Southeast Corner of Rocky Mountain National Park, Memorial Day 2005

Memorial day weekend weather wasn't overly promising, and we weren't looking for much of a drive, so we figured a combined hike & camp-out in Rocky Mountain National Park, followed by climbing on Lumpy Ridge would be a good combo. It was also a change to try out the new tent - a Hubba-Hubba by MSR which worked out very nicely.

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There was quite a bit of snow, more than we, or the people packing fishing rods to the frozen lakes had expected, and the going was difficult even with snow shoes, through broken, or very soft snow patches. Eventually we attained a ridge with nice views of I don't remember exactly what.

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I then talked Gretchen into running back down the ridge, which should result in a "short bushwack" back to camp, rather than slogging back through all the snow we'd hiked already. The ridge run was nice, we waved to a small herd of mountain goats, and then found that they used the end of the ridge as a toilet - there was just an amazing amount of Mountain Goat dung in a pretty small area.

We dropped down toward the trail again, and the going promptly got very steep, but through some stroke of luck we found the only path through an otherwise very sheer cliff band. Our luck ended there, however, as we realized that continuing through the ravine would be very difficult, and had to contour so far back around, we were most of the way back to the snow we had tried to avoid! All in all, the "short-cut" only took about 3 hours longer, which isn't that bad compared to some! Back to camp around 9:30 for a rather late dinner of rather mushy quinoa noodles - don't overcook those things.

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Next day we hiked out in the morning - bad plan since we forgot to bring the tourist repellant. The rain started in around the time we reached the car, and that nixed plans for climbing on Lumpy ridge, so we had lunch in a nice restaurant in Estes Park.


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