Sunday, July 20, 2008

Moose Tracks

This weekend I went on a short backpacking trip. I met up with “Flat Feet” at Monarch Lake, which is just south of Rocky Mountain National Park on the western side of the divide. “Flat Feet” is finishing up his hike of the Continental Divide Trail. He attempted a thru-hike last year, but he got to Colorado too late in the year. Winter had arrived. So he had to skip ahead to Grants, New Mexico. This year he is finishing up the sections that he missed. “Flat Feet” is not your average hiker. He has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. Not a bad hiking resume if I do say so myself. I got to hike with “Flat Feet” south on the Continental Divide Trail from Monarch Lake for about 11.5 miles. We camped along Hamilton Creek. The next day I had to turn around and hike back to my car while “Flat Feet” kept hiking towards New Mexico. The hike was pretty easy. It was good for strengthening my knee as well helping “Flat Feet” acclimatize to the altitude. We only got to an elevation that was a little over 10,000 feet. “Flat Feet” has got some tough terrain ahead of him. It was a fun trip for me. It felt good to get the backpack on again. Here are some pictures.

Flat Feet along the CDT

Me along the CDT

Me and Flat Feet at our camp.

The makers of Moose Tracks

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Life And How To Live It

I had a busy day on Sunday. I got up early and drove to Summit Lake, which is just below Mt. Evans. From Summit Lake I hike hiked up Mt. Spalding, which has an elevation of 13,842 feet. However, the elevation of Summit Lake is 12,830 feet. So the elevation gain wasn’t that bad. Most of the elevation was gained within a mile. It was a good altitude workout, which was what I wanted. I didn’t want to stress out my knee too much, but I needed to breathe in some thin air. I was quite tempted to hike up Mt. Evans from Mt. Spalding. But I purposely did this hike on Sunday because I had somewhere I had to be in the afternoon. I didn’t want to hurt myself by trying too much too soon again. I knew my plans would keep me from doing too much. Anyway, here are some pictures.

Me on top of Mt. Spalding

Looking towards Guanella Pass. The bowl on the mtn. on the left is where the lakes that I hiked to last weekend are.

Me on Mt. Spalding with Mt. Evans behind me.


Looking down on the Chicago Lakes. (That is not the trail)

After the hike, I went home and cleaned up. Then I went to the women’s soccer game between US and Brazil. The game was ok. The US won 1-0 on a goal set-up by a defensive goof-up by Brazil. The weather was hot. I was thankful that I was smart enough to get my tickets in a shady spot. It was still quite warm in the shade. The players looked quite spent by games end dealing with the heat and the altitude.

The starting line-ups

So I hiked a 13er in the morning and went to a soccer game in the afternoon. Any wonder why I like living here.



Sunday, July 06, 2008

Steadier Footing

I didn't do that much hiking this weekend. Last weekend was a little rough on my knee. I didn't want to press my luck this weekend. With it being a holiday weekend, it was going to be extremely crowded in the mountains. I did get out Friday morning before it got too crowded. I drove up to Guanella Pass, which is at an elevation of 11,669 feet. I think it only took an hour and fifteen minutes to get there. Naturally being that close to Denver, it is a popular trailhead. It is the trailhead for Mt. Bierstadt, which is a 14er. Mt. Evans can also be climbed from here. I didn't do either. I went in the opposite direction to Square Top Lakes. It is a five and half mile round trip hike that is all above tree line. The elevation of the upper lake was only around 12,170 feet. So the elevation gain wasn't bad. The trail was also on the south facing slopes, which meant there would not be much in the way of snow. It was basically the type of hike my knee needed. The scenery wasn't too bad either. Here are the pics.

Flowers along the trail near Guanella Pass

Me at the upper lake of the Square Top Lakes

Me again at the upper lake

Small unnamed lake along the trail. L-R: Mt. Spalding, Mt. Evans, & Mt. Bierstadt.

More flowers along the trail

Looking north from Guanella Pass