I’m not sure if people noticed or not, there’s a new logo at the top of the page! I had some fun drawing it up on paper and scanning in for some editing. I might go further with it and stretch it across the top at some point. I’m still deciding on it. I’m going to be upgrading the site and changing things up here soon, so keep an eye out!



As you know, from my previous post, back in June, I’ve been working out and preparing for the first of hopefully more 14,000 foot mountain hikes. I’ve been ready to go for the last month or so, but plans kept getting canceled because of the weather or other commitments. My friend Patrick text me and asked if we just wanted to try and get through the weather anyway, I was tired of waiting and REALLY wanted to knock this out before it was too late.

I was really worried because originally there was a 20% chance of rain, but that ended up holding off and it snowed the night before. I was hoping by the time we got there that would’ve been long gone since it was supposed to be a really light snow…HA.

I got up at 5:30 and checked the weather and to start getting ready, snow and rain was at 5% for the day. But it’s Colorado, that means absolutely zero in the mountains. I did my usual morning routine and cooked a big breakfast to get me through the day and we headed off.

We got there just after 7:30 and knew it was going to be rough when we saw the top half of the mountain covered in snow, we figured we could get through it anyway! After all, I was wearing 3 layers of clothes and had gloves, a scarf and hat along with an extra sweater and it was supposed to warm up that day.






That big mountain to the right is Bierstadt.




My friend Patrick. I think you can kinda tell we were under dressed even with layers just from looking at this.




View of the lake nearby the trailhead start. The beginning of the trailhead goes through a swampy area until you get passed a small creek then you start the climb up.










The sun was out and we did really well until we got to the half way marker, where the wind was at 10-15mph and in the shadow of the mountain so much colder by then.  At this point it was still bearable. We saw some nasty clouds coming in but it kept blowing away from us, so we decided to keep moving on.

From that point it just continuously got worse and worse. Winds picked up to 20mph and it started to snow as we got closer and closer to the false summit. The false summit is the point at which you arrive at 14,000 feet but Bierstadt has an extra 400 feet or so to the “top” of the highest point.




To my left (not shown) is the post that marked the halfway point and the point which the wind was starting to pick up and get colder.





At one point we were about 800 feet from the false summit and I kept having to stop, the altitude and cold just did not do well for two people, who even though we had tons of layers on, were under dressed. As we got closer, the wind got faster, it got colder, and I was feeling kind of sick from drinking too much Gatorade G2. On some of the bigger steps I would literally rely on Patrick to pull me up using his handle on this backpack because I had no feeling in my hands and I didn’t want to slip (which I did end up doing anyway.) I kept wondering if it was worth it to keep going and asked Patrick if he wanted to try to keep going since it seemed like we were close to the top so we slugged on for a bit further.


13,500 FEET

At 500ft from the top we stopped to take our final rest, at that point I couldn’t feel or even move 2 of my fingers on my right hand, and 2-3 of my toes weren’t really responding well to moving. I tried keeping my hands warm by adding some wool socks on top of my gloves but it didn’t do any good. I then started to just keep my hands under my pits the whole time to keep the warm which takes a really long time so was not doing me any good there either.




View from the highest point we made it to. See that small lake in the left side of the picture? That’s the lake I took a picture of at the beginning of the post. The cars are parked just north of that lake about 200 feet or so.

While we were stopped, a guy was coming down and we asked how much worse it was at the top and he told us he made it all the way to the very top and winds were at 30-40mph with snow and you couldn’t see anything because you were in the clouds the whole time. People were basically hiking up it, touching the monument at the top for a few seconds and hiking right back down. I looked at Patrick and he said “I think I’m calling it” and there was a big group of about 7  people behind us who heard us talking to the guy coming down, 5 decided to come down with us and 2 decided to at least make it to the false summit.




We had decided that I didn’t want frost bite and I wanted to keep my digits intact and agreed we should just go back. I stood up took my gloves off and got off a couple of pictures on my phone, which immediately died right after I took the photos since phone batteries hate cold and I just had it in my pocket not being warmed. It wasn’t until we were way passed the half way point going down that I even started to get a little feeling back in my toes and hands and I was able to get my phone warmed up and back on again to get a couple more pictures.




This hike was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do or endure, bar some of the more difficult hospital stays I’ve had in life. The sad part is, the hike itself was actually pretty easy for me. All that working out and training paid off, but the cold, wind and altitude and really being unprepared for that because we were going so late in the season stopped us in our tracks.

I have no hard feelings about saying we didn’t totally make it to the top because the conditions were literally dangerous to the point of making a rational decision to go back down, even though we were so close, but at the same time it was just 500 feet. Even though I know we did extremely well under harsh conditions I can’t help but feel a little defeated being that close.  I would rather go on another day when it’s in the proper season or at the very least come back with the proper clothing and knock it out again when the weather wasn’t constantly battling us though.




