Colorado Mary

All of the days have been blending together. The only way I’m able to figure out the difference between a weekday and a weekend is whether or not there’s a food truck outside the brewery.
aab3 A delicious Arepa Verde – a Colombian-style corn cake topped with avocado mayo, crispy pork, cilantro and lime juice from SoBe Fort Collins.
am Nomad Street Cuisine came on Saturday and I had one of the best burgers I’ve ever consumed. I don’t give out those labels lightly, my friends.
aabb Creamy Camobozola cheese, spicy arugula and sweet ‘n savory bacon jam on a juicy patty, served in a tender brioche bun. This was on par with my favorite burger of all time – The LAB burger. Seriously, it’s that good.
pump2 I could tell is was Sunday because the brewery was in use. We brewed our first guest beer – pumpkin ale!
pump1 Caramelized with a blow torch. Just because we can.
a 100lbs of torch-caramelized pumpkin went into the brew. I’m beyond excited to finally taste it!
mary2 My recipe development for Snowbank Brewing has been going slowly, but surely. After the Chimichurri and Pale Ale Infused Artichoke I ran out of time to cook for a while. This latest recipe was inspired by our traditional brunch we attend every Sunday.
am19 Bloody Mary Sundays at Gravity 1020, redux.
mary5

I’d like to start by saying that I do not like Bloody Mary’s. I’d only had two in my life and they just were not for me. Until this.

Colorado Mary

Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Meal type Beverage
A spicy twist on the traditional Bloody Mary using Snowbank Brewing's Colorado Red ale.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 1 cup Colorado Red ale
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (I used the vinegar that came in the banana pepper jar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Small pinch of ghost pepper powder
  • 1 Large celery stalk
  • 1 dill pickle
  • 1 Large piece of bacon

Directions

Step 1
In a pitcher combine the tomato juice, Colorado Red ale, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, celery salt, vinegar, freshly ground black pepper and ghost pepper and stir well.
Step 2
Using a lime, rim a shaker pint with salt, add ice cubes and Colorado Mary mixture and garnish as desired. Bacon is highly recommended.

This spicy twist on the traditional Bloody Mary with the addition of beer makes all the difference. The sweet malts and tomato juice are balanced out by the tangy vinegar and fiery ghost pepper. Add bacon. You just have to.
bank

And now I must head back to the brewery for yet another day of work. We have a special tasting with Tasty Harmony this evening for an exciting upcoming project. It’s no food truck, but I’m sure not complaining!

