getting to Colorado
I redid this trip report because the last one was lame as hell. So, I hope we enjoy this one more.
I just bought a new truck and was every eager to go on a road trip. I would say about a week before this trip I had to take it in to have the $@&$*&^ ENGINE REPLACED!!!! Luckly the dealer was able to do the work and get me the truck before we left. This will come back to haunt me later.
We got on the road from chicago and headed west. The group was my girlfriend Juana, a friend I've climbed with before Bruce, and me AL. The trip to Estes Park was uneventful with everyone taking turns driving. We arrived to the cabin we were borrowing from a friend in Allens Park around 2:00 am. After a little bit of cleaning and unpacking we made it to bed around 2:30 am. I was pretty tired along with everyone else and was happy to get to bed. I was a little worried about altitude. We were at 9000 feet coming from chicago at about 500-800 feet above sea level but, we slept ok. Juana had a cold so she didn't get much sleep, bruce said he slept a little, and I slept ok
our first goal
There was no running water so we filled our 8 gallon water jugs at a local spring and had our breakfast feeling a little better after a meal from the lack of sleep. Day light was burning so, one of our goals was to hike the to the twin sisters summit. We drove to the longs peak trail head first to get some info. on the keyhole route because I have never been on it. This turned out to be a good thing. We checked out the small model of longs at the ranger station and headed to the twin sisters trail head.
We started out on the trail up a little late in the day but, weather was to be good for the rest of the day as well as the next day. On this day we you couldn't get better weather and the trail was dry. We got so great views of Longs and Meeker about half way up. The aspens leafs were all lit up in a bright golden yellow which made for some great photos. The trail was easy going and we were heading up at a great pace with no problems. We started running into see people heading down saying the weather is great but, a bit windy at the top. After topping out at about 2:30 pm we had a quick lunch.
During our lunch we had a hungry marmot come visit us looking for a hand out. I guess people must feed them because this little guy or gal came up really close but, I guess we were mean because we didn't give him or her anything.
As the other hikers had said it was a bit windy 10-15 mph. Not bad knowing that it can be much windier than that. On the way down we had more photo opportunities and still great weather!! We made it back to the truck about an hour and a half later feeling like we a bit tired. Bruce had felt we did too much in a day to try for longs the next morning.
Bruce is a bit old and smarter than me. I thought it would be fine we all would make the summit with no problems. So, I young a not so smart.
we're going for it
I talked everyone into giving Longs a shoot in the morning. We had a big dinner of pasta and some Italian sausage with a few beers. We went to bed early around 7:00 pm to wake up at 2:00 am so we can be on the trail around 3:00 am. Juana was still not feeling well from her cold, bruce didn't sleep well, and I really didn't want get out of bed. After some sucking it up we all got out of bed and ate some breakfast, filled water bottles, and packed our lunches for the hike/climb. We got to the trail head at 3:00 am and on the trail shortly afterwards as planned. We asked about the weather the day before at the ranger station and hear it was to be sunny skies and no rain or snow. We had no way of checking that morning and couldn't find any up to date weather reports around the ranger station or the sign in book. So we kept our fingers crossed and headed up the trail at a steady pace stopping about every hour for a drink and something to eat.
Everyone was feeling great the goal was to make the boulder field by sun up or farther. The group was on track to make to boulder field by sun up. We made a quick stop at Granite Pass which was pretty windy around 20-25mph. We made the boulder field at sun up and started to see more people on the route. On the way up we saw only a small hand full of other people which was great. We felt like we had the place to our selfs. This went away when the sun came up. We could see a group or twos' headlamps ahead when it was dark but, once the sun was up people came out from all over. Our pace started to really slowdown once in the boulder field and we get passed by it seemed like 50 people.
After the trail was gone and we tried to follow the hundred different carins sending you in a hundred different directions but, that got old fast so we just scrambled up to the keyhole. At this point the group was not doing well. Juana had slowed down on the scramble to the little hut at the keyhole and I stayed with her while bruce went on to wait for us at the hut. Bruce stayed within eyes sight wait we made our way to the keyhole.
We meet up with bruce at the keyhole hut around 10:00 am and juana wasn't feeling like continuing as well as bruce. I had realized my mistake of no resting another day. We had little portable hand radios and I felt good. Bruce took one and I had one. We talked about how everyone felt agreed that it was ok for me to continue on and keep the radio on. Bruce had a key to the truck so, he went down and Juana waited for me at the keyhole hut. I made it through the keyhole which was as windy as Granite Pass and onto the ledges. I had no trouble route finding thanks to the bulls eyes marking the route but, I was moving too fast. I got pretty winded and needed to stop a lot. There were fewer other people now and the weather still looked good on the other side of the mountain.
I made my way to the trough and noticed the clouds building to the southwest. I was like shit!!! I'll give it some time and see which way there headed. I started into the trough and got about a quarter of the way up to see that the weather was headed right at Longs. SHIT!!!! I, said too myself. Then thought it better to turn around and ketch up with the rest of the group. I also wanted to be at lest on the trail down when the weather comes in and not on the ledges or the boulder field. I turned around at 10:30 am and beat feet through the ledges. I passed some people still going up and I warned them about the weather just in case they weren't looking and they kept on going. They were more braver than me. As I made it to the hut it was starting to snow. I can deal with that as long it doesn't thunder snow. Juana was happy to see me and told her we need to head down because of the weather which by the time I made it to the hut her knew about the snow already. There were other climbers at the hut that had chosen to turn around as well.
We started down the boulder field and made our way to the trail in on and off snow turning to rain. On the way down we noticed that it was much less windy but, wet. While we were on our way a group came up on horses and they shit all over the trail all the way down. I think they need practice in leave no trace, right. Anyway enough complaining, we made it down through rain the rest of the way to the truck. Wet, tired, and hungry the only thing I was thinking of was; pizza and beer. YEAH!! PIZZA AND BEER!!!!
PIZZA AND BEER!!!
Hungry, wet, and tired. We headed over to Estes Park Brewery for PIZZA AND BEER!!! After hobbling in to the Brewery we were in our own world eating as much as we could and after we finished it was bed time. The next morning we had some left overs for breakfast.(pizza that is, the beer was gone)We went for a short hike and a pitiful attempt at a rock climb on lumpy ridge.
We decided that we had enough and packed up to go home. After an awesome burrito at mexican restaurant we hit the long road home to chicago.
After leaving Estes Park I noticed the battery light go on in my dash. What the $@#&!!!! I checked the battery once I was able to pull over and it had a good charge. We kept on going and I checked the battery again at a bathroom break at the border of Colorado and nebraska. Bad news folks... The alternater isn't charging the battery. SO, we found a ford dealership in nebraska with a hotel next to it. They fixed it the next morning and charged me even though I told them it was under warrenty. My advise is to not buy ford. After our pit stop in nebraska we made it home with nothing else to write about. Everyone made it home uninjured and a story to tell. It's not the goal of the trip but the fun you have on the trip.
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