After 10 days of planning to do Longs Peak we decided we were still ill equipped to make the summit. Therefore we decided to look for an alternate adventure and boy did we get one. After much thought we decided on Comanche Wilderness Area; thinking it would be a cool off trail hike and devoid of people. This led us to our familiar route out Highway 14 up the Poudre Canyon. At about 35 miles up the canyon you come to CR 63E and then we drove along that for about 30 minutes. We then found a suitable place to park and decided to head for Comanche Peak. Off we went trudging through the forest, and after about a mile we came to a few small clearings where we decided on our route. We also looked at where we may be sleeping since there was only an hour and a half of light left. We then descended into a valley of aspen and pine that grew more dense the deeper we went. At the bottom of the valley we had a very small creek crossing. It was beautiful with all of the vegetation and reminded me very much of the western slope of the Cascade Range. Beginning our ascent through the forest we put on our headlands and in the case of our friend Kale he stuck his phone under his hat. We continued our trek through ever denser forest until we came to a rocky out cropping that provided both the view and the terrain we were looking for to set up camp. Everyone quickly set off to accomplish the task of getting camp prepared for our night there. Kale and I went to work setting up my tent while Luke and Tom built a fire. Scott meanwhile set up his tent then helped with the rest of our task. Then once all of the set up task were done and the fire roaring we began to prep for dinner. I was very excited to cook dinner because it was my second beer can stoves maiden go round. (Story of the first beer can stove coming soon) It performed more like a flamethrower than a normal camp stove, but it did burn through fuel very quickly. It did cook food quicker than it went through fuel. Then it was the customary time to gather around the campfire and swap stories. Then people began to head off to bed; while Luke and I were testing different setting trying to get good night picture with my camera. After some tinkering we did get some awesome photos. The as I was setting up for bed Luke asked if I or anyone else wanted to make for the summit now. (11:30 PM) (Two Ending will be Written based on our POV ) Story Continued below!
After a half day of class we began the 2 hour and 45 minute drive to Red Cliff from Fort Collins. Once we arrived we were disappointed to learn that the gate to the road was still closed. This would prove to be our undoing; because this added 8 miles to our journey to Holy Cross City. (Our original destination) Well the road was in perfect condition so this was incredibly annoying to walk past DOT trucks entering and leaving the whole time. Although this faded as we grew more tired, and then once we reached the trail head we were out of sunlight. We made the decision to not go to a place we hadn't been to before in the dark, and made the decision to dig and sleep in my first snow cave. It was a lot of work; which Kevin did most of. This was all while I struggled to get a fire started. This was far more difficult than expected. We then enjoyed listening to an elk get attacked by something. We enjoyed the great views of the moon all the while.
Likability: 8/10 Overall the country was great just wish we could have made it to the city.
Our plans began with us trying to take as little gear as possible into the mountains and see what we were really made of. They quickly evolved into us going off trail as well and exploring some country that may not have ever been explored recently. We began on the same trail head as with our other Grey Rock trips; although this one had a far different end point from our previous treks into the region. We went up the Grey Rock Summit Trail; which as always is a great trek. Then at a point that looked good to us we left the trail and forged our own path. About half way to our campsite we began to debate whether or not to turn back for fear we would be looking for a spot off trail in the dark. Luke and I convinced the rest of our group to continue on for another 15 minutes. This lead us to a great discovery of a campsite. We had great views of the mountains and the plains. Once we decided on the exact spot we all set off to work: Luke was starting the fire with flint, Nathan setting up his tent (not participating in our minimalist trip), Tom was gathering wood, and I began building our wind wall. Once we had a luxurious campsite set up we set in to a meal of chili and elk brats. It was a great time. Then we did something that seems to becoming a tradition Tom and I. We set off to Summit one of the nearby peaks around midnight to check out the spectacular views of the city and front range at night. After all of the fun, we set alarms so we could get up and go back to the peak for sunrise. As always, a sunrise in the mountains is a great sight. This was made even better with great company. We then set off to add a few different additions to camp. While all of this was happening we saw some turkeys and Luke took off with his sling to try and get one. He came back with a great story about how he had failed after learning first hand wild turkeys can fly. Everyone seemed ready to stay and go at the same time, but the fact we had very little food left forced us to decide to leave after only one night there. All in all it was a great new experience. 4/4-4/5/2014
Likability 9/10 Area we went was a burned area so it was a little lacking in color, but the company of good friends more than made up for that.