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Food Trucks and Fancy Brews

Snowbank Brewing has been open for 19 days today! I’m on 21 days of work straight and I couldn’t be happier!
aa0 In addition to managing the taproom an social media, I also get to be the brewery photographer – something that I’ve always loved doing since I began working with Enegren Brewing.
a1 Every morning I post our specials/pairings/events of the day on the brewery Facebook. When this includes food trucks, I need to have samples to ensure that the food and beer I’ve chosen pair well together.
a2 Umami rolled out a new special for us to pair with our Colorado Red – sweet chili pulled pork sliders topped with sweet chili slaw and Sriracha raita. Drool. I’d just had a huge brunch but I ate this anyway. It’s a difficult job, but I’m willing to sacrifice my waistline to do it.
aa1 We had the Silver Seed vegan truck set up outside this past weekend and got to enjoy some of the most flavorful and delicious vegan food I’ve ever had. Definitely the most adorable food truck I’ve ever seen in my life!
aa2 I could be vegan if everything tasted as good as this. No joke. And if someone were to make it for me. That too.
aad1 The Good Life – portobello and cremini mushrooms, arugula, fresh tomato, red onions and some kind of tangy, magical vegan aioli wrapped in ridiculously pillowy focaccia bread, paired with Moon Arete Wheat.
aa5 Barbecue squash tacos with fresh avocado and red cabbage paired with our Silent Snow White IPA. Heaven.
aa3 We also had Chaulkboard Gourmet Express up from Loveland for Friday night. Billy brought out these beef and chicken tacos for us to sample and I ended up getting an order of them. AFTER I ordered and ate an entire green chili Philly cheesesteak.
b6 Not the prettiest, but definitely the most delicious.
sus1 If there aren’t food trucks available, I normally bring in something from the grocery store. California rolls and Bike Trail Pale Ale.
am When I’m not gorging myself silly, I actually do end up getting work done around the taproom. Weekdays are relatively quiet here so I can get all of my office work, spreadsheets and emails done.
am3 I’ve got custody of this kid for a few weeks. I don’t think he’s quite comfortable being the brewery dog yet…
am8 He much prefers a soft couch and fluffy blanket to the cold floor of the taproom.
am6 On Sundays and Mondays we close at 6pm, so for the next month I’ll be able to enjoy the last rays of sun before the season shifts and it starts getting dark early.
am7
Nothing pairs with a fiery sunset like a Colorado Red.
am I initiated The SnowBANK – our buy a friend a beer board! I did one of these for Enegren Brewing in California and it was a hit (John from the Chive ended up buying 40 people pints through that one!), so I was dying to finally start this. Pay it forward!
am2
We’ve had tons of industry folk swing through our little brewery, and they always bring presents. Hop Zealot IPA from Justin at Twisted Pine Brewing.
am1
AND Twisted Wit from Twisted Pine. Ridiculously generous. After a long day at the brewery, our team of four heads over to someone’s house to sample the wares and make a family style dinner.
crooked
One of my blog readers-turned-friend, Aaron C., brought this Blackberry Dark Origins on one of our first days. Soooo delicious! I had dreams about this beer that very night.
am9
Eric H. came from California and brought this gem. Thank you so much, Eric! “Contains alcohol”. That’s an understatement. At 19.2%ABV, this delectable beauty packs a wallop. All four of us were in bliss. And I was very grateful to everyone in my group for being willing to share it with me. So selfless.
am4 And now I need to go on a full body cleanse thanks to all of the delicious food trucks that have been stopping by.

Do you have a favorite food truck in your town?

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Chimichurri and Pale Ale Infused Artichoke

Working at the brewery every single day makes it pretty difficult to find the time to actually cook something. Luckily, I’ve got the pressure cooker to combat that issue. Photographing is another story since I get home after dark every day. For this artichoke recipe, I started cooking at 9am so I could get my good lighting, wrap it up and be at the brewery by 10am. Nothing like garlicky artichokes and beer for breakfast!
art1 This is a recipe that has been on my brain ever since that first fateful day of Becki vs. artichoke. If you cannot beat the artichoke, you must become the artichoke. Lourdes Gourmet sent me another care package in the mail so I could actually make that dream of a recipe become a reality. First, you hack off the top inch of the artichoke and trim the leaves with kitchen shears.
art2 Smother the top with chimichurri sauce, being sure to work the sauce into the leaves with the spoon.
art4 Place in a pressure cooker with a cup of pale ale (preferably Snowbank Brewing’s Bike Trail Pale) and cook for 10-12 minutes.
art5 Serve and pair with a pint of the same pale ale you cooked with.

Chimichurri and Pale Ale Infused Artichoke

Serves 1
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes
Total time 17 minutes
Meal type Appetizer, Side Dish, Starter
Misc Serve Hot
This artichoke is infused with lemony, garlicky Lourdes Gourmet Chimichurri Sauce and pressure-cooked to the tenderest perfection with the use of Snowbank Brewing's Bike Trail Pale ale in place of water.

