Mosquito Pass via ATV

A Day in the LifeLeave a Comment

After taking the big girls to Mount Massive, Kayla was owed a mountain adventure. So we headed out on an ATV together on the best weather day of the week. Went to the east side of Leadville and I figured we ought to drive up Mosquito Pass. I have run it enough times but never actually drove to the top. It is as rocky as anything. A nice steady throttle had us jostling all over the place. Kayla even stopped me to say her stomach was getting upset but we should continue on.

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We even finished the ride by stopping at Gringo’s for some nourishment.

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I had fun with you, buddy!

Mount Massive (14,421′)

AdventuresLeave a Comment

Distance 11.8 miles (on Strava but should be more like 9 based on our route)
Total Time 7 hr 0 min
Summit Elevation 14,421 feet
Elevation Gain 4,268 feet
Route Southwest Slopes via North Halfmoon Creek
GPS Analysis Strava

Mount Massive

I usually try and hit one 14er each summer with the kids. Reagan somehow got it in her head when we did Elbert that she needed to do Massive next. I wasn’t too pumped because Massive is long and sort of boring. But that would complete her local Leadville 14ers so that made some sense. I then remembered that a lot of runners like to descend the southwest side during Nolan’s attempts. I had never been over there so I cracked open the Roach book and realized this was a better option. Less trail. Fewer miles. The kids are slow at that stuff because they only move one speed.

The weather all week sucked. Thunderstorms every day. I kept watching because we had the luxury of going when we wanted and there is nothing worse than aborting an attempt with kids. So suddenly a window opened for today and we went for it. Even though the trailhead is close, we were still up at 5. Left around 6:15. Hiking by 7 AM.

I chose to take Roach’s advice and park at the junction of the 4WD road. However, I quickly discovered that next 1/2 mile is easily covered in the truck. The road is single lane but nice and wide. Just some rock inclines. Then plenty of parking at the trailhead. Noted for next time.

It had rained the night prior and the low clouds were still hanging when we left for the trailhead. However, within minutes of starting up through the basin, we saw blue sky. It was going to be a good day.

The trail meanders through the basin for a bit then you hit the big right turn to head up to the Massive ridge. The books said it was possible to miss but I found it pretty easy. There are no other right turns before this. It is pretty obvious right at the end of the clearing. Marked with a cairn and a sign as well.

Then you just go up. The footing is good. Better than say, Sherman. Sort of back of Hope Pass switchback-ish at times. We just kept at it. The kids were having a good time but struggling a bit here or there. No training leading up to this so this was the speed for the day.

We kept at it for a few hours and hit the ridge. I knew things would be easy going from there. You just wind along it searching for the high point which is a bit of a distance north on the ridge. We were all alone on the summit. Stayed for maybe 20 minutes and headed out. The clouds were building and the kids are slow on the down so I wanted as much time as possible. Ended up just being a sprinkle with no thunderstorms or danger on the descent.

Overall, a great day and a successful summit. I was glad to help the kids check another one off their list. I will be excited when we get to do one that is new to me someday so we get to increase our totals together.

My Garmin watch was dead today so I just used the Strava iPhone app for the distance. It overshot according to everything out there. The sign at the trailhead said 3.4 mi (I think) to the summit.

The girls make their own videos for their YouTube channel. So I got out of that job!

Here is the story in pictures…

There was an Army helicopter crash near the trailhead in 2009.  Many in Leadville remember it because it occurred just days before the Leadville 100 that year and a portion of the course was closed to the public to work the crash scene.  The race was re-routed that year and has never returned to the original course.

Mount Massive

A shot of me just ahead of the girls.  You can usually spot Reagan in the pink shirt pretty easily.  That furthest mountain in the upper left is Mount Elbert, tallest in Colorado.  Mount Massive is number 2 by only 12 feet.

Mount Massive

We started down in that valley floor along the creek.  You might see if it you zoom in.  Here we are just working our way up 3000 vertical feet of hillside.  Sometimes rock, sometimes grassy.

Mount Massive

Getting up pretty high now.  Somewhere in the 13,000′ range.  Starting to see the peaks to the west.  Lots of good 13ers out there that are not as climbable as our 14ers.

Mount Massive

Random pano from the saddle on the summit.  Massive has five 14,000+ peaks on this ridge.  We are just hitting the highest as that is considered the summit.

Mount Massive

Here we are!  I didn’t realize Reagan was laughing.  Wish we had another shot.

Mount Massive

Sydney wanted to be the 2nd highest person in Colorado so she stood on the rock.  We laughed that a bird had done his business on it.

Mount Massive

My two climbing girls.  Been doing it with me since they were 7 years old.  Kayla, your turn next time.

Mount Massive

Here we are coming across the ridge just off the summit.  The top of a mountain is a weird place.  Doesn’t look like I ever expected they would.

Mount Massive

Ozzy and I were just chilling out on the descent waiting for the slow talkative girls to catch up.

