Yes, I'm still searching for The Ultimate Question and until I find it, I have decided that 42 is what I will be.
As you might have guessed, it is that day again. It never fails to amaze me how it creeps up on me so quickly after the last one. The past year has been full of successes and that makes me incredibly happy. Big contracts and small contracts at work; each one fulfilling in its own way. On the personal front, new and old friends have provided much laughter and support. My family remains my rock and the center of my world. Sometimes, I am the center of my own world and that is a lot of fun, too.
Today, I will attempt to scale my first peak. Not a fourteener but a strenuous and tough hike nevertheless. Flattop Mountain stands at 12,324 ft; the round trip is 8.8 miles; the elevation gain is 2,849 ft. The last two miles (I think) are brutal and above treeline. It's not necessarily a big deal in these parts but it is for me.
We attempted this hike as a family at the beginning of August of last year. By the time we crossed treeline, Medha was a little pale from the quick gain in altitude and the wind wanted us to sail with it. We trudged on for a while but gave up just short of the Emerald Lake Overlook.
This hike and our time together is my birthday gift this year. The goal is to make it to the summit, of course, but it will be just fine with me if I make it only up to the Emerald Overlook. Join me wherever you are by setting aside some time for an outdoor activity with your family and friends.
Happy Birthday, me!
I don't have a recipe for you today. What I have are pictures from our 5th annual Elk Bugling camping trip in Rocky Mountain National Park. Every year, we camp in Moraine Campgrounds at what we think will be the height of the rut. We book up to a dozen campsites, hike the trails over the weekend and get together for a massive potluck. It's a neighborhood tradition, with some families doing it year after year for over 16 years. It is considered so important that some families come up in shifts, hand over children at Lyons, or make two trips so that each child spends at least one night camping to the bugling of bull elk. Others come up just for the potluck. We are called the Bennett people, because the Bennetts make our reservations each year. Driving into the campgrounds is like driving into our neighborhood, tents instead of houses. Hey! Hi! You're here already? Got a hike planned for tomorrow? I forgot to bring salt again, can I borrow some from you?
In 2006, we were snowed on and the wind tried to whip our tents from under us.
In 2007, it was windy and cold. We also saw the top of our tent at close quarters several times the first night.
In 2008, it was pleasantly cool and it was also the first time Medha and I hiked without D. Medha, her friend and I hiked the short but steep Gem Lake hike and were rewarded with thunder, overhead lightning, rain and hail.
In 2009, it was warm and we hiked to Lake Haiyaha and had a blast clambering over the rocky shores of the lake.
In 2010, it was as hot as summer and very dry. There were splotches of color but nothing spectacular. Our region is known more for its gold hues - Colorado gold - rather than the range of colors that adorn New England. Nothing beats gold aspen leaves waving in the breeze, saying their final goodbyes.
I forgot that I can do video with my new camera and used my P&S instead. I still think it is beautiful though.
We found these young aspen trees along the Alberta Falls trail to Mills Lake.
We hiked beyond Alberta falls to Mills Lake, nestled in a rocky basin just shy of 10,000ft, with glorious views of my favorite fourteener, Longs Peak.
The sun was high in the sky, creating a blue haze around the peaks. I think this is the closest I have come to Long Peaks.
Are you thinking what I think you're thinking? If so, the answer is yes. And he almost fell in this time.