Ingredients

  • 1 artichoke
  • 4 + 1 tablespoons Lourdes Gourmet Chimichurri Sauce
  • 1 cup Snowbank Brewing Bike Trail Pale Ale (or other pale ale)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)

Directions

Step 1
Slice off the top inch of the artichoke and trim each leaf with kitchen shears.
Step 2
Spoon the Lourdes Gourmet Chimichurri Sauce over the top and work into each leaf with the spoon.
Step 3
Place the cup of pale ale in the bottom of the pressure cooker and add the artichoke, stem down so the sauced end is facing upwards.
Step 4
Bring to pressure and cook for 11-12 minutes. Remove the pressure cooker from the hot area of the stove and allow to naturally depressurize.
Step 5
In a small cup, melt the butter and mix in one tablespoon of chimichurri sauce.
Step 6
Remove the artichoke from the pressure cooker and drizzle the butter/chimichurri sauce over the top.
Step 7
Devour the best artichoke you have ever had.

art3 The butter sauce for dipping afterwards is completely unnecessary. The Lourdes Gourmet Chimichurri Sauce melts in the pressure cooker and falls inside the leaves of the artichoke while the pale ale infuses its flavor into each piece. This is, hands down, the BEST and most tender artichoke I’ve ever consumed in my entire life. I ate it for breakfast and I would eat it again with every meal if I had the means to make it.

Now go invest in a pressure cooker and order some of this sauce online. You can thank me later.

I was supplied with free product from Lourdes Gourmet with which to create recipes. All reviews/opinions/obsessions are my own.

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Nine Days In

We survived our first week!
AM2 It’s been a crazy one full of massive numbers of taster flights and pints served to happy people.
brew1 Dave (Snowbank’s owner and brewer) ended up having to do a double brew over this past weekend to refill all of the Colorado Red that everyone has been downing.
br1 The fermentors are fat and happy, giving off little gassy burps of CO2 as the yeast inside converts the sugary wort into beer.
game2 There have been plenty of rainy days when we were afraid no one would come in, but the game shelf has been in full use during those hail storms.
Rainbow It’s always nice to remember that at the end of every rough day, there’s a pint of beer awaiting us.
SnowCover And we have quite a rainbow of styles to choose from.
Friday Social media has been in full swing and it’s been nice to hear some of the feedback from people who only knew we were here because of our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. (We really need to get some bigger signs outside.)
oohmaamee Umami celebrated Labor Day with us and served up absolutely incredible dishes to pair with each of our beers.
am3 Teriyaki pulled pork sliders…
am5 Ninja bowls with spicy chicken and udon noodles…
am4 And my personal favorite of the day – chicken bahn mi with black rice pilaf. This is, hands down, the best sammich I have ever consumed. And I’ve consumed a lot of sammiches in my day.
am So as our second weekend and first holiday as a brewery wraps up, I look forward to many more days in a row with no break in sight.
bank And I couldn’t be happier with how this blessed life has turned out.

What was the highlight of your long Labor Day weekend?

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Grand Opening Weekend

I don’t think I remember what it’s like to feel rested.
GrandOpening Snowbank Brewing’s grand opening was this past weekend and it was absolutely insane in the best way.
am I got to the taproom early on Friday to set everything up.
am1 Pictures were taken so we could remember what it looked like way back when it was pristine and unused.
am2 Ahh, my beautiful taproom.
am3 Around 10:30am a gorgeous bouquet arrived from the brewer’s grandparents congratulating the brewery on making it all the way to a brand new beginning!
am4 One of Fort Collins’ most popular food trucks, Umami, pulled into the lot and started setting up.
am5 I put my order in for lunch about three hours early after reading this sign. The sweet caramelized onions and roasted beef paired perfectly with our Pawnee Porter, if I do say so myself.
am7 And then the people started flowing through the doors in waves. I shoved my face at any free second, which were few and far between. Within an hour, we were at capacity.
am6 Our first full dishwashing load! A customer begged me to take a selfie in front of it. I happily obliged.
am8 The night wore on with the flow of people never stopping. I don’t think my staff, Broox and Stacy, got any chance to breathe except for the half hour I forced them to go grab lunch from Umami. They absolutely rocked it! We finally closed shop around 11:00pm once the crowds had dwindled (we technically close at 9pm), wiped down tables, swept and mopped. I fell into bed around 1am after throwing our rags in the washer to prep for the next day.
am9 Saturday was quite similar to Friday, except I actually had a few seconds to sip some beer! I spent some quality time with my laptop and BeerAdvocate, Untappd, Foursquare, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook updating all of our location information, claiming our brewery and editing all of the extra beers people had added in. (C’mon people, I added those beers into Untappd last week for easy check-ins!)
am10 Bottlecap BBQ out of Loveland made their way up and served some of the best bread pudding I’ve had in a while. Brioche soaked in our Pawnee Porter, studded with raisins and cinnamon swirls and served hot with whipped cream. And the sliders! 1/2 beef 1/2 bacon sliders from The Boar and Bull in Loveland, topped with pulled pork. I inhaled that slider and remembered I needed a picture only after I looked down at the crumbs. I could’ve died happy.
am16 Plenty of brew tours were given over the span of the weekend. My bro redesigned our brewery control touch screen to welcome us every brew morning.
am17 So freaking cool!
am18
Sunday marked the 1 year anniversary of my crossing the state line to live in Colorado! The Snowbank Brewing crew and I headed next door to Gravity 1020 for a bloody mary celebration.
am19 Ghost Marys, amazing friends and a brand new brewery with some of the kindest, coolest, most eccentric customers I’ve ever met and delicious craft beer.

