Arriving Late

Trip Start Jun 05, 2007
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Trip End Jun 06, 2007


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Flag of United States  , Colorado
Tuesday, June 5, 2007

So, after getting up and debating a couple different locations, I finally settled on heading towards Leadville for my night of camping.  I knew I wanted to find a place that I could hike in, pitch my tent near treeline, and enjoy great views before bed and first thing in the morning.  I decided Mount Massive was a great choice, and I picked one of the trailheads on the north side for my starting point. Although summer is taking its dear sweet time getting here, I still figured the north side of Massive would be passable to at least treeline, and I hadn't ever hiked Massive from the north side.  I was looking forward to this.
 
The drive in was great.  Around a Turquoise Lake, up a well-maintained dirt road.  I took note that the Colorado Trail crossed this dirt road early on, as I have considered a couple longer trips along the Colorado Trail.  I continue on, and I start to think I've made a mistake.  Some of the snowbanks on the side of the road are taller than my car, and this is in June?  Well, hopefully it's just from plowing and whatnot, oh...the trailhead.  I don't even turn my car off.  I get out, walk up to the trailhead...I could have probably walked about 15 feet before getting knee-deep in snow.  Although I brought snowshoes, I didn't plan on needing them this early on.  Well, I figure it's time to find one of the trailheads on the south side of the mountain, or go home.

As I head away from the northern trailhead, I realize it's about 4PM.  Sunset it a bit after 8PM, but I want to leave myself at least 2 hours of daylight for hiking, and an hour for setting up camp, I better find this other trailhead by 5PM or call it quits.  After driving all the way around Mount Massive (and yes, it is massive), I get to the southern trailhead around 5:10PM.  Hrm, close enough.  I have a torch or two, so I'll make due if I get up there a little late.  I throw the last couple items in my pack and head off. 

About 30 minutes into my hike, I realize I left my rain jacket in the car.  Not a great thing to leave behind as it's overcast, but I decide I'll be OK.  About 10 minutes later, I recall that my knife is sitting in the trunk as well.  I don't like hikes of any duration without a knife, not that I've had many occasions to use it, but it's a bit of a safety issue.  Well, I'm not hiking back down for it, so I cuss myself and continue.  After about 2 hours of hiking with a dreadfully heavy pack, I hit treeline.  Within a few minutes I find a good place to pitch my tent, and I cook up some grub.

I pack all my food items neatly away in zip-loc baggies (as to not attract bears), and do the same with all my trash.  I crawl into my little tent to read for a bit then call it a night.  I get through a chapter or so in my book, but my hands are cold since they're not in my sleeping bag.  The wind is kicking up outside, and I'm not used to the noises this tent makes.  I've used it once or twice, but never in windy conditions, and it is WINDY.  I get very little sleep for the first couple hours, as I know every rattle of the tent is a bear trying to get in, and around 11PM I finally start to sleep better.
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