The past month or so has passed by insanely quickly and has been extremely busy.
The last few days in August we prepared and departed for our long awaited honeymoon adventure. Troy had been planning this honeymoon since before the wedding and the plans had been finalized for nearly a year. It was finally time for our adventure to begin!
Since Troy did not want ANYTHING to possibly go wrong on this vacation, we were packed up and ready to go 2-3 days in advance. Driving to Chicago was super exciting (sarcasm) but we made it through security with no issues and our flight left pretty much on time. I was pumped to have a window seat and get to take some exciting photos of the ground from the sky. Least favorite part? Ears popping. And yes, I was chewing gum.
This would be my first time seeing the mountains and the flight into Denver does not prepare you for it at all. There are only small mountains in the distance that in no way allow you to gauge the true size of them. After our first experience renting a car (make sure to ask how much insurance is going to cost–OUCH!) we finally started out toward the trail head.
We had watched video upon video upon video on hikes around the Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop. What to wear, what to hike, how to prepare, average time, etc. etc. etc. NOTHING actually prepares you for when you get up there. We gave ourselves four days to do the four passes when some people did it in two, and the most seemed to do it in three.
The adventure began in the evening with my very first night hike ever. Only two miles, but there were tons of rocks to walk over and, well, it’s just not that enjoyable. I immediately began to doubt my abilities having already suffered some mixture of motion and altitude sickness while we drove up the mountain. But we finally made it to camp and set everything up by headlamp. After a decent night’s sleep I felt rejuvenated. I was ready to tackle the mountain and the wilderness.
Then….the uphill battle began. Literally. Anyone hiked up, down and around a scree field? Look it up. That was our first obstacle. An extraordinary amount of uphill. Though I imagine you’ll say, “Well, it is the mountains.” The views were beyond gorgeous, though. Take your breath away. It somehow makes you feel so tiny in the world and yet so amazingly special at the same time. The same God that created these mountains and valleys created me.
The greatest obstacle? Besides myself? Well, there were a few, I suppose. The mountain itself was a huge one. Altitude and apparently my inability to adapt quickly certainly did not help matters. This then led to me being unable to keep a lot of food down. And this was vacation.
Every 5-10 minutes I had to stop and gasp for air. And Troy had to stop and keep encouraging me not to give up and die. By the time we got to the base of the mountain I wanted to bawl and give up and call in a helicopter to come get me. We finally sat down and discussed what our options were. None of these options included actually finishing the loop. I felt extremely disappointed in myself but also remarkably relieved. However, Troy convinced me that I could make it to the mountain top.
The views were AMAZING. The trail up was a little scary. The trail was incredibly narrow and involved a little bit of scrambling here and there. But…..WE DID IT! We met a few exciting people at the top. Then, it was back down. I was much more enthusiastic going downhill. On the way down trying to find a campsite, Troy ended up feeling some of the altitude as well. Our decision to simply go up one pass and then head back was confirmed as the best choice.
The mountains are chilly. We were both so thankful to have purchased a better three season tent and I was extremely thankful to have brought my Cuddl Duds. Nothing beats the sights, though. To wake up and be able to simply be surrounded by nature, there’s nothing like it. We got to see a few pikas and deer. Thankfully no bears. Sadly no moose and no goats. Unfortunately we were more likely to have seen these if we had traveled on.
The next morning when we finally made it back to Crater Lake and then back to the car, our next adventure began. Finding hotels for our extra nights that would no longer be spent camping. However, we succeeded and we celebrated together in our hotel by clinking our beers together. His was a Colorado brew while mine was of the Barqs variety.
The rest of the honeymoon was spent exploring Colorado. We visited Doc Holliday’s grave, which we did not know was there. We had our first AirBNB experience in an adorable little cabin. We discovered tiny, nearly vacant towns. We walked around Aspen and Denver. (My favorite was Denver.) We purchased an exorbitant amount of Denver Broncos gear. We drove past Troy’s old house in Fort Collins.
It was amazing. I was glad to be getting home, though. Especially when our flight kept getting delayed and we didn’t make it back until nearly midnight. And I had to work the next day.
So, the first portion of my adventures in the past month.
However, I can’t lie. Driving past the corn fields on my way to work in the morning really makes me miss the mountains and the beauty that is Colorado. Maybe some would say the same about Indiana and I’ve just grown accustomed to it. But a trip out west will definitely be in the future.