This is going to be great.

How did you spend your weekend?

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Brewery Life

I definitely should be heading out to the restaurant supply store right now to pick up things for the brewery. And I will as soon as I hit “post”, but first I wanted to give you guys a quick update since I may never ever have a chance to blog again ever. Ever. (I’m kind of kidding…)
GrandOpening The brewery I work at (which I will affectionately refer to as “my brewery” from now on) is having our grand opening on FRIDAY!!! We’ll be open from 12-9pm and Umami will be there all day! See our newspaper article here.
AM1 We started off with a whirlwind of releases to our favorite spots. Here I am with my rats’ nest hair writing our beers up on the board at Cranknstein last Thursday!
AM2 And may I introduce Snowbank Brewing’s owner and brewer – Dave Rosso.
AM3 We brought three kegs with us: Bike Trail Pale, Moon Arete Wheat and Pawnee Porter, and tapped them at 6pm and watched as the crowds grew. (For those who were there, our beer names have been updated. Take note!)
AM4 I seated myself on the comfy couches for a lot of the night to be “social” all by myself updating our social media outlets on the happenings. Snowbank Brewing Facebook, Snowbank Brewing Twitter and Snowbank Brewing Instagram. (That’s a *hint hint* for all of you to follow us).
AM5 The Liquid Poets Society homebrew club members began to filter in. Dave has been a member of LP for years, from which many a brewery has been created.
am13 About an hour in, the first keg blew. Two hours in, the second. We were beyond ecstatic. It was about 9:30pm when we decided we should depart and seek out some food. My bro went to lift the kegs in back and told me there was only a few pints left of porter, so I decided to order one final beer to speed the process.
am14 We killed ALL THREE KEGS! Massive amounts of cheering throughout the crowds ensued and we went for a celebratory dinner at Coopersmith’s down the road before heading home to pass out from exhaustion.
AM6 The next day all of the really fun stuff began. I mopped all of our walls to rid them of the construction dust, vacuumed and mopped the entire taproom and washed our windows.
AM7 I also took one of our kegs of Colorado Red on a road trip to Matador’s – a delicious burrito joint that we are obsessed with. If you want to try some more of our beer before we open on Friday, head to Matador’s ASAP! They think they’ll kill the keg by lunch!
AM9 I took a break from jeans, tank tops and construction dust to attend my bestie’s bridal shower. We spent Sunday afternoon down in Denver celebrating the pending nuptials of this beautiful woman.
AM8 Best friends since age 7, and here we are twenty years later. Holy crap, 20 years??? I feel old now…
AM12 Jeans went back on and I headed back to my new home, the brewery, for photography, cleaning and mass amounts of social media. I’ve never had so many emails in my entire life!
AM11 Luckily, there’s always time at the end of the day to take a deep breath, enjoy the gorgeous Fort Collins summer sunset and thank God for how blessed I truly am.

