Frying Pan Lakes, Girls trip!

I love exploring. I bet you didn’t realize that by now, but it’s true. I have been here in Colorado going on 8 years now, and despite popular belief I have not been everywhere.

I had never been to the Roaring Fork Valley, which is where the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness lies, on the backside of Mount Massive/ Mount Oklahoma. Instead of a 2ish hour drive it’s more like a 5 hour drive to get there, as there are no roads, and you need to drive way out and around to get there.

My friend Hannah and I had decided to go on an overnight backpacking trip to somewhere new, and selected the Frying Pan Lakes.

We had an incredibly beautiful drive through the aspens, and began our hike in the snow, weaving in an out along our trail up to the lakes.

Hannah Trekking along up trail!

We hiked among trees, and meadows for a while, then Mount Oklahoma came into view.

Once we arrived at the first lake, we decided that rather than go up to the next two lakes, we’d stay on dry ground and maybe explore in the morning. The trip wasn’t about getting up to some crazy objective, it was about hanging out and spending time together!

We finally found a great spot to camp, with a fire ring, and a dry spot for the tent.

Setting up camp!
Backcountry Happy Hour!
I had to wear my fanciest outfit!

After the sun set behind the ridge, we started a fire so we could stay up longer and keep warm.

We huddled down near the fire, and cooked our dinner on a rock nearby.

View from our dinner perch.

We relaxed by the fire, watching the sun set further behind the mountains, enjoying our wine, and chocolate. Because we’re that fancy.

I was very smart during this trip, I brought my 30 degree Enlightened Equiptment down quilt, I ended up wearing a few extra layers. I think the low overnight was under 20, I should have brought a warmer bag.

Convincing myself to get out of the sleeping bag is always the hard part, but watching the sun come up over the ridge was a spectacular way to wake up!

Making Panckes at Frying Pan Lakes.

We thought it’d be fun to make pancakes for breakfast at Frying Pan Lakes, and boy was it ever! Such a great way to start a day!

This pano took quite a few tries to get right, but it came out swimmingly!

After breakfast we packed up, and made our way back to the truck.

the Aspen down lower were still showing their colors!

It was nearing lunch time, so we stopped at Roaring Fork Brewery for lunch, which had decent beer but a fantastic lunch spread! We were also starving.

Hannah and I don’t always get to have fun adventures together but this was such a blast, I’m sure we’ll explore again!

 

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Lake Haiyaha, First snow!

I love snow. Colorado can have snow any day of the year– I’ve even been spit on in the middle of July a few times, but there is something magical about the first real snow of fall. I love trying to get out and hike during this ephemeral event.

I’ve always seen the sign for Lake Haiyaha, but usually I’m heading up to ice climb so I’ve never had the chance to turn off and hike up there. My friend Tiffany drove up to visit us for the day, and we went up to hike in the first snow!

We arrived up in the park early enough to snag a parking spot up at Bear Lake, which is a rarity. It was grey and cool, and smelled like snow. I hoped that today would be the day, and all signs were pointing to yes.

Bear Lake is one of the most popular spots in Rocky Mountain National Park, with the iconic view of Hallet Peak and Flat Top Looming over the parking lot. We hiked past crowds of people, past Nymph Lake, to the turn off for Lake Haiyaha. The hike went from crowds, to no one.

Hallet Peak from Nymph Lake

Lake Haiyaha Trail!

As we made our way up to Lake Haiyaha, the snow began to spit and the wind picked up.

When we arrived up at the lake it was windy and snowing, but the view was amazing. I was so glad we decided to head up there, such an incredible view!

We took a short break in a sheltered area, then made our way back down the trail. To our surprise, everything disappeared, the snow began to fall shrouding the landscape around us.

By the time we made it back to the car, the snow was falling heavily and we had to clean the windows off! Such a great beginning to our snowy season!

Followed by a nice evening, with hot chocolate and a fire.

 

Mount Frissell South Slopes, CT

For our second high point of the Trip we decided to climb Mount Frissell South Slopes, Connecticut’s state high point. This hike, though short, is difficult to find the trailhead for, there are no signs, it’s in the middle of nowhere at the very edge of Massachusetts and Connecticut. After driving on dirt road to dirt road for many a mile, we finally found the correct nondescript trailhead.

What we hadn’t realized is that to reach the Connecticut state high point you need to first hike up Round Mountain in CT, then down to the saddle between Round and Frissell. Then you cross, BACK into Massachusetts to summit Mount Frissell, then hike down and around the back side to the state border. Then, and only then have you “climbed” the state high point of Connecticut.

Most of the terrain was easy east coast walking, until you actually start going up hill, then it’s steep scrambling on rocks.

Pretty accurate description of the hike.

We got lucky with a beautiful day, and the hike only took a few hours!

Summit which is in Massachusetts.

The CT state high point is a whopping 2372′ of elevation, and sits on the SIDE of a mountain, less spectacular than other high points, but still a nice little hike!

State line Marker!

