August 6-8,1999 ( original email send to relatives)
Although, this story may not be Ed Rotthoff style, this was my weekend.
We left Denver about 10:30am. on Friday and headed to the mountains outside of Vail. We made one stop at a Wendy's in Silverthorne and then we continued on to Vail. At Vail you go South to Minturn and then just outside of town up an eight mile bumpy forest trial road. We found many people already at the campsite and trail head in the early afternoon.
We got packed up and then traveled on a 3.5 mile slightly uphill on the Fall Creak Trail to Lake Constantine. On the trail we found a couple other backpackers along with three forest rangers who where busy cutting out trees which fell over the trail. The trail its self was fairly muddy and it looked as though the trees had some type of beetle kill going one because of the number of trees which where down in the forest. The ground was well covered will thick under brush due to the mild summer and a rainy couple of weeks. At Lake Constantine we crossed the river at the bottom of the lake and made camp on a fairly high stop. We setup camp and then went on a hike down to a 60 ft. waterfall. The night was warm for us in our tent but it rained a large part of the night.
Saturday morning we got up and packed up for a leisure hike back to the trail head where we re-packed. The walk back to the truck was filled with interesting conversation and spectacular views. At the truck we re-packed some gear, ate some lunch, and headed up the Half Moon Trial to east river (2.5 miles); or the main camp site for the climbers up Mt. Holy Cross. The hike up was grueling but the views, as always, where great. Once on top of the the pass we went down some very steep switch backs to the river in the valley below. One the hike down the switch backs we got some great views of the Peak. The hike down also offered a good look at some water falls coming down for a high mountain lake (bowl of tears). We crossed another river, this time one of rock steps where as before we used a log. We setup camp after finding a place among probably 40 other campers, at least. We were very tried at this point and the mosquitoes were ferocious so we ate early and went to bed.
Sunday morning we got up at 5:00am. and tried to meet our secondary objective of the trip which was to climb Mt. Holy Cross. The trail up was very steep and the section above tree line was just a walk threw a boulder field. We made it to about 13,200 where a good view of the mount could be seen and a summit which was 1.5 hrs. away, when we had heightened concerns about making it back out of the valley with our gear later in the day, not to mention the strain of two days previous of backpacking on our knees. At this point we got some good pictures and headed back to camp. At camp we quickly packed up our gear and headed up the valley wall. On the valley wall we ran into a group of climbers, with yaks carrying some of their gear. This was kind of questionable to me because later I heard one of the less involved men speak with some type of accent, "Not American." I then assume that the people with the gear where probably porters for the other two men. Anyway we did make it back to the truck in record time, and for the most part, back into Denver before the traffic got really bad.
The trip was fun but very busy, I took a number of pictures so I will have to get them produced and some copies made. (And Posted on this Page)
A hope your weekends went well, and I hope that I will be able to recover this next week just in time for a vigorous week of vacation; ...Maybe not so vigorous.
( After thought addition: I will be back next year).