Chris and I were both sore from the Massive climb and were hobbling around for the first few miles. Still, in our hobbled state, we were making awesome time. The trail, which overlaps with the Colorado Trail for the first mile or so, was beautiful. It was steep, for the most part, but the trail was amazing. Route-finding was never an issue, and while the trail was steep, it was soft and well-groomed so it made for a pleasant walk. Turbo bounded along as usual and showed no signs of his exhausted self from the night before. We met, talked to, and passed a few groups of people that headed up the trail before we did. Everyone was very nice and impressed to see Turbo climbing his eleventh 14er. All of our sore kinks were worked out within the first few miles and soon we were all climbing strong and fast.
Between 13,200 and 13,900 ft there is a fairly steep climb up the ridge that includes more rocky climbing than before (although still class 1). We moved up this ridge quickly, turning around now and then to look at the beautiful views of the Leadville valley below. We had lucked out, the weather was absolutely perfect! Not a cloud in the sky, we knew we'd at least get to hang out the summit of Colorado's highest peak once we got to the top. There would be no summit-tagging today!
Part way up the steeper ridge, I realized that I had worn through the heel of my SmartWool sock and was starting to now get a blister on my heel. Luckily I'd brought an extra pair of socks, so after I changed the one sock, I was ready to go again. This annoyance has prompted me to start looking for new hiking shoes. I need something that won't rub my heel raw... because that's not so much fun.
We made it to the summit just before 9. We were standing on the top of Colorado! After feeling SO sore from the day before, I had mentally given us only a 30% chance of actually making the summit on this day. Somehow we'd made it, overcome the soreness, and actually ended up feeling really good. The view was amazing. We pulled the battery out of the camera again, warmed up it, quickly put it back in, and were able to get more pictures on the summit! That dead battery sure came through for us afterall! I was even able to snap a few more pictures on the way down.
We chatted with some people at the top, and sat and enjoyed our sandwiches, goldfish, and heath bars. This summit day was much nicer and relaxing than the day before. We spent almost an hour on the summit and then got cold enough to start heading down. We had our down jackets on, but there was enough wind that I was starting to get pretty cold.
Looking at where we were the day before -- Mount Massive
We started to head off the summit and ran into our friend Nicolette and her dog. She had told us that she was planning to climb Elbert Wednesday as well, but after seeing the bad weather the day before, we wanted to get on the trail earlier than she was planning to be up there. So we met her at the top, snapped a few pictures (Woohoo!) and then headed down.
As we stopped to take our jackets off, she caught back up and we were able to hike the rest of the way down together.
Turbo was very happy to see his friend and they were super cute bouncing along the whole way down.
We made it back to the car around 12:30 and we parted ways with Nicolette and her pup. Chris drove us to I-70 where we stopped and got our traditional ice cream snickers before heading down the road. I drove us the rest of the way home and we proceeded to eat, sleep, and sit on the couch for the next few days. We were both pretty sore after our two-day adventure, but it was well worth it and we had a great time.
Since this trip, we've both started riding our bikes more seriously in an attempt to get ready for our two-days of races this coming weekend in Winter Park. Yesterday we had a great 30 mile road ride from home, to Golden, then back home via a delicious bakery in Arvada. Tonight we will be joining the RATM crew for a Wednesday night ride. For once it sounds like there will be a decent showing, so I'm looking forward to the ride. Chris has already left so he can ride there and ride a few trails on the way to the group ride.
It seems my Christopher is back.
Chris is preparing to do the Colorado Trail race in a few weeks and I'm preparing to be glued to the Spot-Dot once again. He will do awesome and I can't wait to watch him be the first ever single speed finisher!