- May 2, 2001
I hope you'll enjoy this story about the wonderful trip to Rocky Mountain National Park from which I returned two days ago. My motivation for the trip was primarily to continue my physical training program for the upcoming mountain hunt season. Although -- I love RMNP so much it doesn't really require much encouragement for me to visit there.
I got the idea to do a quick trip out to Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park while looking 500 feet down upon Lake of The Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The days were counting down on my hunt calendar and in a short time I would be back out in the mountains of western Wyoming with Robb Wiley of Non-Typical Outfitters for a couple of very physically demanding high altitude mountain hunts.
My first hunt in early September will be my first ever archery hunt for elk and I expect it to be much tougher than a rifle hunt for elk. Then just 3 days later I'll switch over to hunting with my rifle for giant mule deer bucks. To kill just any buck will not require a huge physical effort. But Robb expects me to be prepared to "go all out" if we are lucky enough to get on to one of the giants they see each year during the late summer scouting season.
But back to my Michigan hiking trip which was kind of spur of the moment. On Sunday afternoon 2 weeks ago Kathy and I had attended a local art fair and as usual I was drawn to the outdoor photo exhibits. One great photo was of a scene in the Porkies. Andy and Chris and our 9 month old puppy did a short overnight backpack trip there 28 years ago. So on the way home from the art fair I hatched my plan to go hiking in the Porkies the very next day. It was a 5 hour drive and I hit the trail Monday afternoon immediately upon arrival. Using Google Earth at home I had pre-selected the "Escarpment Trail” which would provide about 500 feet of steep elevation gain -- perfect for my hunt training program.
I had not hiked this "Escarpment Trail" high up on on the ridgeline before and immediately fell in love with the open vistas to the river and lake below. As I was completing my second pleasant hike the next morning I thought, "well this is very nice but why not head out to RMNP next week for some SERIOUS trail hiking?". And barely one week later the odometer on my 26 month old Jeep turned over 90,000 miles on the way to Estes Park, Colorado.
I hiked three mornings on the RMNP trails. Follow along with me as maybe you'd like to visit there some day too. For me in picking trails, I wanted beautiful vistas but I also wanted a good workout with a certain amount of efficiency to the effort invested. An example was using my bike to descend after one of the trips up.
Upon arrival at RMNP in the afternoon I had some time to kill so I drove up Trail Ridge Road on a scouting trip. Quickly you get up above treeline and that's what I like most about RMNP. Here are a few pictures I grabbed from the road standing next to my car.