Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rocky Mountain High

My travel schedule is about to pick up for the next few weeks. I have been trying to figure out if I can get one last big hike in before the summer is over. But I may be too late as summer is over or at least that’s how it feels with the rain and cool temperatures we have been having.

Once I figure out the schedule I am thinking about doing Mt. Elbert (14,433 ft) and Mt. Massive (14,421 feet) outside of Leadville, CO. These are the two highest Peaks in Colorado with Mt. Elbert being the highest point in Colorado and the second highest in the lower 48. A few stats on both Peaks are as follows:

Mt. Elbert
Length: Approx. 8.75 miles roundtrip
Highlights: Highest Peak in Colorado, Great views of Leadville, Twin lakes, Mt. Massive and the intrinsic satisfaction derived from standing on the second highest point in the continental U.S.!
Difficulty Rating: Advanced
Elevation Gain: Approx. 4,700 ft.

Mt. Massive
Length: Approx. 14.5 miles roundtrip
Highlights: Second highest Peak in Colorado, Great view of Mt. Elbert and the intrinsic satisfaction derived from standing on the second highest point in Colorado!
Difficulty Rating: Advanced
Elevation Gain: Approx. 4,410 ft.

To get both Peaks done will require a day for each. I am going to camp out for three to four nights up along Halfmoon Creek. I figure the first day I will setup camp and do some fishing in the creek and Turquoise Lake. Day #2 will be up Mt. Elbert, Day #3 up Mt. Massive and on day four will be a little more fishing and then break camp and head home.

At this point this is all just big talk. Will keep you posted on how this trip comes together.

I took the picture above from the backyard this afternoon. I worked from home today as we were having some work done. I was working on the back porch when this Eastern Black Swallowtail flew by and landed on a potted plant.

Eastern Black Swallowtail
Papilio polyxenes

The Eastern Black Swallowtail is found throughout the Midwest and Eastern North America. The wings are a beautiful combination of black and blue, with orange and white spots. This swallowtail is smaller than most, with an average wingspan of 3”.

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