Bill, Trail Walking Ambassador
This morning dawned clear blue sky and temperatures in the high 30s, even at 12,000 feet. I donned my Tubbs Boundary Peak snowshoes and headed up from the top of Loveland Pass to trek the Continental Divide. Winds were calm, unusual for this area, and the snow was perfect for climbing. I climbed for 60 minutes until I reached a windbreak area where previous visitors had built a wall of snow blocks, making for some fun photo ops. I then continue my climb finally reaching my high point at just over 13,000 feet. Despite the altitude I was never winded, it helps living at 9,000 feet.
I took in the amazing views from the top, where I could see Longs Peak to the North, Mount of the Holy Cross to the west, and Quandary Peak to the south, along with Grays and Torreys Peaks to the east, all Colorado 14ers. (over 14,000 feet in elevation). Then I reversed course and headed back down, stopping in one particular scree field to see if I might spot some wildlife, even up this high. Sure enough, after sitting still for about 10 minutes, out they came, the Pika. Pika, a member of the rabbit family, live only at high altitude and unlike the local Marmots, who hibernate for the winter, the Pika remain active all winter, living off food stored the previous fall.
If you watch carefully and remain still they will often come out from under the snow and sunbath on the rocks. I then continued back to my car and headed back home after 4 amazing hours, all above timberline and all above 12,000 feet on the Continental Divide in Colorado.
By the way, I love the new bindings on my Boundary Peak shoes, which are quick and easy to put on and take off, which comes in handy when areas of a hike vary from barren windswept rock to drifts of snow 20 feet deep. During my hike today I put my shoes on and off several times and the process is easy and quick.