Making the Most of an Adventure Gone Wrong

We planned and planned. We had packing lists. We had a food plan. We made sure to purchase the gear we didn’t have well in advance (good thing, because a new water bladder arrived with a leak).

About 500 miles into our 2600 mile roundtrip adventure to climb Mount Elbert (my first 14er!), I realized….I didn’t bring my hiking boots. 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️

We were going straight to the trailhead to sleep until early morning when we’d head for the trail, so I was just going to put the boots in the backseat instead of in my suitcase. They were forgotten in all the excitement of getting on the road to start our journey.

Now I’m spending the ride trying to ignore the fact that I may be trying to hike this mountain in my not so comfy Nikes. This was about to be the least of my worries. 

Fast forward to making it to Colorado and finally seeing the mountains on the horizon. My hiking boots are temporarily forgotten as we continue and I take in the breathtaking view of the mountains rising around us.

Headed down I-70, our transmission started to overheat so we decided to find a rest area to let it cool down. We ended up at the rest area in Vail, CO. Elevation somewhere around 10,000 feet.  The truck didn’t cool down enough to continue, so we decided to get some sleep.

After about an hour, I woke up very out of it. I couldn’t find the door handle to get out, and I was going to throw up. In a panic of wailing around looking for the handle, I woke up my hiking partner and he pulled the handle. I climbed/slid out and couldn’t get back up. After I was done, he had to help me walk back to the truck and get inside. I had altitude sickness and we were stuck.

Because of the altitude sickness, I didn’t think it was a good idea to try to go 4000 feet higher to summit Mount Elbert, so we ended up going on a scenic tour of the state.

• No boots
• Overheated vehicle
• Not even attempting to climb the mountain we drove 1300 miles to get to.
• Still one of the best adventures of my life

I refer to it lovingly as a beautiful disaster. We didn’t get to do what we went there for. We didn’t knock out my first 14er. But we did see so much of beautiful Colorado (we drove almost all the way to Grand Junction), we hiked Grizzly Creek Trail which was very pretty, and ended up in RMNP on accident on the way home. That alone was worth it.

Have you ever had a hiking disaster? I want to hear about it!  Leave a comment or send me an email.