What a fun weekend I had with my big brother!!! Of course, I usually have a great time with him, so I wasn't surprised!
Dan and Ed arrived at the same time from Chicago on 2 different planes on Thursday night. They swung by Castle Rock, picked Melanie and I up and we headed for the mountains arriving before midnight!
On Friday we went out for breakfast and decided on a hike to a ghost town outside of Frisco. The town turned out to be less than a mile up the hill and when we got there, we were all anxious to keep going! So we continued up the path towards Mt. Royal. I have looked at this area of rocky ledges every time we cruise over to Vail County and have often wondered how you get up there. Now I know! The views from up there were cool and Ed really enjoyed sitting on the rocky outcroppings! The sky's were mostly cloudy but we didn't have any rain, so it was a great hike! All in all we walked about 5 miles - a great warm up for Ed with our elevation!
After the hike, we headed to Vail for lunch and a walk around the Village. We ducked in lots of shops but didn't buy a thing - besides the jelly bellies Ed got! Then at 4 p.m. we waited in the line to take the gondola up the mountain - for free!! It was so weird to look at the mountain without snow on it and remember how you ski down it! We got a fair view of Mount of the Holy Cross (a 14er) before heading back down the gondola. A good dinner and an early night were the end of our day!
On Saturday we got up early and had clouds again. But we hoped for the best as we traveled South to Alma where the trailhead for Mt. Democrat, Mt. Bross and Mt. Lincoln lie. No such luck. We were surrounded once again! We set out anyway towards Mt. Democrat. The hike went slow but steady and we all got used to the lack of oxygen - some faster than others! When we reached the saddle between Mt. Democrat and Mt. Cameron we could see a little bit down the other side but not fantastic. Thankfully we all had adequate clothing on, including gloves because it was a bit chilly! As we left the saddle and headed up to Democrat we first reached a false peak and then another... finally getting to the top! It wasn't exactly easy to find because it was int he clouds!! (Thus why that picture is not very clear!) Hurray! We made it! And I let (YES LET) my older brother summit first!!! Isn't that nice of me?! He's a typical flatlander too - making phone calls back home from the top of the mountain!!
On our decent back to the saddle, we had a few brief glimpses of the valley below! Quick take a picture because it was gone quicker than it came! We also noticed the clouds beginning to grow and turn darker. The weather reports called for T-storms in the p.m. and it was just about noon. We knew we had a bad chance of getting caught, so we opted to climb Mt. Bross and Mt. Lincoln another time and headed back to the car. It was an amazing hike in the clouds! I'm so glad that I got to share that with my brother!! He did an awesome job and I know he'll be back to conquer a few more in the future!
On Sunday we slept in a bit before packing up and heading for breakfast. While waiting to be seated we called and made reservations to go on an ATV tour that afternoon! Unfortunately when we go to the place it was pouring rain. Not a very comfortable way to ATV! So we decided to bag it and headed to Leadville and tour the town. More disappointment... the Opera House was closed. But we did look through some of our favorite antique stores before heading back home. The trip home we opted for a 4-wheel drive road called Weston Pass. It was a nice drive and a great end to a fun weekend!
Ed headed home BEFORE the crack of dawn on Monday morning and the reality of back to work was upon us again! I'm so glad I got to share this time with him! Thanks bro!!!