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Inspired Walkers, hikers, backpackers

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Old 10-11-2008, 11:38 AM   #1
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Hi outdoorsy gals,
I walk a lot and I am walking so I can start hiking and backpacking again. I want to go to Colorado this summer and hike a 14r. So, I am hoping some of you walkers, hikers and backpackers would want to jump in here and share your experiences, inspirations and field notes. In the process, we'll be getting fit!
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Old 10-11-2008, 12:17 PM   #2
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Oh, I don't have any hiking plans, but I wish I did. Hmmmm ....
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Old 10-11-2008, 09:25 PM   #3
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DH and I love to hike. We have four little boys who are season by season getting more confident with each hike. Most of our time is spent in the Berkshire area.
When you say 14r in CO, what do you mean? My best friend lives in CO and has a condo in the mountains. I am looking forward to a visit. -- Winter skiing or spring hiking. Just need the kids to get a tad older and save up some bucks for the cost.

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Old 10-11-2008, 09:49 PM   #4
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Yay!!!!

Kittykat40- A 14-er is a mountain with an elevation of 14,000 ft or higher. Colorado has 54 (!) of them. If anyone travels through DIA, you have probably noticed that the main terminal is a big "tent" with several peaks. Well, there are 54 of them and they represent our 14-ers Here is a wonderful site that lists all of them with info: http://www.14ers.com I know a few people whose mission in life is to summit all of them. I've known 2 people that have accomplished this and I think it's pretty admirable. Where in CO is your friend's condo?

My "Independence Day" from obesity and the moment when I felt that I had triumphed over it was July 4th, 2005 when I summited Gray's Peak, my first 14-er. If you click on my profile you will see a pic of me at about the halfway point.

I have done 4 so far. Some are super steep, some not so much, but the "high" is still the same once I hit about 13,000 and I feel like I'm going to topple of the side of the mountain.

I love hiking!! I made it out almost every weekend this summer and want to take a trip to Eastern Utah (my personal Mecca) this spring with all the hiking/camping gear hubby and I got for our wedding in August

Here are some more pics from my first 14-er... You can see that the farther we got to the top the more "dressed" we became
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg DCP_3432.jpg (27.7 KB, 13 views)
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:03 PM   #5
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I go hiking regularly. I will probably go tomorrow in fact

Quix - Have you ever been to Colorado or a place with a higher elevation? I used to live in Colorado and you'd be amazed at how people would be affected at 5000 feet up let alone higher. I had been living to Colorado for a while and drove up to 11000 feet and it wiped me out. So I do recommend some acclimation days before a major hike

My husband and I have been talking about visiting Colorado sometime soon and maybe tackling some hiking. Although from what I heard of others, it may be nicer to do 12000-13000 feet peaks because those tend to be less crowded as people target the 14ers.
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Old 10-12-2008, 04:01 AM   #6
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Hi Jen, what great pictures! I love Utah, too. On my trip this next summer I also want to go to Canyon Lands and the new Canyon of the Ancients National Park. I have returned to the SW four(phew!) corners area repeatedly to see Anasazi sites. I have not hiked any of the peaks in Utah. I guess around Park City there are some big peaks and in the North East corner? Arizona is spectacular, too. I love the high desert and the canyon regions of the desert southwest. Colorado so ideally situated for hiking all types of environments.

I did not know there were so many 14s in Colorado. I have hiked a few
14ers in Colorado, a very long time ago. And, I do remember the altitude problem and perhaps at the age of 55 (by then) it will be more of a problem. I hope to gradually begin conditioning by taking longer and higher elevation hikes here. I live at 1700 feet and I have a 4500 foot mountain out my back door, but I know that is not the same as 14,000. But, a goal is a goal and my goal is to become thin enough and fit enough to do this.

I've hiked Greys, too and Pikes Peak and the mountains around Telluride. I have hiked Maroon Bells out toward Crested Butte and I have hiked all along Cache La Poudre. I have also hiked around Breckenridge in the Montezuma area. Other mountains I have hiked are the Grand Tetons, the Olympics in Washington, Mt. Rainier and all around the Sierras, particularly in Desolation Wilderness. It has just been a long time.

My husband has arthritis and he no longer hikes. I really miss it and I am beginning to go by myself on short hikes around here. I would love to team up with California ladies for hikes (Julie?) And, I am hoping to start a local hiking club for women. I am sorry and disappointed about how many women my age are beginning to have injuries and illnesses that prevent them from being active and I really want to stave that off for as long as I can.

