5280Mommy

Change in Altitude

What happens when a woman who names her blog after the altitude of her home city moves away from that city? The short answer is – absolutely nothing – because I’ve paid for this name and damn it, it’s not going anywhere! But alas, I am no longer at or above 5280 feet above sea level. Instead, I’m at roughly 4300 feet. What that means for my daily life is that I don’t start wheezing until I hit a second flight of stairs, as opposed to the first. Winning! What it means for this blog is that my Colorado Adventures will now also include Utah Adventures. And maybe some Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho adventures someday, too. I’m expanding my horizons and yours too! Change is good.

So here’s a quick rundown on the 5280 Family’s change in altitude and attitude (cue Jimmy Buffett):

  • My hubby’s new job is a fantastic career move and awesome opportunity for the whole family. He spotted himself on a billboard this morning! A billboard! With his cute face giant sized looking down at himself. How’s that for surreal?
  • The boys are loving their new school and have made some fast friends already. It only took two school days for the older kid to have desk assignments rearranged because he was too chatty with the kiddo next to him.
  • We’re having fun exploring new restaurants, new stores, and meeting new people.
  • I have only a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment to clean up so there’s more time for writing, reading, exercising and all the stuff I enjoy doing! More on apartment life soon.

That’s it for now, friends. Stay tuned!

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The Manitou Incline

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Shiny faced and optimistic at the bottom

You guys! I did it! I climbed the Manitou Incline. Holy hell I thought I was going to straight up die on that hill, but I made it up and down alive. Here are my tips and tricks for the treacherous climb and the lovely descent.

Facts to know before you go

This is a serious climb. If you have any injuries, no matter how slight, wait till you’re fully healed before you take this on. The Manitou Incline is about 1 mile long, but an impressive 2000 foot increase in elevation. The base of the Incline starts at 6530 feet, so the air is going to be mighty thin by the time you get to the top.

Get to the Incline early in the day. You’ll be more likely to avoid crowds, get a good parking spot, and have better weather in the morning. God help you if you get caught in the rain or in intense heat.

Bring a couple bottles of water and some snacks with you. The parking lot at the trailhead allows for 4 hour parking, and depending on your fitness level, you just might need that entire 4 hours.

Sunscreen is critical. There are no shade trees on the stairway to heaven.

Layer, layer, layer. I wore a hoodie over a light jacket over a tank top and used all three at some point during the climb and descent.

I saw one person with hiking poles and was deeply envious.

On the Incline

There’s no easing in to this. It starts climbing immediately. I stopped to catch my breath after about 2 minutes. It’ll take awhile to find your stride, but you’ll get there.

Look up from time to time, but you’ll be best served by keeping your head down and focused on the three steps directly in front of you. After a while, I found my rhythm and would count the number of steps I was taking between breathing breaks. I’d do 30 for a while, down to 20, down to 10, recover, back up to 20, etc. It totally helped keep my mind off getting to the top and counting the steps satisfied my darkest OCD tendencies. Read more

Colorado Adventures

I love to write about our travels. Love, love, love. On our trips to Argentina and Japan, I took meticulous notes each day so that I could blog about it when we were traveling between cities. I got so wrapped up in it that Andrew had to confiscate my iPad on a particularly long bullet train journey between Fukushima and Tokyo because I hadn’t slept. Writing about what I see and experience, the people I meet and the conversations we have, is nirvana.

About a year and a half ago, the family took a trip to Glenwood Springs and, predictably because Glenwood is awesome, had the most amazing time. As we were strolling back to our hotel after having mind-blowing pizza and ice cream from an old school candy store, it hit me: “Jenn, you should blog about Colorado! You can write about drives, towns, hikes, restaurants, stores, people – the possibilities are endless!” I was completely jazzed about this idea for a month or two, and then the self doubt started to creep in. “There will always be people who know more about XYZ than I do. I’ll miss something totally amazing and lose all credibility. I’ve never skied, never hiked the Manitou incline, never climbed a fourteener. I’m a lowly semi-native so what the hell do I know?!” It took a long year of gentle self-prodding and several great Colorado experiences that made me think “damn! I want to tell somebody about this!” to get me back on track. No, I still don’t know everything there is to know about Colorado. But I think it will be fun to do as much exploring and trying and talking as I can, and I can share that with you. Because even if you have skied since you were 2, if you hike Manitou every year, and if you have ten 14ers on your list of accomplishments, maybe you haven’t hiked from Steamboat Springs to the Strawberry Hot Springs and been caught in a thunderstorm. Maybe you haven’t been schooled by your 8 year old while climbing the Great Sand Dunes. Maybe you haven’t spent a perfect summer night in a beer garden in Castle Rock. But I have. And if I share my stories with you, perhaps you’ll share yours with me, and then we can all be inspired to do everything that our colorful state has to offer.

View of Glenwood Springs from the Hotel Denver
View of Glenwood Springs from the Hotel Denver

Just for the record, I’ve got a couple “firsts” under my belt already this year: I went skiing for the first time and lived to tell the tale. But the tale is too humiliating and too boring to recount here. I have some pride. And I’m going to attempt Manitou this week. If I don’t check in on Facebook by Wednesday night, please contact the authorities. Tell them to look for a tearstained chubby brunette with a gaggle of skinny friends trying to coax her up a few more steps.

I am teeing up this idea today and I’ll get into more details on future posts. I’d absolutely love to hear suggestions on what adventures I should take, so please chime in if you have any to share!

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