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!


The CilleyGirl said...

Looks like you had a fabulous (and exhausting) time -- thanks for sharing all the pics! Kya looks great :)

Heather said...

What an amazing trip & great memories with Kya! Thanks for sharing all your pics!