Archive for October, 2009

Twin Sisters

I had no idea when I started driving towards Rocky Mountain National Park where I would go hiking.  I actually thought about doing an easy hike and then coming back the next day for a more challenging hike.  I reached the Lake Lilly area and saw a parking area so I parked and chatted with a ranger.  The Twin Sisters peak across the highway  grabbed my attention so I decided to just go for it.

The trail leading to the top actually goes through portions of Rocky Mountain National Park and Roosevelt National Forest. I was dressed in shorts and a sweatshirt but packed a jacket and jogging pants along with  several bottles of water and some energy bars.  The trail is very gradual for a good portion which allowed me to savor my first snow in many months and the wonderful views of Long’s Peak.

The further along I went the more the elevation was getting to me but there was no turning back.  I was determined not to repeat the Humphries Peak experience of 2001.  At some point the wind just became overwhelming, almost making it hard to breathe and I realized I needed to put those longer pants on, which I did in the middle of the trail.

The last leg of the trail took the longest.  I was walking very slowly and was stopping to catch my breath every few minutes or so. When I reached the top, I basically laid down on the rocky surface.  That didn’t last long because the wind was very cold and i decided to make my way back towards more temperate conditions.

It was about a 3 hour hike up and a 2 hour hike down.  Hiking Mount Salinas the previous day was probably the most difficult hike I’ve done to date.  Certainly this hike beats that one hands down as being more challenging.  I always knew that I was capable of doing such hikes, but not living near the mountains never had the chance to prove it.  Now when I hike in less challenging conditions I won’t have the same satisfaction.  It’s like being a junkie!

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Boulder Open Space

I arrived in Boulder, Colorado the evening of the 13th and the next morning I went hiking in the Boulder Open Space area.  I hiked the Red Rocks and Mount Sanitas trails.  The weather started out on the chilly but that seemed to keep the other hikers away.  I had the place to myself while I was traversing the Red Rocks area.

Then when I moved over to the Mount Sanitas trail the sun came out and the people were everywhere.  Young, middle age and old alike were about. Everyone seemed to be handling the higher elevation with ease.   I on the other hand was panting and taking short breaks along the way, clearly not acclimated to the elevation.

The elevation of Sanitas was around 6800 feet.  By the time I reached the top and started heading down I was feeling good and felt the “suffering” was worth it.  But once I reached the end I went for the car.  I considered taking another trail, but I thought it was best to end on a good note and save something for the next day.