View of Long’s Peak and Mount Meeker from Twin Sisters

 View from Twin SistersJune 15, 2015.  My brother-in-law is visiting from out of state, and he wanted to go on a “beginner” hike during his stay.  I suggested either Twin Sisters (a 7.0 mile roundtrip hike with a maximum elevation of just over 11,400 ft) or Hallett Peak (a 10.0 mile roundtrip hike with a maximum elevation of just over 12,700 ft).  He chose the shorter of the two so that he could “take it easy” and enjoy the views.

We left Fort Collins at 4:30am and drove up to the trailhead across from Lily Lake in Estes Park.  By 6:00am we were beginning up the Twin Sisters trail.  While I didn’t think much of it, my brother-in-law had not been acclimated to the elevation since he had been living in Georgia for the past several years.  What I thought was a “beginner” hike quickly turned into a “strenuous” adventure for my brother-in-law.  We stopped several times along the trail so he could catch his breath and enjoy the views.

The roundtrip hike was about 4.5 hours, but we made plenty of stops along the way and spent nearly 30 minutes taking pictures and enjoying the views from the top.  I realize it’s been a while since I blogged or posted anything, so I wanted to share just a few photos from our hike.  Going forward I’ll work to be more proactive about posting these hiking trips.

Chipmunk

Looking up toward the peaks

Looking up toward the peaks

Hiking above the clouds

Hiking above the clouds

Summit of Twin Sisters

Summit of Twin Sisters

Looking West at the Rockies

Looking West at the Rockies

View from Twin Sisters

View from Twin Sisters

Longs Peak Hike by Ryan Levander

Every morning I wake up in Fort Collins and head on out for my run, bike ride, or else just on my way to work. And I see it – Longs Peak. Its always the peak I look to because its the biggest, badest, and most beautiful mountain in the front range of Colorado. It towers above all other mountain peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park at 14,256 feet. And every morning I look at it and it laughs right back at me. Well, not anymore…

…On Tuesday of this week I made the venture up to Longs Peak in one of, if not the best National Park in the World. Rocky Mountain National Park is less than an hour away from Fort Collins, Colorado. Every second of the drive is worth the stunning views you will get from this hike which starts at 9,393 feet! (Remember to bring both lungs to this one…)

3 miles of steady uphill hiking you will reach the end of the treeline and will be out in teh Colorado sun until you reach this again on your way back! 

Last look before leaving the treeline (around 11,000 feet here)

Soon after leaving the treeline you will reach the BoulderField, which will definitely slow your pace down, depending on how nimble you are! 

A look at Longs near the BoulderField

So the moment you supass the boulders and reach the iconic "Keyhole" the hike will immediately get much slower and soon turn into a climb. This is where Longs Peak seperates itself from so many other 14ers in the state of Colorado (54 of them, check out 14ers.com for information on all of them). 

The "Trough" was by far the hardest part of the hike/climb

The technicality wasn't done there – the "Narrows" was just that. Very scary area to where you had to watch each footstep, or it could be your last…

Narrows section

Through all the challenges, the views were clearly worth it in the end. I mean, does it get much better than this?

Longs Peak Trail Markers

Hiking a mountain this tall and iconic is an amazing accomplishment for anyone. And this is totally do-able most summers from mid July until mid September. Since we had an usually warm winter hikers have been summiting Longs in early June without any snow atop the peak! 

All in all it was one of if not my most favorite hike I've done in my life to date. It certainly won't be the only time, even this summer that I do it! 

Now when I look at Longs Peak it no longer laughs at me…:)

For a more in-depth story on my Longs Peak experience check out my other blog: http://wp.me/pReVW-Xj