We flew in to Colorado and drove to Wyoming. The drive was definitely longer than the flight. Despite Colorado being constantly portrayed as having a lot of mountains, it was extremely cloudy and the path we drove on had zero uphills. We got to the base camp and immediately went on a 30 minute hike to get acclimated. I, along with other explorers, started getting a horrible headache. We made dinner and discussed our schedule for the week. We went to sleep at 10pm that night.
I woke up around 1 a.m. fully rested, forced myself to go back to sleep because it was going to be a long day. I woke back up around 5am and it was really bright outside, forced myself to go to sleep again due to wake up time not being until 7. I woke up at 6:30 and started packing my bags. There was a fire when I woke up and it was really toasty. Big kudos to Steve & whoever else built it. Breakfast was eggs & bacon. It was really delicious. We had a quick course on how to pack our bags with Keenan and Lanar which really helped out everybody. After that we started our long hike, some of the explorers stared getting altitude sickness again. It was a really beautiful hike and we even got to see snow! Some of the explorers had a mini snowball fight and that was cool. After hiking for about 4-5 hours we finally got to our camp site. Our campsite was on a hillside with a beautiful lake at the bottom, the only negative thing was the mosquitos which were extremely abundant. Once the campsites were built, a couple of the explorers and mentors took a dip in the refreshing/freezing lake. After that a few of us, mentors and explorers, took naps due to altitude sickness. After that, the explorers made dinner which was really yummy and we had our first rose bud thorn session. Oh! And I got to see a bear. The adrenaline rush of seeing a wild bear was really cool.
The morning started off great, the explorers were moving very quickly. Each team boiled their water and managed to pack fairly quickly. We wanted to step off around 8 but didn’t end up stepping off until 8:30 which was fine. On the hike to our next destination there was a group of kids camping near sheep lake which was cool seeing other humans. About halfway to our destination we found a fairly large snow pocket which the explorers got to enjoy snow and had a few snowball fights. We stepped off again and after 30 minutes we had arrived at our destination. We setup our tents at the base of the gulag, once we were done we grabbed our ice axes and started heading towards the snow. Our trip leaders provided us with a great class on how to traverse the snow as well as techniques on stopping yourself in the event you trip and slide down.
After the class we had lunch and it started raining around 3pm. Everyone waited out the rain until dinner time. Even though it was still raining the explorers cooked dinner and it was quite delicious.
After dinner we gathered everyone around a fire Steve had made and shared a few life stories. It’s 8:30 and we’re calling it a night as the rain doesn’t appear to be letting up and we don’t want anyone to get sick.
Everyone woke up miserable. It rained the majority of the night, condensation definitely got people soaked and my tent had a leak. We started the day rather late, due to the rain and how wet everything was we decided not to camp to the next destination which meant more snow training school for the explorers. We went over team hiking and it really helped out some explorers. After lunch some explorers and mentors had a snowball fight with some of the climbers. We got to see another group of fellow hikers that had pack llamas which was cool. Towards the end of the day the sky finally cleared up and no longer rained. We got to enjoy a nice session of never have I ever and even share our life stories. Peter’s honesty and touching life story really helped us understand what he’s going through. I feel a stronger connection with this group of mentors and explorers after today. Tomorrow we hike 5-6 miles and it’s my birthday! Here’s to turning a quarter century old.
Woke up around 6:30am, the sun was peeking through the clouds and the overall weather was perfect. Completely different vibe from the night before, it rained for like 5 minutes over night. By the time I had gotten out of my tent the explorers were already packing, drying off their wet gear, and cooking breakfast. All of the explorers in my area and myself all made our way to the warm fire. Over the fire we all hung out and ate for a few minutes. An hour later we all started hiking back to the end location of our trip. We got to our next camping area and setup camp. The explorers were going to have their overnight solos that evening so we went around and had a discussion and what they should be thinking about.
We woke up that morning and made our way to begin our ascension to Medicine Bow Peak. Half of our group did the hike up, the other half put their training and ice axes to use. The hike wasn’t as lengthy as one would’ve thought, all-in-all it took about 2 hours from summit to peak. We waited for the other half of the group to show up, after about two hours of waiting we finally descended. We got back to camp, the explorers ate whatever lunch was remaining and started packing. After packing up everything, I really didn’t want to leave our campsite. The outdoors and the crisp air was just too good to leave. The other group showed up after a while and we packed up the vans and left towards Colorado.
A few hours later we stopped in Loveland, Colorado and stayed the night at their State Park. The state park had warm showers so everyone took showers and with whatever clean clothes you had left you put them aside for the following day.
Happening a few hundred miles away my company was doing a “Bring your parents to work” day. Unable to make it, Rebekah brought my parents to work in my place. The best part of it all was that it was also my dads birthday. Rebekah bought my dad tequila and placed it on my desk so when they walked by they gave it to him. She has no idea how much that meant to me, I’ve always wanted to take my parents and show them around but having your best friend do that instead is just as fun.
We departed Loveland rather early and got to the airport well before our flight time. We boarded our flight and before you know it, we were back in Texas. On the bus ride back home from the airport we were all dying because Texas, being Texas, was 102ºF that afternoon.
I’m extremely grateful to have gone on this trip and I can’t wait for the next trip!