Gray's // The First Fourteener

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 First of Many

Kyle, Dave (life long friend of Kyle's and an amazing musician) and I drove up the night before with our pups so we could camp out. This is the first time in almost two years of marriage that Kyle and I have ever camped together! We thought we'd give glamping a go so we brought our air mattress. 

Funny Story
Ask me about how well the blow up air mattress went that next time you see me....

Sherpa Joel!

We met a nice guy that night (who we nicknamed Sherpa Joel) so we hung out with him that night and had dinner. Then we decided to go check out the trailhead and get a glimpse of both peaks.

Gray's Peak on the left // Torrey's Peak on the right

Gray's Peak on the left // Torrey's Peak on the right

Joel invited us to hike with him the next day and watch the sunrise at the summit! So after a quick nights sleep on solid ground we started off at 3 AM and it was dark and early. The dogs were very excited.

Headlamps, jackets, hats, gloves, camera, and lots of water! 

There is something truly amazing about walking in the dark with millions of bright stars above you! So we trekked onward not prepared for what was ahead. Some how we got off trail and never got on the switchbacks to head up to Gray's Peak. The sky started to lighten up and we could see the silhouettes of the mountains around us, and we were high up enough to see lights from Denver! 

 Then we saw sunrise!

Then you could see a deep orange ball of fire rising form behind a very distant mountain. It quickly ascended higher into the sky. I was very relieved because it was very cold and windy at this point.

I used this giant cairn (on the left) to stabilize my camera for this shot. I couldn't feel my hands at this point but when I look at this photo I relive the relief I felt when the sun came up. Slowly the incredible landscape I'd been walking through the last three hours, came into view. It was stunning. 

The Struggle Was Real
When the sun came up we found ourselves in the saddleback between both peaks. At this point in the hike we were all pretty tired and every step took energy we didn't think we had.  My heart was pounding pretty hard and it was cold! So cold that part of my jacket pocket was frozen solid (some water spilled from my camel back earlier) This is when I realized Kyle was really not feeling well and had all the symptoms of altitude sickness.

***Please note that altitude sickness can be very dangerous. If you begin to feel nauseas, dizzy, a bad headache, or exhaustion do not push yourself past your means.

We Made IT!

First Fourteener: CHECK

We stayed up at the summit for half an hour. Ate food and tried to get the dogs to sit on us so we could be warm! You could see mountains for days! Then we made our way back down and it was SO much fun! Getting to see mountains on mountains, it was a beautiful view. There were also a TON of people going up as we descended, so I'm glad we got the early start.

 

Trail head elevation : 11,259
Level: Moderate
Roundtrip: 8.35 Miles (For Gray's and Torrey's)
Gray's Peak: 14,270
Torrey's Peak: 14,267
Dogs: Allowed
Camping: Open Spacer

Directions to trail head:
Take I-70 to the Bakerville exit. Driving south after you exit you will see a dirt parking lot. This is the winter trailhead. The summer trailhead is 3 miles past that and is a VERY bumpy road. All the websites I read strongly recommended only driving this road if your car has a high clearance and i would agree. This road will take you to a small parking lot where the trail head is.