I had grandiose visions of how this hike might turn out…lots of ooooohhhhhhhssss and aaaahhhhsss. And while when I planned out it made perfect sense, in the end, the weather sometimes just doesn’t cooperate.
We had a crazy good time in Breckenridge and it was hard to crawl out of bed to make our way to Mt. Flora (hike details here) on our way back to reality, so we moved a little more slowly then my perfect planning dictated, but I didn’t care because this was the 4th hike in 4 days and I was determined regardless…….. oh wait I am lying, I was totally done hiking and just wanted to veg doing fun touristy things for the rest of our time together. Instead of telling Mary of where I was at, I said nothing and as we pulled up to the trailhead I started preparing her for a shortened hike. It truly was windy in the parking lot and would be 10 -100 times windier at the summit…..
Mary for her part was a super trooper to the end.
We had all we needed to get to the summit, crampons, gaiters, lots of extra clothes and poles….. what we didn’t have was the best conditions, oh and a guide(me) who was worried after the hike the day before with her guest hiker’s issues with heights. Not worried about the trail but the person who was “uncomfortable” with heights. On any given day this trail is not hard but it is super high and after you turn a corner the views are REALLY expansive. Lets not talk about the climb up…with snow …and wind. There was a point where, when I looked back and poor Mary was so uncomfortable that I am pretty sure she was shaking, just a little bit. As a person who has been hiking up high for a while and has no problems with heights, this was a revelation. I tried to see it the way she saw it, I imagine it looks like seeing through a fisheye lens with skewed blurry edges, everything else just looking off and too close while looking too far away at the same time. It feels terrifying I imagine, fortunately for me I only get exhilarated when up high seeing the views.
When I got to the point where I was sure the snow would be less deep (and promised Mary this would be the case) and we would be traversing across the mountain, I saw the snow was still like 10+ inches deep. It was too much and the wind was picking up so I turned us around, not because of how Mary was doing but because I knew after the traverse I would have to turn us around anyway because the wind would be super hard at that elevation to ever summit. There was no reason to put her through more than she could take to only turn her around a half a mile later.
After we turned around she confessed she would have been ok if we had skipped hiking this 4th hike….. sometimes it is ok to trick everyone into a little workout even if no one wanted that workout. The views were amazing but the trail small and so I kept moving around her taking pictures of us, the hard part was that she could not not move or not say careful careful…. I will tell you that we laughed A LOT.
Heading back down she realized that it wasn’t as hard as she imagined it would be going down and that if I had turned her around a half mile later she would have been really mad at me….. It was the right choice. We took in the crazy amazing views on our way back down and decided to get some yummy food in Winter Park. I used Yelp to find something good and we hit this place on the main strip called Denos Mountain Bistro, we weren’t really all that concerned if it was good just as long we could enjoy the end of our vacation in style. I think the shock was how stinking good it was….like seriously unbelievably good, been dreaming about it since I was there good….. Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE Colorado. If you are in WInter Park, go there on a Sunday and get the Brunch Burger it is like heaven on a bun and I don’t even like burgers all that much! Their Eggs Benedict was perfect too and more…. Mary got the Brunch Burger and I resented her for getting to enjoy the whole thing while I got just a piece of it.
Ok here are the last pics I got before the wind was just too much and a promise from Mary that she will try this hike again when there is less or no snow.