Sunday, May 31, 2009

Colorado - Day 2 (Fri, May 22)

Friday was one of my favorite days because of the great adventure we had! Dave and Jim both had to work Friday, so we headed out on our own with a Colorado map and a GPS to see what we could find!
This was the first of many encouters with snow capped mountains. They are everywhere and so beautiful. We truly experienced God's amazing creativity and beauty in nature in awesome ways this trip.

You almost can't see the mountains here because they are so white against the sky.

This was when we started to drive up Mt. Evans, the highest paved road in North America. The top of Mt. Evans is 14,200 feet above sea level. We were lucky because that day was the first day the road had been opened since it closed last year for Winter. Unfortunately, because it had snowed a good amount the night before, the road wasn't open all the way to the top where mountain goats and sheep wander around. We had to stop at Summit Lake at mile 9 (instead of all the way to mile 14 at the top). The picture below was taken on the drive up...before we got above the tree line!

Like I said, we had to stop at Summit Lake (which is behind us below, you just can't tell because it's iced over and covered with snow!). It was snowing when we arrived. Since we couldn't continue driving up the mountain, we starting hiking up instead!
Directly below us you can see two completely frozen lakes. This was just the beginning of our hike. We were above the tree line so even though there was no trail (or if there was, it was covered by snow!), we could see where we ultimately wanted to be so we just started hiking!

The higher we got, the colder it got. Though we stayed pretty warm just by keeping moving, it was pretty chilly when we stopped. I was amazed at the temperature difference between elevations. It was about 65 when we left Denver that morning and was probably about 30 (colder with windchill) once we got to the top!
There are no really good pictures to show how high we were, but by the time we were forced to turn around (storm clouds were rolling in, our feet were wet, and we'd been hiking for almost 4 hours!), we were at 13,700 feet. Thankfully, neither of us got elevation sickness, but Michael did get dizzy a couple times and we were definitely short of breath! It doesn't take much to get winded when you are up that high! Keep in mind, I was 17 weeks pregnant, so we were careful to take it easy...relatively speaking. I mean, it's not very easy to hike up a mountain in snow with no trail in 30 degree weather...but it sure was beautiful! We'll have some good stories to tell our kids someday "When your mom was 4 months pregnant with you, she hiked up a snow covered and uphill both ways!" (Only slightly exaggerated...) You know those shots from Lord of the Rings where they are crossing the ridges of snow covered mountains? That's what we felt like on this day!
In the picture below, Michael had shed his hiking boots and wet socks for the drive down the mountain. It was warmer to walk around barefoot than put his wet shoes back on...hence the bare feet depsite the snow!

Mt. Evans was amazing...definitely recommend it to anyone visiting the Denver area. I was disappointed that we didn't get to drive all the way to the top, but I understand them not opening the road. There are no guardrails (!!), so unless they can completely clear the road of snow and ice, Colorado DOT will not allow them to open it.


LeeAnn said...

Wow, what an awesome way to celebrate both of your birthdays! I loved my 25th surprise birthday party, but given a choice, I think I would have picked Denver! It looks amazing! The pictures are so beautiful and I'm sure the actual thing was so much better! Yes, your baby will have the snow-covered mountain hiking story and mine will have the Mexico mountain story! :)

April Kay said...

Meghan, I just saw your comment on Andrea's blog!!! Is it really a boy!?!! OH MY GOSH!! You just don't even know how a little boy can change your life until you have one in your arms. Marc and I never imagined us having a boy, always girl people, but now I don't know what I would do with a girl!!! You will be so in love with your little man and you will be his girlfriend! :) There is absolutely nothing like it. Of course, if we ever have a little girl, you know I would be saying these exact same things! :)