Quandary Peak, Colorado

This past weekend was my 25th birthday and my first birthday here in Colorado. Matt and I woke up bright and early and drove into the mountains to begin ascending Quandary Peak, a 14,000 foot mountain in the Rocky Mountains, and the highest summit of the Ten Mile Range.

We just moved out to Colorado a couple of months ago and we fell in love with exploring the mountains. We know that hiking a fourteener is not an easy feat but we were feeling adventurous and wanted to give it a shot.

When we reached the east ridge trailhead, it was completely covered in new snow - not much had been packed down by other hikers but we continued on and started our climb. There were several other hikers that we passed along the way, some of them made it to the summit and some of them turned around due to ice and snow.

The weather was overcast, a few moments of sunlight but mostly cloudy with snow and strong wind. There were several other hikers using the trail so we were able to follow the path up fairly easily. The unpacked snow was about 3 feet deep, maybe more in some parts, so stepping a little bit off the trail meant that your entire leg went underneath the snow. We tried following the footsteps of a hiker in front of us but within seconds, wind would blow any signs of footsteps away.

At some parts, the trail becomes very steep and exposed. Above the treeline, the trail hugs a steep slope that I thought I would slip and probably fall straight down the side of but we stayed strong, steady, and slow.

We made it to 13,000 feet and decided to turn back due to our lack of boots with MICROspikes (and pretty much every other piece of important gear) which I think were necessary to make it to the top. The summit looked so close but we knew that the conditions another 1,000 feet up could be worse and that we were not fully prepared for the climb.

Regardless that we turned around at 13,000 feet, we felt like true mountaineers and we can't wait to go back and attempt it again this summer! Here are a couple of photos I snapped of our climb:

Autumn Aspens

I've been dreaming of the yellow aspens for weeks and Matt and I finally had the time to hike through them a few weeks ago. Most of the leaves were beginning to fall already but there were a few vibrant ones that inspired me to work on this painting last Sunday. I picked up a leaf of vibrant yellow from the ground to match my paint colors and took a deep breath of the clean mountain air to remember the refreshing atmosphere as I paint. I spent a few hours on this two Sundays ago and then just finished it up most of last Sunday. Here is what I came up with:

Yellow Aspens by Stephanie Cafasso
Acrylic on canvas



The past few days have been crazy and quiet, stormy yet calm. I think we've finally locked in our new apartment, which is actually a townhouse. We really wanted a house but this will have to do for the time being since we're cutting it so close to our lease ending here. The days have been pretty mellow other than that and, because of that, you get visuals instead of words.