
Class 2 hike

Started out on our hike on 09/5/10 from Breckenridge at 5:15 am. I drove my 2010 Toyota Prius up the Kite Lake TH. We basically made it all the way up to the TH and parked a few hundred feet away from the paid parking area. I think I bottomed out once or twice, but I took my time and made it up without a problem. My Prius did very well...I was very proud of her...she did not deserve the beating I put her through... 
We were officially at the TH a few minutes past 6am and were doing great on time. My wife Sarah, buddy Lu, and I were hoping to bag three peaks today…we decided to leave Bross alone because requested us not to… That's right Bill...since you requesteth, i will complyeth...Sarah chose not to bag Cameron and Lincoln with Lu and I. She found a group and made her way down. It was a busy mountain with hundreds of people on it…though I felt awful, I knew she was going to be fine. Especially with the two hikers she was with…thank you whoever you are.

So Lu and I started on our way up to Cameron...we were blazing up the trail. We got up top relatively quickly...When Lu and I got to the top of Cameron, we were hit with 65 mph gusts…it was blowing us over. We were having fun in these felt like the wind could hold us up on it's own.

It was a beautiful day on the mountain, although very windy…In all reality, the hike is uneventful...It's one long stair stepper all the way to the top. But the views were great and the time spent with Sarah on the mountain was what this trip was all about!

The picture above was taken on the Summit of Cameron...there's not much to it. It felt like you were on this huge mound...not a mountain. It was basically rubble...but from this point, you could see Lincoln. It's the Peak on the right...
Cameron is pictured in the background you can large mound. Eh...
And finally, the third summit..Lincoln. The winds were strongest strong in fact I did not want to take the picture standing up and had to keep my hand on my hat so it wouldn't blow off...The best views of the day were from the top of this mountain!

Democrat Summit: 9:00 a:m
Cameron Summit: 10:15am
Lincoln Summit: 10:30am
Completed the hike: 12:15pm

***I was surprised to see so many hikers disregard the private property warnings for Bross…there were so many people hiking the ridge over to Bross…but in hindsight, I should have done it I am going to have to go back at some other time and finish off this ugly piece of rubble called a moutain.*****

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Quandary Peak

Isaiah 52:7 says, "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good news, who proclaim salvation..."

Who: Sarah Pasquel (Most awesome wife), Aaron "Lu" Lawler, and yours truly!
When: 09/04/10
 Well...I officially started my life goal of summiting  all 14ers in Colorado. I chose to start with an easy class 1 hike up one of the easier 14ers-Quandary. So we left the DFW area, drove all night, picked up Lu who flew into Denver and spent a few nights there enjoying the city, and made our way into the Rockies...
We needed to know, being flatlanders residing at 700' to reaching 14,000' mountains the next few days, called for a  little acclimatization..So what did we do? Obviously, we drove into Breckenridge, walked main street, and found the first cool microbrewery to hydrate for the trip!
Quandary Peak (East Ridge) 14,265 ft.
Class 1 hike
Mileage: 6.75 miles
elevation gain: 3450'
We left Breckenridge at 5:30 am and got on the TH by 6:00 am sharp…at 6am on this Labor Day Saturday, there were only about 5 vehicles in the parking area in front of the TH. This was a surprise…thinking it was going to be more people at this time. My wife Sarah and buddy Lu and I started the hike and felt like we did not see more than 5 people on the trail below the tree-line. My favorite part of the morning was smelling the fresh pine…which always brings back memories of previous trips in the mountains.
As we started to make our progression towards the top, we started to get passed up by many hikers who were on a mission. It was our second day in Colorado from Texas so we were taking it easy and getting our bodies acclimated to the elevation for the rest of our weekend trip. I personally did not mind our pace. This also gave me the opportunity to take in the scenery and appreciate the wonder of this place many of you call home.

 We finally reached the summit at 9:45 a.m. We took in the views and had a snack…we stuck around for 20 minutes before we decided to make our way down.  
This is when I first noticed the parade of folks making their way up Quandary. This mountain was loaded with people today…we would not go more than 2-3 minutes without passing someone. But I did not let this bother me since I too was one of those people hiking this mountain… 
 We finally completed the hike at exactly 12 p.m. It took us 6 hours to complete this trail. Did not think it would take us this long but it did…oh well, it was totally worth it. Now I am sitting here in Texas wishing I can take back at least 1 minute from this hike…

 We met the famous mountain goat I have seen in many of your pictures…met his family too. Awesome little guys…