Justin and Travis, two great friends,
more like brothers, came up for a mountain binge. I will just write
briefly about 'our' experiences. They can tell you about their own
Our first outing together was up
a beautiful Elephant of a mountain, Mount Lady Washington. This
mountain stands at 13,281 feet. While this may seem high, it is
in the dominate shadow of its neighbor, Longs Peak (14,259 ft).
We started early to avoid the typical lightning storms that overcome
the high alpine Tundra in the early afternoon, leaving hikers/climbers
in a scary situation.
It was a beautiful sunrise, and a
good drive to the trailhead. We hiked up past Alpine Brook, crossed
it a couple of times, managed the switchbacks, and made it to the
Heaven of the Mountains, the Alpine Tundra. There were already some
large areas covered with this summers crop of wildflowers. We pushed
on past Jims Grove, to the Chasm Lake trail junction. From there
we ate a quick snack and hit the east slope of Lady Washington,
and began the ascent.
To this point, the only troubling
factor was the wind. It was at least 35 or 40 mph. Not only was
it a biting, cold wind, it was strong enough to knock you over,
or at least get you pretty off balance while hopping between boulders.
It was a fairly uneventful scramble
to the top. Besides a few unstable rocks, a few snow fields and
a few breaks to catch our breath, it was nothing more than a boulder
leaping stint up the broad slope to the summit. The views from the
top made the shortness of breath, and the burning thighs, immediately
worth the trouble. The views of the Diamond (East Face of Longs)
We signed the register, took some
pictures, did some jumps, ran some laps, ate some snacks, did some
jooping, and made some entertaining short films, before we began
the knee eating task of heading back down the boulder-ridden slope.
The hike back was pretty boring as
far as the hiking goes. We met a Brazilian, dreamed of eating soft
batch cookies, and talked about the pleasures, or non-pleasures,
of intestinal gas, but that was about it. Well, we did corner a
Marmot. That was funny.
All in all, it was a great hike.
My first successful summit of Lady Washington, and Justin and Travis'
first thirteener. We had planned to do Hallett Peak the next day,
but Justin and Travis had found a roundabout way to the top of Flattop
the day before, so we opted for some different scenery.
We headed into Glacier Gorge and
Loch Vale that next morning. We followed Glacier Creek to Alberta
Falls, then followed the creek through the dense forest, criss crossing
over impossible leaps, which would take you to the bowels of death
if you failed, and up the steep snow slopes along the small canyon
on the way the The Loch.
This might have been more fun than
the Lady Washington hike, simply because of the extroverted explorer
in each of us, that doesn't like to sit idly by.
Finally taking the plunge into the
frigid river water is a very liberating experience. It opens you
up to so many possibilities, such as playing frogger on fallen timber
across a lake. I'd have to say that Travis is the winner here. Simply
amazing. I was awarded no points, and they are both now dumber from
watching my attempt.
At about this time, while Justin
and Travis were standing on an exposed outcropping about 20 feet
off of the ground (the snow dive platform), lightning began to strike
not too far away. The Hail began to fall and the sprint to the finish
was on. Of course, I was left in the dust, or I guess I should say
mud. We ran the last two miles or so to the trail head, trying to
stay out of the lightning's way. At this, I WAS successful. I didn't
get struck. Which is a good thing, if you don't like lightning.
The truck was a welcome sight, and welcome shelter from the storm.
A few games of Poker, a couple of
beers, and an abundance of good times later, the trip had to come
to an end. They went on a few other hikes while I was working, and
spent a good day in town before they left.
Needless to say, we all had a great
time, and were sorry to see the 'vacation' come to an end.