Half Moon Lakes, Massive and Elbert, 8/05

Cousin David was in town for a week at the end of which we took a 3 day weekend up in the mountains. David's not keen on altitude, or more to the point, his head isn't keen on altitude, but there's not too many good tips in the Rockies which start below 10,000 ft. So he chomped some ibuprofin and soldiered on - what a trooper. We headed up to Half Moon Lakes, which are on the west side of Massive and in sight of Elbert - the 2 highest 14'ers in the state. Nice set of lakes up at 12,200 ft or so.

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We had a good view of Elbert, and should have taken better note of that eternal summit ridge which is well visible from here

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Mornings were very pretty up at the lakes... until the sun came up. And with the sun came BUGS. not just a few bugs, but choking clouds of bugs. It was hard to inhale without acquiring some extra protein. In the rising sun, it looked liked jets of bugs were shooting out of the rocks and trees. On the brighter side, they didn't bite.

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We headed off to climb Massive on Sunday. There's a newer trail on the west side which takess off about half way up the half moon lakes trail. Wild Flowers were in full bloom, and we managed to dodge the afternoon thunderstorms on the summit ridge.

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Monday we hiked out to the car and drove back a couple miles to the trailhead for Mt. Elbert - the highest peak in Colorado, which isn't saying much since it's a whopping 13 ft higher than Mt Massive. It's also a lot more crowded, and a much less fun hike, so if you have the choice, go for Massive.

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