Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 18- We Hike Hahns Peak & The Speedboat Runs Away!

October 2nd 2010 Day 18 Saturday

We woke up bright and early this morning with the sun streaming in through our window. I looked outside at the lake and in the quiet of the early morning the fog rolling across the top of the lake looked eerie and almost unreal. If you walk down to the lakeside about 30 yards below our campsite there is a really nice trail that winds around the lake and into the riparian area and woods. Hanz loved walking down there because there weren’t any other people so he didn’t feel like he had to be on guard to protect me and there were tons of new and interesting smell trails for him to follow.

After cooking up some breakfast with Bear and Rayne we headed out to hike to the top of Hahns Peak in the Elkhead Mountain Range. I discovered later that Hahns Peak would be the highest peak in the region, topping out at 10,839, but for one other peak nearby that is 8 feet higher! Ugh. But I argue that we really did hike the highest peak because at the top of the mountain there is a fire tower and we went up into it and it was definitely greater than 8 feet above the peak… so there! It is ironic but this mountain range is generally considered to be low elevation because there are so many 14,000+ mountains in Colorado.
Soon after starting the gradual but constant ascent I was miffed at how out of breath I was getting. My chest felt tight and each breath seemed like more effort than normal. Tyler was kind enough to remind me that at such a high elevation this was normal until your body has adjusted to the altitude. Above 8,000 feet is commonly when people start to experience the side effects of altitude sickness.

The view from our campground of the lovely Hahns Peak
The trail was absolutely gorgeous and again, the fall colors here are amazingly brilliant. There were several points from which the views were just incredible. We would keep thinking we’d seen an awesome view and then we’d climb higher and the next time we had a view of the lake and valley below we’d say, No, that is awesome, and so on and so forth until we got to the top. The last quarter mile or so switchbacks up a real rock scramble. I started to freak myself out by wondering how deep the rocks were piled on top of the mountain and imaging them crumbling from underneath my feet. Luckily I soon saw that you could actually see the ground beneath the layers of rock so it couldn’t be too deep. Plus, they wouldn’t have been able to build a lookout tower and have it last for so long at the top if the mountain was so unstable. Hanz was being really cute because he was so focused on where he was stepping. The top scramble definitely made him a bit nervous but he is a great adventurer: when we got to the summit he even climbed up the fire tower with us! He is so loyal. You really couldn’t ask for a better dog. One of my favorite things about summiting Hahns Peak was that in the distance you could see Steamboat Lake including our campground and even the tiny dot that constituted our travel trailer.

Beware of Lightning!
On the trail
That tiny dot is our travel trailer!
We headed back down and enjoyed the crisp weather. I love putting effort into hiking and sweating and feeling every bit of the hike because then when you go back down, especially if there’s some breeze, it’s so refreshing and just plain fun because the hard part is over. Now you just have to try not to kill your knees going downhill! When we got back to the campground by the Lake I was ready to hang out by myself for a bit since we’d been very active and social for the past week. Joel had gotten off from work so he and Tyler took off to have some guy time and I cleaned up a bit in the trailer.

Rayne had a couple friends join them for lunch and she invited me to come over to their campsite. I made some grilled cheeses on delicious sourdough bread and then sat down with them at the picnic table. After lunch they were going to take the boat out on the lake but there were four of them and a huge dog so that coupled with the fact that I really wanted nothing more than to curl up with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and finish it made me more inclined to stay behind. I went into the trailer and had just sat down when I heard Rayne remark, Where’s the boat?! Bear had taken the boat out for some early morning fishing and obviously didn’t secure it in the best way because sure enough if you looked across the lake there was the motor boat drifting across the lake and almost at the opposite shore. A minute later I saw Bear in our canoe making his way towards the boat. Crisis averted! 

1 comment:

  1. The "Lightning Beware" sign wasn't very reasurring at all ... not one little bit. I'm surprised it didn't just say ..."if lightning occurs just bend over and kiss your hiney goodbye" !