Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sad goodbye to Colorado...but hello to New Mexico and new adventures

Leaving Colorado was a sad day but we know we'll be back again when we're out west in a few years (or maybe sooner if we fly for a summer trip in 2014).  We figure we need AT LEAST 2 months to check out more of the areas we enjoyed this time around and to explore new areas as well.  It's an outdoor playground (like I've mentioned about Oregon as well).  

After my hike on the Barr Trail (Pikes Peak) with my cousin, Donna, I showed Tom the pictures and told him about the Incline Trail.  To my surprise, he said let's go do it!  So 2 days after hiking Barr Trail and going to Barr Camp we hit the Incline Trail.  This trail is the remains of a former incline railway which washed out during a rock slide in 1990.  Now it's a huge fitness challenge for locals and tourists.  It has grades as steep as 68% in places and climbs over 2,000 feet of elevation in less than one mile (.9).  Yikes!  The plan was to climb the incline and then decend Barr Trail (another 2.5 miles back to the parking lot).  After making it to the top in just over an hour (not bad for our first time), and then getting our legs and lungs back to working order, we booked a reservation on the cog to be picked up at Mtn. View (1.5 miles from Barr Camp) and continued hiking up to Barr Camp to visit Renee & Anthony one more time (and to save us the trip of hiking down!).  In addition to spending some quality time with Renee, and getting to know her better (Anthony had hiked into town this day so unfortunately we only saw him for a few minutes before catching our cog), we had some fun times with the 35 Army service men and women who were training on the Incline and hike to Barr Camp.

See the start of the Incline WAY down below?!

Great to see you again, Renee & Anthony!  

waiting for our cog pickup

Dear friends from "home", Tess & Scott Cunningham, sold their house in PA (to Lady Gaga's boyfriend, no less!), bought a house in Divide, CO and moved in Labor Day weekend.  What timing!  We were staying in Monument, CO for a few days which is only an hour from their house.  We really enjoyed a great afternoon with them checking out their new dream home (and figuring out where our RV will fit in the driveway!) in the mountains (at 9,800 ft!), catching up and grabbing dinner.  Miss you!  Hope to see you next summer if we fly out!  LOVE your home!  Can't wait to hear how the winter goes.  Tess has promised next time we visit we will hike (after they get rid of PA lungs and acquire CO lungs).  :-)
Scott & Tess - their new home - HUGE deck with an incredible view!

Tess & Scott's house tucked in the woods on the mountain - 9,800ft
Great Sand Dunes National Park - Although we didn't spend much time on the dunes (we did some dune hiking in OR last year and that was enough for us...for now), we took a great 4WD road up the mountain (in the National Preserve) to the trailhead for Medano Lake which sits at over, 11,000ft. elevation.  What a great 7 mile roundtrip hike!

Next up...bagging two more state high points (New Mexico and Oklahoma) before heading to Albuquerque, NM for the Balloon Festival.  Excited to see my brother, Michael, and his family who are flying in on Friday to join us at the Festival this weekend.  See you soon, Bro, Meghan, Taite and Jax!

Til next time...Happy Trails!

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