We’ve been itching to go camping here in Colorado since we’ve moved here and finally flexed out some time to do that on a limited budget. The last time we went camping was way back in 2010 in Arkansas for a kayaking trip, so we were super excited to finally get to do it again. I think we may make it a regular thing where we go a couple of times a year.

 

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I stopped on the side of the road and took a couple of pictures. It had just rained and the fog was creeping into the mountains.

Originally we were planning to get up super early on Friday and get to the campsite and setup, but I called the ranger station to get some information and they advised securing a campsite on Thursday. I took a half day and drove up to get our site, which is the last of two available they had. Unfortunately I had to setup the tent in the rain and cold and we decided to go ahead and stay for the night, so once I was setup, went back down and got Crystal after work and we slept our first night at the park.

We really weren’t expecting it to be so cold, but due to the weather that day and the altitude at 10K feet it was in the 40’s that night, we were pretty unprepared for being that frozen in the middle of the night. It was a sleepless one for both of us I think, but luckily it was the only night that got down to that chilly.

In the morning we fixed some breakfast and headed out on our first trail hike. Since we were on a budget we decided to not board the dogs and they all came with us. It was a good test to see how they would do camping and how much hassle we would have to put up with by taking them. In the end it really wasn’t much hassle at all, in fact we enjoyed having them. They went on both big hikes and having Cooper, our German there was great since there was a real threat of bears and moose (little more on that later.)

 

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We couldn’t have asked for a nicer place, we really picked it on the fly with just a google search and it turned out to be pretty awesome. There’s still a couple of trails we could’ve hit nearby that we wouldn’t mind tackling for the next time.

For our first one we did Rainbow Lakes trail. Pretty easy with some nice views and a little elevation. We both enjoyed exploring and doing this one. The lakes were nice and the end view was great.

 

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This is one of my favorite images of the trip. I turned my iPhone upside down where the lens was closest to the water to get the reflection. It’s a neat little trick to get those.

Once we got to the end is was on top of a huge rock pile that overlooked a couple of the lakes and you can see the glacier off to the right on the side of the mountain. I took a pano to get a good view of everything.

 

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After we hiked back down, we rounded out our day by eating some lunch and chilling around the campsite just enjoying the weather for awhile. Cooper decided that he wanted to retire to the back of the car whenever we were just chilling outside, so he usually stayed in the back in the shade sleeping. You can see him peeking out the back while we were fixing lunch in the photo below.

 

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After hanging out for awhile around the site we got bored so we went into nearby Nederland, Co to see the town. It’s a nice little town with a lot of tourists and little shops, we drove around for a bit stopped and got some of the best home-made ice cream on the planet. It was this awesome tiny little bookshop/coffee/ice cream parlor. If you ever decide to go it’s 100% worth stopping in town just for the ice cream.

 

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We drove around for a bit and got some ice cream and headed back up the mountain to the campsite, but not before I stopped at a couple of pull offs!

 

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This particular stop off looks like a Bob Ross painting! I kinda couldn’t wrap my head around it, I swore he had been there before at some point, but he lived in Alaska before he became famous and scenes like this were so common for him and he loved them so much it’s just what he always painted.

 

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The picture above was taken at the lake/dam and you can see the town of Nederland off in the distance there. This was the last stop and picture I took of the day. We finally made it back to camp, cooked up some dinner and went to sleep for a early hike the next day.

Look for part two soon!

 

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I conquered another small hike on my list. At this rate we’ll be hitting a lot of the major trailheads before summer ends. This one is called Royal Arch. It’s a beautiful rock formation at the very top of a peak at just under 1400 feet and under 4 miles. Don’t let the pictures fool you, I couldn’t get the sort of views I wanted since there was a crowd of people up there, but the arch is actually really huge.

 

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I really wanted this one to be a easy hike considering the gains I’ve been making.  My cousin is in town visiting and our workout game got stepped up to level 11 so I was feeling pretty awesome. That and the fact that Dan got a power rack earlier in the week. I was really excited for this one and it should’ve been pretty easy, but I hadn’t quite recovered from leg day earlier in the week and that immediately made me slower than I wanted to be. It certainly didn’t help that about half way up I rolled my ankle and it was mostly rocky stairs for this hike so I was putting weight on top of pain most of it. It actually ended up working out in the end since my cousin wasn’t used to the altitude yet so his breaks really saved me from extra pain and anguish from leg day and a bad ankle. I’m also super glad I added some medical tape to my bag which helped out on the trip down. I’m going to be doing a bag rundown at some point with pictures.

I also got in touch with my Nutritionist, and we worked out some things to help me from the crashes from overheating/working on the hikes with Cystic Fibrosis. The sodium intake is 2x the normal person so I should’ve been taking in much, MUCH more sodium than most people on these, and we’re pretty sure that’s what made me crash on my Walker Ranch hike. As with every hike I’m always learning something new and changing something every time.

