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094 Summertime in the Rockies, Not! 2009-06-10

Mount Bierstadt in the snow

I guess there is still actually twelve or so days left of spring, so perhaps I should not complain; but it is cold in the mountains of Colorado. Coming from Nashville a few days ago, it was not hot, but at least it was warm. You could wear shorts without people looking at you and saying, fool! In the mountains it does not even feel like spring, much less summer.

On arriving in Colorado on Sunday, the seventh, we drove immediately to a trailhead and began an acclimating hike. When we climbed above tree line at 11,000 feet we were faced with cold, forty mile an hour winds. Ouch! It did not feel like summer. We were not wearing enough clothes for the conditions. At 12,670 feet we turned around and returned to the relative warmth of 10,000 feet.

Day two was more of the same, just more of it! We were already above tree line (at the trailhead) before we started to hike. When we moved above 12,500 feet a blizzard greeted us with snow and wind. We were dressed better, but still ...

My gloved hands were cold. My socked and booted feet were cold. My face was cold. The basic problem was it was cold.

The cold was uncomfortable as we climbed, but we did not get hot. My wife, Amy, and dog, Jake enjoyed the cold hike. They both get very tired in the heat and therefore welcomed the cold.

I like cold in the winter. I like warmth in the summer. Of course in the mountains you have to expect cool weather during the summer, but this weather was cold. Maybe it will warm up soon, but in the meantime I am glad I have a few warm jackets.

Oh, as we were headed up Bierstadt in the blizzard, a couple of climbers were headed down. They looked miserable as they cautiously walked down the slope. As they approached us, they veered off further to the left away from us. They were wearing running shoes, shorts, and wind jackets. We were wearing hats, insulated jackets, gloves, long pants (duh), and boots. Even walking uphill we were cold. I think they avoided us because they were afraid we would look at them and say, fools! Ha!

Happy trails.


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