Bucket List

I live an interesting tension. Asked directly, I’d tell you that I struggle to make a bucket list. I really just pick a challenge and go for it. But when pressed, I can tell you about this epic Greek Isles/Italy trip I’ve been jonesing to take, and my desire to spend some time in Savannah and the Outer Banks and…

One of the things that I tried to tackle several years ago, but failed, was climbing a 14-er. Colorado has 50-odd 14,000-foot mountains, and as a native, it’s almost embarrassing that I haven’t gotten around to climbing one, yet. I planned to do one with friends nearly six years ago, but got sick (really, honest-and-truly) and my car broke down, terminally, on the weekend we were going to go. So I plan to do one next weekend, with a group I’ve recently joined.

The difference between this time and last time, beyond my being six years older, is that six years ago, I was coming off my first and second triathlons, so I wasn’t worried about my conditioning. This time, I haven’t trained much, if at all. I take a weekly bellydancing class, and I go for a walk or a swim now and again but I haven’t trained in any coordinated fashion. The 14-er we’re climbing is rated as one of the easiest ones to climb, but we’re still talking about a 2,000-foot ascent at an altitude that is nothing to sneeze at.

So last weekend, I had a morning free, and decided to do a semi-challenging hike, to help me prepare. When I searched online for something reasonably close to me and reasonably vertical, I discovered a hike up a landmark near and dear to my heart.

Castle Rock from a distance

Castle Rock from a distance

Castle Rock is a little more than halfway to Denver from Colorado Springs, and we drove that highway often during my childhood. In fact, my second post-college apartment was in the little town about 20 minutes from the very southern end of the Denver metro area. I always thought about climbing it one day, when I lived there, but I never got around to it.

So Saturday morning, I went out. It was a gorgeous day. I took a ridiculous number of pictures. Here are just a few— just so you know I appreciate how lucky I am to live in such an incredible place.

Cactus flower

Cactus flower

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

The impossibly blue Colorado sky against Castle Rock

The impossibly blue Colorado sky against Castle Rock

The north side trail

The north side trail

 

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