It’s time I wrap up our Colorado trip. I enjoyed reading y’alls comments on Missouri Mountain.
While the five of us hiked Missouri, Dad and Mom hiked Jones Mountain, which is only 134 feet short of a 14er! Jones is a favorite for us. We accidentally found it one year while hiking to Ptarmigan Lake. We’ve since learned it’s shorter to hike from the other side, but it’s still a tough, hard climb. Especially at the end. It feels straight up since there is no trail! Their hike took about 4 hours. They didn’t stay long on the top because as you can see in the photos there were some clouds building.
Ptarmigan Lake in the valley.
Saturday was our final day. We enjoyed lots of family time, coffee, eating great food, packing up, singing, a family picture (you’ll probably see that at Thanksgiving), and then we girls finished out the evening with some games.
I loved sharing about our time with y’all! Thank you for your enthusiasm!
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3
Friday morning came early. On purpose. We needed to leave the cabin at 3am to make the trail by about 4. Missouri Mountain, is right next to Belford and Oxford, which we did last year.
When we arrived at the parking lot, we saw a fair number of vehicles there. So that meant some were already hiking and some camping up the trail. Missouri is about 10 1/2 miles round trip and an elevation gain of 4500′.
Hiking in the dark definitely adds an interesting dimension, and it makes the time go faster. At least it seems that way. And the stories and conversation were really rolling that morning! On this particular trail, we gained a lot of elevation on the first part, and then when we got to the meadow, we had a pleasant break before we hit our final push.
As we left the tree line, we saw headlamps winding up the path to Belford. Occasionally, we could tell that the people were stopping to glance back down into the valley (at us), as we also had headlamps.
Several stream crossings on icy rocks slowed us down a little.
You can see Missouri in the background. It’s to the left of Mary and John. The views at this point were pretty incredible.
Now, we came to the part of steep climbing. You often couldn’t look ahead and see where the path took you, as it was hidden in the rocks. And we were still guessing if Missouri was to our left or right (turns out to the left).
When we got to the ridge, we hit another flat part. Super nice. The ridge wasn’t too hard, but if you don’t care for heights, you won’t want to look at the steep hillside next to the path. Right about now, I began getting altitude sick. I’ve had it before on 14ers, and the symptoms are pretty easy to discern: pounding head, feeling like you’re going to cry (for no reason!), etc. I told the others, and we stopped for me to take Tylenol, rest, and eat and drink.
I recovered (mostly), and we continued to a point.
It’s right there. What you see above. Very loose rock/scree, and it’s steep. But with going very slow, one can make it across.
The guys evaluated routes and coached the girls through that section. At this point, though, I knew my limits, and I decided to stop, even though the summit was in sight. John went up to summit quickly and then came back with me, while Jesse, Anna, and Mary crossed this stretch and spent time on the summit.
You can see John sitting on that rock edge. He also turned out to be a great coach for other hikers, as he knew the best way to get through that loose rock area.
On the way back, John and Jesse gave the girls lessons on coming down scree sections. I, for one, still wasn’t feeling good, so I was doing well to just keep walking.
We had a very sweet time as siblings hiking Missouri Mountain! We love to work together, to encourage each other, and to pursue a goal as a team!
PS – More later on what Dad and Mom did that day!
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
We decided to go for a new hike Wednesday. Kroenke Lake, which is 8 miles round trip, begins at the Harvard/Columbia trailhead. A local told us Kroenke is pronounced like Cranky!
The day proved to be another dream day temperature wise. The tall aspen and pine trees graced the forest, and occasionally the trail would take us next to the stream. You wouldn’t believe the assortment of topics covered as we hiked. Everything from deep spiritual things to stories.
Love that sunshine coming through the trees!
I thought this looked like a lovely meadow to take the girls’ picture. Well, looks can be deceiving. It was extremely marshy and mucky!
Jesse’s boots after going through a mud bog.
Arriving at the lake!
The advantages of waterproof boots abound.
The immediate Maxwell family
It was right about now that Dad brought up the fabulous idea that we could hike up over the ridge. Jesse, who is our ace navigator in the mountains (he seems to know all the names of the 14ers and passes and such), began to work through details. Sure enough, he even had a map on his phone.
So, we decided to go on an adventure. Dad and Mom would go back the way we came, and the rest of us would head up on over the mountains, down to the pass, and end up at the Yale trailhead. Jesse guessed we would be ready for pick up between 3-4.
We took a trail and began climbing at a steady pace. You’ll see the lake above.
