Stop 1: Rocky Mountain National Park
We set off from Newark, Delaware at about 9 in the morning. The next day at around 2 pm we were pulling into the campsite we reserved at Rocky Mountain National Park. We drove for about 30 hours only stopping for food and restrooms. This would be one of the few times where Erika's schedule would align with mine and we would have significant time off together. We decided that we certainly did not want to spend that time anywhere between Delaware and Colorado. Probably the most notable thing on our ride was the 4 hour driving rainstorm we drove through in Missouri. Well after our arrival we decided to take a nap and unwind from the ride. We woke up, cooked dinner, and then settled in for a goods night sleep before the adventures began.
We awoke with what would we thought would be a fairly straightforward first hike, Flattop mountain. We planned on hiking from the summit of Flattop across the ridge and descending back via Andrew's Glacier. On the drive we were treated to some beautiful views of Long's Peak.
Longs peak in the morning.
Longs peak in the morning.
Our hike started off well and before we knew it we were well above the treeline enjoying some spectacular views.
As we continued though I began feeling much
more out of breath than I usually feel on hikes. My stomach also began feeling a little queasy. Erika felt fine so we continued slowly to the summit. I laid down for a break and began to feel a little better.
Since I was not feeling too well we decided not to continue along and to return the way we had came. This turned out to be a good decision because on the way down altitude got the best of Erika as well and she began feeling pretty ill.
Although we had badly underestimated the power of thin air, we were still enjoyed ourselves at Rocky Mountain National Park. We camped another night and then headed on to Boulder to stay with friends. After resting up it was on to California!
California began with Erika's family in Lake Tahoe. We spent several days in Lake Tahoe kayaking, relaxing, and just taking in the beauty. We did manage to sneak in a hike up Mt. Tallac, which provided us beautiful views of Lake Tahoe.
Sun rising from half dome.
Erika descending the cables.
After spending July 4th in Lake Tahoe it was on to the High Sierra Music Festival for some music before heading to Yosemite for some more hiking. We were determined to hike half dome but also determined to avoid the crowds so we devised a plan! The plan was to begin our hike at midnight so that we would arrive at the cables around sunrise. Our friend Corrinne drove up from Flagstaff to meet us for this hike. All went according to plan and we had the cables and summit to ourselves. We were treated to some spectacular views as the sun rose.
Erika and Corrinne as we approached the cables.
Erika about to descend the cables.
Erika heading up.
The hike down was uneventful and we returned to the car. We decided this would be a good time to stay in our first hotel of the trip, so we continued on to Bridgeport where we rented a room for the night. After resting up from the hike we decided it was time to locate some hot springs. After some investigation we heard of the "Buckeye" hot springs which were located somewhere near Twin Lakes. These turned out to be be such a good place to relax that we decided to camp on some open space within walking distance of them. After a day/night relaxing on the hot springs we decided it was time to get back to some hiking. After a little research and a little talking with some locals we decided Matterhorn Peak would be a good objective. Little did we know this backpacking trip would mark a significant turning point in our road trip!
We arrived at the private campground assuming there would be bear lockers. They did not have any and we had a significant amount of food in the car. We decided to chance it and leave the food in the car (bad decision).
We set off from the private campground at the tip of Twin Lakes planning on climbing the Class 2 slopes on the backside of the peak. The hike into the valley below Matterhorn peak was scenic and enjoyable.
Just as we were getting our first glimpes of Matterhorn Peak we decided to set a camp and cook dinner. After a fine meal of pesto pasta we decided to call it a night and rest up for a big day to come.
Erika looking into Yosemite.
We arose early and after a quick breakfast made our away around and found some beautiful views awaiting us looking towards Yosemite.
Summit of Matterhorn
Leaning the summit of Matterhorn.
We slogged up to the top and hit the summit around 10:30 am.
After enjoying some lunch on the summit we headed back and broke down our camp. We decided to hike out that day since it was early and return to the hot springs for a night of relaxing. Our conversation on the way down went something like this.
Erika: "I can't wait to get back, get some grilled cheese, french fries, and soda, and then relax in the hot springs".
Me: "Me too! That sounds so awesome"
We were about a mile from the trailhead when we encountered some young folks hiking the opposite direction. One of the hikers noticed my University of Delaware shirt.
"Hey, are you from Delaware?". "Yeah I'm from Delaware".
"Oh, well I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is a car with Delaware license plates in the parking lot that got ripped apart by a bear and like everything inside was shredded and he ripped your door off".
"Yeah right, that's a funny joke".
"No man, I'm not kidding, it's like totally destroyed.".
So Erika and I continue hiking and the news begins to sink in. We are 3,000 miles from home and a Bear destroyed the car. What next? Well we returned to the parking lot and found that the hiker was correct, a bear had ripped our door off and shredded everything in the car. Luckily Erika had comprehensive insurance and they actually cover bear attacks under "vandilism". So we got in the car and decided to head to Reno, Nevada where Erika's aunt lives to fix things up.
After a week in Reno, several trips to the junkyard and autobody shop, Erika's car was as as good as new....well kind of.
Lewis Lake and Black Peak
After a week in Reno we decided that we were going to cut out our planned camping on the Oregon coast and headed up to Seattle to stay with friends.
After an enjoyable stay in Seattle we decided that another backpacking/climbing trip was in order. We settled on Black Peak because it was doable in a weekend and seemed to offer a challenging climb for us and an opportunity to use our cramp-ons and ice axes. After a night of car camping and some sight seeing in the park we set off on our newest journey.
After passing the beautiful Lewis lake we headed on towards our camping destination of Wing Lake.
Bottom of the Snowfields.
After some stove malfunctioning and a granola bar dinner it was time for bed. This turned out to be one of the wettest nights I've ever spent in a tent. We probably got about 3 good hours of sleep and weren't sure if we were going to attempt the climb the next day. We woke up at about 5:00 am soaked and hungry. Without the working stove it was another granola bar/peanut butter meal. We decided since we were there, we may as well give the peak a shot.
We hiked around Wing Lake and arrived at the base of the snowfields. We strapped on the cramp-ons and set off.
Nearing the summit.
After a break at the top of the snowfield to take off cramp-ons and have a snack it was off to the summit!
Just about there!
Near the summit.
Near the summit.
Our approximate route
[img:471993:aligncenter:medium:Our approximate route]
After hiking out and breaking down camp it was off to an Italian restaurant for manicotti and garlic bread and a stay in a local hotel. We continued our trip through the Canadian Rockies and back through Glacier National Park. Eventually we returned to the East Coast and resumed our normal lives. That's it for now, if you made it this far thanks for reading!