Ute Trail East

The Ute Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park follows a historic route used by the Ute Tribe of Native Americans to traverse the continental divide of the Rocky Mountains.  Earlier in the week, I followed the Ute Trail West, an easy, scenic path which allowed me to acclimate to the higher altitude.  Like its Western counterpart, the Ute Trail East started at its highpoint on Trail Ridge Road and then descended into the valleys.  The distance is only 2 miles greater that the Western trail but the descent increases in distance from 1,000 to almost 3,000 vertical feet. Continue Reading →

Sundance Mountain

Following the morning’s exploration of Beaver Meadows, we drove up Trail Ridge Road to investigate Sundance Mountain.  Sundance is a 12,466′ summit which gives commanding views of the peaks and valleys surrounding it.  As there is no trail to the top of this mountain, we instead used an existing path just to the West of the peak to obtain a proper vantage point.  This unnamed high point along the ridge had rewarding views of its own. Continue Reading →

Beaver Meadows

After our fourteener and an episode of altitude sickness yesterday, it was decided that today would be a rest day.  Specifically, we would perform some reconnaissance on upcoming ventures.

The first of these short trips was to Beaver Meadows.  In a few days I’ll be traversing the Ute Trail East from Trail Ridge Road, across the tundra, and down through the forested tracts into Beaver Meadows.  As there are several connecting trails at the end, the plan was to head up the trail for a short distance, past the intersections, and then to return.  The idea being that after a long hike, I would finish somewhere familiar to make sure I was able to successfully meet my ride. Continue Reading →

Grays Peak

Today we attempted the long-planned challenge of this year’s trip:  Grays Peak.  The peak is one of Colorado’s Fourteeners – summits over 14,000 feet of elevation and with at least 300 feet of prominence from the surrounding terrain.  There are a total of 53 fourteeners in the state of Colorado, the most of any state in the US.

This hike was my second fourteener and the first attempt for my father. Continue Reading →