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I'm super excited to be on this crazy, huge adventure! Come hike with me. Send a positive message. Donate.  Invite me over for dinner.  I'll provide excellent stories in exchange.

 

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© Blake Robinson.  All Rights Reserved.

Day 54 9/16/17  Base of Mt. Elbert to the Summit to Twin Lakes

September 22, 2017

 



Miles: 12.3
Steps: 34,235
Vertical gain: 4,041 feet
Liquid consumed: 160 oz.
Wildlife: squirrels, Kevin the boxer, lots of humans
Faith in Humanity: obviously this one goes to Christina and Kirk.  They are so generous and fun to hang out with!  Full story below.

What a long, crazy day today!

At 2:30am I awoke to someone yelling loudly at their camp.  Go AWAY, they yelled. For like 10 minutes.  When I set up camp last night I didn't see or hear anyone else.  I couldn't understand all they were yelling, but assumed it was likely a bear or some other wildlife.  And if I could hear them maybe they'd come my way next?  Regardless, I was up and awake!

Might as well climb the mountain!  I packed up and was on the trail by 3am in the pitch black.  Up, up, up.  It was cold out but I kept moving.  Ate a couple snacks, passed a group of guys who said "my dogs friendly" as it snarled, growled BD barked loudly at me.  Glad it was on a leash!

Above treeline it was really windy.  REALLY WINDY!  I just kept going.  There was a little snow on the ground but not enough to make it slippery or dangerous.  Towards the summit I thought "should I stop?"   It was insanely windy and sooooo cold.  I'm guessing 15 degrees with strong wind.  At the top of the mountain I was getting knocked over pretty hard by the wind.  I jammed my trekking poles into the ground and hoped to not get blown away.

Winds exceeded 50mph for sure! I finally summited at 5:45am. In the pitch black of darkness.  I was super cold and the wind was relentless.  Someone had built a rock windbreak at the summit as is common on exposed peaks.  I was sooo cold.  As quickly as I could I put on a winter hat, down jacket, and started literally running down the mountain.

It started to get a bit lighter as the sun started to rise, but there was an issue: the clouds above me weren't lightening at all!  Huge dark storm clouds stood above.  I did my best to jog to treeline, but on Colorado's highest peak, that's a looooong way away!

Thankfully there wasn't any thunder, but it did start to snow.  Actually snowed pretty hard for a bit.  I ran into 2 guys ascending and they asked "do you think it's safe for us to continue?"  I said its up to them but I really thought absolutely not.  The storm was very threatening, they decided to keep going...  next I met a really cool guy from Australia, Luke.  He was just a bit above treeline and he decided it best to turn around and wait in the trees for a bit.

We ran for the trees together and had a great conversation for a half hour or so.  He's. Even exploring the US living in his van.  We had a lot in common as we'd both worked at ski resorts and were both passionate about travel and backpacking.  Great to meet you, Luke!  Good luck on your travels!

I was still pretty cold after reaching the trees but continued down the mountain.  I chatted with a lot of folks hiking up who were all quite surprised I had already summited (at night).  It's funny sometimes when people ask how far it is.  FAR!  If you're below treeline in the highest 14ers.com in CO, you've still got quite a ways to go.

It was fun chatting with everyone and telling my tale of the insane Summit Winds and snow.  I did end up getting one of my favorite photos with the sun shining its rays down.  Pretty awesome!

Ok so this day is epic.  It's barely 9am when I reach the Twin Lakes General Store and I've already had such a crazy adventure!  The owners at the store are super cool and hiker friendly,  I enjoyed talking to them.  A young couple who bought the store because "how else are we going to live in Twin Lakes?"  Good point.

I sat at the outside table and drank a soda.  What's next?  Waiting for Kirk and Christina, the couple I met in Grand Lake a couple weeks ago to come meet me!  I was really excited as we got along really well and it's so awesome that we get to hang out again.  On foot, on my journey, that's quite rare! I meet people once but that's it.

They arrived around 11 and it was awesome!  I almost didn't think they were really coming.  We scouted out a tent sitethen actually   drove into Aspen for a bit, haha.  We had a great conversation, a great lunch at Zanes tavern, bought steaks and other supplies for an evening BBQ and headed back to Twin Lakes.

We really had a beautiful view and the campsite was great.  Kevin, their sweet boxer, was on his first camping trip and did really well.  We hung out, had some drinks, a BBQ, a fire, and a great time!! I hope I get to spend more time with both Kirk and Christina (and who can forget Kevin!). I even made it until after 11pm before going to sleep, which I was surprised a little by since I'd been awake since 2:30am!

What an amazing day!  I'm so lucky!

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