Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Itinerary: Colorado | October 12-16, 2017

Only a few short days until I board a red-eye flight to Denver and spend a wonderful four days in Colorado.

The plan is to get into CO late on a Thursday night and dart up to the Fraser Valley. Friday will be spent acclimating to the altitude and excitedly catching up with best, close friends in Winter Park and Granby where I used to live. To break in the boots with Colorado soil again, I'll probably hike up a few of the Snow Mountain peaks at YMCA of the Rockies (where I used to work), and of course visit my old stomping grounds. Come Saturday I'll be in Rocky Mountain National Park at sunrise to depart from the Bowen-Baker Trailhead. From there it's upwards in elevation through the Never Summer Wilderness in the Arapaho National Forest for about seven miles to Parika Lake, at the base of 12,394ft Parika Peak, where I'll camp for a night above treeline and depending on conditions, hike up to the top. Day two, I'll hike north up to Baker Pass and camp within the gulch at dusk. The morning of day three I'll trek back to the trailhead, hop in the car and drive down to the front range (Denver area) to catch a late flight back home. Depending on the trails and if I can summit Parika Peak if weather allows, the total hike should be close to 18-20 miles. I'll be mirroring this route I found.

What I've come to realize will  be the most challenging and cautionary consideration about this particular trip into the backcountry, is the weather. Conditions at that level of elevation, at that time frame in Colorado vary drastically. I did a few miles of this hike years ago at the same time, middle of October, and it was in the upper 60s. The past weeks, there've been inches upon inches of snow dumped in Rocky Mountain National Park, followed by day temperatures in the 50s. I've been monitoring weather reports daily to see the trends. I'm packing and preparing for it as if it were a fall backpacking trip and winter. Much of the initial approach hike to Parika Lake could be warm, fall-like and snow-less but once I get above 11,000 feet, it could be white everywhere and even more wintery up at the top of Baker Pass or Parika Peak. Honestly, I don't think I've ever been so eager to go on a trip. Earlier this past summer I went through a ruse that's since left some unexpectedly strong damage and discouragement. It's seriously thrown me off and something I've been battling for months now. I've been craving just an escape to recollect, refocus and recharge. Mountains are clearly the best for that. There are trips I want to go on...but then there are trips that I need to go on for my own bettering sake. This particular trip falls under the needs facet.

Since the beginning of August I've been researching the route, mapping things out and buying new gear (which I'll blog about the fun new stuff I bought later). When I haven't been sick, which has obnoxiously been the case almost the past three weeks on-and-off, I've been hitting the gym daily to swim, lift or get acquainted with the stair masters so I can be in top physical shape come October 14.
Well I'm off to go dehydrate some more veggies and fruit. I'll be checking-in/keeping track of the trip through my GPS beacon here if you want to follow along.

PS- you should try dehydrated strawberries, oh they're so delicious!
P.P.S.-Check out my latest freelance piece up on Hooniverse.com
P.P.P.S-I'm heading to Pinnacles National Park in California this coming January!

Cheers and stay tuned,