I have also been thinking about getting pack llamas. My husband thinks I am crazy...they spit...they're independent and cantankerous...they're expensive. But they also haul your gear, they need to work to stay fit (like us) and they are independent. They are also hiking companions. They are not hard on the grass and trails the way horses are and they don't weigh several hundred pounds.

Hey, KittyKat, keep those boys hiking! We had so much fun taking our boys hiking and camping when they were little. It gives them a spirit of adventure and a love for the outdoors. I love the roses it puts in their little cheeks to walk in the sun and the wind. We always scrimped and saved to take trips, too. We have a glass, five gallon water bottle that we used to fill up with pocket change and dollars from sorting laundry; we'd watch it getting fuller and fuller until we figured we had enough money for a trip. We'd roll coins a guess how much money we had and how far we could get on that much money!

Nelie, you make a good point about the 14ers, and really, Colorado, where aren't the mountains spectacular? I'll be happy just getting there! I am intrigued by the trail that has been built across Colorado, I have forgotten the name of it, but it heads out from I think the Denver area, goes through to the Durango area and it is about 400 miles long, like the Pacific Crest trail...do you know what I mean?

Okay, my most recent walks. I walked down the street, down a road and onto a trail right out my door that I had never walked! The trail took me to the banks of the local river and down onto the river bed. The river is entirely dry this year as we had half our normal rainfall last winter. I did not realize that the river meandered through the valley so much. I kept expecting to find the bridge, hop back up onto the road and be home just around the next corner and the next and the next! It was getting dark and I was worried that I would not find a trail out before it got dark. The river bed had huge drifts of gravel; some ten feet high or more and you have to walk up down and around them to get along. In some places there were deep undercuts in the bank where the trees were overhanging and I could just imagine silvery trout and salmon fry hiding there in the rainy season. Finally, I found a trail up that ended up in someone's backyard with a big, angry dog. Luckily he was on a chain, but I had to dodge his run to the end of the chain! It was beginning to get dark and very cold and windy. When I got home I was chilled through. I made a quick dinner and my sweet hubby snuggled me warm.

Today, er yesterday, I headed toward Eureka to go Costco shopping. My sixteen year old son went with me. We walked for a couple of miles down a redwood lined road and then out into the sun along the Eel river. It was a wonderful time to reconnect with my busy teen and the time flew by. There was a huge gravel pile (from a rock mining operation along the river) that my son ran up like a mountain goat. I watched him run all along the top and marveled at the fact that he runs just like his dad did at the age of 19. He has his father's build, too, and so it was a very bitter sweet moment for me and brought back lots of memories.

Today...to the top of the local peak to look out at the ocean and the Yolla Bolly Wilderness.

Sheri
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Old 10-12-2008, 09:15 AM   #7
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Sheri - It sounds like you have tons of experience! I also get 'crazy' ideas and my poor husband usually just goes along with them but I don't know what he'd say if I said I wanted a llama

I have osteoarthritis in my knee due to being so heavy for so long. I've had phyiscal therapy before on it and I'm actually doing some preventative physical therapy for my knee/hips/back as part of my running program.

The thing to do out here is the Appalachian trail which goes from Georgia to Maine. We've done small portions of it as part of regular hikes but I was thinking I'd like to slackpack bigger portions of it. Basically, you hike, then spend the night in a motel or something. That is much more to my liking then backpacking with the lack of showers

Another thing people do out here is hike the C&O canal which was built as a transport mechanism via boats. I think its 130 miles long or so. It was widely used until railroads came along and were less costly and quicker. The only problem is I find it boring so we've done small parts of it as part of other hikes but its just basically a long wide gravel road along a canal...

My thing with hiking is I really like scrambles and major ups/downs. Which is one reason I'm thinking of tackling rock climbing next year. I'm going to at least take a class in it.
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:12 AM   #8
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Hi Nelie,I had never heard the term slackpacking, but it sounds good to me! My husband and I are at a point in our lives where we can afford to go and do things that we could not do when we were younger. He can sometimes walk a few miles and so I could see us "slackpacking" together and do a bed and breakfast trip or something. in December we are going to do a surfing and skateboarding (remember, I have a teen still at home) trip down the California coast. My husband is a surfer (kneeboarder) and since it does not entail using his ankles the way hiking does, its a sport he can still do. I expect that I will be taking long walks down the beach and on the bluffs.

