Having run races for 3 consecutive weekends, was very much looking forward to hiking again.

Signed up for a Saturday meetup hike in RMNP – hiking not just one mountain, but 2!  Per protrails.com, this hike rated strenuous because of its almost 3,000 ft elevation gain. YES!

Running on little sleep (late night at the Rockies game), quickly pulled together hiking gear & supplies (poles, crampons, water, light snacks) for today’s day hike.  Barreled north to Estes for a 7am group meetup.  Took the opportunity to buy my RMNP annual pass at the Fall River entrance – unfortunately, I should have entered at Beaver Meadows.  The extra 20 minutes needed to reach Bear Lake Trailhead from Fall River meant I missed my group.  Argh.

No worries, I’m strong.  All geared up, I’ll catch them on the trail.  Hit snow early on.  Post-holing in lower elevation slowed my pace so decided to hike straight UP & intercept them on the trail to Flattop Mountain – the first of two peaks attempted this day.  Crampons on, poles steadying my climb – snow & boulders ahead.  Slow hard work but eventually made my way UP.  Looked high-and-low for signs of human life, having been isolated for an hour & not wanting to find myself food for bear.

Spotted 2 hikers, trekked across a snow field & glacier & asked if they were part of my meetup team.  Nope – but Ft Collins hikers, Cammy & Erik said I could tag along.  Wildlife biologist & a geologist – dream jobs, right?  Snapped a few shots and snow scrambled the remainder up Flattop.  12,000+ ft, beautiful panorama.  Exactly what I needed to re-energize & refocus.  That said, my most unimpressive summit to date – completely flat for the length of a football field.  Kinda odd so high up.

Cammy pointed to Hallett Peak & once again led the way.  Supposedly only another 400ft but all straight UP.  Was it worth it?  Heck, yeah.  Located smack on the Continental Divide – now this is the kinda peak I’m used to climbing.  AND as luck would have it, my meetup group had also summited & were snapping group pics.  Introduced myself & down we all travelled together…along with Cammy & Erik.  Pelted with ice shards on the hike return (ouch), then watched marmots sunbathing on the rocks below.

Shower, sleep — ‘long run’ day tomorrow.  I’m a beast!


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