Sunday, August 23, 2015

Colorado: Day 5...Hiking Mt. Elbert...

I did not sleep at all on Saturday night.  With an alarm clock set for 4:00 am, it does not really give a lot of time for one to sleep. Ken was so excited that he was up and getting ready around 3:00 am.  I guess that means he is an over achiever.

I woke up and felt a headache and wanted to cry.  We had been getting coffee or lattes at restaurants and did not have coffee at our condo.  I was not looking forward to taking on the day with a headache and no coffee, mama needs her caffeine.

I peaked downstairs to find Ken standing at the bottom of the stairs smiling, holding a big cup of coffee.  It looked like an angel in my eyes.  I am not sure that I had ever been so grateful for a cup of coffee as I was on that morning.  Ken had found some coffee in the freezer and googled how to make.  Score one for Ken!

I got ready and we loaded up in the car to drive the hour to the trail head.  We arrived just as the sun was rising.

These two look ready to hike!

The trail starts off somewhat moderate, considering you are hiking 14,439 feet. The hike is almost five miles one way and roughly 4400 ft in elevation gain - yikes!  

Kya and I were both excited to be hiking Mt. Elbert!

Kya was such a good girl on the trail!

Good morning from 10,100 feet!

We stopped to give Kya some water and she thought it was necessary to make herself at home on the trail while a few people went by.  

Kya, the North Mt. Elbert Trail head Greeter

A view of Mt. Elbert, just before we reached the treeline

We hiked on and reached the treeline around mile 3, which meant we had almost two really steep miles to reach the summit.  I mean, they were really steep.  It felt like double the steepness as hiking out of the Grand Canyon.

Ken and Kya almost to the treeline

I always think the best views are above the treeline.

A view of Mt. Massive, a neighboring 14er.

Kya was ready to get this show on the road!  You can barely see the summit poking out in this picture.  Note the steepness of the trail, and this was not even the steepest part!

Happy girls hiking Mt Elbert!

My two loves enjoying the view!

The three of us enjoying the beautiful day, hiking a mountain.

Kya was in her element and was so happy!  People kept commenting on how good she was and how they could not believe that she was hiking.  It was just another day for her, well until she had to hike down from the mountain.  :)

With about 3/4 of a mile to go, there was a melt down.  I know, you are probably thinking that it was Ken or maybe even Kya, but it was not, it was me.  The trail got so steep for my little legs and I could not get my footing.  I ended up on my hands and knees because I was afraid I was going to fall off of the mountain.  It was not dramatic at all.  

The most dramatic part was probably when I began to crab walk up the mountain, backwards.  Yes, that happened.  Ken and I exchanged a few words and I told him to continue on without me.  He told me I was being a baby, I mean, he was a super supportive husband and offered me words of encouragement.  I somehow realized that despite my fear, I was not going to tumble off the mountain to my death and carried on.  Needless to say, there was not a lot of conversation between Ken and me until we reached the summit.

Continuing on up the mountain!

So close to the summit!

After just under 4:30 hours, we made it to the top of the highest peak in Colorado and the second highest peak in the lower 48.

Look at the view!

We were so happy that the three of us made it!  We were so proud of Kya!  I made our little sign before we left and thought it added to our pictures.  

Since Ken and I have only one, blurry picture of the two of us after we hiked up Pike's Peak, we went a little overboard with the pictures.  After hiking the tallest peak in Colorado, we figured we earned that right!

The Jackson's at the summit of Mt. Elbert.

We were so proud of Kya, but in this picture I feel like she is looking at us with pride.

Ken did not cuss one time going up the mountain, except when he was being all encouraging to me on the super steep section.  I was very impressed with him!

I loved spending the day with Ken and Kya, even if there was a moment where I was paralyzed in fear.  It happens to all of us.  I suppose I am afraid of heights.

The two cutest hikers on the Mt Elbert trail

Family selfie at the summit!