This time I woke up at 5:30 am and cooked a hearty breakfast with bacon and eggs, I also packed some Gatorade G2 which has extra sodium in it, along with some snack sized ziplock bags with Pretzel Crisps (NOT ROLD GOLD!) Rold Gold is loaded with extra junk and fat. I also packed some trail mix. I get the trail mix with the nuts, m&m’s, and raisins for the sugar/carbs/sodium I need for a high energy hike. The combination of just constantly eating and drinking helped tremendously from passed hikes. It was the first time I’d had G2 which tasted very kool-aid since I got the red version. Much different from regular Gatorade, I had to offset it quite a bit with water switching back and forth because if I drank too much of it would make me sick, the combination of everything made for a crash-less hike without any problems.

I still need to blog Mt Sanitas, but I would definitely rate this one quite a bit harder than Sanitas mostly because it was was just about all going up with not many level parts and lots of stairs.

 

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View from the top. That’s Boulder to the left.

Once we made it to the top it was super crowded but really awesome to look at, spectacular views as always, but neat just to see an odd rock arch at the top of a peak in the middle of the mountain.

I’m not sure what our next one will be, we were supposed to be headed out to the sand dunes in south Colorado for a full weekend campout, but that trip got delayed because well…HOUSE. So we’re in the process of paying off some debt and saving up to purchase our first home within the next couple of years, so priorities. There’s still lots of things to do locally for free so that will be our goal until we get where we want to be on that front.

Btw these last few posts are all taken with an iPhone6s. I’d take my DSLR but weight and bulk make a large difference on these hikes. I’m saving the good camera for backpacking and less people. I might end up investing in something along the lines of a light weight mirrorless I can travel around with on my small excursions at some point or another.

 

My new goal has been to do my first 14,000 feet or “14er” this year instead of next year. Today was really the first real training day for overall distance. Me and my cousin Dan hiked nearly 8 miles at Walker Ranch Loop. We did it for two reasons, we wanted to hike, but also to see if I could make the actual distance without spending all day there.

 

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The trail was really nice, it had lots of elevation changes with big fields, and other parts with tons of trees and a river. I stopped to take a few pictures like I do on every trail run we go on.

 

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I did eventually make it through the whole thing, but it was definitely the hardest hike I’ve had to do, and the last two miles for me was brutal. Almost all of the last part was all up hill and by that time, the sun was blaring down at us at a hot 80 degrees. To be fair, that’s not actually that hot, especially compared to Louisiana because we have no humidity, but because of the elevation we’re much closer to the sun, so it just plainly gets really hot when the sun is out, it’s almost like you’re getting a sun burn just being in it. I’d still take it over Louisiana, but it hindered me at that point quite a bit. It was to the point where I was REALLY close to passing out. I sat down for a few minutes and took a rest and was able to recover, but at that point my body had decided it had enough and gave me a big fat middle finger and a NOPE to go with it. That last mile and half was really hard.

 

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By the time we got to the top it was totally worth the trip, we spent some time on a bench for a few minutes to enjoy the view, and because we were so close to the end and especially when we saw the car parked we ran the rest of the way down. The picture above is at the top of mountain, it really doesn’t do it justice, and we had a really clear day so the haze was almost non existent.

As hard as it was, I did end up breaking several of my own records. Our total elevation was 7,359 feet. Most of that was driving, but we climbed some 1992 feet during the hike.

 

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Doing this proved that I could do it, although it was really hard, and so far every time I’ve gone hiking I’ve learned something NOT to do every single time. To say you have to be in shape to do something like this is an understatement, despite all of the work I’ve put into exercising and training over the last few months it was still tough. Especially with the Cystic Fibrosis, the last couple of miles my heart was beating out of my chest  going uphill, and my lungs were hurting pretty bad and although that sounds terrible, it’s not something I’m not used to it just takes me a bit longer to get where I want to go. If I hadn’t been in shape though, I most definitely couldn’t have done it.

That being said, I’m more than capable to take on my next challenge after another hike or two. Mount Bierstadt. A 14,000 foot monster. It’s a relatively easy hike compared to some of the others at the same elevation but I’ve proven that I can get there this year. The others I want to do are out of my scope until next year.

summer

It’s been awhile since we’ve posted how things are going here. Since January in fact, we’re almost at our first 6 months of living here!

Since August of last year we’ve been through a whirlwind of changes in our lives and our lifestyles. After a month or so of being sick and finally starting to feel better, we started to get prepared for the summer.  With the difference in altitude and all the outdoor stuff we have planned over the summer we know we have to get in shape.

We’ve been working out every week, hiking, dieting, and exercising. The altitude is tough on someone not used to it, and although it’s weird with my Cystic Fibrosis it doesn’t seem to affect me as much as Crystal. I’ve gained several pounds in muscle and lost some fat, I’m not huge or bulking, just getting fit and that’s pretty much been my goal.  Crystal is losing inches, and we’ve both gotten stronger and more fit, which is never a bad thing. It’s definitely been a struggle for the both of us to find a balance in the new lifestyle because exercising isn’t something we both love doing. I do it because I want to meet my goals and because I know if I keep doing it I can live a longer healthier life, but I definitely struggle all the time with not wanting to go to the gym or run.  I’m really proud of both of us for sticking with it and getting healthier.  Over time we’ll be happier from the results even if that takes 6 to 12 more months of doing it.

