Journey down the Rockies

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Posted Tue, Nov 8, 2011

On The Road: "Our vacation was to begin with a hike up one of the most beautiful Colorado trails I have ever hiked in my life." Photo by Troy Clark

GLENWOOD, SPRINGS, Colo. — It was a gorgeous morning! The sun was shining brightly and the clouds were moving with grace across the sky. The cool light breeze was refreshing as we sat there by the camp fire preparing sausage breakfast sandwiches and sipping delicious hazelnut fire brewed coffee.

It was our first day waking up in the Rocky Mountains, not a person in sight, just my boyfriend Troy Clark, myself and the open Rocky Mountains. Together we planned a two-week excursion, backpacking down the Rock Mountains alongside highway I-70. Our Backpacks packed full and over filled with anticipation we took off on a journey that will always be remembered and will remain as one of my favorite life experiences.

We constantly went over our list “clothes, food, deodorant, money?” We swore we had everything we needed for our journey; we were excited to be spending two weeks with each other, manning the mountain. Our vacation was to begin with a hike up one of the most beautiful Colorado trails I have ever hiked in my life. The hike was gorgeous, a little strenuous, but quite an ultimate experience. At the top of the mountain lay a gorgeous waterfall. The waterfall made the entire hike worth the whole vacation, and I knew it was just the beginning.

Water Works: "The waterfall made the entire hike worth the whole vacation." Photo by Cherise Scrivner

Now there is one important fact that I have left out so far, and it is the most embarrassing one for me of all. Although I did believe we were as prepared as we could possibly be for our journey through the mountains, and even though Troy and I checked our vacation list a million and one times, I still managed to leave my tennis shoes and my water canteen in the trunk of Troy’s sister’s vehicle. Julia, his sister, had kindly given us a ride up the mountain to the south end of Glenwood Springs, were she dropped us off at our first day for camp. She was in a hurry to leave hoping to return home before night fall, and in a rush I managed to forget two of the most important things for our trip.

So there I was barefoot at the top of the mountain, a three-mile hike to the beautiful waterfall. My feet were in pain, not as much as I would expect hiking three miles barefoot but definitely tender. The flip flops I was stuck with at the time were worthless and figured that walking barefoot was the smartest way to go. Prior to our long hike my boyfriend and I did not seem to think about the long journey ahead of us back to camp that remained, let alone the hike to the city the next day in hopes of finding some comfortable traveling boots.

We did make it back to camp where we prepared a delicious supper including T-bone steaks, bacon baked beans and corn or the cob. We packed what we thought would be a perfect dinner for our first full day on our journey, and it was. Brilliantly we were smart enough to pack a delicious dinner to help restore some energy in order to take off to another camp further down the mountain the next day.

The next morning we awoke with thirst on our lips to realize it was definitely time to pack up and take off as early as possible, because we only had one water bottle left and a three to five-mile hike ahead of us at least, until we reached the nearest gas station. We packed up our first camp and began to head on our way, the sun quickly began to beat down harshly on our necks and the hike with 55lbs bags, began to make the objective seem much easier said than done.

Three hours after one of the longest, harshest walks of my life my boyfriend and I finally spotted a café in the distance. Our mouths began to water and excitement helped the last 15 minutes become the easiest part of the walk with that café in sight. When we arrived we were so sore, we could barely step foot in side, I remember like it was yesterday.

When we walked in the door I could smell delicious homemade omelets, French toast, bacon and fresh blueberry muffins. We grabbed a seat at the nearest table, when the waitress walked over she looked at us and said, “The two of you sure look like you sure need some water. Give me a moment I’ll be right back.” She quickly grabbed the two of us some water and returned. “Here is some water, you too be hiking for hours you look exhausted?” We informed the waitress of vacation and excitement for exploring the mountain, but also how we were quickly learning how excruciating backpacking can be.

Roughing It: "For two weeks we were out in the middle of the mountains, living, enjoying, and surviving." Photo by Cherise Scrivner

We had the best breakfast of my life, extremely rewarding following our long hike without water. We rested our feet and began to mentally prepare ourselves for the rest of our walk that lie ahead. Before leaving the café the waitress returned to us with the bill, and told us how years ago her husband and her did a similar venture into the mountains, she placed four snickers bars on the table, four Gatorades and two bottles of water. She said, “Now these are for you two free of charge, complements of the café, you two stay safe out there and stay hydrated. Hope one day we will see you again.”

The waitress was very kind, just another amazing experience we encountered along our way. The trip, as a whole, was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever been part of and really helped me learn not only things about myself but helped establish a strong connection with my boyfriend and I. For two weeks we were out in the middle of the mountains, living, enjoying, and surviving.

The biggest lesson I learned was never ever forget your shoes when going on a backpacking trip. In fact, do not even waist time bringing flip flops, unless of course you insist. It took us four days to get to Silverthorne from the outskirts of Glenwood Springs. Finally in Silverthorne I was able to find some comfortable Nikes to finish off our journey with. I have to be honest; I have never appreciated shoes more since then. The shoes were like walking on a bed full of pillows, and my feet never seemed happier and more relieved in my whole life.

One day I hope Troy and I can make it on another exciting excursion as we did just three years ago. We not only learned so many things along the way, but we saw some of the most beautiful scenery in Colorado and connected with each other on an entirely different level.

One that I feel is not humanly possible to do when you’re always so busy and caught up in everything else occurring around you such as work, school, etc.
Troy said, “The entire vacation was quite an experience, and one that I hope, one day my children will do something very similar. I will never forget all the beautiful lakes and trails we hiked. Most certainly I will never forget how extremely excited I was when we were walking upon the café. The excursion was one of the greatest moments in my life.”

Moral of the story, do not forget anything for vacation let alone most importantly proper shoes for a backpacking trip. Lastly, always, always bring plenty of water.

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Cherise Scrivner

About Cherise Scrivner

Cherise Scrivner is a Denver-area freelance writer. She is also the Managing Editor of CMAN (Colorado Martial Arts News)

View all posts by Cherise Scrivner

4 Responses to “Journey down the Rockies”

  1. LeAndra Says:

    Great story, very informative and great conclusion with the moral!

    Reply

  2. wontawn Says:

    That sounds like a great experience. I would have even enjoyed hearing more details about the scenery. Also, good point that it is very important to reconnect to nature and get away from civilization, every now and then. That was very brave of you to hike in the Rockies, barefoot. If it makes you feel better, I forgot sunscreen hiking a fourteenter here, once. I peeled for about six weeks.

    Reply

  3. Caitlin Says:

    Interesting story. My feet ached in sympathy while reading it.

    Reply

  4. Ashley Hattle Says:

    Really well written. Makes me jealous of your trip!

    Reply

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