Filed under: Family Weekend Trips, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking
Lost On the Mountain! One Massive Hike, Part 2
Continuing our story about summiting Colorado’s 2nd highest peak, Mt. Massive, this past summer while on our annual trip out west, we soon encountered more adventure than we bargained for. In spite of the fact that our hike had multiplied from 6.2 miles to a rather “massive” 13.6 miles the day before, Meghan, the non-hiker among us, decided to undertake the journey with us. This meant that all three dogs would accompany us as well, which thrilled them all!
We were up at 5 am and enjoyed a breakfast of granola bars, juice and, for Terry and me, coffee for a quick bit of energy. We tend to eat light before and during a hike and enjoy a celebratory meal afterwards. We packed up our snacks for the trail (almonds, dried cherries and cranberries, peanuts) and loaded up plenty of water. Once the excited puppies were leashed up, we were off. It was 5:40 am.
We arrive at our revised trailhead at 6:22 am and pose for a few pictures before heading out. It is 44 degrees and 6:33 when we start our hike. Ryan immediately takes the lead with Jack, one of our three year old English cockers and his special companion. It is not long before they are out of sight.
Meghan stays with us for awhile, but eventually starts venturing ahead, waiting for us at each hill when she finds herself needing a break, so we see her every few minutes. She has chosen to walk Molly for the first half of the hike, our other three year old spaniel and I am walking Annie, the six year old mother of the other two.
Meghan is ahead of us when Terry and I arrive at the intersection at which we must turn left and take the Mt. Massive Trail, which ascends sharply, rather than continue on the Colorado Trail, which is much gentler. It is 7:57 am and we have been hiking nearly an hour and a half. At the hill just beyond this intersection, we note that, for the first time, Meghan did not wait for us to catch up, but think nothing of it at this point. The scenery is beautiful, the weather delightful and we are enjoying being out in the wild this spectacular summer day.
Eventually it occurs to us that it has been more than 30 minutes since we last saw Meghan and begin to get concerned about that. She is the least experienced hiker among us and, for the first time, we wonder if she failed to follow the Mt. Massive Trail, even though she knew we were climbing Mt. Massive. We begin to walk very slowly, waiting for her to appear, either ahead of us or behind us. When she does not, we decide that Terry will head back the way we came and I will continue slowly forward in the hopes one of us will find her. We are cautious about this decision, however, as it means now all four of us will be hiking alone, never a good choice.
Terry turns and runs back down the mountain, calling Meghan’s name. Annie and I continue on, walking very slowly, taking pictures and making the most of the beautiful surroundings and scenery we are enjoying. The minutes pass slowly, as pleasant as the environment is, but we are making the most of it. It is nearly a half hour later when Terry rejoins me alone… More to come…
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