Or should I say...
When 32 weeks pregnant...
Do as the tourists do!
That's exactly what we just spent the day doing, and it was fabulous.
As I mentioned in my last blog, I've had a bit of a rough time adjusting to my more sedentary lifestyle. Afterall, summers are usually the time that Chris and I rack up some good 14er hiking in our attempt to finish all 54 as a couple, but since I have a physical and moral obligation to my unborn baby to not deprive him of oxygen, that can't happen. It is 100% worth it, but it's still an adjustment.
Last night we found ourselves just outside of Aspen in the wonderful town of Carbondale, for a Ride the Divide showing, featuring Chris as the Q&A speaker at the end. The movie is great and it's fun watching people ooh and aah over Chris doing the route on a single speed just a few days short of the overall record time. Before the show, we had some great Thai food with the filmmakers and we got to stay the night for free in a super cute little cabin owned by the lady who brought the movie to Carbondale. It was really nice of her to give up her house to Chris, Turbo, and I for the night!
This morning we went back to Dos Gringos (where the movie was shown) for some awesome breakfast burritos. If you ever find yourself in Carbondale, find Dos Gringos, it is soooooooooooo delicious (if you've ever been to the coffee shop adjacent to Absolute Bikes in Salida, it's very similar).
Since we were already in the area, we headed up to Aspen to go see the Maroon Bells. Chris had a plan to climb the Bells the night before, but instead he played his role as super-baby-daddy and stayed the night with me instead (have I mentioned that he is an awesome husband?? :) ). Because we were headed up to Maroon Lake after 9 am, we had to take the tourist shuttle up the road. Chris and I were both literally and figuratively, well, very out of our element. As the driver drove five miles an hour up the road, stopping to talk about avalanche chutes and aspen trees, Chris and I worked to entertain ourselves. We did listen just long enough for the bus driver to tell the bus of tourists that "there are 54 14,000 foot mountains in Colorado, called 14ers, which is why Colorado is called the 'Rocky Mountain State'". Ummm, what? He also proceeded to tell everyone that the Bells are nicknamed The Deadly Bells because "every year, at least one person goes up and falls off the mountain". Ummm, okay, not really, but okay.
It was also nearly noon and in Colorado, you don't go up to the high mountains to walk around at noon. Daily rain and thunder storms make this idea stupid, and not even once did the driver warn the poor tourists not to head *up* any of the trails. Luckily it was raining as we exited the bus, so hopefully not many of them decided to walk to the higher lake as they had planned. We walked the short path to Maroon Lake and got a good little peak at the Bells before standing under the shelter of the bathrooms analyzing various couloirs and climbing routes in the area. It was really nice to be in the mountains instead of on the couch like I have spent most of this summer. The Bells were fantastically beautiful and I can't wait to go back to climb them. If you are from out of town and find yourself in the Aspen area, it is worth taking this bus up to the lake to look around. The views are spectacular!
32 week picture!
After a short time spent admiring the Bells, we walked around the Aspen ski area a little bit and discovered a store devoted completely to brownies. Marni-heaven! Then, Chris decided to take us home via Independence Pass -- a highway that connects Aspen and Leadville through some amazing country.
We even pulled off at the top of the pass to walk to the overlook and admire the clearing weather and spectacular views. We even got to gawk at La Plata, a 14er that we hiked in the snow in November 2008. I love looking at a big peak, knowing that I have been on the top, and remembering the beautiful views we saw along the way and the horrible knee pain I had coming back down.
The big flat-topped looking mountain behind us is La Plata and Ellingwood Ridge. Yes, I'm wearing three coats...
This person seemed scared that they'd fall off the side of the pass, so instead of driving in their lane, they nearly creemed several oncoming cars by driving pretty far over the center line. Hmmmm....
Coming back into Leadville, we got to see more of the mountains we climbed the last few years, and it was fun trying to pick out and name each of them. We constantly had our 14ers book out, comparing pictures to views, and telling stories of previous trips. When we got into town, we stopped at the best pizza place in the area (which is tiny and was packed because of the rain), and we took the pizza back into the car to eat. It was soooooooo tasty. Go there too.
This is a bit of a gross picture of me, but it shows how excited Turbo was for us to come eat our lunch in the car.
We finally headed back on I70 and got home not too long ago.
The day was rainy, but getting to be in the mountains with Chris at all, even at a tourist level, was fantastic. It was an important reminder to slow down once in a while, forget about doing everything the hard way, and just enjoy this beautiful state that we're lucky enough to live in.