Ben Tyler Trail #606 – 3rd time is NOT the charm! 5/25/13

The best view from the top
The best view from the top

Ahh how we are gluttons for punishment!  This past week was another perfect, warm week in Denver and as a result we convinced ourselves that we would try Ben Tyler ( Hike Details here) this weekend in hopes the snow was manageable enough to make it to the top.  I cannot tell you how desperate I am getting to see the top of this hike and so the hike started out almost perfect plus we heard other hikers talk about the peak as if it was clear.  We started up the switchbacks pretty optimistic and as we took in the view around the 2nd or 3rd traverse we started to wonder….

Optimistic start....but I spy snow
Optimistic start….but I spy snow

We were making great time and so far the snow was nowhere to be seen even as we crossed the creek the first time:

2 weeks ago snow was all around this crossing
2 weeks ago snow was all around this crossing

When the trail turned into a creek on its own, we were pretty psyched because we were certain it meant the top was ours this time.  Not to mention that at this point 2 weeks ago we were almost up to our knees in snow.

This is actually the trail with our own little creek occasionally
This is actually the trail with our own little creek occasionally

We didn’t even see our first patch of snow until we got to the point we turned around just 2 weeks ago, we were crazy excited we were moving at a good pace seeing beautiful sites and reaching the end of the of the Aspen grove.  That meant we were getting really close to the last stretch of trail before the top.

When we first started, we were soundly passed by that group of hikers talking about conditions at the top.  It was probably about a mile after our turnaround point last time that we ran back into them….coming down….dejected, ugh! Their words, huge wall of snow blocking the trail about 20 minutes up the trail.  This group was lovely and gave great advice, one of the gentleman said he had never seen it this bad this late in the year and he had been hiking here for years!  We got to their turnaround point and did something I am completely against….we went off trail.   We didn’t get far but far enough to realize that we were chasing a dream at this point.  After a valiant effort we threw in the towel again, not before I took an epic fall that made the most beautiful colors on my calf and left butt cheek, mostly my left cheek.  When I slipped and fell on the rock hiding under the snow my leg actually went immediately numb for about 30 seconds, I knew it was a bad sign.  It kept waking me up last night when I tried turning over but didn’t stop our hike today so I will chalk it up to just a bad fall with a deep tissue bruise as a result.

The best part of Colorado this time of the year was that it was in the 50’s the whole time and we were in shorts, shorts and gators eventually but mostly shorts.  I am becoming more sure every day that we are living in Heaven on earth.  Before I put up our favorite pictures from the hike, does any one know what kind of bird this is?  It was pretty flirty with us and posing like crazy:

What kind of bird is this, anyone?
What kind of bird is this, anyone?

Fingers crossed that next time we see Kenosha pass.

It was hard to resist not trying harder... the view of where we are trying to go
It was hard to resist not trying harder… the view of where we are trying to go
shorts n gators
shorts n gators
Ugh 3+ ft of unstable snow....
Ugh 3+ ft of unstable snow….
Pretty Cactus Flowers
Pretty Cactus Flowers


Published by hikingtohealthy

an enthusiastic hiker living in Colorado.

13 thoughts on “Ben Tyler Trail #606 – 3rd time is NOT the charm! 5/25/13

  1. This year has been crazy. I have usually had some good hikes under my belt by this time, but to no avail. Keep plugging along, it will make your Ben Tyler hike so worth it when you complete it! I think the bird is a ptarmigan, or a blue grouse. I have come across both on spring hikes and they can be aggresive as their nests are on the ground. Keep hiking, love your posts.

    1. I am glad to hear you say that, I really thought we would have been getting much higher at this point! It will certainly make for an interesting June and July. Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. Dang it! I was hoping to see a pic from the top of that mountain. But I loved the pic of you two at the end in your shirt sleeves with snow in the background. Only in Colorado!

  3. That snow is remaining really stubborn to still be clinging on this late in the year! Still beautiful pictures and we’ll be crossing our fingers that the next time will have no obstacles and you can reach the top!

  4. The bird is a Ptarmigan. Beautiful pictures and great narrative, as usual. Good luck on “The Snik” next week-end! The time to beat is 42 mn up. It took me that long just to go to the first ridge (12,900) 3 weeks ago. Amazing what post-holing in 2 feet of snow can do to one’s performance…. FYI, after the first ridge, head NE, past 2 false summits, drop 200 feet and head up the final pitch (300 -350 ft) to the top. Expect windy and cold conditions any day of the year. You’ll learn to love the wind on The Snik as it keep avalanches at bay. Happy trails!

    1. Thank you Didier! Since the snow was so heavy in the high country they closed I-70 by the Eisenhower Tunnel Thursday morning we are not doing Snik this weekend. I just can’t do another snow filled hike this weekend, but next weekend I will likely be over it! Thank you for all the advice!!! Please tell Wendy good luck this weekend!!!

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