Monday, August 1, 2011

Mummy Backpacking

Well, we tried to have a nice backpacking trip. Our plan was to hike a bunch of peaks in the Mummy Range in Rocky Mountain National Park and spend two nights along the way.

On Sunday, we hiked up the Lawn Lake trail until shortly after a set of switchbacks. From there we headed off trail, ascended rough terrain to a saddle, and picked a route up Bighorn Mountain.

The Diamond face of Long's Peak

Given the name of the mountain we were hoping for sheep. No sheep. It was a nice summit anyway, but we didn't stay long since the clouds were starting to get pretty dark.

Tileston and its "bump" in the midground; Mummy Mountain on the horizon

Back down to the saddle and then up towards Mount Tileston. There was a bump along the way to Tileston so we hit that first. As much as possible we tried to stay in the trees. From the bump summit we had a good look back at Bighorn; from the Tileston summit we could see Potts Puddle and imagine our campsite not too far beyond it.

Bighorn Mountain

Potts Puddle just above Laurel's head

Heading down Tileston we came across a smaller lake that we had to hike around. We meandered back to the trail and found our campsite. Expecting rain any minute we thought it wise to set up our tent and a tarp lean-to to protect our bags. Just as we had everything set up it started to rain, so in the tent we went.

Roaring River's path of destruction from the Lawn Lake Dam failure

About an hour later, after a break in the rain, we decided to make dinner -- got the stove lit and dinner cooking and it started to rain again. We had rain jackets on but it was pouring so we sheltered under a tree. Then the thunder and lightning started again, and close by -- 5 seconds between lightning and thunder. Our stove, dinner, and a measuring cup were still out in the rain. The storm stalled directly above us: heavy rain and small hail. There was one enormously loud crack of thunder simultaneous with a flash of lightning. By the time the worst of the storm had passed the measuring cup had an inch of water in it. We ate dinner under the tree in the rain and went to sleep. Our tent was fairly dry but some rain had splashed in under the fly and through the mesh.

The "privy"

We had plenty of excuses to cut our trip short: the same lousy forecast for Monday night, a twisted ankle, a non-functioning water filter (at least we brought it this time!) So we dried out and packed up Monday morning and had an easy hike on the trail back to the car.

View Bighorn-Tileston in a larger map

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