It’s only been three days since we’ve been on the road and let me tell ya, it feels like a LOT longer. We still have many days to go. I can’t stop thinking about my dogs. I think we will call the kennel tomorrow to check in.
Today has been absolutely unreal. We woke up at 5am and hit the road about 6:10. We are only about 15 minutes from the entrance at Rocky Mountain National Park.
We saw few cars driving in that early, but wouldn’t ya know it – the parking lot at the trailhead we were using was packed full. We drove down the road about a quarter of a mile and parked in a different lot where the trail met where we needed to go.
We chose to hike to the Loch Vale. A beautiful trek to a pristine subalpine lake. About 5.7 miles round trip. And it proved to be a PERFECT acclimation hike as far as distance and elevation gain (1,040ft).
Our campsite sits at about 7,500ft. The trailhead we drove to was around 8,900. The end of our hike put us at 10,200ft. We both felt great. I am elated at the idea that we are so far so good with no altitude sickness. I will admit that about 6 weeks ago we both started taking a B-Complex vitamin to help our bodies produce more red blood cells and to give us natural energy. We have also been extra hydrating over the last week or so to prepare for the challenges ahead.
One of the first features about a mile in was Alberta Falls, which was absolutely beautiful. We continued up the trail where I began to feel a little emotional, and then…I couldn’t wipe the dumb smile off my face. I was high on many things; (no, we have NOT stopped at a dispensary!) the clean mountain air, the lack of oxygen, the exposed ridges, being there and sharing it with my best friend. I am so thankful for this adventure. Every step is worth it. I am changing every day; every time I finish a goal and step out of the forest.
Today wasn’t easy, but we decided it was a lot easier than Mount LeConte in the Smokies! We have never been above 7,000 feet so the idea of hiking up to 10,000+ had me worried. I ain’t gonna lie, I was definitely huffing and puffing a little extra on the ascent (but let’s be real, I always huff and puff.) It was nothing a drink of water and a few minute break didn’t remedy.
This trail was CROWDED. The most crowded trail I’ve ever been on. Everyone was super friendly and courteous though. I am that annoying “Hello!” or “Good morning!” person on a trail. Sorry 😂
Please enjoy a few extra photos from today.
It’s now 2pm. Turkey went on a 4 mile run after our hike, we’ve both eaten lunch, napped, and plan to shower as soon as the motivation finds us.
Estes Park has been a treat. It’s definitely contributed to my confidence I was desperately seeking for Mt. Whitney. I know it’s going to be a whole other beast compared to what I did today. But I doubted myself this morning and here I am done and very happy with it.
Maybe it’s not such a big deal. I know people do these things day in and out. But to me it’s so personal and it gives this flatlander so much to look forward to (or be scared of 😂).
Tomorrow we head out further west, into Southern Utah to explore their National Parks and continue our journey of road and of self.