So, this has been an eventful weekend so far. We climbed a mountain. We half climbed a mountain anyway. There has been talk at work about climbing a 14er, seeing as we have them scattered around here. Half of the people from work had to drop out due to the storms out east and what that does for airline travel, along with some rescheduling, so we're going to have to give it another shot before too long for their benefit and hopefully for redemption from this half effort.
My wife would like me to point out, by the way, that my expectations of what it would be like to hike a 14er were less than accurate. We made it about 1000 feet up, which is halfway along the trail, but it's the less inclined half of the trail, and the next half would climb about twice what the first half did. I also have a co-worker (who did not go) who insisted that we would need to bring more gear than we did, more water, more food, more warm clothing. I cannot believe how heavy my pack was, and I believe I could have made it much farther without it than I did with it.
It turned out to be Melissa and I, and a co-worker and her boyfriend, going up for the trip. I started the day off with no sleep. I was supposed to have friday night (overnight) off, which would have helped out with the hike, but it turns out they needd me in for half of my shift, so no luck there. We had a decent breakfast and got all geared up and ready to drive out. On the way up I realized I had forgotten to bring any sort of caffeine, and had no ibuprofen as well. I have to thank my co-worker for remembering both.
The trail from Guanella pass starts out pretty level. You actually go down a lttle before you start heading up. It gives you a little false security. It was not as cold as I thought it would be, but I had an abundance of warm gear in my pack in case it was worse at the top. It got cooler as you went up, but the exertion kept you warm, and even when we paused to rest, a coat was plenty.
Then the trail got steep. We pushed through that for quite a way, but seeing how much more we had to go still, I'm glad we turned back when we did. It seems Melissa and I were certainly slowing the group, but in our defense, I think a lot of that was the heavy packs. Even after we were done and back home, it was surprising how heavy the pack was, between the stuff I packed and the extra gear I stripped off and put into it when it became apparent I was wearing too much, when bringing it in the house. At any rate, going down the mountain with the weight was much easier than taking it up.
After we got down, we hit up Beau Jo's Pizza on the way back. Two things to note. When they ask if you mind sitting at one of the high tables, say that you do mind, unless you want the lack of service that comes with having the bartender for a server. I also did not realize how uncomfortable a tall chair is after hiking for a few hours. I would rather be able to reach the floor. And second, it seems they take some time to make the pizza. I don't know if the bartender took a while to turn our ticket in, or what, but it was 45 minutes before we saw food. If you're hungry, as we were, maybe get a trip to the salad bar. Melissa started gnawing on my arm, and there is a now picture out there of me making sad faces while eating the parmesan.
Overall though, it was a good trip. I want another shot at it, knowing better what to expect. Maybe try it out soon here, once the stiffness and soreness fade, and before we get hit with too much snow.