The hills are alive… with the sound of panting. Dog panting, that is. Not to mention the snorting, howling and growling with excitement to explore Pike National Forest in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
Tatum & I joined up with our Colorado Lucky Mutts Hiking Group for an adventure to remember this Summer. One of our favorite camping trips of the season! It was a weekend filled with excitement & wonder, and all of the elements that you can only hope for when gallivanting through the great outdoors. Day one brought nothing but blue skies, sunshine and tail wagging as we made our way up Kenosha Pass, hiking a total of 7 miles. Wildflowers were in abundance, as were the open valleys that appeared larger than life when hiking out of the trees. The steep elevation gain didn’t phase Tatum at all, as she ran ahead to be sure she was the 1st pup to reach the summit.
Returning back to camp just in time for happy hour and dog feedings, we kicked off our hiking boots to enjoy well deserved snack time complete with a variety of wines and Colorado brewed beer. Just as we were settling in around the campfire to assign cooking duties, the clouds rolled in. Typical Colorado weather, the moved in at a very fast pace! Not more than 10 min later, the peaceful scene turned into complete chaos. 13 dogs and 11 people scrambling to find shelter, moving the outdoor kitchen, and saving anything that could be damaged by the rain (most importantly, our food!). With 11 people and lots of gear, we managed to build a canopy with 25 feet of tarp. The humans huddled underneath in camping chair, dog beds piled high in the middle of our circle with wet, tired dogs all clumped together. Of course there were some panicked pooches who needed a little more shelter to help with anxiety attacks. Those dogs were tucked nicely in close by vehicles while the thunder and lightening continued to surround our campsite. A lightening bolt felt by a fellow camper described the “electricity” through her body as she was staking down the tarp. With one tent down and laughter all around, we made the best of the situation. Despite 35 mile hr winds and extreme storm conditions, the evening went on as planned, cooking pasta under our self made shelter, wine flowing and dinner served. And what a delicious dinner it was! In typical Colorado style, just as we were cleaning up, the rain stopped, the wind died down and the sky cleared… just in time for a meteor shower! Camp fire, s’mores, shooting stars… what more can you ask for in a 24-hr mountain adventure?
Still bundled up with every piece of clothing I had from the cold & frosty night, I woke to the sun light slowly making it’s way over my tent, and soaked in the little bit of warmth before crawling out of my sleeping bag. Tatum’s eyes were swollen and groggy, showing her age and signs of exhaustion. I unwrapped her from the flannel blanket so she could wake up with me and stretch it out. Fresh brewed coffee by the fire pit was the perfect way to start the day. The Rocky Mountains not letting us down, with blue sky all around! Our designated chefs were hard at work mixing, cutting, flipping, as the rest of us went through the rummage from the night before to dry out our gear. The aroma of flap jacks never smelled so good. We filled up on fresh fruit, blueberry pancakes and crisp bacon while planning our hike for the day, removing layers of clothing as the temperate rose. Destination; Guanella Pass. The group split up, with some packing for the trip home, while the rest of us organized our packs and hit the trail head. A handful of us meandered through the woods, along this beautiful trail. Not too far from the Colorado Trail, I find it to be one of my favorite areas to hike. Turns out Tatum wasn’t quite as tired as she looked when we first awakened, as she managed to lead the pack the entire 5 miles. That’s my girl!
Soon we were homeward bound, thinking how lucky we are to be able to explore such beautiful and amazing places right in our very own ‘back yard’.