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So , last week was the anniversary of my arrival in Denver two full years ago. TWO YEARS. What a significant amount of time! I mean, as you age each year becomes a smaller and smaller chunk of your overall life, so in comparison time seems to move faster, but STILL. How has it been two full years since I moved out of Nashville?

So much has happened since I came out here, it’s impossible to recall everything. Pretty much, things are just awesome no matter which way I turn, although I’m not without my fair share of hissy fits and down days, that’s for sure. But seriously, there’s no reason for bad feelings when things are this. good. One day my boss is praising me for a job well done (seriously? Best boss ever?), the next I’m dancing under a full moon with a crew of fun loving friends at Red Rocks, and then I’m mountain biking under a rainbow at sunset. It’s the best.

To celebrate my anniversary in this incredible city, I sought to accomplish something SO very Colorado – hike a 14er. This is one of the most popular activities to tackle out here, something that is distinctly challenging but very doable for the athletic folks who overwhelm the area. Since it’s close and not too hard, I chose to climb Grays Peak as my first 14,000 summit.

At 4:45 Saturday morning, I woke up and headed for the hills along with maybe 300 of my closest friends. We actually walked in a single file line up the initial ascent of the 3.5 mile climb because it was so incredibly crowded.

Truth be told, it was potentially one of the least scenic hikes I’ve done all summer. Sky Pond, Medicine Bow Peak, and the Meyers Homestead Trail have all been far more gorgeous, with streams and aspen groves and wildlife. Grays Peak earned its name – it was gray and rocky the whole way up, exposed and above the treeline. It was the hardest hike I’ve done all summer, without question, and my legs are still in pain from hiking straight up and straight down for 7 miles. I couldn’t breathe, and I live at altitude!

But here’s the thing: when you’re 14,000 feet in the air, you are on top of the world. Quite literally. And it is breathtaking no matter how winded you might already be.

Touching the sky.

Touching the sky.

The panorama of the earth stretches as far into the horizon as you’ve ever seen before on your own two feet. It’s the absolute best reward for a job well done.

AIrplanes don't count.

Gorgeous mountain ridge.

You can see Breck if you look closely.

See the peaks way far away?

While I can’t say I’m eager to do another 14er with all the crowds and the wake up calls and how I can barely walk right now, I am proud of myself for knocking a major To-Do off my Colorado list. It was an incredible way to celebrate two years of adventuring and exploring and generally loving life in this amazing state. I’m so happy to be here and so grateful to have such amazing adventures in my backyard. Living in Colorado is everything I ever hoped it would be, and more.