We’ve taken several hikes over the last couple of months visiting some local mountains and trails.

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Ultimately we just want to do all the crazy things we want to do and our health not slow us down any. We have tons of things over the summer, like car camping, hiking, kayaking, we love being so close to be able to do all those things. Most importantly we’re going to try and hike our way to a campsite and camp for the weekend. I was in the boy scouts all through my childhood but we never camped that way where literally every ounce you carry makes a difference, so it’s going to be fun!

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That’s about where we are at the moment. I’m starting to see I don’t ever want to give up the mountains, we took a hike last weekend and I DID NOT want to come back home, I feel that way every single time we go, it’s a feeling I think that won’t ever go away because I just enjoy it way too much. One of these days I’m gonna build me a container home on a little piece of land somewhere in the middle of the mountains and live there a couple months a year in the summer, that’s a dream anyway! I’m excited to see how the next six months unfold, and it’s definitely cool to see how things progress here on blog. I’m going to try and post more updates, it just takes awhile of actually you know…doing things that are worth blogging.

Matt-

 

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The mountains of Silverton, Co in the Summer

 

Well we finally made our move to Denver Colorado! We had actually been planning it since just before Dad passed away. We made the move the first week of January, got up here on a wed, and I was in the hospital friday. I had been sick for that whole week moving stuff into our PODS and getting ready to leave.

I can’t say our first couple of weeks here has been grand,  I’ve been sick the whole time, crystal got sick from me so she’s been at home with a bronchitis infection and our German Shepard had an eye infection. The sickness hit us all really hard, but I’ve remained pretty positive about everything nonetheless. All that goes away with a little time and once we’re all feeling better we’ll get back on our feet and actually move in. We’ve actually still yet to do that. Our PODS is sitting at the storage facility waiting on us to move in!

We moved because of the healthcare so it’s a good coincidence that I was sick when we were moving, because it was a real test of what the future would look like here. I can tell you right now it was 100% worth it.

I actually get out of the hospital this coming friday the 22nd! I can’t tell you how much it was really worth moving up here for this. The hospital is amazing and the care has been the best I’ve ever had while in any hospital. The Cystic Fibrosis floor is awesome. I haven’t had to correct anyone, get on to anyone, fix mistakes, or had any medicine screw ups a single time. I think for the first time ever actually. It’s so much less stressful to not worry whether or not they’re going to kill you in your sleep by putting up a medicine you’re allergic to (yep happened plenty of times in Shreveport) or change medicines every two days because someone on the medicine team thinks they know everything over someone else when they know nothing about CF care. They’ve also been way more attentive to things that they just didn’t care about down south. I even found a new antibiotic I can take and not have a reaction to! As a reference to that, I’m allergic to 9 antibiotics, so it’s tough for me to take anything. It’s the first time we’ve tried anything new in years.

I have a large Cystic Fibrosis team. 2 floor CF doctors that only work at the hospital. The other 5 work out of the clinic and the hospital. They’ve been great and I haven’t even met but two of them.

I’ve tried some new medicines I haven’t done before, I have respiratory therapy 4 times a day, physical therapy comes in and I get to exercise for an hour 4-5 days a week. On top of all that, I can actually get my medicine at a pharmacy here that I hear specializes in CF care, and they cover everything, I don’t have to order from PA or Maryland for something that should be readily available, it was always a hassle before to get anything.

The hospital is brand new, technology is at the very top. You can watch movies directly from the tv, browse the internet, look at your medicines, check your pain (which relays to the nursing station). You can order all your food through the tv at any time you want. The CF floor has few speciality things like mini fridges in the rooms, with an exercise bike for PT and of course all the food and snacks you can’t normally get anywhere else in the hospital. They have all the latest equipment, air up mattress beds, the rooms are single private with tons of room, wood floors, etc it’s like living in a hospital hotel room. When you call your nurse they don’t yell at you through an intercom, they come check on you. There’s always a nursing station right across from your room, and if they’re not in here in 2 minutes tops that is pretty rare.

I still haven’t seen or heard from a ENT yet, just met with one of the ENT staff. Here’s what I know: They did a CT scan, and immediately rushed it to the other hospital (where they all are apparently) a team of 8 ENT’s had a board meeting about it, because it’s so bad (already knew this but that’s crazy still). They wanted to do surgery right away, but because they’re at a different hospital and the CF hospital is somewhere else, they only come here twice a week, and they’re all full for the next few weeks. I’ll be back in for about a week to have the surgery for the first available opening. I’m hoping they can find something new or different and I can kick this thing this time. The sinus headaches are just about murder so I’m ready to have some relief.

I came in with Rhinovirus, Enterovirus, (colds) Staph Infection and CF Pseudomonas. Pretty sick. I’m still contagious, but I’m feeling better, and hopefully by friday those viruses will have run their course and we can be done with the whole sick thing for a minute. I know everyone is sick right now, in fact all 24 CF beds are full right now. So when I finally do get out I’ll have to be extra cautious. This year just seems like a bad year for the colds and bronchitis going around.

So that’s my update for this time, I’ll post again after we get settled finally and start getting some pictures up!