Peaks: South Signal Mountain (11,248′) – Rocky Mountain National Park, and Signal Mountain (11,262′) – Comanche Peak Wilderness Date: December 27, 2014 Trailhead: Dunraven (7,800′) * Approach: Bulwark Ridge Trail Distance: ~12.5 miles Elevation Gain: ~3,800 ft. Participants: Sam Sala, Dillon Sarnelli Time: 11 hours
*Note: Due to the September 2013 flooding, much of the area around the Dunraven TH is still closed. The Bulwark Ridge Trail is open. See the Poudre Wilderness site for more info. You are permitted to park at the Dunraven TH and hike up the road .3 miles to the Bulwark Ridge Trail #928/Signal Mountain Trail. You are also permitted to hike up the road to Cheley Camp to temporarily access the North Fork Trail #929. The Dunraven TH is still closed in most other directions.
Way back in 2011 I made my first trip into Glacier Gorge and like most folks who exit their vehicles at the trailhead, I was there to see something called Alberta Falls. Don’t get me wrong, Alberta Falls is great. Heck, I even took my family there later that summer, but let’s be serious now. Others may even go as far as the Loch or Mills Lake, also pretty spectacular in their own right. But for those willing to make the 5 mile trek deep into the heart of Glacier Gorge to where the upper plateau begins, that’s where the crown jewel of the park gets real. Names like Longs, Arrowhead, Pagoda, McHenrys, The Spearhead, Chiefs Head, to name a few, scatter the landscape. Believe it or not, but it actually took me 2 years to get past Alberta Falls, a December 2013 summit of Pagoda, and still one of my favorite days in the Park to date. Since then I’ve been itching to get back, which just so happens to bring us to this episode. 🙂
Peaks of the Park: Flattop Mountain A (12,324′), Otis Peak (12,486′), Taylor Peak B (13,153′), Powell Peak (13,208′) Date: October 17, 2014 Trailhead: Bear Lake – Rocky Mountain National Park Distance: 17.8 miles Elevation Gain: ~ 6,000 feet Participants: Solo mission Time: 8 hours
On Friday morning I woke up late, rolled into the “office”, moved the mouse, and with a little help from a picture on my desk, made a game day decision to go outside. For those of you that don’t know me, my profession is accounting (taxes to cut to the chase) and October 15th while it’s no April 15th, can still be a huge pain in the @ss! A much needed break from the monotony was in order and Indian Summer was knocking on the door.
Rocky Mountain National Park is a place I like to tell myself I know a lot about, but really I probably only know a lot about very little. Other than Wild Basin, most of the Park is still uncharted territory for me. It probably always will be given the expanse. Colorado affords us so many bad @ss opportunities that I’ve found it hard to focus on one area, and in doing so, I seem to always keep the door open to all the potential that this state has to offer. However, I think I can still have a favorite or 2 or 3 or 4 and on this trip, my first trip into the Park this summer, I remembered why Rocky Mountain National Park is still tops.