I spend most of my recreational time on two wheels, so when the off-season rolls around, I like to spend time off the bike doing other things I love… like hiking. My dad has always loved hiking. When I was a kid, I didn’t like hiking quite so much… mostly because he is a hard ass and would drag us up the side of the mountain, sometimes NOT on a real trail on death marches! He also used to drag me out of bed when I was 12 at 6 AM to go running, and then drop me b/c I couldn’t keep up. I would get so frustrated, now I’m glad he made me harden the eff up.
Anyway, that was a little bit off topic, but back to hiking. I started to love hiking again about 6 years ago, so I got over the pain and suffering I endured (hehe) as a kid. Jeff and I headed West of Fort Collins near Pingree Park and set up camp (car camping) at 9,000′. It got so cold the first night that the water in our water jugs froze. Woops!
We did two 10 mile hikes.
The first day, we strapped on our boots and stepped onto the trail to Mummy Pass, topping out near 11,400′. The trail turned to snow around 10,000′ and suddenly the footprints in the snow stopped.
Some spots were thigh deep… and some spots were deeper than that! Once we got well above the trees on the frozen, wind-blown tundra, the snow was less prominent.
Jeff got the pleasure of breaking new trail. The snow got deeper, and deeper.
We ventured about half a mile into Rocky Mountain National Park.
Lunch? Almond butter and Agave sandwiches. I wish I brought the hot chocolate!
Heading back to base camp to cook some dinner.
Day 2 was a hike to Stormy Pass. I wondered why it was called “stormy.” The weather wasn’t as nice and the wind was howling at the trailhead.
After about 3 miles, we entered Rocky Mountain National Park.
The snow wasn’t quite as bad on this trail, but it definitely was there at 10,000′. As we got above treeline, the wind was raging around 50 mph. It would force me in one direction and I was glad I wasn’t on the bike. As we got to the summit, there was blowing snow.
Coming up through the valley. Brrr!
and now I know why it says Stormy Pass… blowing snow!
Chilling at a spot out of the wind. The hardest thing about hiking for me was not that my legs got tired. It was that the balls of my feet hurt sooo bad! I think I need some softer insoles or something.
And then it was back down… and I wished I had my bike to get down.
What a great weekend!!!
I am not too sore today… mostly just my hip flexors, which is what gets sore from those first couple of runs. A couple more weeks and I can do these things, ache and pain free. I’m looking forward to getting back to doing long winter trail runs around Boulder County, but it’ll be a little while before I build back up to that point!