My Uncomfortable 12 Month Journey – Part 1

If you haven’t already read about my journey, you may want to click here.

On December 30th of 2017, my boyfriend and I embarked on a trip to Colorado by truck. The trip was his Christmas present. Realistically, I wanted to go just as bad as he did. He is a huge Denver Broncos fan, and I just love the mountains and the atmosphere they bring. Our trip lasted from December 30th to January 3rd. During that time, somehow we managed to squeeze in a Denver Nuggets game, a Denver Broncos game, a Jumanji screening in Estes Park, and of course we explored as much as we possibly could in the Rocky Mountains. Besides that, we ate at some delicious restaurants and rifled through the cutest little gift shops.

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A picture of me taken midway up our mountain trek. You can visibly see the crampons on my feet.

During this time, I had experienced a few uneasy firsts such as my first (and hopefully not last) NBA game, along with my first long road trip without either of my parents. However, those were technically both done in December of 2017, and so I had to pick a different uncomfortable task to write about for January of 2018.

My boyfriend and I went hiking like I had never been before on January 2, 2018. Honestly, I really did not ever want to do the type of hiking that we did. We had been driving around the mountains for a lot of the day inside the National Park, and my boyfriend had been itching to get out and go do something. Alright so– the active part of me said, “yeah, let’s go do something outdoors even though its like 40 degrees out” and the lazy part of me said, “why don’t we just drive around and look at the pretty sites. I like just sitting down and relaxing”. Well, it was our last full day in town and it probably was a good idea that it wasn’t wasted.

 

 

In the previous hours we had been driving around that day, we had seen a lot of hikers on the trails all over the mountains. After we decided to do our little hiking excursion, we sought out some trails. We wanted a trail that didn’t have very many people on it so that we didn’t look like such amateurs. It turns out however, that we were amateurs either way. The trails up the mountains were nothing but an ice-y slope that just our tennis shoes and boots were not able to grasp. So, we headed into town to grab some gear.

It was really cool because there were mountain shops all over Estes Park. It made it easy to find a place with some supplies. Our original thoughts were to buy some cheap snowshoes and tread up the mountains in the snow. We quickly changed our minds when looking at the prices of the shoes, and the advice to just use crampons and ice poles and stay on the trail. Of course those were expensive to buy as well, however we were able to rent a pair of crampons and a pair of ice poles for just $5.00 a piece. I actually thought it was super fun to get to wear crampons. When I went to Alaska in the Summer of 2017, I got to walk and climb on the Mendenhall Glacier and we wore crampons so we could keep our grip on the ice. The Alaskan trip as a whole was pretty astonishing. At some point, I will write a blog about it someda. With our gear in hand (and feet), we headed to our destination: the mountains.

These are a pair of crampons modeled by my cousin from our adventure on top of the Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska (2017)

Before we headed onto the slick trail, I reminded my boyfriend to stop me for picturesque moments so that I would forever have memories. I love having a visual to look at when I think back on fond memories. He on the other hand, would not stop for even one picture. Oh my goodness, it drove me crazy; but I do have a bunch of pictures of his back so I guess he can just look at those if he wants.

When you’re in Estes Park, you are already in the middle of the mountains and you already have a beautiful sight just by walking out the door. Whether it be of the mountains themselves, or a running river, or even some of the beautiful wildlife, the view will be beautiful. In fact, both times I have travelled to Estes Park, I have ran into wildlife running around in the city.

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2016 by a shopping area in Estes Park

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2018 while at a stoplight in the middle of Estes Park

When I was hiking the mountains however, I felt like I was one of the closest that I had ever been to nature in my life. However, I was NOT excited to do it at first. I love hiking but the idea of getting out in the cold to hike on even colder ground uphill, and not to mention the fact that I would have to wear gear, just stressed me out. Therefore, this is why it is my January uncomfortable task. I bore through the awkwardness of multiple layers of clothes, and even got comfortable with the outdoor gear.

Now after doing it once, I would like to do it again. When my boyfriend and I were on that trail, it was slippery, cold and had the potential to be dangerous if you weren’t careful. If you stepped off of the icy track, you stepped into 3 feet of snow. We tested how deep it really was with our hiking poles. It was fun making cookie cutter shapes in the thick snow that surrounded us. However I stopped doing that when I realized out of the many people that had walked the trail before us (I know there was a bunch because the icy ground under our feet was made from hikers packing down the snow) no one else had been doing that. To be honest, the snow is a lot prettier untouched. I figured I would leave it that way.

While on the trail, we passed a fit couple hiking the opposite way. We crossed paths and exchanged a few words. They told us that if we continued a few miles it would lead us to a very pretty lake. “You can see it from here” the man explained as we looked FAR into the distance at a shimmering lake. We said “thank you” to the couple and decided that we were not going to go ahead that far. The sun was going down and we were afraid that we wouldn’t make it back to the truck before dark. We continued on the path, but only long enough to see what looked like a herd of some type of four legged creature straight up the mountain, and the lights of a police car or emergency vehicle in the distance between the trees. We hoped everything was alright down there. We did not pass that way going back to the resort, so we don’t know what ended up happening down there.

All in all, we turned something that we had never done before into something that we would love to do again. Next time, maybe we’ll tackle a bigger mountain or narrower trail. Or perhaps, we will be able to go farther. No matter what, I know that I cannot wait until next time I make it back to the Rocky Mountains!

This is me, gear in hand and only one glove so that I could use my phone to take pictures

2 thoughts on “My Uncomfortable 12 Month Journey – Part 1

  1. Empty Nest Adventures says:

    I think it’s awesome that you did something outside of your comfort zone and ended up loving it! Colorado is my home and we LOVE hiking in RMNP. In my experience, the more you can push yourself to do “uncomfortable” things, the easier they become and eventually they aren’t uncomfortable anymore…just new experiences. That’s really living. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kelsie Baldus says:

      I agree completely! Even though I wasn’t very thrilled about the hiking at first, I did grow to love it and now I have something new on my “record” to share with others and hopefully inspire them to try something new!

      Like

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