Saturday, May 1, 2010

Partly This! Partly That!

For a couple of days we had a plan for today, even though we were not exactly sure what the plan was! You could say we partly had a plan! There was a lot of "partly" going on today! Like these partly there glasses!
We knew we wanted to play in the mountains! We brought hiking boots, icers/microspikes and snowshoes. We mulled over a few ideas and as we were leaving the city, finally settled on attacking Old Baldy Ridge. We knew there was a possibility of risk so planned to inspect and monitor conditions as we went along. We didn't want to put these guys to work today.
Our route started at the Evan Thomas Day Use Area along Highway 40. The road in was partly clear of snow from a previous vehicle already having been down the road to the parking lot. Signs of Thursday's blizzard were obvious. Right here our challenge began! We were slow to get started due partly to equipment malfunctions, partly due to having to shed a layer really quick, and partly due to not knowing what direction we should be going!

After following the partly plowed Evan Thomas Trail for a click and a bit, we reached the four way junction and still couldn't find the trail we were suppose to veer off onto. With a little advice and knowledge about the area from a fellow who appeared on a quad, we picked a direction that we felt partly comfortable with and headed off. After lots of bushwhacking, the trail led us to areas that were wide open and sunny with loads of snow. This was true snowshoeing! Along here were areas too that we monitored conditions, took safe routes and practiced our "space between" technique.
We saw The Wedge in the distance, along with The Fortress and Mount Chester. The red dot marks the spot I reached last summer. The next time I am in that area, I want to instead of making it only partly to The Fortress, I want to summit it!
We saw where we wanted to go off in the distance!
We saw colorful valley views!
When we play in the Rockies, we can always count on seeing gorgeous mountain views. You never know what else you might stumble upon. The sign told us there was "clear and present danger" ahead. We never did feel in danger!
Mother Nature showed us, even though it is May 1st and the sun feels like summer sun, it is still spring and it will be awhile yet before the snow and ice is gone. The rock fields were still partly covered yet randomly revealing eye catching geology.
Our plan was to reach Old Baldy Ridge, follow the Ridge, then head down off the Ridge by Boundary Ranch and work our way back to the trail head. We partly completed a portion of our plan! We followed the McDougall Creek until 2:30 and decided this would be our lunch spot and summit spot for today. At this point we had not yet reached the tarn, no where near the ridge but in a nice open area with a view. We decided today's snowshoe should be called either "Old Baldy Ridge Attempt", or "McDougall Creek Summit" or "Evan Thomas Trail". I'll go with Old Baldy Ridge Attempt.
This is what heading home looked like today!

It is not always about reaching a significant summit or completing enormous elevation.  It can be about playing in the great outdoors, getting exercise and fresh air with fun friends and be just as rewarding. That was what today was for me! I felt like I was "on top of the world" even though I was only partly there!

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