This was our second state highpoint of the trip….now back to Hadley, MA for a 20+ mile bike ride with Tess! My brother used to work at a shop in Hadley, and he designed a 20 ish mile ride for us, and suggested a restaurant to eat at. It was such a blast.

End of a wonderful day with the best people I know!

Covered Bridges, NH

Nearby where I grew up are a bunch of covered bridges, 5 of them throughout the course of this 21 mile ride. We thought we’d take my new bike on an adventure, and my parents suggested this, I LOVED IT! Here are a few photos from our bike ride, on what is known near us as  “the rail trail”, a gravel trail from NH to MA. It was a blast.

 

I got Greg to wear spandex. 

My new bicycle Chickadee!
My parents, 35+ years in.

Lighthouses

Visiting home includes visiting my friends, and introducing them to Greg. It also includes introducing him to the states of New England and their different characters.

My friend Brendan, whom I’ve known for more than 20 years, lives near Portland, ME…. so we took a trip north for two nights to see as much as we could… in crappy… wet… New England weather.

Our first night we went out to dinner with Brendan and his wife, then went home and went to bed, rather boring. The next morning we got up and wandered around Portland for a while, trying to view some lighthouses, despite the rain.

We then went to Wolfe’s Neck State Park, in Maine then took a little hike, before heading up to Freeport, ME… and the Giant LL Bean store.

View from the “beach”

I had forgotten how large the L.L. Bean store was!!! This was all topped off with a visit to Maine Beer Company, honestly one of the best breweries on the east coast. I was worried it wouldn’t be as good as I had remembered… but they were just as amazing if not more so.

After spending an entire day just loafing around, we had dinner with Brendan, Laura, my friend Caitlin from middle school as well, and her boyfriend. It was a great evening, with good friends. Brendan, Cait and I have known each other since middle school, so over 20 years now…if Tess had been there it’d have been the 4 of us again.

The next morning, Greg and I got up super early, before dawn and drove down to Portland Head Light for sunrise. Best Idea…Ever.

 

After sitting and finishing our coffee by the ocean, we hopped back into the car to drive back home and go on a long bike ride with my parents.

Such a fun trip considering the weather!

Mount Greylock, MA

After spending a few relaxing days with family in upstate NY, we got off our butts, met up with my friend Alyssa who I’d not seen in 7 years and went hiking. Since I’m on a crusade for state high points, I decided to start this trip in my home state of Massachusetts on Mount Greylock, at 3,491′ above sea level.

My Freshman year of college there was this strange art student living down the end of the hall always making paper shapes, and I used to sit there and hang out while she was working. Alyssa and I have been friends now for 14 years or so, and I’m so grateful she’s still around, and still fun. I am glad I was able to fit her into my trip! She is one of the few people I have stayed in touch with from college, and she just keeps getting more rad as the years go on.

Alyssa hiking with me for legit the second time ever!

After the two hour drive, we had managed to wake up some, and decided to hike Jones Nose Trail, to Saddle Ball Mountain, to the summit, then double back the Hopper Trail to CCC Dynamite. It was a Great little loop, beautiful fall scenery!

I also made a new friend on the hike!

Porcupine at the trail junction!

The trail was covered in leaves, and was slightly slick. I kind of forgot how slick trails can be due to moss, algae. This was my first hike with over 2K gain since my surgery, and it was rather rough. I had just gotten a new pair of orthotics, and this was my first time using them, something wasn’t right. I thought maybe it was because of the leg length discrepancy, however my right butt cheek was KILLING me, and has been ever since then. We figured out that my orthotics weren’t right, and they are finally being fixed but I still probably need to go to my PT again to rectify the pain in my right leg.

ANYWAYS, back to the hike.

Greg working his way up the steep trail
Weird fungi on a tree. 
Beautiful shot. 

13 Years ago my friend Cecil and I decided to “hike” this mountain, and I while looking through old photos, found the same photo 13 yrs apart.

Me at 20 hiking up Mount Greylock. 
Me 13 Years later, after not being able to do much for a year, hiking up Greylock

Times have surely changed, 13 years does a lot to ones appearance. I recognize that I was a lot skinnier back then, but I have also gotten so much more experience, muscle, and wear/tear since then. I’ll get back there, maybe not so tiny, but definitely back in better shape! Being able to ACTUALLY exercise does help.

The summit of Mount Greylock has a beautiful granite tower with a light on top, to honor the veterans from WWI. Normally you can climb up inside and on clear days see 90 miles, 5 different states, and many mountain ranges. It was closed for maintenance this time, but I’ve been up there before.

Summit of Greylock  with Alyssa and Greg taking the photo

We were in for an especially cool treat during out summit break, two guys were hang gliding from the summit!

Greg had some fun with the camera.

It was one of the coolest things I’ve seen on the summit of a mountain. In Colorado we have a lot of people paragliding, but not so much hang gliding. Really cool.

The rest of the hike was all down hill, literally, with much of the same scenery. It was a great day, bringing back lots of great memories! I also got to rekindle a wonderful friendship with my crazy friend Alyssa! I just wish she’d get her crap together and move to Colorado with me…. I’d hang out with her ALLLL of the time!