first fourteener(s). finally.

today i feel as though i can officially consider myself a colorado transplant. a born-again colorado native (if that exists). more like a wannabe colorado native i think most official colorado natives would say. regardless, today, i conquered my first two fourteeners.

i’ve had these hikes on my bucket list for quite some time now. and finally, in the last free weekend before the rush of discoveries orientation and the beginning of the school year, i’ve been able to cross them off.

my roomate jake and i took off from denver a touch after 5 sunday morning. my new car (who i’ve decided to name luna) got her first taste of mountain driving and i’m happy to report she did quite well. after a very rocky, skinny, cliff wrapped road (and a very nervous me) we made it to the trailhead and by 6:20am we were off. off to explore almost 3000 vertical feet of colorado landscape, air, sunshine and glamorous views.

three hours later, we summitted grays peak. 14,270 feet. and although the climb was tough- i would definitely suggest it to anyone acclimated to the altitude who isn’t wearing a boot or some other sort of movement restricting device. although i did read an article that claimed this 14er was essentially wheelchair accessible. i’m thinking it was a joke. but there was a part of the climb that was relatively flat: the first fourth of the climb. maybe.

after taking multiple pictures,  one of course with our wich wich bags (you get a free sandwich, DUH!), we started our treck down and up again to torreys. this summit was more of a straight shot – straight UP, that is. unlike the many switchbacks that led up to the first summit. what kept us going? the early morning climbers that were making their way down and saying “it’s so much easier on the way down”. well thank you, captain obvious. but again, in about an hour, we made it to the summit. 14,267 feet.

and after basking in the wonderful 360 degree mountain view, chatting with two brothers from jake’s church, swapping cameras with at least 5 other summiters, and having a few snacks (mom, your scotcharoo bars made it to the top), we started making our decent.

we arrived again at the trailhead by 1:15pm. exhausted and feeling accomplished, we headed home. after making a stop in idaho springs at the original beaujo’s pizza, that is. all in all one heck of a successful day. i can’t wait to do another one. and no – i didn’t do it all for the wich wich. but i’ll make sure i get my free sandwich.

here are some awesome photos from the journey!

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if there is one quote i love most, it is this:

be the change you wish to see in the world. -gandhi

and this weekend i was feeling creative, so i made this. it is amazing what a little focus and concentration can produce.

please don’t be offended if your country is not perfectly proportionate. it’s art, people.

the nontraditional familia.

[the bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.]

i called my host mom tonight and reached that loca for the first time in months. it was so great to hear her voice and to remember all of the great times (and the not so great times) we spent together. i will forever love that lady, and hope i will be back in november to see her. she is my family and the only family that i had for the 5 months i spent in mendoza. and no matter how long its been since we’ve talked, she will still be  family. forever. the excitement she shows when she asks about my life, and they joy she screams as i ask her how she and her friends are doing is almost enough to make me cry. ‘aye bonita..’ she says as i tell her about my mom’s new job, my dad’s travels to germany, and my sister who is about to start school. it brings me right back. and reminds me, te quiero, susy.

wonder in washington.

i sit looking out the window in this giant airplane and i feel again the great power of this world. after spending the weekend in DC, i am feeling more patriotic than ever; i am incredibly thankful to be a citizen of the united states of america.

and just like i felt as i traveled by bus along the eastern coast of argentina last year, i feel like one small grain of sand. and i am curious as to what all of the other people of this world are doing right now. who today woke up cancer free? who today woke up and gave birth to a new baby? who woke up today with a call saying their loved one is coming home from fighting overseas? who met their future husband or wife today? we will never know. and as scary as it might seem, there is incredible wonder in the possibilities.

although my flight on the way out to baltimore was delayed, the train from baltimore to dc was delayed, and there were plenty of other hysterical moments during our trip this weekend [more of those to come..], the immense tropical storm rolling onto the east coast didn’t put too much of a damper on our flight. opening the window, i see the sun shining. below, i see city upon city. abounding life. rivers, farms, quaint houses, and city blocks. there is wonder in all of this, too. wonder in the potential that somehow – for some through two degrees of separation, and for others six degrees of separation – i could know all of these people. and although it is unlikely at best, the potential is all i need.

and that brings me right back to my new found patriotism. out country is large, free, and full of wonderful people. dc is the prime example of the grandeur of our nation. people from all around the world come to witness the greatness of our nation. and even american citizens like myself marvel in the seemingly foreign magic of our nation’s capital. we, together, marvel at the commanding presence of the man who freed our slaves, the strength and prominence of the washington monument, the excellence of the capitol building, and so much more. dc is truly extraordinary. and frankly, so is this world: perfectly chaotic and remarkably full of wonder.