Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Making Our Way to 14,000'

The past several days have been filled with family, which is just the way I like it, but it was time to get to the business of being a Colorado resident that Brian likes best, being in the mountains.  For the first time this summer, we stood atop a 14er, a 14,000 foot mountain.  Brian had planned for this outing to be a family affair, so after his work day ended on Friday, we drove to Salida where Tom, Ann, Daniel and Xavier were visiting Ann's sister-in-law.  We didn't do much beyond enjoy a fabulous dinner on Friday as Saturday was an early morning.  One cannot underestimate how much work it is to hike a 14er, and I wasn't entirely sure this was a good idea, especially as this hike was a 10 mile round-trip outing and because it wasn't known to be an 'easy' hike.  Nonetheless, we left the parking lot and headed toward the summit at about 6:30am (this was a nice delayed start for Brian and me).

Mt. Yale, 14,196' 

We summited, after much work, at about 11:10am.  It was extremely windy as we made our way through the rockfall and toward the summit, but it was rather peaceful atop Mt. Yale, so we made the most of our time.  After all, we had put in a lot of time and energy to make it there.  We took a few summit snapshots, enjoyed lunch and found a perfect mountainside seat, a little rock alcove, with unparalleled views of the Collegiate Peaks. I saw an awful lot of mountain goat hair on the rocks near the summit, but I din't not find any goats to make friends with.  After making the initial descent through the rocks and onto the hillside trails, I found other critters to pass the time with, marmots, many of which were happy to sit atop rocks and squeak at me while I took their pictures.

Tom making his way toward the top (off to the right and above the rock ledge you see)
that pink dot just ahead of him is me
Tom and Brian on the way up - not bad views!
I'm almost to the top, almost 
Runnells family members at 14,000' 
Holy mountain goats, we did it! 
Brian taking in the view on the way down 
After about eight hours of work -- the hike down seems always to take much longer than one would expect it to, and the sore legs and feet certainly add to the feeling of trudging along without making much progress -- we were back at the car and ready to do little more than sit on the patio and taking in the views from above Salida.

Brian and I have taken on most all of the 14ers we've summited alone.  In fact, we've never been atop one with others, so it was really fun to have Tom and Ann there with us.  Four Runnells people atop one mountain was a pretty awesome sight -- thankfully, the pictures didn't reveal how exhausted we all were!

The next day, the boys joined us and we all did a bit more exploration, this time of Leadville, CO.  We walked up and down the main street and stopped in a few stores, at lunch, and toured the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum.

Leadville, CO
I love donkeys, so the Golden Burro Cafe caught my eye
there was a lot to learn about mining

In all, it was a fantastic weekend.  Ann's sister-in-law was an extremely gracious host with a really cute dog, we accomplished our goal of summiting Mt. Yale, and we did a lot of laughing and storytelling in between.  Family and Colorado go together quite nicely!

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