I have extracted a promise from him that we will do a short llama trek in the San Diego area; I found a bed and breakfast online that also does short llama treks in the canyon country of San Diego county. I would never get such big, expensive animals without first thoroughly examining the idea. My thought is to get a pregnant doe from good lineage that I can breed and sell crias (baby llamas) to recover my expenses. But, there is lots of footwork and exploration to do about the idea, so it won't be any time real soon.

I had a friend who hiked the Appalachian Trail years ago and he talked about drop shipping his food to post offices along the way so he could make it from place to place. He got pretty hungry sometimes and ended up not making it all the way as he seriously rolled his ankle and had to be rescued. He waited for a couple of days for someone to come along...this was before cell phones! Speaking of which, if I am hiking alone sometimes, I should take mine! yesterday I was a little worried being all alone. I was afraid I would come across an irritable rattle snake. Warm gravel bars, almost evening, ya know?

Good luck on the rock climbing. I am seriously afraid of heights. I did a ropes course once hoping it would help me overcome it. I realized that I could master my fear, but that heart pounding, sweat inducing mastery is just no fun. I felt proud but was sort of, "Phew, glad that's behind me!" I have always admired people who were rock climbers. it is a real upper-body strength and agility sport. There is something awesome about standing on a spire or peak that you've ascended! There are good training schools everywhere and many gyms have climbing walls where you can learn the basics. Nothing beats real rocks, though. Here, Half Dome in Yosemite or all over Yosemite, around the Mammoth Lakes area and Pinnacles are all big rock climbing places. The Sierras, though, are pretty craggy, and so they are a climber's paradise. I used to love boulder fields and scree slopes and switch back traverses; they are a challenge. I might need to choose less strenuous hikes for a while. I will need to learn to really read maps, too. My husband was always the navigator. You never want to get lost! I suppose people now use GPS systems...

By the way, I looked at your ticker...Wow! Don't you feel wonderful? I have lost about 25-30 pounds and feel so much better. So, I can only imagine how you must feel. You have given yourself a new life...and the ability to run and hike!
Sheri
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:59 AM   #9
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I actually started hiking near my highest weight and started seriously hiking around 300 lbs. I was living in Colorado at the time and boy did the first few hikes kill me. When I was young (and well over 300 lbs), I do remember going to Yosemite and looking up at the people doing half dome but I also remember a small hike we did. Hiking has certainly gotten easier without the extra 100 lbs though.

The San Diego area is nice and there are quite a few hiking places. I also read that there is some great hiking in the desert to the east of San Diego. I grew up in San Diego and did some hiking in the San Bernadino mountains as well as the area near Palmdale to the north and then some parts of San Diego.

I am also very afraid of heights but the beginner rock climbing is only on 20-30 ft heights. I used to be so afraid of heights that I had major problems crossing bridges on foot. We would go hiking and it'd take me half an hour just to cross a small bridge. Now I can cross all sorts of bridges, no problem. So I'm not sure how well I'll do with rock climbing but we'll see
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Old 10-12-2008, 05:13 PM   #10
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I completely love hiking out here in CO. I'm hoping to climb Longs (14er) before I move away again. A group of us was thinking about doing it this summer, but I'm definitely not in shape for it! My highest mountain so far was Flattop, which is 12,324 ft. It was nearly a 3,000 ft elevation gain, I almost didn't make it to the top!

Even if you've been living in the area for a while, you really need to watch the altitude, effects differ between people. A friend of mine from Florida climbed Flattop with me no problem. I heard another person from Florida, extremely fit and in good shape, had to turn around from Longs at about 11,000 ft due to altitude sickness, even though she had been living in Boulder for a couple months. So it really depends and you just need to recognize when to turn around.

If anyone is visiting Colorado and would like to hike along the front range I highly recommend Rocky Mountain National Park. The trails are well maintained so you don't have to worry about getting lost 4 times (like I did in Poudre Canyon!) and there are plenty of people around in case you have issues. There is also a great variety of trails...there are rivers, waterfalls, woods, summit hikes. Hiking is definitely one of my favorite forms of exercise and the mountains are beautiful year round!
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Old 10-12-2008, 05:17 PM   #11
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We love hiking. We will be hiking next week in the SF bay area
At age 50+ with arthritic knees, our trekking poles were a GREAT investment. I can't imagine hiking without them.