Ken made Kya her own sign.  I feel like she is pretty proud of herself in this picture.

I am pretty sure Kya thought it was worth the drive from Kansas City!

Kya and me.  This girl is the best training partner I could ever ask for.  

This picture completely melts my heart.  I have no words to express how much it means to me.

I love that Ken is willing to do all of the crazy things that I suggest!

Ken and his signature pose

One of the things about hiking up is that you have to go back down!  That hike down was a doozy!  Yowzers!  

We were up in the clouds

Heading back down.

The hike down was, um, steep.  It was so steep.  I was very grateful when we made it back to the treeline so the trail would be a little flat.  By a little flat I mean, not straight down and with a little bit of a switchback!

A view going back down.

Kya had a lot of fun hiking up, but said going down was for the birds!

It took us a little under three hours to hike back down.  We took our time and did not rush on the steep sections.  I was super worried about the steep sections, but had no meltdowns coming down.  Both of us had very sore knees by the time we made it back to the car.  Once at the car, Kya laid down and refused to move.  I guess we can say we officially wore out a Siberian Husky.  It only took hiking a 14er to do it!

We drove back to Leadville and stopped for a treat.  Ken got a soda and Kya and I had ice cream.  She was so thrilled to receive an ice cream.  

Kya thought her ice cream was the best thing in the world.  She is obviously my child.

We drove back to our townhouse and relaxed on the deck for a while.  We were all pretty worn out after our adventure.  Ken and I ended up going to dinner in Vail at the German place that we liked.  In all honesty, we wanted a dunkel.  

We heart dunkel!

We spent the rest of the night telling Kya how proud we were of her.  She was the best girl on the hike and really, the entire trip.  We are lucky to have her.  We woke up early on Monday to make the drive back to Kansas City.  We arrived at home around 7:00 pm and it was back to reality on Tuesday for the both of us.  

It was such a great trip and I will be forever grateful that we got to hike with Kya up Mt. Elbert.  It was a trip for the memory banks for sure.  Thanks for such a wonderful time Ken!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Colorado: Day 4...

We had our alarms set for 4:00 am to get up and hike Mt. Elbert.  Ken got up and then came back to bed and told me that we should wait until Sunday.  Kya still seemed pretty tired and a little sore and we did not want to push it with her.  So, our decision was made, we would wait and hike Mt. Elbert on Sunday.  Back to bed we went.

Poor, tired Kya had been having way too much fun!  She looks so precious while she is sleeping, and obviously spoiled with her head on the pillow.

Instead of hiking all day, we ended up driving to Leadville and leaving Kya at the townhouse.  I was so excited about seeing Leadville, especially since I hope to one day run the Leadville 100 trail run.

On our way to Leadville, we stopped in Minturn for breakfast.  At the suggestion of our friend Scott, we went to the Turntable for a boo.  It was an interesting place, but our food was really good!

We drove highway 24 to Leadville and it was super steep and windy.  It seemed like the drive took forever, but the views were incredible!

Hello Mt. Elbert on the left and Mt. Massive on the right.

When we arrived in Leadville, we quickly realized that the Leadville MTB 100 race was taking place.  I would have been more excited about the trail run that is happening this weekend, but I was still excited to see the race. 

I wanted to drive to Twin Lakes, which is on both the mountain bike and trail run course just to see the views.  

A mountain biker making his way along the trail

The views around Leadville were beautiful!

Ken pointing to the summit of Mt. Elbert where we were hiking to the next day.  I think he was really questioning why he allows me to suggest such extreme things???

After Twin Lakes, we drove back to downtown and had a snack and some drinks.  We walked by the finish line of the race and sat there for a bit to see if any finishers would come in.  So far only the 1-4th place finishers had made their way in.  It was fun to imagine people coming across the finish line of the run after 28 hours on foot.  Maybe one of these days...

The Leadville Trail 100 MTB finish line

We left Leadville and decided to go to Frisco for the remainder of the afternoon.  I told you, we loved Frisco!  