One last picture on the way back down. This mountain was north of us, which is another 14er, it stayed in the clouds almost the whole time, I can’t imagine trying to tackle that one in the fall/winter in these conditions. You can easily see how the weather changed in just a 3 hour time from the beginning of the post to this one.



One of the other things I’ve learned is that EVERY single time I go on hikes I learn something new, most of the time it’s what NOT to do for the next time. With my Cystic Fibrosis I’ve been working with my nutritionists to try and figure out how I wouldn’t crash on the hikes. We did get past that over the last few hikes I’ve done. I eat eggs and bacon for breakfast every morning, snacks between, and plenty of water and Gatorade G2 because it has the extra sodium in it I need.

Just one of the many side effects of Cystic Fibrosis causes your body to sweat double the amount of salt, and our intake is 2x sodium that of a normal person. The problem is, is G2 tastes like southern Kool-aid. The kind where you ask for kool-aid in your sugar. Super syrupy and sweet. I needed the electrolytes and the hydration but it was making me sick the whole time which hindered me because I kept feeling like I was going to puke with the altitude so thin.

I cut that out on my last hike up to Lost Lake but I felt flighty on the last leg up and figured out I still need SOMETHING in it’s place. I looked at some Vitamin water products but they don’t have any sodium in them. I’ve yet to really find an alternate solution. The nutritionists recommended salt tablets, but besides ordering them online I went to 5 different stores looking for them and nobody carried them. That’s going to be my next little goal.



I also made the mistake of bringing flimsy soft cotton gloves and not either wool gloves or the actual snow gloves. I rectified that after our hike and picked up both kinds on sale at Costco. Both with available touch fingers so you don’t have to take your gloves off to use your phone or  take pictures. I still need a wind jacket, which even at the cheapest is around a $100 to get something really good for weather (which in the case of winter clothes it’s better to buy once and done.) I’m going to wait for a good REI sale and pick one up.

I had literally 3 layers of clothes on (compression shorts, and pants, plus cargo pants, and compression long sleeve, and shirt plus a sweater) AND a hat, gloves, socks on top of my gloves and a scarf. Still wasn’t enough. I didn’t have my thick wool socks on, and neither of us carried hand warmers (stupid I know!) so there were several things had we been a little better equipped could’ve gotten us up the rest. In fact I want to bet that if I even just had hand warmers we could’ve made it. When you literally can’t feel your digits or move them because they’re so cold and they’re starting to turn a different color, that 500 feet wasn’t worth it, neither was risking falling and breaking bones or worse for the same problem of not being able to feel where you’re grabbing or stepping.

If you’ve stayed around long enough to read this whole thing, congrats! I have to give mad props to my buddy Patrick who really helped me those last few hundred feet, we wouldn’t even have gotten that close if it wasn’t for him. As always, I’m always pushing myself hard to overcome my shortcomings with CF and reaching my goals, and I’m going to continue doing that. I WILL be back to defeat Mt Beirstadt and will push to do at least 2 more by the end of next summer. My ultimate goal, (God rest my soul) is Long’s peak. A 14,259 feet monster that you have to get up at 2am to start and walk 5 miles before you even get to the trail head. It’s rated one of the hardest in the state and people have died trying to do it in the winter. I’m giving myself a good 2-3 years to prepare for that one and once I bag that one. I can say I’m probably done!

We drove up into the mountains for the last couple of weekends to get pictures of the leaves changing, it’s a really beautiful sight. There’s about a 3-4 week window when you can see all the prettiest colors. If we kept going every weekend we could’ve gotten some more beautiful spots. I’ve seen it where the entire valley is pretty much yellow, but it was on the way up to Mt Bierdstadt and didn’t really get any shots.












I think you can pretty much tell which ones of these are from my iPhone vs the DSLR. All those pano’s, and I’ve always felt like iPhone shots are pretty muddy unless you are really close to something. I want to get something smaller next year, preferably lightweight and mirrorless so I can get some decent quality images on my trips. My DSLR is way too heavy to lug around. I’ve come across a few photographers on hikes that turn around before they even get to where they’re going because they can’t carry all the weight with the gear on hikes.








Couldn’t help it. I love my Volvo!



It’s been a minute but I’m making some time to finish up our latest adventures!

The second day we took another hike up a different trail, this time we took a more moderate trail, Arapaho Glacier trail. It’s 12 miles long but we only did about 6 of it before we turned around. From the campsite even up to the halfway point the views were covered by trees most of the way. I think we were hoping to see what we could see and if we could make the whole thing. The trail is rated as “moderate” which I would say should’ve been rated hard depending on what stretch of it you were on. Most of it was easy to moderate with a steady incline but we had some wonderful stretches of straight trail that was really pretty and had some unique elements around it.



