Saturday, August 06, 2005

Saturday's walk up Long's peak!

Scramble: Keyhole
Trailhead: Longs Peak Campground 9405 ft/2867 m
Vertical Gain: 4850 ft/1478 m
Distance (one way): 8 mi/12.87 km

40° 15' N; 105° 37' W40.254902, -105.616089 (WGS84)

We started walking the mountain at 3:30 am to reach the Keyhole by dawn. The morning shots I got were unreal! As we hiked starlight through the clear skies made the granite trail glow. The walk to the Keyhole went quick, with a little night vision and a Petzel head lamp we kept a good pace to keep warm… and since I was half asleep anyway I figured I might as well be walking.
Warming temperatures followed by intense morning sun greeted us above timberline. We found a spot in the shade of an over-hang to recharge for the ascend. I had a yogurt smoothie, some peanuts, and later a cliff bar.
After the boulder fields and the Keyhole section the trail wraps around the peak and heads up to the summit. Slow and steady with the trail marked with spray painted dots about the size of a Frisbee on the rock walls.
Soon I was standing on a 14,255 feet mountain in clear blue-skies. We goofed off for about an hour with a quick snack, a good drink (water) and a moment to enjoy why I do this.
A single engine plane did a fly by when we were getting ready to head back down. I think they were showing off. They were so close you could see the pilot and crew. They looked like they were having a good time too! Probably drunk.
The walk back was time to reflect on the day, zone out (but be careful not to slip) and walk. Another great day in the Park!

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