(This is in choppy, outline form. I can write, I just don't have the time
to do it. Consider this a partial credit effort.)
TRIP REPORT- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK.
- Glacier Gorge
- Andrews Glacier
- N. Inlet creek
- Boulder-Grand Pass
- exit via Wild Basin.
- - Motto: "If an elk can go there, so can I."
- - Planned since March.
- - Planned as a party of 2 with invitations for others (who usually
don't go anyway).
- - 4th trip of the year into RMNP for an overnite
- - Longest trip I've ever planned & executed
- - Only trip I've ever had to finish as a solo
- 0730 car shuttle - Jeff's car at Wild Basin. Ron's car at Bear Lake
(party of 2, as expected)
- TH at 1000
- 2 hrs to The Loch.
- busy with people but still pretty
- sit & watch the world go by
- 1500 to camp (Andrews Creek site tucked away up the drainage among
a deadfall/debris field)
- setup , can see Andrews glacier from camp if look carefully
- return to lake
- fish inlet area. Lotsa fish. (They wanted the thread-body black gnat #18)
- eat dinner on boulder at lake
- stove pump squeaked because I'd left the air valve cracked which let
fuel wash the lube off the piston. Fixed with fly floatant ("Squip" brand)
- night - slept with rain fly off in bigger-than-usual 2 man tent
("palatial" against Jeff's 1.25man NF that we'd used 3x this year)
- up 0700
- underway 0900 (no hurry)
- gray skies - Jeff not having fun (he didn't take well to just sitting
around the day before; and the gloom & morning cold didn't help)
- at lake below Andrews Glacier at 1030
- pump 2 quarts for me, 1 for him (bad sign)
- Jeff aborted- he found more reasons to go home than to go on
(not really into hanging around looking at scenery, gray overcast sky)
- take stove, fuel, water pump (oof!)
- give back plastic bowl, car keys
- Be sure to have my car permitted and waiting for me at Wild Basin
on Monday! (I saw the spare keybox on it sometime this summer....)
- 1 hr up Andrews glacier. Snow still kind of hard, steps a bit too thin for
comfort but no slips. (no ice axe; probably wouldn't have slid far)
- lonely to think about going on alone (Mr. ThinkMan working on sad
songs.... sigh. But I go solo fairly regularly, this was just a
surprise. And my pack weight.... ugh)
- cross-tundra to Flattop trail & headed West
- trail good (It oughta be - been in use since at least 1912)
- elk in Hallet creek basin (near "July" site) Elk are above and below trail
trail junction to Lake Nanita
- didn't see anyone on the Flattop Trail until here at the trail junction
- sites full ???
- Pine Marten full (?) Permit on someone else's tent with a tag for that
night. I thought *I* had that site!!
- wait by the trail thinking about it
(Post-trip note- I hadn't yet looked at the site map to find there are
TWO Pine Marten sites. Dummy.)
- Tommy Mitchell from N. Carolina appears. Not his camp but would I
mind helping him retrieve his food bag from the tree branch it was
stuck on? Sure! He was camped in the x-c zone about a mile away.
(He's going to Wake Forest, I went to Duke. Some things in common. He's
also an inadvertent solo due to his pard having twisted his ankle on
Mile 1 over at Bear Lake.)
- His food bag was on the BEST food hanging branch I've ever seen!
Heavy duty climbing rope but Tommy wasn't heavy enough to break the
branch. Two of us easily did it.
- I setup camp alongside his in the zone. Nice spot on the edge of
a large meadow. Tommy is some companionship to take my mind off having
Jeff turn back.
- I eat early
- 1 hr rain, rain stops
- I head to the creek to fish while Tommy eats and watches from afar.
(good fish- 10-12" in the creek)
- quiet night but the woods are soggy
- I got up to take a leak about 0200. Shine my maglite into the meadow
looking for eyes & something large snorts and gallops off :-))
- 0630 up
- 0700 underway to lakes. Tommy still in the sack.
- wet bushwhack to trail
- trail reached in 35 min, strip off rainpants, switch to shorts
- up the trail to Lake Nokoni
- sit at Nokoni. still cool, gray sky
- 1 hr - not a sign of a fish in the lake
- sun warming
- on to L Nanita
- arrive. fish rising here and there
- cool turning to sprinkle turning to rain
- rain stopped about 45 min later and
- bright sun - dry
- both lakes are horse-rides in from the west. No current campsites
but lots of restoration from previous abuse. Quite a bit of tangled
fishing line and a small amount of spilled debris (lures & swivels)
- hang out , dry out
- still couldn't catch any fish
- clouds start to build again - pack up rod & depart
- caught by rain on trail 1430
- camp at 1500
- still raining hard
- dive into tent after stripping wet rain gear into a garbage bag
- Tommy arrives at his tent at 1515
- wait and wait and wait
- sure is nice to have lots of room in the tent during a long wait
(glad Jeff isn't here....)
