We started the new year doing what we do best, hiking. We've made it somewhat of a tradition to spend the New Year holiday up at Valley View Hot Springs, which we've done 3 times now. On one of the days that we were there, we drove an hour North to Buena Vista to hike in the Collegiate Peaks. The Collegiate Peaks have always been a place we've both wanted to hike but it's a long drive (over 3 hours) to any of the hikes from our house. The mountains we have in the Northern part of the state gradually build up to taller mountain ranges, but the Collegiate Peaks jump up high from the flat valleys between mountain ranges, which makes them a stunning mountain range.
We woke up at the hot springs, ate breakfast, and went on our way. Since it wasn't a normal morning getting ready for a hike (most of our gear was already pre-loaded in the car), I forgot one critical item; my camera. I realized it only a couple of minutes after we left, but it was too late since we had already left the hot springs premises, which are marked by a one-way gate during their closed hours. They wouldn't be open for another two hours for us to get back in. As the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have on you, so I used my camera phone on this hike. I haven't had to use my camera phone on a hike in nearly two years, and just like the last time, my phone camera doesn't even compare to what my DSLR can do.
The hike itself was a good hike to ring in the New Year. It was on the moderate side of our hiking level - so not too easy but also not too difficult. It started off with a small dusting of snow where we hardly even needed our microspikes. About a mile in, we threw on our snowshoes for traction, and by the time we made it to the second lake, we were trekking through 2 foot deep fresh powder making our own trail. There were only 2 other groups in front of us that broke the trail for us, but neither decided to make it all the way around the second lake. Feeling adventurous, we used up a great amount of energy hiking around the second lake which was absolutely worth the views. We found a spot on the lake to eat lunch and have a cup of tea (using a new hiking thermos Katie got for Christmas) in front of Mount Columbia and then made our way back to the trail.
Since it's the new year, we decided to make some New Year's resolutions, and just like last year, one of ours is hiking-related. We crushed our 2022 New Year's resolution of beating one of our hiking stats from 2021 in November, and for most of the last few months we've talked about making hiking a 14'er our 2023 New Year's resolution, but that's not what we landed on. With our wedding in late July, wedding reception in mid-August, and our Icelandic honeymoon in late August, there aren't that many weekends that we could hike a 14'er that would be in good 14'er hiking season. In order to not set ourselves up for failure, that will likely be our 2024 goal, but this year in 2023, here's our New Year's resolution:
2023 goal: Beat our all-time records for mileage, elevation gain, and time hiking by 15%.
Elevation gain sounds the easiest of all 3 of those goals. The hike we did today is about half of what we need to do to complete our new years resolution. I don't expect to beat all 3 of these records in one hike, and that's not part of our 2023 goal. In terms of my personal all time records, what's shown above are my personal records except for elevation gain which is a record of 3,973 ft back in 2018. I will absolutely not be beating that record by 15% this year.