Who’s coming on Friday? We’re open from noon to 9pm!!

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Snowbank Brewing

Here we go…
am1 The cat’s out of the bag! I’ve alluded to this over the past few months. Actually, I’ve basically showed you in depth over my Twitter and Instagram.
AM6 Brew boots…
AM5 Grain out…
am12 Social media blasts of malt and sight glasses…
am And quality control tastings!
am16 I’m now working for a brand new 15bbl brewery in Fort Collins called Snowbank Brewing! I’ll be the taproom manager and social media manager for this wonderful place, along with anything and everything else that needs to be done – including beer pairings and creating recipes with our amazing brews.
am4 We’ve been in a mad rush getting everything ready for our very first event which is TONIGHT at one of my favorite Old Town spots – Cranknstein.
am5 If you’re in the Fort Collins area around 6pm tonight, stop by and be one of the first to try a few of our brews and meet the brewer!
am2 Remember this beautiful monstrosity from my Instagram? Odell mac ‘n cheese, pulled pork and barbecue sauce wrapped in a waffle cone from Common Link. That wasn’t just for fun. That was research! We’ve booked our first food trucks for our grand opening!
AM58 But…. you’ll have to wait on that date for just a little bit longer! We’ve got some more quality control to do!

And now I ask for all of your help/interest. Like Snowbank Brewing on Facebook and follow our new account on Twitter? I’ll be live Tweeting and Facebook posting from our event tonight. And I’ll love you forever!

Who’s coming to join me at Cranknstein tonight for our tapping party??

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Puppy Love

Even with that awful, crappy day I had last week, I’ve been in an awesome mood. Everything has seemingly turned around in amazing ways I never could have seen coming.
am Getting custody of this handsome guy for a week definitely helped. My parental unit went on a vacation in the mountains to celebrate their anniversary (HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!). Barley was stuck with me.
am1 He got trapped in the car a lot as I took him between houses for work and the like. Here he is trying not to get carsick (seriously) as I take him to my bro’s house to play with his cousin puppies while I went to work.
am3 When I went back to pick him up I was treated to vegan burritos, this spicy and slightly hot (yet still freaking delicious) Houblon Chouffe and a dog covered in slime from other dogs.
am4 The next morning I took him for an insanely long walk and let him wade in the lake we strolled by since he needed to be bathed anyway to remove the lovely dog slobber that had solidified overnight.
am5 FLUFFY POST-BATH PUPPY! This picture kills me. He kind of looks like he might kill me.
am6 But besides the pup… I’ve enjoyed rainy evenings with glasses of merlot…
am7 Free brownies from work that were deemed “too dry to sell” so I rehydrated them with butter pecan ice cream for lunch. Obviously. Have I mentioned yet that I love my job?
am8 And more puppy. I’m completely infatuated with him, even after a year.
am9 I got a new sink! The sink that came with my house was brand new stainless steel that began rusting the day after I moved in. They replaced it with a shiny one that hopefully won’t rust. Hopefully…
am10 I felt like I should counteract the brownies and ice cream lunches I’d been having with zucchini noodles, onions, garlic and parmesan. This is one of my absolute favorite dishes.
am11 I worked late on Friday night and then went out for a beer with a bunch of friends in Old Town, played pool, kicked ass, blinked and it was 2am. We closed down the bar and everyone continued on to party at someone’s house while I was feeling sleepy from my one beer I had around midnight. So I went home and passed out. I’m a party girl.
am12 Sunday was my day off and it was time to get out and enjoy Colorado the right way – Kayaking!
am13 My pops and I loaded the kayaks onto the car and drove about five miles to a local lake with tons of coves and inlets, and spent the morning paddling around.
am14 Glassy water, storm clouds and mountains.
am15 Blissed out.
am16 And blistered out too. I ended up ripping up my thumb pretty gnarly with my supercool intense paddling. Battle scars.
am17 The only way to really heal battle scars such as these is with a trip to a local pub and a local brew. Between Worlds Belgian White IPA from Verboten Brewing.
am9 And now I must head off to work, so I’ll leave you all with this beautiful face. Because I’m sure you haven’t seen enough of him. Happy Monday!