Mary, Jesse, John, and Anna stopping to let me grab their picture.
Then, we hit the views. Amazing, beautiful, stunning.
At the pass! The storm clouds looked impressive, but they didn’t come our direction.
A group selfie before continuing.
The trail actually joined up to the Yale split off, so we had a great view of Yale!
We found a 14ers truck in the parking lot, so we got a selfie with it. We’re so grateful for all their work on the trails!
A soak in the mountain stream was just the thing after a hike.
We were excited to see our ride show up a little before 3:30. Jesse’s estimate had been nearly perfect. We arrived at the trailhead about 3.
PS – We are safely home tonight and will update with more pictures of another adventure from Friday!
“Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:5
We finished out Mary’s birthday with pizza and ice cream—her choice for dinner. So delicious!
Tuesday we took as a quieter day. We girls went on a great run outside of town on a trail. I have to say the scenery is incredible, definitely not Kansas scenery. I’m not sure which was better: the beautiful, bubbling stream or the mountains framing the sky?
The family caught up on work things too with the better Internet connection. That evening, we went out for dinner at a great little steak place. The funny part is they literally only serve steak (well, almost). Meaning you don’t have other menu choices! The steaks come in several sizes and are very reasonably priced. You get a salad, a side of bread, and a baked potato. A highlight was having the same waitress we had last year and greatly enjoyed, and she’s a believer.
Next up will be Wednesday’s adventure, which turned out to be more than we had planned on.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Psalm 103:2
I can’t tell you how amazing our time is here in the mountains! And the weather. I’m still marveling. We’ve not had a year with such perfect weather for quite some time.
Anyway, Monday morning, Mary’s 21st birthday, we set out for Mount Yale. The temperatures allowed for just a light jacket to begin with, which is totally perfect.
We enjoy talking while we hike, but sometimes quietness is just the thing too. Eating is essential to keep the energy going!
You might even have multiple pictures going at once.
Look at those puffy clouds!
It’s hard to describe the feeling one has watching the sun hit the surrounding mountains with its cheerful rays as you hike.
This is how deceiving distance can be when climbing. I’m actually pointing to Mt. Yale! But we were still a long way off.
It’s also a fun past time to keep track of hikers who are ahead of us on the trail, and see what progress they’re making, or to chat with them in passing.
We’re very grateful for all the work organizations have done on the trails (like 14ers.com). Often, steep sections will be easier because of switchbacks. Here the family is climbing up the switchback before the saddle. After a break on the saddle, we begin the final ascent.
The last stretch is bouldering. Basically climbing over large rocks. The nice part about this summit is these rocks are stable.
Jesse on the summit!
Beside August 21st being my sweet sister’s birthday, this year was also known for the big solar eclipse event. Christopher kindly gave us those special glasses to wear, so we each stuck one in our packs. Up on the summit, other hikers thoroughly enjoyed our glasses too and were often borrowing them to check on the progress of the eclipse. I have to say those glasses weren’t made for fashion: but they do the job! As the eclipse progressed, the shadows changed, and the light dimmed too. We can all agree that experiencing the eclipse on the mountain really was a highlight!
You honestly can’t see anything else with those glasses beside the sun!
Junior Mints are the best summit food!
My parents are incredible, hiking a 14er!
Our family on the summit.
Coming back down, we took our time. Even though storm clouds built behind us, we didn’t get caught in a storm. Such a blessing!
I said fuel was essential. Energy bars (such as Clif bars) are great, but hey, snack mix is really great too, oh, and those mini York mints!
All in all, Mount Yale is a great 14er hike!
More adventures coming. Stay tuned.
“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” Psalm 8:3-4
Our weather here in Colorado has truly been amazing. Much less rain than other years and also warmer. Just the right temperatures!
John is our ace fire starter, so he went down early and got our fire going. The night couldn’t have been more perfect. Not warm, and it only got cool when the sun went down, and then we had the fire to keep warm. We loved our talks around the fire, Bible time, singing, and then more talking!
On to Sunday
Anna often hikes up from the cabin to have her Bible time. Here’s her selfie.
Dad and Mom made us a delicious breakfast.
We had worship outside. Delightful.
Anna got this crazy idea to dump in the middle of the ponds and swim to shore. This is not an ordinary pond. We’re talking cold. Above, they’re getting close to dumping, and Mary’s wondering why she’s really doing this?
Brave girls! That was a cold swim!
“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:7
The Maxwell family and ministry blog of Titus2.com.