Here’s Cooper with his new backpack on. We really enjoyed being able to put the dogs stuff in his pack and it gave him a mission of his own while we were hiking. Because of the pack we felt like he did much better hiking than normal since it gave him something to do and concentrate on. He behaved a lot better, I’d definitely recommend getting one if you’re thinking about taking your dog on any major hikes, but make sure to also get some boots for them as well, as sometimes the trails have sharp rocks that may cut their pads.




Here’s another Crystal shot of me and Cooper through a stump of a tree.

By the time we reached around the 6 or 7 mile mark the trail had gone to high incline and mostly just giant rocks you would have to navigate on as you hiked up the trail. At that point the dogs had just about enough, and Cooper had really started to pull to go back towards the camp. Crystal was feeling pretty fatigued so we decided to go ahead and head on back to the campsite. I’m really glad we decided to do that, because about a mile back down the Chihuahuas were pretty much done. They were done so much we had to carry them in our bags! (Spoiled rotten kids.)



Thank goodness I had been working out over the last several months when we did this, he isn’t light by any means, so I was carrying at least 50ml of water, all the necessities, food, and now a 15lb dog on my back for the next few miles, I probably rounded out at about 25 – 30 lbs. Crystal had Luna in her bag and she was actually pretty happy.  We did really well doing that that until one of the zippers came undone on mine and he fell out once, but he landed on his feet since I started to feel the weight shift and I was able to bend down a little to cushion his fall.

I can’t complain too much though, as we were going down, there was another couple carrying a huge golden retriever puppy in the back of theirs, which was much heavier than what I was dealing with, it really wasn’t so bad, but we were all just kinda cranky and ready to eat some lunch and relax the rest of the day.

Once we got back to camp we pretty much spent the rest of the day around the campsite barring a quick trip into Boulder to get a couple of things and a stop in Nederland for some more ice cream at our new favorite little book shop.




Since there was a fire ban the entire time we were camping we had a little stove to heat up some water for basic cooking use, and we used these freeze dried foods for dinners at night time. I chose Backpackers Pantry, and I ate Shepherds Potato Stew which quite honestly was really good! It was the first time I had ever eaten a meal like this that wasn’t an Army M.R.E from Boy Scouts. The second night I had tried BackPackers Pantry Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry. I was super hungry and we didn’t have a good measuring cup for our water so I overfilled it with water and it became kind of a stir fry soup instead (lessoned learned).

Crystal didn’t have the same luck as I did. She had a different brand called Mountain House, and both of her meals leaked after adding the water to the bags and if you have a hole in them they won’t cook right when it’s sealed back up. I’ve heard people say they’ve never had trouble with that brand, but since it happened both times and we only had a couple more backup ones and both were that brand it left Crystal in a bind. We did have other food so she ate of course, but it was disappointing, so we probably won’t buy that brand again.




That night was pretty sleepless one for me, as I woke up at about 2 am to a loud truck coming down the road which was just maybe 2 or 300 feet from our tent, apparently it was a fire truck and ranger truck doing rounds.  One of the fire trucks stopped because they got a flat tire, and when they got out I heard them start talking about the bear they just saw run next to the truck and as soon as I heard them get out and start talking, I could hear that familiar huffing sound of a bear running as he zoomed literally right by our tent and into the woods. I couldn’t believe that had just happened!

After that it took quite awhile to get back to sleep, but I was sure that bear got scarred off and was long gone with all the commotion going on. We were warned ahead of time when we got to the park that one had been oodling around the campsites a couple of days before, and Moose had been eating in the field just behind the river we were by. Dangerous nature was at the foremost of my mind during the trip, so I opened carried when we were out on the hikes.

Pretty much the next morning we packed up everything and went on one last hike, it wasn’t really any trail system just following the river we had behind our tent, which was actually one of the coolest hikes of the weekend. You can see the river in the photo above and it only got better as you went up stream with little waterfalls, crossings and splits.




The image above was one of my favorite images of that particular hike, this trail wasn’t listed on any map but provided some of the neatest things to look at. Mossy trees, beautiful river, abandoned campsites, and of course…The Hatch. I almost expected to find the LOST numbers scribed on the side. Strange thing to be literally a couple of miles in the middle of the woods of nowhere. I’m assuming it was probably to cover an old well, but for fun’s sake, I’m gonna say there’s a man living down there in a survival bunker typing numbers into a computer. 4,8,15,16,23,42.




After our little adventure hike and seeing tons and tons of moose and bear scat we decided to get the heck out of dodge before we got trampled on or eaten. With that, we packed up the rest of our site and headed home, but we did stop a couple of times of course to get some pictures!




Next Up on the blog: Fall Pictures, Mt Bierdstadt, and Lost Lake!



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.




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.)



Processed with VSCO with 4 preset


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.


Processed with VSCO with 4 preset


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.


Processed with VSCO with 4 preset


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.




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.




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!




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.




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!




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.


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.



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.




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.




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.




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.





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.