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.
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/