- nap, doze, read the map, daydream, sleep some more
- 1900 rain stop
- talk a bit & go back to the sack
- up 0700
- soggy woods & meadow
- misty but skies overhead are clear
- sun clearing mist
- hang gear to dry (watch it steam)
- hang out and talk while turning clothes and drying things
- Tommy underway at 1030 with about 1lb of free dead-weight, I mean, gorp.
(after trading internet addresses :-))
- Ron underway at 1100 (seems like an awfully late start but at least my
gear is dry before packing....)
- wet knee to thigh high grass
- mush meadows
- boots are squuking after 15 min
- Lake Solitude, or Solitude Lake is just a 3' deep puddle in the mush meadow
- bear scat- looks like a berry good year
- up the drainage. Making decent time (1 mph)
- valley steepens. less grass, more woods & deadfall
- cross creek by wading directly
dump water from boots afterward
- must have missed the fork in the creek that went up the other valley
- elk trails provide the only help, lots of paths in the trees, none real
- 1st pond above the turn in the creek - dead lake
- view of tommorrow's hike is troubling
- space between lakes is large rocks & long grass & some pines. pretty
- 2nd pond - very scenic but also a dead lake
- lots of cliffs & rock
- eyeball tommorrow's route. Looks doable but will be work. My insides are
juicy at the uncertainty of the route
- camp setup
- 3.5 hrs travel time from bottom of zone. Not bad. I'd expected 6.
- light patter of rain. A short period of cannonball size drops
- ok, clearing
- quiet reflections of the cliffs in the lake surface, sun on the cliff
tops receding to night, nothing stirring. I am alone but not feeling
lonely. Things are going fine. Especially heartening that the move
up the N. Inlet zone went so easily. Maybe all those trips into
Forest Canyon improved my mental toughness?
- set alarm - up 0600
- 2 hrs to saddle. No elk trails here - too rocky. Lots of hand assist
- see 4 ppl 1 hr behind me - where did they camp last night?
- route choice - x-c or Mt. Alice shoulder?
- shoulder it is
- to 12,300 1 more hr
- nice spot for pictures of yesterday's hike
- following hikers drop into the E. Inlet drainage over the saddle
(probably having a nice hike, I envy their turn downhill)
- x-c tundra to Boulder-Grand Pass
- Jeff and I had thought we'd want to climb Mt. Alice at this point - hah!
- arrive at pass- windy!
- 1 hiker westbound - too far away to speak
- pass is steep, sandy scree next to the glacier. Easy in late-season
- down to pond
- rest & eat
- onward along trail 1 more hour to Thunder Lake.
Total joy at having
all the potential problem obstacles behind me. The sky is deep blue,
the sun is warm and pleasant and my pack...... oops - still too heavy.
- log across the trail forces me to hands & knees for the first time
this trip (ironic twist)
- Thunder is a large, beautiful (but popular) lake
- camp at 1330
- clothesline dryout
- wash - burn off the fuel and scrub that body...
- all sites full
- late pm fish from rock
- no luck - they were taking emergers (I didn't have much selection in the
- head back to camp
- rain 1 hr
- talk to other campers
- give away 4 oz fuel
- night turned windy
- clouds initially moving west turned to go east
- pine trees swishing wildly where there was dead-calm this afternoon
- 0700 up
- 0900 underway - yip, ya, we're headed home!
- sunny day but sounds windy up on the tundra (good thing I crossed yesterday)
- nice hike out - 7 miles, 2k downhill
- lotsa people
- many oldsters in packs on the trail. The old guys grin when I tell
them where I'd been :-)
Car parked in the 3rd space next to the trailhead (yay Jeff!)
Keys there and not a rusty mess- OK! :-)))
At pay phone in Estes Park I call home I'm fine, see you in 2 hrs.
I call Jeff - I'm not mad at you. We both made the right decisions for
ourselves. (He would have hated the rain waits & I enjoyed the extra space.)
- Stop taking so much food, dammit!!!
- Take a book.
- Find out how people wash their socks. Mine STUNK!!!!
- Just forget about tarp camping. Just forget it. Don't
ever think about it again. The 2man tent was GREAT!
- Used a large sheath knife to dig catholes. That worked
pretty well but knife got dull. Take sharpener.
(also something to do in tent during rain......)
I'd do it again. You bet.
Ft. Collins, Colo.