Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Up a Flattop...


Happy Thanksgiving early!  I'm currently in Albuquerque, NM visiting Karen and her son, Ethan, for the Thanksgiving holidays.  We're only in ABQ for a short period of time before driving to Tucson, AZ to visit friends and family.  I'm looking forward to a few days in the desert Southwest and the opportunity to wear shorts in warm weather!  For only a few days ago...

The winds were forecasted to be 20-30 MPH steady with gusts to 35-40.  Air temperatures hovered below freezing most of the day with a summit temperature of 17 degrees.  Windchills easily around zero.  Hmmm, sounds like a great day to go hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP)!

I signed up on a Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) hike to Flattop Mountain (12,324') located in eastern RMNP.  The rating system that CMC uses classified it as an easy C hike - 11 miles round trip and 2750' elevation gain/loss.  Fairly "easy" after this past summer's 14er trips.  Good friends, Anne and Kevin Martin, joined the motley crue of hikers - no one knew each other well - it's the nature of signing up for CMC hikes.  Our ascent up the snow covered trail was sssslllllooooowwww and the group is only as fast as the slowest hiker - and we had one.  Regardless, the scenery was quite beautiful with lenticular clouds around (i.e. flying saucer clouds), windblown snow and blue Colorado skies.  Longs Peak to the east was outstanding in grandeur but looked formidable with colder temps 2000' higher and high winds.  Not a good day for a summit attempt there.  We had a quick lunch near summit and abandoned our thoughts of nearby Hallet Peak - 1/2 the group was cold and ready to get back into the trees.  I'll be back for another attempt on Hallet though...

Once back at the parking lot, our group bid farewell to the other group and made our drive down the hill to Oskar Blues in Lyons for hot food and cold, hoppy brew!  Yum - tasty Gordon's IPA!

As this is the holiday week - I wish all of you a happy and safe Thanksgiving wherever your travels take you.  Climb On!

2 comments:

Ace's Lady said...

Happy Thanksgiving, cousin.

Robert LeClair said...

Hope your Turkey Day was enjoyable!