Sep 1, 2011

The Mount Elbert-est I've Ever Climbed!

Well, long about June or July of this year Laura gave me a holler and said she and Tim have been wanting to climb a mountain in Colorado called Mount Elbert, go camping, you know, the whole works!
So I look it up. It doesn't look half bad. It's only twice as tall as I've ever climbed before, but that doesn't matter, right? Of course not! She graciously invites me and whoever else from our kinfolk want to come.
So long about August Hannah, William and I pack up our little car and head off to meet Laura, Tim and their friend Colin.

Traveling through Denver the first time wasn't so bad, it was the second time around that kind of shook us off course. Literally, OFF course.

Mount Elbert is in Leadville, CO, the highest town in elevation in the country at 10,000 or so feet. It was beautiful! Lovely little town! I couldn't WAIT to walk the streets! But we were headed out to our campground and . . . we got lost.

The look through our bug splattered windshield should tell you
just how lost we were and just how long we'd been traveling!
But still everything was so beautiful up there.

Then we turned ourselves around and got headed down the right road.
After asking for a few directions, I might add.
But our being lost consisted of: traveling on a road prohibiting motor vehicles,
seeing no one at all but a few mysterious pickup trucks, and the bumpiest
road I've ever had the pleasure of bouncing all over.
But after we got down off one mountain we found the right road(the above picture)
on another and nearly screamed with delight at seeing the "Elbert Creek Campground" sign!
And all the while, the beautiful 1995 Pride and Prejudice soundtrack was serenading us.

And we find our campsite.
We begin unloading our brimming over cars.
But in the midst of all of this we found what we forgot . . .
There is always something you forget and it's almost always the same thing.
The tent poles to the boys' tent.
*nods sadly*
Yes. But they were so good about it.
They rigged up some rope and lining and had that tent in ship shape!

Ate dinner by firelight and washed the dishes by lamplight.
It was so leisurely. Not in a hurry about anything.
It was nice.
Granted, it wasn't as organized as when our mothers are in charge of things,
but we're working on that! ;)

The next morning we headed into Leadville for some sight seeing.

 And there is Mount Elbert.
Higher than it looks.

We went to see the memorial for the 10th Mountain Division
who braved the mountains in Italy and other places during WWII. 

Laura and Tim's grandfather's brother?? is listed as one of the men killed in action from the division.
Wayne S. Brown.

The wild flowers were beautiful! End of story! 

We girls took a tour through the famous Tabor Opera House in Leadville.
It was such an amazing place! So much history, too! And it just downright looked gorgeous!
Many thanks to the piano who generously allowed us to use him for picture taking.

The view from the balcony. Oh, how I would have loved to see this place in it's heyday!
The Great Houdini even performed there!

 The Healy House looked marvelous, but we didn't really have much time so we didn't take the tour.
We found some things we wanted in their gift shop, though.

 We went to the Mining Museum instead and took their tour. WOW! It was so cool! They had created life size mines you could walk through, small, but complete with sound effects! Poor Tim got blown up twice! ;)

 A look at down town Leadville in the afternoon light.

 The sun shedding her glory on the mountains of Mount Massive, which is directly beside Mt. Elbert.

 And the next morning we rise early to take on the mountain.
And here he is, shining in the sun, waiting, beckoning, calling.

"And up, up, up the stairs we go!" 
Only . . .
there weren't no stairs, brother.
No stairs on Elbert Mountain.
No stairs,
No stairs,
No stairs at all.
Read The Bears on Hemlock Mountain and you'll get it.

 William on the mountain side as we take a break.
Funny thing, I never thought about the altitude affecting me.
But it did. More's the pity.

 Breaking free of the tree line, the infamous peak rising above us in the background.

 Taking a break in the shade.
Hello Laura!
We didn't get to talk much on the trip up!
I was usually waaaaaay behind.
We texted though! <3

 Even though I was the last one up, the last one down, had to sit down every five paces going up,
burnt my face to a crisp and couldn't walk right for the next three days,
the view was ALL worth it! It was amazing!
So was the feeling in your soul when you reached the top!

 I have never, ever seen a view like that before!
Amazing doesn't even come close.
God is so good!

 Needless to say, that night most of us spent the evening sitting down.
We spent the good part of twelve hours up on that mountain,
and I was terribly sorry I was so slow in going up!
Everyone was so kind in waiting for me!
Too kind!
I'm very glad William didn't tell us that someone had scared a black bear up that evening
and it had run down toward the campground. Very glad.
And the next morning we toasted bagels over the fire, packed up our gear,
and headed back into Leadville for some last minute shopping before saying good-bye
to the lovely place! It was so lovely!
I wish I had more room and more time to post some more pictures!
(Note Laura AH-MAZING PT Crusier in the background of the picture)

A gorgeous storm followed us all the way from Denver!
We got held up in traffic coming down for two solid hours.
But that was alright.
We got to listen to Michael Buble and Susan Boyle.
It was good!
We kept looking over our shoulders at the mountains, saying good-bye.
All three of us girls agreed we were definitely prairie girls, but there is something
magnificent about the mountains, something you can't explain, something you love.
And we missed them. And we planned to go back to them.
53 more 14ers to go!
God bless!

(Oh, and by the way, it's September 1st - twenty-two days until autumn)


Laura said...

Yay!! :) Thanks for posting these!!

Sarah said...

Looks like you had a lot of fun. I'm jealous of you. :P