We try to get in a hiking vacation at least 3-4 times each year. It is a great way to see the country and stay fit and healthy while trying out the local cuisine
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Old 10-12-2008, 05:38 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Quixotica View Post
Hi Jen, what great pictures! I love Utah, too. On my trip this next summer I also want to go to Canyon Lands and the new Canyon of the Ancients National Park. I have returned to the SW three corners area repeatedly to see Anasazi sites. I have not hiked any of the peaks in Utah. I guess around Park City there are some big peaks and in the North East corner? Arizona is spectacular, too. I love the high desert and the canyon regions of the desert southwest. Colorado so ideally situated for hiking all types of environments.
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That would be the Four Corners area. Ahem. Yes, I am sensitive about NM getting overlooked.

I've hiked in Arizona, Southern Colorado and New Mexico. Bandelier National Monument is always fun, cause you can see the old dwellings. I would love to get to Utah someday.
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Old 10-12-2008, 06:56 PM   #13
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That would be the Four Corners area. Ahem. Yes, I am sensitive about NM getting overlooked.

I've hiked in Arizona, Southern Colorado and New Mexico. Bandelier National Monument is always fun, cause you can see the old dwellings. I would love to get to Utah someday.

NM does get overlooked, doesn't it? I LOVE Four Corners. Such a special place!


Quixotica- Maroon Bells! Well, you have my respect. I grew up in Glenwood Springs (35 miles from Aspen/Maroon Bells) and have not made it to the top. I did Hanging Lake a few weeks ago, which is only anout 1.5 miles up, but remarkable nonetheless (and crowded). I hadn't done it since I was a chubby 12 year old and had a better go at it. My next goal is the Storm King memorial trail (it was made in honor of the 14 firefighters and smoke jumpers that died fighting a fire up there some years ago), which is supposed to be very strenuous, though only about 6 miles.

The trail you are talking about it the Colorado Trail (original, huh?). That is so cool that you are thinking about acquiring llamas. You must post pictures if you do that!

I wanted to get out to Utah this fall. Right about now is the perfect time to go- the nights aren't quite freezing and the days arent scorching hot in the desert. i know Arches lost an arch this summer so I want to go out before any more go- they are on borrowed time. I haven't been to Canyonlands in several years. My next trip in the Spring will be to Goblin Valley http://www.utah.com/stateparks/goblin_valley.htm It's in "castle country" and is seriously my playground (also great for scrambling, Nelie).

Give me all day running around a hot dry desert
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Old 10-12-2008, 07:08 PM   #14
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Sorry about the three corners slip, all of you desert rats! (Edward Abbey was a desert rat, so you are in respected company). Of course, I knew that and not mentioning New Mexico was only left out of the conversation, but not my esteem. My Dad lived for a time in New Mexico and so I have been there, too. I have not yet been to Chaco Canyon and I hope to go there, too. The Sandias are beautiful and I am really interested in going to Chama. I have been to Taos and Santa Fe before they were trendy and gentrified. My mom and I did a tour of many of the pueblos a very long time ago. But, life is full and I have a job. I can only travel so much...sigh.

Lest I mislead you, Jen, I hiked the region around Maroon Bells on a trail that led to Crested Butte, I did not ascend any of the peaks. It was one of the lovliest hikes I have done...streams full of snow melt and wildflowers everywhere. The stars at night at that altitude were spectacular. I have never seen the Milky Way like that ever again.

Hi Counting Down, yes, hiking is all about beauty and fun and culture...you will certainly have great places to eat and hike in the SF area. Marin headlands is very nice as is Pt. Reyes National Seashore. South of SF there are lots of really good regional parks with good hiking trails in the coastal mountains. The Santa Cruz area has great parks. Along highway 1 at Waddel Creek there is a grueling 17 mile hike up into Big Basin State Park. I think if you start from the top, there is a primitive campsite half way down. And, I don't know if you know SF, but Golden Gate Park shouldn't be missed. The Japanese Tea Garden and the Conservatory of Flowers are both exquisite. And then there are art galleries...

I will be at a CTA Union Convention next weekend in Santa Clara and hope to hike one of the marshes there. The waterfowl are migrating right now and I hope to see some birds I haven't seen in a while.
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:58 PM   #15
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I went backpacking for the first time this past summer. I am hooked! There is nothing like carrying everything you need on your back and scrambling through the underbrush blazing a trail. I loved it so much I suggested to one of my brothers (I have six) we do a trip next summer. It just so happened that one of my other brothers had proposed the same idea (only he wanted to do a "boys only" trip. I still invited myself along.) So we are doing Havasupai (Grand Canyon) this spring sometime. We have to wait until they know when the campground is up and going after the flood before we decide when we go. I've been training, out hiking and backpacking short trips. It's getting cold so I may have to head south to keep training. Though I hear hiking in the snow can be great.
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