Monthly Archives: March 2012

Hard-headed and stubborn, I returned to Mount Evans this week — we left last week with unfinished business.  Already knew the road was closed (no surprise this go-around), so we started out earlier and hit the trail hard (fast pace) — 14 miles to Mount Evans!

This year’s hike challenge was UNIQUE, DIFFERENT hikes, so today’s journey didn’t technically ‘count’ until after mile marker 5. Less ice on Echo Lake this Saturday but the wind was still there — almost 4 miles of headwind.

Started to mentally tire from snow bank climbs, constant wind, and lack of human interaction (totally ALONE on this hike, no humans). Took pics of mile markers 7, 8 and 9 — the snow deepening with each mile upward.  Beautiful vistas, quiet serene landscape, so very peaceful — but were we actually getting any closer?

Soon after mile 9 we started to descend into a plateau and I saw it — Summit Lake!  Ok, we now have a goal — my spirit renewed. Another 15 minutes, we settle upon Summit Lake — take pics, quick potty break (behind restroom closed for season 🙁 ) & then lunch.

I try to protein-up with beans (sometimes fish) but find I get a quicker lift on high altitude climbs with meat.  Sorry veggie friends — I’m ‘almost’ there…I agree with the health benefits (literature) but need the ‘meat’ boost after longer distance (and almonds only go so far). Honestly, BEST tasting plain roast beef sandwich — great bread makes ALL the difference (Northern winter wheat) 🙂

Layered up, packed up, time to re-hit the trail and climb UP.  Went west of Summit Lake past Chicago Lakes scenic overlook — and BAM, snow…FEET of SNOW!  999 feet to go (to reach 14k feet) and fooled again — argh!   Stubborn or not, I know our limitations. With an ice axe, totally do-able (sunny day here) but not so much fun for Ro — and honestly, would have never hiked this far & this often without my bestie.  Stayed true to Ro, reflected on the beauty of the climb, and our massive 9 mile one-way hike.

Ro helped shake my ‘dog love fest’ moment when he sped away off-leash after a ptarmigan (snow chicken).  A 20 minute chase later, re-leashed, we headed home.

Waiting ’til June before another 14er attempt – it’s gonna happen, just a matter of time..

 

Highest Lakes in USA (Summit Lake #13)

 

Last time we had a Flatlander visitor, Ro & I were inspired to finally leave Boulder County.

2nd visit, time for a 14er…or at least an attempt.  Mount Evans is close to Denver (within 45 minutes), so assumed this 14er a good place to start.  The closer to metro Denver, trails seem to be better marked, bit less wilderness, and littered with other folk also out hiking (not looking for chit-chat, just company in the event of unforeseen trouble).

After an easy drive on a sunny day, we arrived — at the Mt Evans road closure, yeah closure 🙁

9 miles to Summit Lake, 14 miles to Mount Evans.  Come on, pick up the pace — lotta miles ahead of us!

Beautiful lodgepole pines lined our route UP.  Unfortunately with each passing [mile] marker, New Hampshire-based Stephen was wilting — to our high altitude.  The guy’s a cancer survivor but 10,000ft+ elevation was just too much required [climate] acclimation.  After 3 1/2 miles, winter winds began to blow hard — no longer any resistance/barriers from the landscape (treeline almost now gone).  At 4 miles, I shot pics of Echo Lake — frozen, quiet, winter pristine.

Just short of 5 miles, I spotted a rock enclosure just right of our present path.  I yelled encouragement to Stephen that we would be stopping for lunch — the rock wall providing a much needed break from the constant wind.

Bean burrito and sandwich nourishment helped clear my thought process.  Almost 5 miles in, meant almost 5 miles back — with an East Coast mate suffering altitude sickness.  Time to head back!  Our first 14er would have to wait another day.

On THIS day we took in snow, lodgepole pines, multi-coloured tundra, Echo Lake and lunch above 10,000 ft.

Couldn’t be happier to show off my Colorado life to others!   BEST DAY!

 

 

Recommended highly by a co-worker, was looking forward to our hike in Lyons — was not disappointed.

Lyons is north of Boulder on the road to Estes Park & Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park.  Two trails at Button Rock — friendly pedestrian walk to Dam release or Sleepy Lion which traverses UP.  Yep, Sleepy Lion for us!

No real snow to speak of (except residual snowdrift monoliths) but being early March, still found it difficult locating/staying on trail because of winter season underbrush.  Hiking alone and early in season (ALONE – no other humans), I focus on staying safe, staying on trail — at least it crosses my mind 🙂  Unfortunately. this time we lost the scent so traveled UP for a better look OVER the forest.

Located a river and road far below — but would mean free-climbing with Ro on my back down a steep rock wall.  Took a last self-pic on my camera and began the climb down.  Ten feet or so near success, Ro squirms causing us to tumble the remaining distance (carry the scar of truth on my arm today :)).

Whew, so we’re down — now a river crossing in March.  C-O-L-D!  Used a dead pine to steady my crossing carrying Ro underarm.  Scurry up a ditch through more underbrush and pop up on a road of suburbanites — looking disheveled, bloody arm, no shoes — yeah, rocking a new look 🙂  I calmly ask — WHERE ARE WE?  Luckily less than half a mile from the Dam release (which was a super cool visual).

Climb the reservoir wall, hike halfway around Ralph Price [Reservoir] and start up another rock wall (Cook Mountain) with Ro on my back. What a crazy FUN day!  Allowed Rowan 20 minutes of off-leash play time where he learned to swim.  Step, step, PLUNGE, doggy paddle back to shore.  Ok, good enough for today!  LOL>

Except for the bloody arm, favourite hike to date — ok, top 3!   CRAZY FUN DAY!

 

protrails.com – Sleepy Lion Trail/Button Rock


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