Ever been kayaking before? Do you prefer the sit-in or sit-on?

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One of Those Days

Ever have one of those weeks? Everything is perfect.
am It starts off wonderfully with delicious cake mix cookies.
am1 And continues on to barbecue at Nordy’s. I have absolutely nothing wrong with brisket and mac ‘n cheese, but I should’ve seen the signs.
AM2
Those rainy days. Those blissfully rainy days.
AM4 Curled up inside my cozy house, sipping a hot mug of Bhakti Chai with candles lit all around, the rain trickling down the windowpanes in little rivers. And then real life beckons.
AM3 Luckily enough, brews at work is one part of my real life.
AM5 As are (free) medium rare bison burgers with more mac ‘n cheese.
AM11 And then sneak peeks of new beer rained down upon my front stoop, begging to be paired with wonderful foods. Stone Coffee Milk Stout (out in distribution today!)!
AM12 So I paired it with firecracker shrimp and soba noodles. The rich, creaminess of the stout cut through the intense spicy bite of the shrimp and rounded out the dish with an emphasis of earthy roast. There wasn’t as much coffee as I was expecting, but plenty of smoky roast in place!

And after that great week, on a Sunday afternoon, everything falls down. And it becomes one of those days.
AM6
One starts reminiscing of happier days where responsibility didn’t exist – freshman year at UCSB… (Plaid pajama pants, scarves and aviators. Could I be any more stylish?)
AM9 Steven Bauer from Scarface wishing me a happy 21st birthday at Saddle Ranch in Hollywood…
AM7
Jonas getting shot
after we crashed our car…
AM10 The boys and I at the season 1 finale of Lonelygirl15…
Screen shot 2014-08-03 at 9.59.52 PM
And then the danged dog headbutts you and gives you a bloody lip to top off the worst day to end a wonderful week. (It wasn’t that bloody, but I also didn’t feel like I should force any of you to look at my swollen lip and sad, pitiful eyes.)
AM15 I thought Sharknado 2 would make everything better, because the original Sharknado was so bad it was good… But this was so bad that it just compounded every bad thing in my life into two hours of wasted time. And I was so very excited too!
AM13 Luckily, I had something sweet to end this craptastic day – Senorita Imperial Porter: Horachata style! Intense rich chocolate dancing with sweet vanilla and spicy cinnamon, and just enough bitterness to balance out the sweetness.

But today is over. Tomorrow is a new day. Chin up, smiles on, let’s start anew!

What went right in your life last week? What are you looking forward to?

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Gray’s Peak and Torrey’s Peak

Last week I took the initiation into becoming a true Coloradoan.
am8 Topping a 14er – Gray’s Peak! (Spoiler alert – I summited). My bestie Michelle told me she was hiking Gray’s and Torrey’s and I figured that, since I have plenty of time on my hands lately, I should join. I drove down to her place last Sunday and we binged on sushi to fuel up for the ascent. Our alarms were set for 3:45am so we headed for bed around 10pm, me trying to ignore the gentle throbbing in my temples.
am2 We left the house at 4:15am and headed into the mountains to hit the base before 6am and avoid the afternoon thunderstorms. We drove up the windy, rocky road past the winter parking lot, heading for the summer lot at the start of the trail. The road got rougher as we got higher until our car took a nosedive into a deep trough. The tires spun and the aroma of burning rubber filled the car. I jumped out as Michelle reversed out of the trench, trying to see if there was a way around it. To the right, we’d ram into the rocks. To the left, the undercarriage of the car would be shredded. We reversed down, a line of cars slowly backing down behind us, before pulling a 3 point turn and parking in the middle lot. A handful of other lower clearance cars decided to join us after watching our little adventure and realizing they probably wouldn’t be able to get around the trench either. We pulled our packs on and started the 2 mile hike up to the start of the actual hike. The throbbing in my temples the night before was starting to knock a little louder.

