Up at 1:30 AM. Yes, you read that right. Ate a high calorie breakfast of granola, soy milk, blueberries, and a bagel with almond butter. Then my Dad and I drove 1 hour up to Longs Peak trail head outside Estes Park to get to the summit before the afternoon thunderstorms made their daily threat. Below is the pictorial...
We hiked a good 90 minutes in the dark before the sun decided to come up for the day. Temps were cool at around 45 degrees.
Just after sunrise, we reached the tree line....and continued on to Longs Peak.
The first major challenge of the day...after hiking 5 miles...is the boulder field. It's leap frog over Smart car size rocks.
A pano-video of the camping area and the start of the boulder field.
We have to climb up...then go through that hole in the mountain...otherwise known as the "keyhole."
We make it through...and are greeted with these views. We stop briefly...then continue on.
Still going up...over big rocks....an low on O2. This got a bit sketchy at times due to snow and ice on this north facing slope.
Yep, it's steep...and we have to make it to the top of this huge rock pile....then climb another 400 ft of vertical. Ugh.
I wouldn't call it hiking. It's more like climbing.
We stopped here. About 300 ft short of the summit. It was getting too icy to keep going up.
Our personal summit view.
Time to head back down. It's 7 miles to the parking lot.....all down hill. That might sound like a good thing...but it hurts just as bad. Just think of your feet and knees. Plus, getting down these rock piles requires scooting on your butt, cause it's so steep and loose.
It was a good thing we bagged the climb early, cause the thunderstorms started to build fast!
We finally got back down to the tree line....then the chaos hit!
Oh my, it's hailing.
The last 3 miles was done in hail...not rain. Plus, we about got struck by lightening. That is...and was....the closest I ever want to get to lightening ever again. Do you know how loud that stuff is!?!? Whoa! Some folks on our route were not so lucky. Geez!
Here is todays HR and elevation profile for the 15 mile round trip hike. See that sharp spike in the HR in the last part of the profile...that is when the lightening hit!
A ton more pictures here from the hike.