Check out my website for a complete set of the photos I took during the trip: www.leachfam.com.
05:05—Leave Ault (a little rural town east of Fort Collins).
07:10—Get to Emmaline Lake Trailhead, get my stuff together, and hit the trail. My car says it’s 39o outside. I think it probably never got any warmer than this during the entire day. I got a little behind schedule trying to find an open gas station in Ft. Collins. I was planning to hit the one on the corner of Harmony and Taft Hill, but it was closed. I had to double back to the one on the corner of Harmony and College.
07:50—Arrive at the junction of Mummy Pass Trail and Emmaline Lake Trail. This first section of the trail climbs very gently so you can make really good time. Mummy Pass Trail climbs more seriously so my pace slows a little as I continue on.
09:40—I make it to the top of Mummy Pass. As I neared the top of the pass I made a couple of clothing adjustment. As the wind began to kick up I realized I wasn't going to be warm enough so I put on my long underwear, some fingerless gloves, and my stocking cap and changed from my light-weight convertible pants to some heavier Gortex pants. I hiked this way for another 15 minutes and then realized that this wasn't going to be enough either, because the wind was absolutely howling. I put on a wool balaclava under my stocking cap, my Gortex jacket, and my heavy winter gloves. I would only need the heavy winter gloves for about a half hour, but I would need the rest of my gear to stay warm until I returned to Mummy Pass several hours later.
10:40—I make it to the middle of the valley separating Mummy Pass and Icefield Pass. To get over to Icefield Pass you have to descend inot a valley and then climb the other side. I wanted to minimize the amount of elevation loss so after coming over the crest of Mummy Pass I followed the trail downhill. A couple of hundred yards past beautiful little lake I decided it was time to drop into the valley. The valley has small rolling hills, a nice frozen stream, and a couple of little ponds. This portion of the hike was really pretty.
11:10—I make it to Icefield Pass. I'm starting to not feel so good. I'm getting tired and I've got the beginnings of a headache. The large ice field is pretty impressive and I have to cross a small section of it at the bottom of the slope. The ice is really slick and I have to be extremely careful.
12:50—I reach the saddle between the unnamed peak and the summit of Rowe Peak. From this vantage point I can see Hagues Peak, a little of Rowe Glacier and the true summit of Rowe Peak is obvious. My little headache has turned into full-blown altitude sickness and I have a severe headache and am experiencing nausea. The summit is so close though that I grit my teeth and push on.
13:10—I finally make it to the summit. The view of Hagues Peak, Rowe Glacier, and the ridge that connect Hagues Peak and Rowe Peak are impressive. Looking at the map, I thought I could easily bag Hagues Peak along with Rowe Peak, but I now realize that was a naive assumption. The connecting ridge is very rugged—far beyond someone of my minimal skill and experience. However, it looks like it might be really fun for someone with the necessary skills. If I wanted to bag Hagues I’d have to climb down and around the east end of Rowe Glacier and then up the class 2 slope to the summit of Hagues Peak. If it had been noon and I had been feeling great I might have done it. However it’s much later and I feel like crap so the thought only briefly crosses my mind. Instead I opt for nap.
13:35—I leave the summit. That nap felt really good. I probably would have stayed longer, but the way I had been laying had put my right leg and right arm to sleep. I promise myself that if I need it, I can take another nap when I get down to Icefield Pass.
14:40—I make it back down to Icefield Pass. This time I walk past the east side of the pass and look down towards Lake Louise. The view is impressive and there is another significant ice field on this side of the pass. I'm feeling a little better, so I decide to forgo the nap. Instead I'll take regular rests for the remainder of the hike.
16:30—I make it back to the top of Mummy Pass. I’ve been taking my time and resting regularly to nurse my headache.
16:45—The sun sets on me because I'm in the shadow of Mummy Pass. I wouldn't really see the sun for the remainder of the hike. I'm also sheltered from the wind down here (actually I'm near where I had to put on all my cloths before) so I take off my jacket and balaclava.
18:15—I make it the junction of Mummy Pass Trail and Emmaline Lake Trail. I’ve only got a little way to go now and am motivated to get it over with.
19:00—I make it back to the car. During the last ten minutes of the hike it really started to get dark. If I’d been out any later I would have had to whip out my headlamp. My car says it is 35o outside.
20:45—I make it back to Ault. I’m absolutely exhausted and barely have enough energy to shower and eat before hitting the sack.
"Never! Never, Marge! I can't live the button-down life like you. I want it all: the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles. Sure, I might offend a few of the bluenoses with my cocky stride and musky odors - oh, I'll never be the darling of the so-called city fathers, who cluck their tongues, stroke their beards, and talk about what's to be done with this Homer Simpson?!"