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!
Up the mountain me and Luke went with only: two bags of food, three sources of light, and warm clothing. We moved up the mountain and after about a mile we saw a fire in the distance. Since it was about midnight I advised Luke that we should avoid the camp to not frighten anyone who maybe there. We continued our course up the mountain for another hour and a half. Now approaching 2 AM we had covered close to 3.5 miles and we just reaching treeline. We decided to stop since we could see the moon and the cities and towns below us. (gorgeous view) But we had told Tom we would head back no matter our progress, around 2am so that is what we did. We also thought we may still be a few miles from the summit we turned back. We quickly covered the 2 miles back to where we thought we had seen the fire earlier. This time we were traveling on the North side of the Ridge as opposed to the South. We walking along and a crack and whistle rang out over our heads. We dropped and collected our thought "had we really just been shot at". Then we saw a shadowy figure jog through the woods and shoot 3 more times what appeared to be randomly into the dark. We sat still lights off and debated what to do. Then we decided that the man may be crazy and it was best just to get away. We made the decision to head in a downward and away from his position. This also meant that we would probably not be able to find our camp. In my adrenaline fueled push down valley I hurt my calf and exhausted myself. We had now probably hiked near 10 miles without water and had no way to make it back to camp. So without water we decided to make the trek to the Jeep in hopes it would be our sanctuary for the night. With the road at around 2 miles North we made due North our heading. While all this was happening shooting was taking place all over the valley, and now we were completely unsure as to what was going on around us. After a mile I was struggling due to still being sick and my lungs not keeping up with the demands of my body. We decided it was best to try and phone help from camp. We began to flash SOS at the two campfires we could see, and we continued to call and text camp. We then came in contact with a man looking for his nephews. They were a 10 and 12 year old boy who had gone out hunting and had not returned. He told us all of the shooting was them trying to signal the boys. We then trekked the last mile to the road. We wandered along the road for about 2 miles before we found the Jeep. Then we tore the Jeep apart for water which we failed to find. So we just went to sleep at around 5:30 AM. Then at 7 AM Kale woke us up, and informed us of the situation. With my Lungs Still Recovering I was left behind at the Jeep. So Luke and Kale went back to camp; while I was left to recollect on the night before for the next 6 hours.
It started off as any normal backpacking trip would have gone. A nice campfire