Mount Massive

This is a cool rock formation on the descent.  I was sort of queasy watching Sydney climb up there.  Although the space was huge and not at all scary.

Mount Massive

Until next time.

RV: Montana

A Day in the LifeLeave a Comment

For the final leg of the trip, we went up to Montana to visit some friends. We stopped in Bozeman at some really nice hot springs for one night. Then went up to Helena. Montana had a Colorado vibe to it — but more country. Probably how where we live was before all the people (like us) showed up.  We spent most of the time at a lake outside of Helena.  Nice water temp.

Montana

Our friend, Barbara, had finished up massage school in the area and now has her own practice. So she came out to the lake and gave Kim and I a session RV-side. Not bad. People drove by yelling “me next” the whole time.

Montana

Ozzy patrolled the lake for 2 days.  He wanted to say longer.

Montana

I could have.  I guess.  It was such hard work.

Montana

Luna agreed.

Montana

But it was getting to the end.  This was our nightly ritual.  Getting everyone into their own bed.   We have to setup and tear them down each night.  Takes a few minutes but we have the hang of it now.

Montana

Kayla has the toughest job.  She gets all 3 dogs in her bed.

Montana

But it was finally time to head home.  We had a full day of driving ahead.  Everyone was tired. This is where the RV makes sense.  Kayla curls up with a dog on the couch and watches movies the whole drive.

Montana

Luna sleeps right between the driver and passenger chair.  The floor is sort of hot there from the engine but she likes it.

Montana

Lizzy just takes up the whole place.

Montana

And after some crazy driving, we pulled in at home around 1 AM and traded our mobile home for our real home. Until next time.

RV: Yellowstone

A Day in the LifeLeave a Comment

We stayed several days in this park. What can I say? Such an amazing and diverse place. A park like none other. We saw everything that you are supposed to see. We drove pretty much every road in the park (except the east portal). Felt like we covered a lot of ground.

Probably the only thing not captured in photos (well) was our bear encounter. As usual, we came up on a pack of cars along the road. Kim figured it out it was a black bear and then finally saw him just out the car window. The RV was too big so I had to keep going to a pull off a head about 100 yards. When we got down there, we got out and walked back towards the crowd behind the RV. Suddenly, the bear darts out of the woods into the road, stand on his hind legs, looks both ways, and cross the street filled with cards into the forest. You couldn’t have been closer. It happened so quick we didn’t even get photos.

So here is other pretty stuff. Photos don’t do it justice. Go there if you have never been.

Yellowstone

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And the locals up there are sort of rude. Walk right in front of your car!

RV: Grand Tetons

A Day in the LifeLeave a Comment

Time for the first real RV trip! We had the destinations picked out long before the RV was a reality. So now it was time to pack up and head northwest to…Wyoming? While much of Wyoming is a big vast nothingness, the NW corner packs some of the best landscape in the United States. And there it appeared on the horizon as I drove in. You don’t see mountains quite like those in Colorado.

Wyoming

Kim and I had road tripped through here on a cross-country college adventure.  But we never really had time to stop and enjoy.  Now with the kids, it was an even better time to enjoy it.  I felt like the RV had arrived so I took its picture…with no humans.

Wyoming

Rare selfie of the parents.  The camera doesn’t do those mountains justice.

Wyoming

The kids.  I really think they believe these mountains are normal.  I am still in awe.

Wyoming

We actually didn’t go into the park itself that night.  You can drive through but not really into the park.  We had to get down to Jackson (Hole), WY just south of the park for our RV spot.  First true dinner.

Wyoming

The dogs were like we drove all day and now we get to chew bones in a yard?  Sweet.

Wyoming

The next day we went to Jackson to check it out.  Never been.  There is the ski hill in the background of course.  The town is pretty cool if you are into touristy stuff.  But it has a less cheesy, more upscale tone than say, Estes Park.  The kids have fun shopping so we spent a few hours going around town.  That is a huge arch made of antlers in the back.  There are 4 of them actually.  One on each corner of that town square.  Everyone agreed they would like to go back to Jackson again.

Wyoming

Minutes later, we were at the park.  Here is the mandatory sign picture.  While I was taking this, Lizzy jumped out of the RV window and came running up to me.  She cannot be separated from me.

Wyoming

As we drove through the park, Kim and her buddy are always making out.

Wyoming

Time for some water!  I knew people paddleboarded at the park and we found out it was best at a place called String Lake.  It was very busy so we had to leave and try back for lack of RV parking space.  But we finally got in and got on our boards.  It is a nice thin shallow lake that warms up more than most mountain lakes.  It was fun to get wet and cruise around.

Wyoming

Sydney rated this her favorite stop of the whole trip.

Wyoming

Kayla was ready to party and get wet.

Wyoming

The big girls out on the boards.  It has been a long winter so nobody had there “stand up” legs yet I guess.

Wyoming

Reagan also voted this a “must see” stop.

Wyoming

After some more sight seeing, we headed north to our next stop: Yellowstone.  The kids crashed on various beds in the RV while we motored on.