Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Denver, Colorado August 2012

A few months ago I found out that the Wal-Mart managers meeting would be held in Denver this year instead of Dallas.  Immediately I knew I needed fly in early to spend some time in the backcountry.  I thought to myself.....who on earth would meet me?  I knew Jason couldn't go because we would be leaving for AK 1.5 weeks later.  Immediately I thought of my good friend Trish in Memphis.  So I emailed her and was so excited when she emailed back telling me yes, she would do it.  So the planning began.  We chatted often going through trails to pick out the best one.  After settling on the Five Lakes Loop (Note: we did not do the loop, only a portion of it) in Rocky Mountain National Park.  I called the backcountry permit office and obtained our permit for our campsites.

Finally the trip arrived.  It's been several years since I've seen Trish so I was super excited to see her and catch up on those years.  We keep in touch all the time but having face time is always 10 times better.  I picked her up at a friends house and we headed out.  We chatted up a storm about life, her kiddos, what they have been doing, what Jay and I have been doing, etc.  We stopped in Estes Park and had lunch again just chatting up a storm.  Finally we arrived at the park to pickup our permit.  The officer asked if we had our bear bin...yes....he ran over the maps with us.  Finally he said "You guys are getting a pretty late start today".  I immediatly got nervous because I am the worlds slowest hiker.  He advised with altitude and such it would take time to make it to our camp.

We finally arrived at the trail head and spent some time making sure that we had everything. Tent....check, sleeping bags....check, food....check, SPOT.....check (or Jay would kill me).  We finally hit the trail.  The trail begins at Bear Lake which is at 9,475.  I have never attempted to hike at this altitude before.  I had issues breathing.  I felt out of shape and exhausted.  To beat any form of altitude sickness I drank tons of water while hiking and stopped several times to rest.  The trail was amazing.  So beautiful!  I found a creature along the trail that I fell in love with as well.  It's called a Pika.  Looks like a big eared hamster.  I totally wanted to bring one home with me.  2.65 miles later we reached our first nights campsite called Sourdough.  This site was at 10,585ft and was a very nice campsite in the trees with no one around.  The highlight of this campsite though was the toilet.  Coolest toilet ever.  It was a hole in the ground (obviously) with a actual toilet seat.  It was open air so you could do your business while you watched birds fly overhead.  We set up camp, had dinner and went straight to bed.  It had been a long day already for the both of us.  That night I woke up to a rock slide.  This was pretty scary as rocks were all around.  I mean they don't call it the Rocky Mountains for nothing.  HE HE.  I quickly got over my fear though and went back to sleep.
The next morning I woke up at 7am.  I went outside to use the awesome bathroom and then decided I was going to go back to sleep.  Normally on our backcountry excursions we're up very early in the morning and attempt to hit the trail at 7am.  So going back to sleep was very unusual for me.  Trish and I slept until 10am.  CRAZY!  We finally decided that we needed to get up and get moving because the backcountry officer had advised that we needed to be past a certain section of the trail before the afternoon storms.  So we had breakfast and set out.  The rocky mountains were beautiful and still had snow.  Our next stop was Odessa Lake for lunch.  By far the prettiest lake we saw on the trail.  We sat and watched fly fishermen, relaxed a little (like we hadn't already relaxed enough...he he), had lunch, and just enjoyed the amazing scenery God had created for us.  After lunch we packed up and headed to our next campsite called Fern Lake.  Fern lake is at 9,545 and there are 4 campsites in the same area.  These sites are still secluded though, which was nice.  We arrived early in the day so we headed down to the lake and we both laid down and read.  I'm not a huge reader so I spent more time watching the squirrel that kept running around me.  Obviously people feed this thing.  That night I slept like a baby.  We both went to bed earlier since we couldn't sleep in the next morning.  I had to check in to our hotel in Denver and pickup a co-worker at the airport.

 The next morning we started early.  The trail was all downhill from there.  We came across a waterfall we both didn't expect.  There was actually a nice pool as well where people could swim.  It was a easy hike out.  After we arrived back at our car we headed toward Denver.  We headed for our hotel which was called The Brown Palace.  You have to look this place up as it's amazing.  When we walked in the looks on peoples faces was priceless.  Imagine two dirty/stinky girls walking in with backpacks into this 5 star hotel.  Sure made me laugh.
 This trip was amazing and it's something we totally need to do every year!  Trish thank you so much for joining me!  Your friendship means so much and I loved every minute of our trip!!!!!

Trail Information:  http://www.protrails.com/trails/view/341/rocky_mountain_national_park/5_lake_loop_bear_helene_odessa_fern_cub
The Brown Palace:  http://www.brownpalace.com/

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