Making use of yet another day of reduced crowds in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Normally the Longs Peak trailhead parking lot is completely packed after sunrise, however we had our pick of parking spots with maybe 20 other cars in the lot.
Luckily most of these folks were going up the Longs Peak trail, or only going to the Eugenia Mine.
We had hiked to the mine in 2011 with my mom, but didn’t realize it until we started the hike and had an ah-ha moment. It definitely looks a lot different covered under snow.
This time of year the trailhead starts out bad and gets worse. Microspikes and poles are the order of the day, although we saw people slipping and sliding their way along on the mine trail.
Once you pass the mine, the people disappear – we saw 3 other couples either coming or going on the trail. Very nice!
Once you turn off the trail and start the cilmb up Estes Cone, the snow starts to thin, although the trail is still icy. We opted to keep spikes on until we got to the rock climb at the top. The scramble is fun, but the 50+ mph wind gusts make you think twice about standing up on exposed rock.
I brought along a campstove so we found a protected spot to cook some lunch and take a break out of the wind. The exposed wind and cold (my Garmin says 10 degrees, so probably -15 wind chill) are brutal on any exposed skin, as I quickly found out while taking a quick video with Colette’s phone.
The hike down was uneventful as the shadows started to lengthen, and we were happy to see the car sitting forlornly at the end of the parking lot. Another day, another great experience!
Dreams of Gold
Batten Down The Hatches
Looking Back Up
Estes Cone Visual
Of Course There’s Video
A quick video from the top of Estes Cone