As fall descends upon the Rocky Mountains, I’m reminded of last October when I climbed Grays Peak in Colorado. It was an incredible experience amplified by having the mountain to myself (almost). With ever increasing numbers of people trying to reach the top of Colorado’s Fourteeners, it is difficult to find a time where you can enjoy solitude on one of these peaks. It was late afternoon, with less than two hours of daylight left. There were a few people far down the mountain well on their way to the trailhead.
At the same time, I thought to myself, what if I broke a leg or had some sort of medical emergency. I would be left to hobble or crawl to a lower elevation, or endure a freezing night high on the mountain. I was 51 years old, and not in the physical condition that I wanted to be in. But, it is that sense of risk that makes it an adventure.
As it turned out, I was not alone on the mountain. There were mountain goats, marmots, and pikas. They were at home, while I was the visitor. The photo below is the best one I have to remember that day and to remember that majestic mountain goat. That was one of my most vivid moments from autumn in 2015. Now it is time to hit the trails to experience new moments and memories. I wish everyone to have an adventurous autumn filled with as many outdoor experiences as possible. Happy trails.
Mountain Goat on Summit of Grays Peak in Colorado, October 2015 (by TJ Burr)
An excerpt from Rocky Mountain Adventure Collection describing how the mountains enhance my being:
As many Colorado natives will attest, once the Rocky Mountain way of life is in your blood it will always be there. It is like a welcome obsession. No matter how far from the mountains I venture, the vitality of my spirit still resides in the Rocky Mountains. As the adventures in this collection will show, the Rocky Mountains have enriched the spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical quality of my life. While meditating in grassy alpine meadows surrounded by lofty peaks, I find spiritual tranquility. While backpacking through lush evergreen forests, my intellectual energies are rejuvenated by the invigorating environment. The innocence and natural beauty of the wilderness captures my emotions, and the physical challenges that I face cultivate my health.
To read more, download a free sample at the following link: http://amzn.com/B004LX0D1I.
Mountains near Monarch Pass in Colorado
First coat of good snow on Colorado Rocky Mountains as viewed from the Front Range north of Denver. It is a little later than normal. The highest mountain on the right is Mt. Audubon in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. Happy Trails.
Brought to you by the author of: Rocky Mountain Adventure Collection, http://amzn.com/B004LX0D1I.
If you are ever in the Snowy Range Mountains west of Laramie during the summer, there is a great trail run to keep you above 10,000 feet and put you atop of Medicine Bow Peak on the way. I’ve attached an article, some photos, and a topo map of the route for your use. It is a 7 mile hike you can walk or jog with astonishing views.
Medicine Bow Peak Trail Run
I took the photo below during a fall hike on Mt. Antero. It was a spectacular fall day. Baldwin Creek along the trail was still flowing strong with snowmelt that endured the extra warm summer in Colorado. The temperatures are dropping in the high country, and ski season will be here soon. Happy Trails!
The above photo is what the fall colors looked like on Mount Antero (Colorado’s 10th Highest Peak) on September 28, 2015.
Have you ever thought to yourself: “I’m just going on a short hike so I don’t need to worry about taking anything with me. I’ll just do that 5-mile loop up and around the alpine lake. I’ll be back in two hours. Maybe I’ll take a bottle of water with me just in case I get thirsty.”
When preparing for a hike into the wilderness, thoughts like that are potentially fatal. People have died on shorter hikes than 5-miles because they entered the wild without the proper knowledge and equipment. I have attached a checklist that I use nearly every time I leave a trailhead to enter the wild. You should make your own checklist of essential gear commensurate with your abilities, needs, the environment, and the type of adventure you are embarking on. You can use my checklist as a starting point.
When packing for your hike, consider the following possibilities. Are you prepared to return in the dark if your hike takes longer than anticipated, or you just stay a little too long at that beautiful alpine lake with the crystal clear water. What if you break your ankle three miles into a moderately difficult route. What if you get lost, and have to stay overnight in the woods. If things don’t go as planned, you’ll be thankful you carried the extra 15-20 pounds of essential gear.
Survival Gear Checklist
Plan to have a great time in the backcountry, but prepare yourself for potential mishaps.
Happy Trails . . . Best wishes on your adventures.
Just an update to show what Mt. Meeker and Longs Peak looked like on June 15, 2015. The snow is melting fast. Awe-inspiring mountains.
Mt. Meeker and Longs Peak (6/15/2015 by TJ Burr)