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A few of us hiked up Square Top Mountain mid-August, just in time before my friend Liz headed to work at Antarctica for six months. The mountain she picked topped out at at 13,794 feet and it was great because we were the first group to summit, where we experienced serenity and beauty.

This was the view after parking and camping off of Guanella Pass Road. It seemed like it was going to be a beautiful evening...

The evening started with a surprise, Liz brought a bottle of champagne and some yummy munchies - cheese, crackers, salami, and pepperoni. What more does a girl need? We fueled up, got to know each other some more, and I noticed the sky was becoming black quickly! A small rumble of thunder confirmed a storm rolling through. I meant to pack Ariana's smaller tent, but I picked mine - a 3 person Marmot. It turned out to be a good thing, because we had three gals and Buddy the dog packed it as it rained. It also hailed for a few moments - the size of marbles!

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After a good night sleep, we awoke to a 5 am start time. Those who know me, realize I'm not a morning person. Night-time and working late comes natural to me. However, this was for a good cause: to summit my first peak! We got some coffee and oatmeal and we drove up the road to Guanella Pass. I believe our official start time was 6:30 am and with a few breaks, our finish time was 12 pm. The summit is about 2400 vertical feet with beautiful scenery.

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The pups were ready, but I was still trying to wake up.

It looked like it was going to clear up...

However, the ominous clouds were rolling in!

It was sunny at this point.

See those clouds? We are heading up there!

Oh the flowers! They were beautiful and plentiful.

A quick break before we really started to go up.

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High alpine lakes although it was a bit chilly to take a dip. Guanella Pass Road is off to the right.

The dogs had so much fun! They ran, and ran, and ran...

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Someone found a treat!

It was a steep pitch to a false summit.

We took a quick break so I can get some chocolate love!

The summit off to the right! Almost there...

So excited to summit my first mountain in Colorado.

It was beautiful, quiet, and serene.

Liz got a shot of the group!

We got a little sprinkled on going down, but it was more like a mist.

The steep down. My right knee was reminding me I'm not a spring chicken anymore.

Buddy loved carrying his pack! It had two 32 oz. camelbak bladders (one in each side), a dog bowl, and some treats. I put his two booties on for the return trip because of all the rocks.

Down low the dogs enjoying the cool water. They were pretty done at this point!

Ahhhh.....the first beer after exercise is fantastic! Especially an IPA. Thanks Liz and friends for taking me out! Lets do it again...


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