Downtown Frisco

After Frisco, it was early to bed for our Mt. Elbert hike for real this time!

The end of another wonderful day!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Colorado: Day 3...

We woke up on Friday ready to hit the road.  We loaded up the car to make our way to Breckenridge for the morning.  We hit up a Daylight Donuts for lattes and donuts, which is the best way to start the day for this caffeine/sugar loving girl!

Our plan was to hike Mohawk Lakes, which would take us up to 11,800 feet, just below tree line.

Ken and Kya looking like they belong in the mountains.  A side note, this area was super swampy and Miss Kya decided that she would trample thru the mud.  I quickly deemed her her father's daughter, because I would never willingly get that dirty.  She seemed to have a blast and did not mind having black chicken legs.

We saw less wild flowers on this hike, but the scenery was still beautiful.

Kya is always so unsure of herself in the water.  She does not really like water to go above her knees.  I was quite pleased that she was washing the mud off of her little chicken legs.

Us girls making our way higher and higher!

Just hiking along surrounded by pines

We were getting high enough to see mountains for miles and miles.

We arrived at the lower lake and Kya was super excited to get in the alpine lake.  I guess I should say that she was anxious to dip her feet in it, because there is no way that girl was going to go swimming.

Kya taking a dip in the lake.  She did not go in any further, but was so concerned about the rocks in the lake.  I think she was almost curious enough to take off after them.  Almost.

Two little hiker girls at Mohawk Lake

Kya posing in the lake.  I am not sure if she saw something interesting or if she was just posing for her parents.  

We always receive a ton of compliments about Kya.  People are always saying how pretty she is and we always politely say thank you.  The best compliment that we received was when we were asked how old Kya is.  People were shocked to hear that she is almost nine years old.  People kept telling us how great she looks for that age and how well she gets around.  It was the best compliment for us, because we pride ourselves on keeping Kya active and fit.  Kya loves to run with her mama and hike with her dad.  We are lucky have a dog that keeps both of us active and fit as well.

I know I might be biased, but these two were the cutest pair on the trail.

"Wait mom, I did not know you have Scoobie Snacks!"

Ken has such a love for the outdoors. I hope everyday that we will be hiking and enjoying the mountains together for the rest of our lives.  

Our attempt at a family picture.  At least the guy taking it let me get my arm around Ken before he took it.  I am glad Kya was looking at the camera, even if the man taking the picture called her a boy.  Next time she goes on vacation, I am slapping a pink bow on her head.  

Ken and Kya stopping at the mining ruins.

This was one of my favorite pictures from the day.  

We had a beautiful day for a 8 mile hike.

After our hike, we made our way to downtown Breckenridge.  This place was hopping.  It seems like that is where most people with kids stay, with all of the activities on the different peaks.  As two people that do not have children, we are glad we chose to stay in Vail instead.  

We had a little lunch and found a cozy corner cafe that we stopped at for a drink.  We sat outside on the lawn and watched the thunderstorm begin to roll in.  Poor Kya was so tired, and people kept coming up and telling her how pretty she is.  I know, it must be so exhausting being so effortlessly beautiful.  The girl takes it in stride, what can I say!

We left Breckenridge and decided to stop in Frisco.  We loved Frisco!  Mark my word, if we ever own a piece of paradise in the mountains, it will be in Frisco.  We walked around and found a cafe for a latte.  While we were sitting outside I gave Kya a dog treat.  I guess she wanted to save it for later,because she buried it in the mulch.  Doomsday prepper everyone! She is so precious.

She ended up with mulch all over her nose.  It was hilarious.

She was quite proud of herself and quite grumpy at this point.  All of the hiking and stimulation was starting to wear this girl out!

After we made our way back to our townhouse, we had a really bored night.  We had plans to wake up very early in the morning on Saturday to hike up Mt. Elbert.  Everyone was pretty tired from the two days of hiking and exploring.