Category Archives: Adventures

Gray’s Peak and Torrey’s Peak

Last week I took the initiation into becoming a true Coloradoan.
am8Topping 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.
am2We 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.
am20YES! 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.
am3It was absolutely gorgeous! The sun started cresting over the horizon as the trail immediately became a steady incline.
am4The first mile consisted of large, rocky steps before evolving into a crescendo of rocks that pointed directly upward.
am5We 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!
am6As 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!
am7The 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.
am8We 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.
am9An 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.
am10I 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.
am12After 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.
am13We 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…
am14The 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.
am15As 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.
am16We 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.
amQuality control also seems to help a bit. A little extra vitamin B and protein to aid in the healing!
am18And braids. Just cuz feeling purdy also makes one feel better.
am19Either 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 🙂


Filed under Adventures

Desert Center

After we’d perused the abandoned school, Commander Matt and I were prepared to continue right back to the highway. The one thing that was nagging my mind were those random decapitated palm trees that brought me here in the first place. Just down the road from the school, through the dead and silent town, we found the cabins.
amAbout six or seven small cabins rest in the desert dust. One has already been burned to the ground, no doubt thanks to vandals.
am1The insides are completely destroyed with paint falling off the walls and furniture thrown everywhere.
am3am2am4Old yellowing newspapers and calendars were strewn all across the back bedroom floor.
am6This was the home of Carl Moser: born September 28, 1892 and died November 1, 1976.
abcAll of his final payments still hang on the wall.
am9An old pop top Bud can.
am10The next house was in the same condition.
am11AM12That might be a little expired…
AM17These cans expired in 2009. I never thought I’d see an expired canned food.
AM13AM14Different trash and toys from all different decades. Some of these houses look like they’ve become a dumpster for the few remaining locals.
AM15am24Almost mint condition. It hurt to leave this behind.
AM16Slightly creepy and ominous. It fit the feel of the entire town.
am18Jeff Ragsdale, the son of “Desert Steve” Ragsdale, had trophies and certificates all across the floors in what I assume was the Ragsdale home.
am19am20This seemed to be the trophy house. Old memoirs that you’d think would want to be saved have been left here to rot.
am23am21You can see the decapitated palm trees that originally pulled me in.
am25After exploring and documenting every crevice, we returned to the highway and sped back to California and to population.


Filed under Abandoned buildings, Adventures, Travel

Greasy Burgers and Ghost Towns!

I had to. I just HAD to. I hadn’t been there in almost a month and I could tell that Ladyface missed me almost as much as I missed her, so I took a nice detour and made that special visit. Because, you know, Roman Holiday wasn’t enough of a mini-vacation for me…
Okay, maybe Roman Holiday WAS enough of a mini-vacation – I stuck with a small taster of Chesebro IPA instead of a full glass. Shocking, I know!
According to Ladyface, sweet potatoes are “out of season”. The giant bag I have sitting on my counter begs to differ. I’m not known to throw fits though, as long as I get some sort of edible fod, so I settled for a few of the mouth-watering regular fries with red ale ketchup that Sofia had ordered before I’d arrived…
…and after a long peruse of the happy hour menu, ended up with the same thing she ordered.
A big fatty burger with white cheddar. Oooooh, I LOVE the way the grease makes it shine! It was SO AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS! Seriously, sometimes all a girl needs is a little grease!
We attempted to take a cute picture. Sofia was in heels, so this is me on the very tips of my toes attempting to look like a normal-sized person next to her. It worked, right? Don’t answer that.
Of course we couldn’t end without dessert! This is the CENTER PIECE of the bread pudding! If you ever order bread pudding from ANYWHERE, order the center piece! It will make your life worth living! We asked our waiter to get us the center piece and then followed up by asking the general manager to make sure that we got the center piece. Not that we’re high maintenance or anything…
What, your non-food-blogger friends don’t take pictures of their food too? If they ever get a center piece of the bread pudding, they would! Center Piece.
After, we drove through the mountains to visit the old abandoned town I love – Paramount Ranch.
I lent Sofia my Converse while we walked around. We were hanging out on the porch when two girls came by – one carrying a camera and the other dolled up to high heaven. They walked over to the mountainside and started taking pictures. A few moments later, a big burly guy carrying a guitar lumbered around the corner and stood in front of them, strumming a little serenade. Everywhere they went to take pictures, he lumbered after, strumming away. It was awkward to watch.
Almost as awkward as watching Sofia try to walk to her car after putting her fancy-schmancy heels back on…

Hahahaha! That picture just made my day!


Filed under Adventures