Becoming residents of a new state is a completely new phenomena to Dustin and I myself. Things are a bit different in the West than they are in the Midwest, and Colorado certainly has its share of nuances, as does Missouri. Fort Collins is no different. This town definitely has a personality all its own, and many rites of passage, Horsetooth Mountain being one of those.
Horsetooth towers over Fort Collins; Dustin and I are lucky enough to have almost a straight shot view from the house. During our first weekend here, I mentioned to Dustin that I wanted to climb the mountain and stand in the grooves. After talking with our neighbor, we discovered climbing Horsetooth was a must do for all Fort Collins residents.
Our rite of passage came Sunday, after my idea to go fishing was seriously rebuffed. Sun filled the skies, temperatures were brilliantly mild for the 13th of February, and a promise of spring lingered on the breeze. Doing something outdoors was, of course, at the top of my agenda. Dustin tolerated a little pouting and whining from me, and right when I started to get really annoying he suggested Horsetooth. Knowing that climbing Horsetooth was something I was dying to do, Dustin was quite clever to suggest it. Forgiveness for denying my fishing request came when we hit the trailhead.
Car after car lined the parking lot; dogs, owners, kiddos and every age under the sun were out enjoying the mild mountain air. Slushy, muddy conditions made the hike a little more difficult that it would normally be; I can definitely say that it slowed down our pace a little. The climb was exhilarating with each bend giving us an excuse to say, WOW! Do we actually live here was a question that formed on our lips multiple times. How fortunate we are to have this playground 15 minutes from the house?
During the climb, we met another couple hiking up the mountain for the first time. She was from Texas and he from Baltimore. From the context of their conversation, it sounded like a first or second date. Talk about a great first date activity! We also saw some climbers, a young girl with a freshly scraped palm and a young pup taking in the mountain for the first time. As is always the case, getting to the top was worth every slip, slide and blister.
Wind whipped all around us as we stood mouths agape looking at Pikes Peak to the South, Longs Peak to the West, Wyoming to the North and the Great Plains to our East. Incredible. We didn’t stay at the top as long as we would have liked, Dustin was cold and was ready to get out of the wind (bad prep on our part; we stripped down before the hike). It just gives us more of a reason to go back.
Climbing down was just as challenging as hiking upwards. The slush was super slippery; several areas gave Dustin a chance to brush up on the skiing skills. My boots wouldn’t let me join in on the fun of sliding down the trail. This is probably a good thing, but at the moment I felt like I was missing out. Getting back to the car was a bit of a let down; we’re so ready for the sun on our face and nights in our tent.
Check another thing off the bucket list…