Spontaneity is the name of the game. Or at least the name of our game.
JT and I live off last minute decisions fueled by wanderlust and a unquenchable thirst for adventure. We have innate need to experience it all.
We also live busy lives, and sometimes we hit that wall where we know the mountains and the wafting smell of pine are calling our names. And when pine trees start talking, you listen.
We decided on a Wednesday night that we needed a Colorado pick-me-up, and by Thursday afternoon we were halfway to Denver with Zooey & Alyosha in tow.
After 12 hrs, we made it to Denver around 3 am and we embraced the vagabond life and slept in our car in the parking lot of a Walmart. Two full grown humans and two 50 lb dogs make for a fun night of backseat sleeping.
We woke up with the sun and after freshening up and re-packing the car, we did our road trip ritual and found a local coffee shop with high reviews. We ended up spending the morning on the back porch of a lovely coffee shop called Two Rivers Craft Coffee Company sipping a vegan cappuccino for me and a house coffee for my man. The breeze was perfect and the mountains were in view, and we were feeling great.
After a relaxing morning (and a mound of Greek homework for JT) we headed into Breckenridge, CO where we were going to knock out a 14er. The mount of choice? Quandary Peak. This would be our first winter summit, so we were really stoked. We did some exploring in town and then spent the afternoon doing some easy hiking to let the pups get some energy out + allow for some altitude acclamation. We then came back in to town and ate a big pre-14er meal at one our favorite stops, Eric's, before beginning our search for a place to sleep. With the previous nights sleep still haunting us, we broke down and bought a cheap dog friendly room for the night. A soft, BIG bed and a heater make all the difference. Also, showers are nice too :)
Saturday started bright and early at 6 am as we scrambled to get all of our gear together for our hike. We started so early because 14ers break treeline and are super exposed to lightening and other weather conditions, so you really want to try and summit before 12 or 1 pm.
We started a little later than we had hoped but made it to the trail head by 8 am and began one of our favorite hikes ever.
This trail starts you out on a winding narrow path enveloped by evergreens. After about half a mile you burst into the open surrounded by mountain ranges in all directions. After another quarter of a mile, we began the first big ascent that was about .8 of a mile. At the end of this section we broke tree line, and the view was GORGEOUS. From there, it was all up. The hike itself was relatively easy in terms of a 14er (though 14er's are never "easy"), other then a few patches of ices that made me rely a little more on my ice spikes than I would have liked, it was perfection. It took us almost 5 hrs to summit and 2 hrs to descend. It was both of our dogs first time doing a 14er, and other than a little altitude sickness they did great. They really enjoyed the hike and the snow - not even the ice seemed to slow them down. We had them off leash the entire time and they did great staying within 15 ft of us.
We both loved Quandary and would highly recommend it to any of our fellow mountaineering lovers. Just make sure you have the right equipment!
Here are some photos from out trip: