The first hiking trip that launched my “Internet” hiking and climbing passion.
Scanning rec.backcountry last week I ran across a guy who was asking a question about a topic I can’t even recall right now. Anyway I offered the thought about the local chapter of the Colorado Mountain Club. We started an email conversation and learned that we lived about 10 miles from each other. Tom said he was planning on hiking up Mt Herman (9400 feet) on President’s Day so I invited myself along.
We met at the McDonalds for a cup of coffee and to get to know each other before we started up a mountain trail. We seemed to have the same likes and dislikes and hit it off really well. We then decided we had better get going. We piled into his 4×4 truck, leaving my city sedan in the parking lot. On this hike, the road and Tom’s truck did the majority of the work climbing at least 1,000 feet up from Monument, Co.
At the trailhead, we adjusted our packs and set up the snow covered trail that rose rather sharply. After about an hour of steady climbing we arrived at the summit with great views of the Front Range and Pikes Peak to the south. The ever familiar haze over Denver was present to the north – glad I live in Colorado Springs!
We spent some time just taking in the sights and basking in the sun. We were able to see the approaching storm front from the west that the weathermen were all talking about… but for now, everything was great. Tom wanted to try out his new Whisper lite International and he heated some water for cocoa and tea. BTY, I was really impressed with the stoves performance. We each enjoyed a hot drink and some snacks, taking some more time to get to know each other. As the wind picked up from the west, and the clouds thickened, we decided it was time to head down, but come up another day to overnight camp. We signed the summit register that is maintained by retired marine who lives in Monument. The register was in a cooler covered by a tarp held down by shock cords fastened to 4 pitons.
In other words, the register was going nowhere! The register itself was a hardbound book in which each hiker was encouraged to write essays rather than just signing. It was a new one since Jan and about 20 entries were in it since the start of the year. Previous registers could be found in the n library according to a note. Well if Tom could try out his new stove, I was entitled to try out my new crampons (SMC Hinged from REI) so I strapped them on my boots and led the way down the trail. The two miles down went very quickly for me, but was tough for Tom in places as the trail was ice and wet ice! I did not fall once nor shred my pants so I felt it was successful.
I wanted to give the relationship a shakedown cruise prior to a mountain trip. We got back to the trailhead in 45 minutes and headed back to Colorado Springs. I think we both enjoyed each other’s company so you may just see other trip reports from the two of us rec.backcountryer’s in the future.