Fall brings stunning color to the Colorado Rockies. What better way to experience the magic than a difficult hike to the top of a high pass in the Gore Range?
Have you ever had a day in the mountains so perfect you forgot that you were doing something difficult? Perhaps the weather was just right, maybe you met some cool new friends, or perhaps you satisfied your desire to complete a certain route. Well, for my day on Father Dyer, it was all three.
There is something about climbing rocks that keeps bringing me back. The challenge of facing fears never comes easily. Climbing teaches us to keep pushing back on that fear. The harder you push the more you realize what you are truly capable of.
The 3:30am wake up call came with some ease this go around. Surprisingly, my eyes naturally popped open without an alarm. It’s as if my natural body clock knew what was coming. I rolled out of bed and got moving for today’s destination: Lake Haiyaha in Rocky Mountain National Park. Who doesn’t want to ring in a new year watching the sun rise dramatically over the snow caped mountains?
There’s an easy way and a hard way up Guyot. We decided to take the challenging route up the east ridge. Class 2+ and 3 scrambles gaining 1,800′ in a little more than a mile. Nothing quite says leg burn like a steep uphill rock scramble.
Despite the challenges, reaching the base of Jones Mountain while being enveloped by the weather at Ptarmigan Lake made that extra mis-mile of hiking worth it. Sitting next to a roaring fire with some of your closest friends, laughing so hard it hurts kept the cold at bay. Watching my severely socially challenged dog chase a young pup around the fire erased whatever she was thinking by sitting next to a stream and refusing to move in 34 degree weather. The morning sun after 2 days of nothing but cold and clouds felt like a gift sent from the heavens. Being in the mountains is a beautiful balance. Beckoning you in for more, but just as often reminding you that you are a mere mortal; humbling you to the fullest.