Ben Tyler Trail #606-Pike National forest. 2nd attempt failed- 5/11/13

12 May
The view of our destination from the beginning

The view of our destination from the beginning

When we kind of stubbornly decided we were going to do Ben Tyler Trail (hike details here) this weekend, I knew deep down there was no way in hell we would make it to the top……. AGAIN.  It is really close to Kenosha Pass and one of the areas that probably got 4-5 feet of snow over the last month and then this week we had rain all week which meant snow storms up high, but still we got up insanely early and headed out to this trail.

A little closer the curve of the mountain to the middle right is where we are trying to get to.

A little closer the curve of the mountain to the middle right is where we are trying to get to.

At the beginning of the hike we were really optimistic, the trail conditions were straight up awesome and the weather was perfect.  I mean check out that sky, have you ever seen a more perfect color blue!

No gators yet

No gators yet

About a mile or so in, the snow really was taking over and we were trying to not comment about how deep it was starting to get.  There was only one other set of foot prints in front of us and honestly we were really hoping it was someone who had made it to the top.   We saw him jogging down not long before we crossed the stream for the first time and we were so excited he was actually there today (and not the day before) that we forgot to ask how far up he made it.

Crossing the creek

Crossing the creek

It wasn’t too far after this that we saw where the runner turned around, headed back and then we realized that it was time for gators.  I picked up some new ones at a great price and I am so glad they arrived before this hike because I needed them today.

Gator time

Gator time

Snow is getting higher

Snow is getting higher

At least the views made the snow not such a big deal

At least the views made the snow not such a big deal

We honestly didn’t take that many pictures and when we did, these are all with my iPhone or our Olympus tough camera not our canon, but the day was so beautiful I think it would have been hard to take a bad picture.

iPhone - Aaron's favorite from the hike

iPhone – Aaron’s favorite from the hike

After we saw where the runner turned around, it was just us blazing the trail through the snow.  Which we love but man was it a workout, first a foot, then 2 and 3 when finally we got to the trail marker around 10,000 feet up.

hmm it is getting worsefav 6

We were huffing and puffing all through here still feeling good so we continued forward although we knew that it was unlikely we could get all that much further. It was actually getting warmer, the snow was getting deeper and more unstable yet we still had hope that we might make it up a little higher or that the snow would be a little less but finally we had to admit….the snow was too much.


Before we took these pictures, Aaron slid down almost to his waist, for like a second we wanted to try to go further and try too hard to make it to the top.  But the clouds were really moving in and the reality that the snow was not going down at all hit us.  We turned around and started heading back, as I have begun to learn going down is not as easy as I once thought it was, the temperature had started raising and the snow was melting pretty quickly.  Only from the bottom up or so it seemed, the stress to our knees was intense.

the way back is not so great

the way back is not so great

The hardest part of heading down before we wanted too, was that the clouds almost disappeared and the sky turned this intense amazing blue that made us wish we hadn’t turned around ( even though it was the right decision) because the views on a day like yesterday would have been unbelievable.  I cannot wait to make it to the top one day and we will!

Seriously blue with my iPhone no less

Seriously blue with my iPhone no less

I feel like I had never seen this color blue in nature until I moved here and now I cannot get enough.


In the end we managed to get to a little over 8 miles of hiking with a total elevation gain of 1700ft but it took us 5 hours round trip. One stupid feeling of awesomeness hit us on the way back, there was another pair of foot prints in the snow that suddenly appeared but they turned around at least half a mile or more before we did.  We got to the parking lot as they were finishing up their de-clothing post hike ritual, 2 guys younger and in better shape than us the look on their faces when they realized we went further than them was priceless.  We could almost read their lips “like seriously they beat us”, it felt crazy great!

We just loved the views too much and our favorite pictures got out of control so forgive me.




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14 Responses to “Ben Tyler Trail #606-Pike National forest. 2nd attempt failed- 5/11/13”

  1. ChgoJohn 05/12/2013 at 11:54 am #

    You’ll make it. The 3rd try is the charm!

  2. AndrewGills 05/12/2013 at 2:03 pm #


  3. Janet 05/13/2013 at 9:17 am #

    You got some good photos, liked the flowers. And the “seriously blue” sky, you’re right, it really was beautiful. What is hanging off your husband’s green backpack.

    • hikingtohealthy 05/13/2013 at 11:50 am #

      They are the black diamond equivalent to yaktrax for icy or slippery situations. On days like this one when we don’t know how the conditions will be, we hang them off so they are easy to access.

  4. westerner54 05/13/2013 at 10:30 am #

    Big kudos to you for such a valiant try. I just couldn’t get psyched about hiking in snow in the middle of May!

    • hikingtohealthy 05/13/2013 at 11:52 am #

      Thanks, I wasn’t all that psyched either but if we are going to hit our first 14er by the July 4th week I need to get over it. Plus the weather here is so mild, if the snow wasn’t so high we would have been shorts most of the time. It is supposed to be really warm this week so hopefully next week will have less snow.

  5. Lauren @ Peaks and Passports 05/13/2013 at 2:48 pm #

    Impressive try! I can’t believe how deep of snow you two were postholing through – I probably would have turned around long before then. You’ll get it next time!

    • hikingtohealthy 05/14/2013 at 7:11 pm #

      Thanks, I hope so! Its easy to keep trying when the views are so awesome…

  6. The Finishing Flight 05/14/2013 at 12:07 pm #

    What amazing landscape! I’m loving all the pictures. If you’re looking for some more warmth feel free to take some heat from Southern Cali, we’re melting out here.

    • hikingtohealthy 05/14/2013 at 7:16 pm #

      Thank you! It is actually not that cold here and it will be hot enough all too soon.

  7. Carol Page-Potter 05/15/2013 at 6:32 am #

    Beautiful pictures, and I admire your determination!!

  8. lovelyproject 05/18/2013 at 9:35 am #

    Occasionally we get blue skies like that in So Cal, but nothing beats those photos! So beautiful. And hooray for you for beating those whippersnappers!

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