Tag Archives: backpacking

A Mini Backpacking Trip

21 Aug

Last weekend, Travis and I headed up to White Ranch near Golden – a mere 30 minutes from our house – for a mini backpacking trip with some good friends from church and their 2 kids. I say mini backpacking trip because it was only 1 mile to our campsite and we only stayed 1 night.

But it was still a lot of fun! Since we were so close to Denver, we could see the city from the hill we were on, and at night, we could see all of the city lights.

Since it was a mile to the campsite, we packed everything like we would’ve for a longer backpacking trip. And then we saw people with rolling suitcases and wagons and armloads of stuff. I didn’t feel so sheepish about bringing my travel pillow along then (which actually worked great).

We set up camp, ate dinner and then roasted marshmallows for s’mores. The kids were obsessed with poking long sticks into the fire.

 

The next morning, pooches were wide awake by 5:30. At 6:45, I finally decided to get up and let them out.  This was the beautiful site I saw as I got out of the tent:

It was jaw-dropping beautiful. I just stood there for a bit looking at it. The picture does not do it justice.

After using the restrooms, pooches and I went on a little walk down the trail in the opposite direction of where we had come up the night before. When we got a little way from the campsites, I let them off their leashes and they ran around like idiots. They love being outdoors and exploring. It would be a shame if we went camping and they didn’t get to do that.

Everything was so amazingly gorgeous in that early morning light and as I hiked around, I felt so in awe of God and His creation. The heavens and earth truly do declare His praise.

After my meditative hike, pooches and I went back to the campsite and waited for everyone else to get up. I fed the dogs, ate a couple of clementines and laid down on the picnic bench, looking up at blue sky and pine boughs.

People finally got up and we ate breakfast, played on the big rocks, went on another little walk/hike, and then packed up camp. The mile back to the cars went by quickly and then Travis and I headed to Which Wich to have lunch. It was my first time eating there and while I really loved all of the options, it made it difficult to choose what to get! I ended up not being overly crazy about what I ordered but I would definitely go back. They serve breakfast sandwiches all day. Mmmm…

Travis and I are hoping to go camping once more before it snows in the high country, hopefully sometime in September.

 

 

 

Fourth of July on Eaglesmere Trail

12 Jul

Here, finally, are the pictures from our wonderful and challenging backpacking trip.

We hiked Eaglesmere Trail, which is about 45 minutes NW of Silverthorne. The trailhead is located near Lower Cataract Lake.

Thank you, Google Maps.

The road to get to the trail head is pretty rough (washboard dirt roads) and tight (which makes for some interesting times when there’s an oncoming car). When we arrived at the trail head parking lot around 10:30 am, both the main lot and the overflow lot were completely full. We had no choice but to create our own spot, which was difficult because the Forest Service has lined the open areas with logs to prevent you from doing just that. Secret: there’s an open spot near the outhouse, which is where we parked.

We finally got on the trail, which was absolutely gorgeous. It was very wooded and green, with lots of plants and flowers. It actually kind of felt like a jungle. Since the last couple of hikes Travis and I have gone on were near Colorado Springs where it’s very rocky, this lushness was a pleasant change.

It was very hot this July 4th weekend with temperatures reaching 100 in Denver and mid-80s in the mountains. Within 10 minutes of starting out, I had sweat streaming down my face and dripping off my chin – and we were still in the shade!  There are a few stretches of this hike in full sun and while it gets hot out there, they’re not the steepest parts. But you do get a gorgeous view.

I totally think I look like my mom in that picture. Like mother, like daughter. 🙂

Our dog, Katy, was so cute on this trip. While our dog, Charlie, stuck to the front of the pack with Rocky (Ahren and Lauren’s dog), Katy followed along after Ahren and Lauren and would come back to watch for me and Travis pulling up the rear. Once we were in sight again, she’d continue on. Just wanted to make sure we I hadn’t died, I guess.

