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Musings

The Recovery Hike

by Nick

So in less than two weeks Betsy and I will be flying to Peru to tackle the Incan trail to Machu Picchu. While there is a train that takes you basically to the doorstep of the ancient city, we decided to do the four day hike which winds up (way up) and down through 25 miles of Peruvian mountains and Incan ruins.

Of course, we decided to do all of this before I tore my ACL six months ago. While my recovery was pretty delayed, my doctor did say that I should be fine on the hike.

To test out the knee, Betsy and I went on a longer ten mile hike over Labor Day weekend. It turned out to be a beautiful day and one of my favorite hikes that we’ve done since we moved to Colorado so I thought I would share some photos with you all!

The Grand Mesa

The hike we chose for the test run was on the Grand Mesa which is just a few minutes from our house. It’s actually kind of a crazy geographic area. I think it’s the largest mesa in North America (maybe the world).

Since we knew the hike we planned would take us 5-6 hours, we decided to go the night before and do some car camping.

This was the pretty view from our camping spot.

camping

Camping at night.

I was in charge of cooking for our group of five.

Since we were car camping I choose to do some Tex-Mex carne asada. It was pretty close to this carne asada version and turned out great over the camp fire.

carne

Carne cooking!

Betsy and I snapped a couples shot before a huge rain cloud came in and almost ruined our ‘Smores time.

us

Roughin’ it.

Crag’s Crest Hike

We woke up bright and early and had a quick breakfast and then got ready to hit the trail.

The exact trail we decided to tackle is called Crag’s Crest and is basically a 10 mile loop that extends along this huge crest on the mesa that overlooks some really pretty valleys and mountain ranges.

Before we even started climbing, it was already really pretty.

start

The starting point. Not too shabby.

We had a good hiking crew that included five people and two dogs.

I snapped a quick photo of Betsy and her coworker decked out in their hiking gear.

These gals were ready to tackle the trail!

tough

Tough ladies.

I liked this trail because you get most of the climbing out of the way right at the beginning.

I think the total elevation gain was around 1,000 feet which isn’t horrible but when you get to the top, you feel like you are on top of the world.

going up

Going up!

Once you get through with the climbing you just follow the trail along this crazy rocky crest for about three miles before you start looping back to where you started.

It’s a beautiful trail, especially on a clear blue sky day.

the top

Top of the world.

If you look to the left or right of the trail, you can just see for miles and miles.

different angle

Different angle.

Porter the Explorer

While the trail was ten miles, I think Porter, our dog, probably logged closer to 20 miles. I think he did every part of the trail at least twice.

Here is he scampering ahead to make sure everything is safe on the trail!

porter

Blazing a trail.

When we took a break for some snacks, he was loving life.

happy

Happy!

This is one of my favorite photos. He ventured up on the trail and then looked back at me with this expression that says, “DAD, you have to come check this out!”

porter

Dad, you have to see this!

Of course, Porter had no idea that we were hiking 10 miles. It was the longest hike he has ever done and he was really tired at the end. When we got home, he literally slept for 36 hours.

My knee held up great for the hike although I have to wear a brace during the downhill parts.

The crazy part is that the highest part of this trail is the elevation that we start at on the Incan trail.

We are ready for it though! If anyone has done the Incan trail, leave a comment with any tips you might have!