That hike up. Was. Painful. We finally reached the ditch we’d gotten stuck in when a large white pickup began to navigate through the same spot. An older gentleman got out to help guide the driver and asked if we wanted a ride.
am20 YES! We gleefully jumped in the back of the truck and enjoyed the chilly, bumpy ride to the top parking lot, ready to start the 8.5 mile round trip.
am3 It was absolutely gorgeous! The sun started cresting over the horizon as the trail immediately became a steady incline.
am4 The first mile consisted of large, rocky steps before evolving into a crescendo of rocks that pointed directly upward.
am5 We huffed and puffed along, taking 30 second breaks to gasp for air before passing a handful of red-faced groups snacking on Cheez-Its on the side of the trail. It wasn’t a race, but man, we were so winning!
am6 As we continued on, we were passed by Superman. This guy was powering up behind us at inhuman speed. “Hiking for time?” I asked him. Turns out Superman (aka Patrick) just wanted some exercise and this was his normal speed for all of the many, many 14ers he’s topped. He ended up reaching the top of Gray’s in an hour and a half!
am7 The top! The glorious top! It took us 2 hours and 15 minutes to get from the start of the trail to the summit. My head was pounding full force now and the winds were whipping like crazy.
am8 We pulled on our gloves and  headed down the steep saddle across to Torrey’s Peak. We dropped down at least 1,000 feet before starting an even steeper ascent.
am9 An hour later, we were standing on the top of Torrey’s, gazing in awe at the views all around us, scarfing down sammiches and chugging water.
am10 I debated going in to my pack to grab the ibuprofen for my head, but we were ready to start the descent and avoid the clouds that were rolling in in the distance.
am12 After a few more obligatory pictures, we started down. Superman joined us. He told us that while he was a powerhouse on the uphill, he preferred to take his time down to avoid injury. With the blisters forming across my feet, my aching knees and bruised soles, I decided that was a good way to go.
am13 We had to cut across a snow bridge to avoid topping Gray’s again. I took the lead and began slowly sliding across. About halfway through, the snow turned to ice and my foot slipped. I threw myself facedown in a full arrest on the bank, driving my fingers into the snow while I attempted to regain my footing. Visions of my bloody, battered body resting on the rocks below flashed through my head. I jammed my foot into the snow, stood up again and kept inching across, my ragged breath shaking out of my lungs even after I stepped onto solid ground. Needless to say, I wasn’t a fan…
am14 The ground finally started to even out, but each step still sent knives of pain through my knees, feet and skull. Patrick (Superman) told us he was going to stretch his legs out and speed up a little and took off towards the base as we gimped along.
am15 As we continued, the memory of our lucky pickup ride up to the base jumped into our minds. And then we remembered that we would have to hike the extra two miles back down to the car. Lovely.
am16 We finally reached the base of the trail or, for us, the beginning of our final two miles. We hit the outhouse and started to cross the parking lot before we saw… SUPERMAN!!!! Patrick had waited for us after hearing our tale of the exciting drive up and gave us a lift down the mountain to where our car was parked. Patrick. Superman. Angel.

We thanked Patrick profusely, took off our packs and chucked them in the back seat, took off our heavy shoes and peeled off our socks. I’d just summited TWO 14ers! I threw a handful of ibuprofen down my throat in an attempt to silence the pounding in my head and we drove home.

Flash forward to a week later and the headache is FINALLY gone. A solid week of aspirin, ibuprofen and gallons of water finally conquered the altitude headache.
am Quality control also seems to help a bit. A little extra vitamin B and protein to aid in the healing!
am18 And braids. Just cuz feeling purdy also makes one feel better.
am19 Either way, I’d take a week-long headache over having the day that this guy had…

Have you ever hiked a 14er? I’ve been inspired by all of my Colorado transplant bloggers :)

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