See my massive calf muscle? Hells yeah!

Also, note my little lantern hung on the back of my pack (it’s the blue thing at the bottom). Travis laughed at me when I bought it. I laugh at him when he wears his headlamp.

At about the time the last picture above was taken, my legs and my mouth were cursing at the never-ending hills on this trail. The highest point of the trail is 10,300 ft – starting at 8,500 ft – an elevation gain of 1,800 ft, which isn’t that bad except when you’re 1) not in backpacking shape and 2) doing hard workouts all week for triathlon training. My legs were just so tired. I have never felt like that on a hike before (well except for the first time I went backpacking, but I’m in a lot better shape than then. Last year, we did 30 miles in 3 days but they were flat miles. I hate hills!)

Finally, we were getting closer. We arrived at a stream (which was more like a small river it was flowing so fast) and then bushwhacked it on the ‘Rock Superhighway’ to the lake (which I don’t think is actually Eaglesmere Lake but some other obscure, yet well-known, little lake).

Finally, to my immense relief, we arrived. I survived! But the thing about backpacking (or really camping in general) is that once the hard work is over, there’s more hard work. Like setting up your tents, making a fire ring, keeping an eye on your dogs so they don’t piss your neighbors off (even though they piss you off with firecrackers at 10 pm and a dog named Slim that keeps visiting), cooking your food, filtering water, gathering fire wood, trekking up hills just to go to the bathroom, etc. Camping is so much work.

But at last, with all the dirty work out of the way, it was time for fishing, reading, picture taking, and a campfire.

The view of the lake from our campsite

The view of the mountains from our campsite

Our tent (borrowed from Ahren and Lauren because ours would not fit us + 2 pups)

Yay for self-portraits a la SkinnyRunner!

Isn’t that a totally awesome picture? Yeah, I took that – on my little Canon PowerShot.

The next morning, I woke up as the Green Hulk. That’s what happens when two dogs that should be exhausted beyond recognition still decide to wake up at 5 am. Grrrr…

Instead of accepting my early wake up call like I should have, I took the dogs on a little 10-minute walk, then tried to get them to go back to sleep in the tent. They weren’t having it (for the record, they hit their daily energy peak at 6 am). So I had Travis tie them to a tree when he got up to pee. Which was pretty much useless because I just laid there the whole time, hearing them walking around, tangling themselves together, and then Charlie digging a hole.

Finally, I resigned myself to my fate and got up. Not too long after that, Ahren and Lauren were up, and then I made Travis get up too.

After a breakfast of oatmeal and Strawberry Goober, we hiked down the stream that flows out of the lake to go fishing (I went to go reading). Actually, after contemplating an entire day of reading, I decided I would try my hand at fishing. Three casts in, I snagged my line on a rock or log and Travis broke the rod trying to get it un-snagged. Fishing FAIL. That is why I just shouldn’t fish. The universe was telling me something.

So instead, I read The Autobiography of George Muller and the Bible.

I also snuggled Katy.

She’s my little sidekick.

We also sat back-to-back for a little bit, which I thought was funny. (It’s also funny that I double as Popeye in this photo.)

I watched Travis fish for a bit.

Ahren and Lauren have been to this spot before and had tremendous luck catching fish. But the stream was a lot higher and faster than past years (due to the abnormally high amount of snow the high country received last winter) so we weren’t having much luck. After 30 minutes of no luck, we moved downstream to find Ahren and Lauren.

They found a great fishing spot where there was a bend in the stream and some trees had fallen across, creating slower water. It was also hilarious to watch the dogs make their way across these logs. Their balance wasn’t always the greatest, but not one fell in (though Rocky got wet a lot on purpose). Our dogs want nothing to do with water.

Kluthes didn’t have the greatest fishing luck. While Ahren and Lauren caught 4-5 small brook trout (and Lauren had caught a nice, big one the night before at the lake), Travis caught a few (I caught none of course) and then he caught his line on a log. After a wholehearted attempt to save the lure (I’m not a fisher so I don’t know what you call them), they cut the line and said RIP.

