Trail Notes...

Yesterday I was listening to a preacher recount an outing he took in the mountains.  It reminded me a my first hike in the mountains this season.  Here are the trail notes for the my Gem lake hike in Rocky Mountain National park.


12:10 pm – what a beautiful day for a hike in the mountains. Hmmm.. Gem lake 1.8 miles, sounds great! That won’t be too far.. I think I will just take 1 of these little bottles of water. No sense in weighing myself down more than I need too.

12:20 pm – sure glad I decided to break in these new boots instead of wearing my tennis shoes, as there is a creek going down the center of the trail. Little bit of incline on this trail .. it should be a good workout for me.

12:30 pm – elderly man with a cane coming down the trail. Hmmm, maybe I will have to go an extra mile or so past the lake to get a good workout. Hey look, a sign .. oh .. I can go back to the trailhead the long route, 1.1 miles that will burn a few more calories. This is way is only .5 mile.

12:50 pm – thought it best to go past the elderly couple resting on the trail before I stopped & gasped. What is that tinge in my chest? Surely I am not having a heart attack. I think I should just hang out and take a couple pictures while my heart quits pounding & I get my breath.

1: 00 pm – surely I am getting close. I has been almost 1 freak’n hour I have been walking uphill! Aren’t there in flat places on this trail? Chest still pounding. What is the elevation here?

1:05 pm – meet family on trail – they say that I have a ways to go but that there is a cave around the corner were I can get cooled off. The almost 7 year old takes me to the cave entrance to feel the air. I must be looking a bit ragged that she felt the need to guide me. Whew, this cool air feels great. It must be 85 degrees up here. I didn’t think Estes got that hot. Man, half my water is gone. I better start conserving … Sure wish I had brought that other bottle.

1:15 pm – people passing on the trail. Stop to take flower pictures and try not to gasp for breath as they pass. They say only 15 minutes more .. okay .. 15 minutes .. I don’t know if I can do it. Surely, the people who marked this trail are wrong .. I think I have walked about 5 miles already.

1:30 pm – dying on this freaking trail. Meet two 80 year old ladies coming down the trail. They ask if I am by myself .. no .. just me & the mouse in my pocket .. do you see anyone else!! They aren’t even sweating. They say the lake is a gem .. just 15 minutes ahead!! 15 minutes! I heard that 15 minutes ago .. okay don’t faint in front of them, keep moving.. for god sake they are 80 plus & they made it!

1:35 pm - the guy who past me 10 minutes ago is now on his way down .. he says I’ll make it .. it is only 10 more minutes. Not being able to breath without a gasp, I give the ‘mouth open gasp’ smile. I think I might have to crawl soon. I hear a couple complimenting 3 older ladies on the switchback above.. she says it is so inspiring to see all the older people on the trail! Inspiring my butt, they are just here to torment me!

1:45 pm – Is this the freaking lake I killed myself to get too!?? Looks more like a pond. Gem lake, my patooty!  At least there are no old ladies up here so I can recupe in peace. Ahh , granola bar and a gulp of water .. gotta conserve .. only two sips left for the way down. Better relace my boots, my ankles are killing me .. stupid idea to break in new boots on this trail. That damn chipmunk better stay away from my granola bar or I am taking Alvin out.. Okay, I have stopped heaving in air and heart rate is down to only 200 or beats per minute. Better head back down.

2:15 pm – whew going down is way better. Maybe those ladies weren’t wenches after all, they were just happy to go down hill. Must have been about a 5000’ elevation gain on this trail. This little cave thing is a great escape from the heat. 1 swallow of water, better save the last one.

2:50 pm – trail splits .. 1.1 mile or .5 , I think .5 will be just fine. Last swallow of water, I think I might make it.

3 pm – whew I made it .. baby Ranger Rick at the bottom can’t tell me what the elevation gain is but doesn’t think it is 5000’. Bottle of warm water in car, now half empty. No open blisters on my feet. Life is good.

Note to self – Great trail .. must do again – take more water!