Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Too Short Visit to the Rocky Mountains

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“Faith, indeed, has up to the present not been able to move real mountains . . . But it can put mountains where there are none.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

This past weekend I went to Denver to be at my nieces’ wedding. I was lucky enough to be able to take a few additional days off work and do some hiking in the Rocky Mountains.  My brother and I, both being sea level people, decided to take Sunday to do a day hike and acclimate ourselves to the altitudes.

Sniktau Mountain View










We chose Sniktau mountain on the Continental Divide at Loveland Pass.  To get there from Denver, use I 70, exit at Loveland Pass just before the Eisenhower Tunnel onto Highway 6.  This mountain has an altitude of 13,234 feet at its’ summit.  This is a good hike to start with for us low landers.  At the bottom of the mountain the temperature was about 75 degrees.  The trail head starts at about 11,900 feet and goes up fairly steeply.  Having a bit of trouble getting used to the thin air, we just took our time.  The trail ascends steadily as it reaches the first knoll.  The temperature dropped to about 50 degrees at the summit, with some serious winds.  Sniktau mountain ridge

The views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains are extraordinary and breath-taking (couldn’t resist that pun).  The trail then follows a ridge line descending and ascending from Knoll to knoll. The partially snow covered trail (this was June 6th) continues to give fantastic views well worth the hike.  At the fifth knoll you reach the summit and are rewarded with picture perfect panoramas.

View from summit of Sniktau mountainOn the way back down the ridge line, winds picked up significantly, somewhere between 60 – 90 miles per hour winds, giving us a go feel for the power of nature.



Some video clips from the hike up Sniktau mountain:

Monday we went to Rocky Mountains National Park.  About 2 hours from Denver, RMNP is a national treasure.  If offers over 350 miles of hiking trails, many drive in camp sites and over 200 ‘backcountry’ campsites.  Permits and bear canisters are required for backcountry camping.  We visited the parks backcountry permit office, were greeted by an attractive young ranger, Megan.  She was helpful and efficient.  Walked us through the rules and paperwork, and issue us a permit to camp at Spruce lake.  We were on the trail minutes later.  No problems whatsoever.

I only wish I could have spent more time exploring the trails and mountains.  That will have to wait for a longer next visit.



  1. Wow! Great shots. That view is amazing! Is it cold and harder to breathe up there? Did you make stops on the way to acclimatize?

  2. We made a couple short stops then had lunch just below the summit. The views in real life are far better than the video.

  3. Robin,
    That top picture is stunning! The Rockies are beautiful.