35 By 35 – #1 Hike to Horsetooth Rock

Hey there! How was your weekend? Better than mine I hope! I spent the weekend, (actually the past 4 days) either laying in bed or on the couch… sick with strep! Yuck! But, am so thankful for my awesome husband who took care of everything so I could lay around and get well… and when I say everything I mean everything! He rocks! But, I’m pretty sure he’s glad I’m well again. 😉

Before the sickness arrived like a freight train… we enjoyed a great Halloween! Noelle was Batgirl and Parker a Hamburger. I knew you would want to see a photo of them all dressed up so that’s why I’ve started with it, because really this post has nothing to do with Halloween!

What I really wanted to share with you today that is long overdue is the first item on my 35 by 35 list that was checked off a couple of weeks ago!

On Friday, October 19th we set out on an adventure to Horsetooth Rock! Yippee! We had debated for a while if it was a hike that the kids would be able to do or not, but we’ve taken them on a couple of difficult hikes in the past and thought they could do it, so we went for it! Only about 7 minutes in, the 6 year old had a meltdown and said her legs were tired and she did not want to go anymore… and the 4 year old, suddenly had a bathroom emergency… “oh boy…” we thought, “we are just getting started… what are we getting ourselves into?! Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea!” but, Daddy & I weren’t taking no for an answer… we were determined to do what we had set out to do! So we took care of business and kept moving! 🙂

It was a beautiful day, we couldn’t have asked for better weather.

Horsetooth Rock is a large rock formation at the summit of Horsetooth Mountain which is easily visible from Fort Collins. It is a prominent landmark and often used as a symbol of the city, even appearing in the official city seal. The name comes from its distinctive appearance.

“The trail to Horsetooth Rock is 2.5 miles, a moderately difficult trail with primarily smooth trail surface and an approximate elevation gain of 1,400 feet… from 5,800 to 7,200 feet. The 1,400 foot gain in elevation is mitigated by switchbacks and stair cases so the hike is easier than it sounds.” (Source: www.blog.twoknobbytires.com)

After hiking about 2+ hours we made it to our destination! This is at the base of the rock (i.e. the summit of the mountain)… we debated about whether we could all four climb to the summit of the rock or not, so while Daddy went up to check it out, the kids and I hung out and enjoyed a snack to celebrate our success!

After a bit more debating… we decided to go for it… after all, we’d made it this far! 😉 And this… was the rewarding view from the very top… simply amazing!

A perfect family photo opportunity!

Another gorgeous view… those two highest mountains in the distance are Longs Peak (to the right) & Mt. Meeker (to the left). Both are located in Rocky Mountain National Park. Longs is the closest “14er” to Denver, Boulder & Ft Collins. You can actually hike all the way to the summit of Longs… but, I’m not sure I’ll be ready for that anytime soon… we’ll see… It definitely won’t be a family adventure. 🙂

Here’s me climbing down the rock… Documenting that I did in fact accomplish this feat… What goes up must come down! 😉

and I was quite pleased with the accomplishment! Awesome!

The hike down was as much of an adventure as the hike up. The sun was beginning to set and we knew we had to move faster on the way back down to make it back to the car before dark. But it was tough when you run into deer…

and a beautiful sunset…

and moon rise. But, we made it back without having to turn on the flashlights. Total, it took about 5 hours… a long time… but it was time well spent and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Such a fun & memorable experience. And one more goal checked off my list! Oh yeah! 🙂

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