Meanwhile, the early-rising dogs were peetered out and trying to take a nap anywhere they could.

We all laughed at the places Charlie tried to sleep. While we were at our campsite the second night, both Katy and Charlie were so tired that they found little nooks to curl up in. Charlie even tried to crawl under the vestibule on Ahren and Lauren’s tent. When we told she couldn’t do that, she found a cozy spot in a some tall grass. I kept telling her that she wouldn’t be so tired if she’d just stop getting up so early but she just looked at me with her Eeyore face. Oh, bother.

Since the pooches were so obviously tired (and so was I), I decided to capitalize on their sleepiness by returning to camp for a nap of my own. It was glorious but I felt a little guilty because by the time I got up from my nap, Ahren and Lauren had filtered water, collected more firewood and gutted their fish. Whoops.

After dinner and some campfire discussion, I retired to bed with the pooches at 9 pm.

The next morning, pooches didn’t get up until 8 am! It was a miracle! I slept a lot better the second night (I got a little chilly at night but warmed right up by sticking my head in my sleeping bag). We ate our breakfast of champions (oatmeal with Strawberry Goober) and packed up camp. We took some pictures of the gang:

I had been nervous about the hike back and even prayed the night before as I was falling asleep that God would give me the energy and strength I needed to make it back. The first mile and a half on the way back was mostly uphill (since the lake itself is only at 10,000 ft) and I was sweating buckets again. After that, it was downhill. While I was glad to not be incredibly out of breath and ridiculously sweaty (I was only really sweaty), my legs were still exhausted.

I was SO ready to be done that I welcomed a break for this photo op (Travis took that pic – I think he did very well!):

Little did we know that the appearance of Colorado Columbine means the end of the hike! I rounded the trail bend, saw the trail head, and exclaimed “We made it!”

After using the outhouse, replacing our hiking boots with sandals, and loading up the tired pooches, we made our way to Silverthorne for some delicious food at Dairy Queen. I had the chicken finger basket and a mini Banana Split Blizzard. Delish!

Then we discovered that eastbound I-70 (the main interstate connecting Denver to the high country) was closed due to a semi-trailer that overturned. So our drive home looked like this:

It was a cluster. People were doing whatever they wanted or thought was necessary. What should have taken us an hour took us 2 1/2 but we finally made it home. We were so exhausted from the weekend and fed up with crowds that we decided to forego fireworks (and if you know how much I like fireworks, that is saying a lot). The annual Carnation Festival in Wheat Ridge always has a fireworks show so I figure I can just catch them then.

Well, that was our weekend. Backpacking is a fun adventure but man, it is hard work!

Weekly Recap: 6/27 – 7/03

5 Jul

Happy Tuesday readers! Did you all survive the first day back to work after the long weekend? I was actually very productive today at work – and productive doing work things. (Shocking, I know.) And I was productive today after work: I went to the bank and grocery store, made dinner, am now blogging, and will be folding the last load of laundry shortly. Then it’s probably off to bed for a little reading and lots of sleep. This weekend’s backpacking adventures were exhausting – I’ll post pictures tomorrow.

Life caused many edits to the training plan last week. Here’s what I ended up doing:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: AM – Ran 5.65 miles in 1:04:23

PM – Biked 3.14 miles to/from Rec; Swam 1800 yards

The focus of my run this day was just distance so my pace was my normal 11:23 range. My knees and IT band were acting up. I’ve noticed that when I run slower, my legs hurt more. I think it’s because when I run faster, I engage more muscles so it stabilizes my leg more. Must run faster more often.

For my swim, I did a pyramid again – 2 x 100, 2 x 200, 2 x 300, 2 x 200, 2 x 100; alternating between the front crawl and breaststroke.

