By Ashley Prill
Epic Morning. Those two words have become favorites of mine this summer. Each and every morning on Good Morning Vail, we are charged with bringing our viewers along for an adventure. The definition of “epic” is left entirely up to us. It could be a hike or a bike ride, a relaxing spa day, fly fishing, garage sale shopping, disc golfing or anything in between.
I happen to have an insatiable love of hiking. It started over a decade ago when I first moved to Colorado from Florida. Since then it’s become my favorite way to de-stress, soak in nature and to spend quality time with my loved ones.
Often times, the hikes I adore most begin long before the sun comes up. There’s some magic in putting on a headlamp and heading off into the wilderness while the rest of the world is still sleeping. Last weekend I did just that, along with two of my best friends.
We set off on the trail at 5 a.m. sharp with the goal of reaching the top of Peak One in Frisco before Good Morning Vail ended at 9 a.m. We knew it was an ambitious goal considering the length and rating of the hike. According to my hiking guide (“The Summit Hiker and Ski Touring Guide” by Mary Ellen Gilliland) the trek could take over 5 hours round trip with about 3,000 feet of elevation gain. In order to broadcast live on the trail, I was carrying at least 40 pounds of gear with me. By the time the show started at 7 a.m. we were about two miles in, somewhere around 11,000 feet. Not only were the views breathtaking, but the rapid elevation gain also had my heart pumping and I had definitely worked up quite a sweat.
Over the next two hours we worked our way above tree line with Good Morning Vail viewers in tow. Peak One is really comprised of 3 separate peaks. Mt. Royal is the first one at 10,502 feet, then Mt. Victoria at 11, 785 feet, and finally Peak One at 12, 805 feet. In addition, there are technically three summits between Mt. Victoria and the top of Peak One.
With the gear I was packing I had to scramble in order to make it to the top, using both my hands and feet to pull myself up the last quarter of the mountain. I would definitely recommend traveling lighter! We didn’t quite make it to our goal of Peak One by 9 a.m. but we certainly got close, reaching the summit of Peak One about 45 minutes after Good Morning Vail ended.
The views from the summit were worth every ounce of sweat to reach it. Lake Dillon, the Continental Divide, North Ten Mile Canyon, Buffalo Mountain and even Mount of the Holy Cross were right at our fingertips. Absolutely my definition of an “Epic Morning”!
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