Rocky Mountain High, Colorado
by Kelsey Scott
Adventure or suffer fest? It's hard to tell the difference when that i-phone alarm, that we have all come to hate, begins sounding at 2am. No matter how many alpine starts you have experienced, it's always a rude awakening to unzip your sleeping bag and step out into the cold morning tenebrosity. A proper distasteful nutrient dense breakfast (some super duper bar and fruit) followed by a jolt of caffeine from the morning coffee begin to raise the stoke level as you turn on your headlamp and head into the darkness. It's hard to gather the vastness of your surroundings but you know which way you are going, it's simple. You are going up.
Upon reaching the summit of Gray's we cheerfully sat taking in the views, until our simulated thoughts were interrupted by a local Boulderite. We exchanged pleasantries and tall tales of our morning ascent to the summit. Chit chat chit chat, we had to go. This was only our first summit of the day and we planned to climb another. So, we stoically pressed forward with our day. Bluebird morning skies quickly began to cloud as we traversed the ridge to Torrey's. Cloudy, but no electrostatic discharge that our sunglassed eyes could see, so we continued at a hastened pace toward our second summit.
The second summit suffering set in 150 feet from the peak but we were enjoying it as the provocation of increased exposure and diminishing oxygen levels expounded with each foot increased in altitude. To the right was a sheer face of snow and scree. To our left was softer grade with a sinuous trail leading to the peak of Torreys. Tired but euphoric, we advanced toward the summit, getting our kicks from a head buzz that developed as the cerebral hypoxia began to affect our thoughts again. Moments later we had gained the summit and were descending the exposed ridge down the mountain. Significantly lower in altitude and safely away from the threat of afternoon lightning storms, we enjoyed salami and a stale baguette washed down with some water that we had just filtered from a small ice meltwater flow. We didn't rest for long, we still had six miles ahead of us. To be precise, three miles of trail and three miles of gravel road, due to our Yaris rental's incapability to climb the rough mountain road. A mile onto the gravel road a late 90's Toyota 4runner hauled ass past us casting a cloud of dust into the air. "Woah woah woah, bubba" we hollered, waving our thumbs in the air with a sense of desperation. As the dust settled a friendly Coloradoan greeted us with a grin as he opened the hatch on his truck. "You guys want a ride?" He exclaimed. We obliged and hopped in the back of his truck with his dog. He was a fit middle-aged man who appeared to be with his girlfriend and two of her friends. They laughed and told us about their day as we bounced around the back of the truck, trying not to involuntarily exit the vehicle as we barrelled down the rough gravel road. No more than five minutes later we were back at our car. We tossed the kind folks a few cold beers and they were off!
While recovering from the long day on the mountain we vowed to spend the following day catching bows and a buzz. So, we packed up and headed directly toward the Big Thompson to set up camp.