Wednesday: Biked 31.62 miles

My longest bike ride EVER! And man, did my back say so loud and clear. I biked with a friend who is a leisurely biker and while it was great to have the company, the ride took me longer than expected – 3:06:39 to be exact (that is 10 mph). No wonder why my shoulders and palms were crying out in pain – I increased my time spent on the bike from 1:07 to 3:07! The biggest lesson I learned from this ride is that I need to get in some longer rides. I don’t know if my back would have tolerated a 10K run after that.

Thursday: (Unplanned) Rest

Due to getting home at 10 PM after Wednesday’s bike ride, I didn’t swim in the morning like I was supposed to. And after work, I was so pooped that I did. not. want. to. swim. So instead, I got in the pool. Yes, you read that right. I used that evening just to coach Travis in the pool on his technique. I did get in a couple hundred yards but I’m not counting it as a workout.

Friday: BRICK – 6 mile bike on the trainer; 1 mile run

I was worried that doing too much on Friday would make me too tired for our backpacking trip on Saturday so while I averaged 20 mph on the bike and then ran the mile in 9:50, I wasn’t hammering it like I had planned to do my bricks. But my legs were still tired on Saturday. Oh bother.

Saturday: Backpacking – 5.7 miles; 1,800 ft elevation gain

Holy crap. This was a hard hike. There was sweat pouring down my face, dripping off my chin, and soaking my shirt. My pack weighed about 25 lbs, which I’m sure added to the difficulty, but this trail would’ve kicked my butt regardless. About 4 miles in, I was cursing and questioning what crazy idea ever made me think backpacking was fun. Obviously I survived. But I’ll leave the rest of the details for tomorrow.

Sunday: 1.5 mile walk/hike

This day was just spent reading and watching Travis and our friends, Ahren and Lauren, fish. More details to come…

But here’s a sneak peek at pictures:

 

Totals:

Swim: 1,800 yards

Bike: 40.76 miles

Run: 6.65 miles

Hike: 7.2 miles

Today was a much-needed rest day (although I’m not as sore I expected to be). Tomorrow it’s back on schedule!

I survived the hike!

1 Jun

But barely. Our first backpacking trip was fun but man, was it hard on the legs! I’m glad that the hike was only 3.5 miles because it was all uphill and I don’t think I could’ve gone much farther. My legs were jello by the time we got to our site.

But I did make it the whole way and we had fun. Friday night, we just camped at a site near the trailhead. We made s’mores over the campfire and laughed at Becky and Scott’s dog, Mader, who was an endless source of entertainment. Then Saturday, we headed up the trail around 9:00, got there around 11:45, set up camp, and then did nothing. We fished a little, I took 2 naps (yes, 2), we read, ate, played Yahtzee. If there was something I would do differently for next time, it would be to bring something more to do. I’ll admit it–I was a little bored. I think I’ll bring a good novel next time and find a spot in the sun to suntan and read.

Anyway, this morning we got up, ate breakfast, lazed around the campsite, and got going back down to our car around 10:30. By 12:30, we were at our car. By 1:45, were back to Lakewood (where the Allens live) and by 2:30, I was sound asleep on our bed in Boulder. Glorious.

I am excited for our next trip! 

A weekend adventure

30 May

Travis and I are going backpacking this weekend with some friends. I’ve never been backpacking before but I got to buy a brand new backpack (it’s orange and I love it–out of all the backpacks I tried on during our 9-month “research period,” this one fits me the best by far) so I’m pretty pumped about that. I always love buying new stuff and using it for the first time.

Anyway, tonight we’re camping near the trailhead (and near our car) and then tomorrow we’re off on a 4-mile adventure. Not the longest hike but long enough for my first backpacking trip. I’m just a little worried about the whole food sitch. I tend to have a voracious appetite at times, especially out hiking. BUT like Travis said, nothing like a camping trip to make you lose a few. I’ll try reminding myself of that when my stomach is growling and tree bark is starting to look pretty tasty.