Grays & Torreys- My 2nd and 3rd 14er!

hiking

Last weekend, I finally completed a goal I have had for the past year…to hike another 14er! Colorado has 58 mountains that tower over 14,000 feet. We call them 14ers, and they provide a beautiful and worthy hiking/climbing challenge. If you want to read more about them, you can do so here: What are 14ers?

My boyfriend and I were sitting at a friend’s BBQ debating if we should do it last week, and we did the one thing you should never (read: always!) do when you are debating something difficult. We told everyone our plan. This led to a peer-pressured evening of going to bed at 8pm and waking up at 2:30am. Yes, you read it right. We woke up at 2:30 in the G-D morning, and we hopped in the car. Then, we sped through the winding, wicked roads for 1.5-2 hours until we reached the trailhead at 5:00am.

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Peak of Grays!

Weary from the ride, we tried to shake off the cold and lack of sleep, and we set off on the trail by 5:05am. Headlamps blazing, we set off into the dark. I haven’t done much hiking before sunrise, so I was really excited. I loved the child-like excitement of walking through the wilderness in the pitch black. Who knows what kind of critters were eyeing our movements!

The best part of waking up early and getting outside is being fully present for the slow sunrise. It was my favorite part of the hike. For the 1 hour or so period of the slowly creeping sun, I looked behind me about 7 trillion times. It was so beautiful and quiet that I couldn’t help but swell up in gratitude. Sighhhhhh.

The hike itself wasn’t too steep or too challenging for most of the way up. I found myself facing other unforeseen challenges, though. My hydration bladder froze, or at least the important part did (the tube that transports the water to my mouth). I didn’t have water for most of the hike. Neither did my boyfriend, Adam. The other primary challenge was the wind. Holy glory, was it strong!

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Fighting the winds on Torreys peak.

But, despite a genuine concern for whether I could be blown off the mountain peaks, we made it to both peaks in one piece and relatively good spirits.

Pro tip #1: Pack a buff

Pro tip #2: Blow your water out of the tube back into the reservoir to minimize tube freezing risk.

Pro tip #3: Take a picture even if the wind is threatening to liquefy you.

Pro tip #4: Do the hard thing. It is usually worth it!

We finished our hike around 10:15 am, making the total hike time about 5 hours.

Final thing to note: Although it is *just a hike*, 14ers are challenging and there are many risks associated with high altitude hikes. Do your research, be prepared, and leave it like you find it.

PS: There were some goats hanging out around 14,000 feet on Torreys. Crazy goats!

Day 10: Hungry Hiker, Beware

My 500 Words, Travel & Adventure

Today I spent a few hours hiking in beautiful, sunny Colorado (yep, that’s right- a February hike :D), when I noticed my mid-exercise mood swing creep in. I felt irritated and agitated by very normal things, things that wouldn’t normally bother me at all. I checked the time and realized it was nearing on lunch-time, and I probably just needed a snack. My boyfriend and I split a banana, and I started to feel better. After a few minutes, I acknowledged out loud that my snack had saved me from a continued or worsened hangry episode. We laughed about it and swore to google if there were any good prevention methods out there if stopping to eat is not always an option. And as it happened, I am now remembering and looking into it as my eyes are closing and I struggle to get my500words done for day 10 out of 31. I am certain that tonight’s post will be littered with typos. AH C’est la vie!

About an hour after my banana snack, we split another snack…and then another snack. By the end of the hike, I was well fed, happy, and just a little bit exhausted from a hard hike. I thought back on my hike and wondered what I could do to pop into my mouth when exercising hard or in between meal times. I pondered bringing some Gatorade or juice to have on hikes for when my blood sugar seems to start dipping. The might work. I then wondered if having sport jelly bean-like snacks could fend off bad moods. I am fairly certain that when I start exercising hard, my blood sugar levels dip and I feel bad. This has been happening to me my whole life. It doesn’t seem to be a problem as long as I listen to my body and eat, drink or rest as needed. It has been fine. BUT, since I have been hiking with my boyfriend, I have noticed that I am much more likely to follow his eating schedule than my own.

As a single person, I did more things alone and, thus, took care of myself on my own time. Now, I tend to hold off on snacks until he is ready for one. In the moment of hangry, this makes me absolutely livid and resentful, if I am honest. I can usually catch myself after a few minutes rumination on what a jerk he is that he has a banana in his bag yet has the audacity to skip up this hill like he is skipping at recess as a 4th grader (as though these things are related at all!). What is comes down to is that he has my snack, the snack I need, and he doesn’t even care that I am desperate for that thing… It is really ill and must be stopped. I think some sporty jelly bean options are where I will start. I don’t want to have to stop for a meal all of the time, but a small 100 calorie snack a few times during the hike might get me through the slumps with a bit more grace.

Until next time, when I will hopefully find a solution for my dipping blood sugar, I will be yelling at my friends and family like the image included with this post, a hangry little bird.