la guardia airport. July 23 5:00am
Arrived at Denver airport around 9:30am
Each food group shopping more food at Safeway
Setting up tents. We were surrounded by the mountains.
View of Longs Peak from our campsite. It changes to different faces when the weather changes. Very pretty!
We divided three food groups, Sandy was socialing around, maybe sharing dinner with others.
We celebrated Ah Chen's 18's birthday. LOL
Mountains hidden behind the clouds. July 24 morning, campsite.
Our whole group of 24 except Xiao Ma is taking the photo. Maria is hidden between Ah Chen and Su (back left hand). Can you find Hong Xu? ----cornor of left hand, reading the post there. hahah..
First day, Bear Lake.
We call ourselves Pretty Women!
Sandy, Cherry me, Winnie
Funny one isn't it?
Happy and relaxing
Me at the Loch.
What a view!
at Mills Lake-- Taking a 10 min break
Tired..we decided to go further to Black Lake, which made almost 12 miles round trip that day. First day hiking at this high altitude was difficult.
We reached Black lake. We were all exhausted.
I thought Black Lake's elevation must be above 12,000', however later I checked it's only 10,600 something. I don't know how I could make 2500' ascent the next day to twin sisters, and almost 5000' to the Longs Peak.
Su is taking pictures of me, I guess!
Nancy fell on the way back.
Eating dinner while the Sun was setting.. July 24.
July 25 morning, on the way to Twin Sisters, taken in the car.
July 25, Twin Sisters. Summit elevation: 11,428 feet
Trailhead elevation: 9,000 feet
Net elevation gain: 2,428 feet, 3.7 miles one way
People on one of the summits.
This is the opposite one, young sister.
We first reached the young sister summit. It was very narrow at the top.
Nancy at the top
On top of Twin Sisters.
Summit the other top.
Nancy and Chung
Iris and her idol Ah Chen
A young man carried his 7 month baby, the mother was following.
Estes Park Town where we did our showers, laundry and shopping (about 20-30 mins away from our campsite).
6 people backpacking group is leaving for Longs Peak trip a day ahead of us. July 26 morning
5 of us did Fern Lake, a 9.1 mile hike. It turned out a beautiful hike.
It reminds me of the movie "A River Runs Through It", one of my favorite movies.
The water is very cold, but refreshing".
We stopped at a visit center around 3-4pm after finishing the hike. It was a very hot day (88F).
Lecture: How beatles killed the trees there.
This night, we had dinner early, prepared the lunch for the next day, went into tents about 7-7:30pm for the next day's longs peak. However I was nervous.. the last time I looked at my watch was 10:30pm.
***Challenging Day--Longs Peak ***
We got up 1:30am, left campsite 2am. Our big trip to Longs Peak starts here.
The trailhead parking lot was almost full. We started 2:45am. ( Now you can match these pictures with Helen's article on CMC website, which I have read before and after the trip, a few times.)
It was a full moon night (morning)
The Sun starts to break the darkness.
The Sun is rising.
Many young people passed me on the way.
Winnie--my company for the whole trip up.
First glimpse of keyhole. We are reaching Boulderfield.
Blouderfield campsite (Our 6 backpacking people stayed here overnight). We finished 6 miles at this point. it was 7:30am. We have 1.6 miles to reach the summit. But it becomes a much harder one.
Keyhole is getting closer and closer into our view.
These infamous boulders.
This face is called The Casual Route of the Diamond, Longs Peak. People do rock climbing from this face..but we go from its back..pass keyhole, turn left. you will see what we encounted.
A closer look of Keyhole..It was exhausting to hike on these rocks.
Winnie at The Agnes Vaille Hut--a well-known climber in the 1920s, died here after making the first winter ascent of the East Face in a grueling 25-hour climbing marathon in January 1925
Here is the back of Keyhole, comparing to the front, it is a much better routed. The sudden open space was overwhilming!
At keyhole, many people turned back from this point. We reached there at 8:30. Only one mile left to the summit. But the route gets much more difficult and dangous.
We follow these Bulls-eye marks to get to the summit.
Winnie was my company and inspirition on the route. Without her, I wouldn't go by myself.
Where to go?
At the bottom of Trough.
Endless Trough, loose rocks along the way.300 descent then 600 ft ascend again.
Cherry is climbing the trough.
I kept asking Ben: with this difficulty, how do we come down agian? We have to go back"
Ben said: "Don't think about coming down, just go up for now".
Whenever I saw Winnie in my view, it comforted me a lot..
Sandy already descends from the summit. You can tell how strong she is.
JingYih is on the way back from summit also. First time joined us, he is really good at it.
We still take our time, one step after one step to summit the top.
Winnie---scary one! I don't even remember when and where I did take this one.
Nancy was waiting at the top of Trough, debating should we turn back?
Nancy: What should we do Wendy?
I said: we should continue..we are not far from the summit now. 10:48am.
I didn't have time to enjoy the views then, my legs and hands were shivering from time to time from the fears. I just randomly took pictures, so I can enjoy them now.
I took pictures when I had a break against the mountain, like Nancy did here. I took a lot of breaks
This is how much room I had underneath my feet. If I slipped, it would be falling all the way down..
The final pitch is called the Homestretch--300 ft almost a vitical climb
11:13am Winnie at Homestretch
Nancy is engaged in battle now.
Every step was a struggle. Not only the difficulty of the climb, but the lack of Oxygen. We didn't care about our styles, or images anymore, as long as we were going up.. It took us 45 mins to finish this part.
I think this is Chung. He was on the way down already.. when he saw Nancy and us.. he was very happy, accompanied us up again.. then one more time with Cherry. Only Chung can do this in our CMC, I guess!
almost there.. 12:00pm
I told Nancy to come to me to take a picture.. I can't walk anymore!
H.Y. Lee and me. I was hungry but no appetite. Only had an apple like H.Y. Lee did
The sky turns dark right after 12:00!
Su and Winner (back). H.Y. Lee (Front)
Happy couple at the summit!
We only stayed there for 10 mins or so, dark clouds were coming, we had to return.
Going down was even harder than going up. Luckily I am tall, so I just sat down, used my legs to reach next rocks..next and next..
Help from the guys.
Me in blue, Nancy in Red. (at Narrow)--Winnie took this nice picture.
Trying to figure out how to come down?
Didn't work that way!
Chung always leads our way descenting
It was raining, a little bit hails,,but we were safe at this point now. 5:11pm, say Goodbye to Keyhole. We still had 6 miles to descend to the bottom.. I thought I was going to die. Tired, Wet, Cold, Hungry..luckily we were not short of water. finished at 9pm to trailhead. No shower that night. Pain was all over my body when I was lying down in my tent. Oh Lord, I am still alive, Thank you!
Packing up to move to another campsite.
Sightseeing on the way
The highest altitude visitor Center in America National Parks (11,796 ')
We had lunch there.
An outdoor store where I bought a baseball cap.
Derrick and Stella
Second campsite in Leadville--The highest altitude town (About 10,000ft) in America. Cherry bought all of us icecream--all you can eat!
Historical Opera House.
Sand Dunes National Park, July 29
Su is taking picutures.
We had a nice dinner in the town.
Award T-shirt to all the drivers.
Last day and last event, shopping at REI
Ben took us to the oldest restaurant in Denver ---The Buckhorn Exchange was founded on November 17, 1893 by Henry H. I had Elk and Bison combination
The end of our trip.