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8-31-06 Hike to Boulderfield Campsite


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#1 OklaHiker

 
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Posted 07 September 2006 - 12:56 PM

On Thursday morning, August 31, I arrived at the Longs Peak trailhead around 8:45 AM. The plan was to hike to the Boulderfield backcountry site, spend the night there, summit Longs Peak on Friday morning and hike back. So I did a last minute gear check and hit the trail at 9:00. It was a little overcast, but not too bad looking. As I left the trailhead a few people day-hiking to Chasm Lake passed me. I set out at a pretty slow pace because I knew that it was going to be a long uphill hike.



The trail starts out looking like pretty much any other trail I hiked at RMNP. Tall trees and a trail that has many upward switchbacks. I came to the Goblins Forest campground much sooner than I expected. The trees in that area were definitely interesting.

When getting close to treeline the trail crosses a creek (don't know which one) coming down the mountain and I got my first warning about lightning, which, along with bears was another subject of paranoia for me on this trip.





As I reached treeline 3 day hikers came crusing past me. I began to wonder if I was really slow or if they were really fast. Also, as I approached treeline, I noticed some dark, stormy looking clouds in the area. Luckily, they didn't do any storming until after they had passed me. The most inspiring thing, however, was to see Longs Peak from the trail for the first time.



It's really nice when you can see your ultimate goal while you hike. It puts a little extra spring in your step, which I needed smile1.gif .


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#2 OklaHiker

 
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Posted 07 September 2006 - 01:41 PM

As I began the arduous (to me) hike up above treeline I passed several people coming down and I made it a point to ask everyone about the weather up ahead. There were clouds moving all around up there and I did NOT want to find myself on an exposed ridge if a storm came through. Everytime I passed a little cleft in the rocks or an overhang I would think to myself, "If a storm comes I'm going to climb in there!" Around this time the stormy clouds that had passed overhead began to thunder and dump rain on the valley below.



It seemed like it was taking forever to reach the junction with the trail that goes to Chasm Lake. It didn't look that far, but it seemed like it was taking a while to get there. During this stretch of trail I observed a couple marmots playing tag among the rocks. That was the first time I've ever seen any marmots, so that was cool.

Marmots


Me


I finally reached the junction with the Chasm Lake trail. The sky had cleared and it was a really beautiful day.



I thought I was getting really close the Boulderfield, but I found out that I actually had quite a ways to go from a hiker coming down. As I approached the pass whose name I can't remember, more clouds began to move in so I quickened my pace. As I was hiking I began to think ironically about the Boulderfield. It appeared to me that I had bee hiking through boulderfields since I'd been above treeline. I mean, there were very large, wide, open fields... with... boulders... lots of them. I began to wonder what the real Boulderfield was going to look like... the Moon?

Anyways... to expedite things, I won't go into every detail from here on out, but from this point the hike to the Boulderfield presented excellent views at every turn. Every time I looked around me I could see for miles and it was just a really incredible experience.

View from the trail

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#3 OklaHiker

 
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Posted 07 September 2006 - 02:16 PM

So, I finally made it to the real Boulderfield at around 1:30. I made it from the Longs Peak TH to my the Boulderfield in about 4.5 hours, which is pretty good time. The information sheet says it takes 5-8 hours. I can't imagine it taking 8 hours. I set up my tent in one of the 1 tent rock rings and got some water, which is not plentiful. I could only find one little pool of water near the campsites and several people on their way down from Longs were already there filtering water.

Longs from the approach to the Boulderfield


First view of the Keyhole


My tent


With Longs in the background


The outhouses and the approaching storm


Now I could see that a storm was coming right at me so I cooked some food and then huddled down in my tent to write a letter to my girlfriend (who I really was missing at this point) and read a book. The thunderstorm passed through which rain, hail and some really loud (and close) thunder, which was sort of scary. But luckily, I survived.

After the storm passed I came out and realized that I was the only person camping in the Boulderfield (the next night all 9 sites were filled) which made it a a little lonely on the mountain, but also provided some nice solitude. You know, I don't think I've ever felt closer to God wink.gif.

Edited by ProfHall, 07 September 2006 - 02:42 PM.

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#4 OklaHiker

 
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Posted 07 September 2006 - 02:18 PM

And this should be the last post of the report...

Seriously, though, it was a neat experience to talk to the Creator while being amazed at all of His creation that was around me - Longs Peak, the Keyhole, the mountains in the distance, even the rugged expanse of the Boulderfield... It was cool.









The night at the Boulderfield wasn't as bad as I expected. It was pretty windy, but I was comfortable in my 25 degree bag with a few extra layers on. The Boulderfield wasn't what I would describe as beautiful, like Mills Lake beautiful, but it was an interesting place and I'm glad I camped there.

I'll do a report of my Longs Peak summit as soon as I can. Hope you enjoy...
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#5 John

 
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Posted 07 September 2006 - 03:12 PM

Man, that is one great report! And great pictures too!
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#6 mwilson

 
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Posted 07 September 2006 - 03:38 PM

Thanks for your report and pictures. Very enjoyable! I can't imagine being the only one camped at the Boulderfield though!

Marsha
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#7 OklaHiker

 
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Posted 07 September 2006 - 03:48 PM

Yeah, you know you are truly alone (as far as people are concerned) when you're the only person at the Boulderfield smile1.gif. I know there are other campsites that might be farther away from people, but there's something about being basically on top of the mountain that makes you feel like you're practically on another planet.
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#8 Becky J.

 
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Posted 07 September 2006 - 03:53 PM

This is not something that I will ever be able to do. Thank you for letting me vicariously experience this. Super report and pictures.
Becky J.
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#9 Rhonda

 
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Posted 07 September 2006 - 04:26 PM

I second what Becky said, I will never get to do this myself, I'll consider myself very lucky if I make it to Chasm Lake in a little over a week, so your report and photos were really enjoyable to me. I know now what the boulderfield looks like, the tent sites (I never imagined them looking like that), and Long's Peak from there, etc. It was fun and you are a terrific writer and photographer.

I've enjoyed all your reports, and last night I went back and read your original posts where you thinking about bushwacking in the Mummy Range and people were giving you warnings and advice. Are you glad you changed your plans?

Can't wait to read the rest of your trip reports.

Rhonda
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#10 OklaHiker

 
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Posted 07 September 2006 - 04:58 PM

I'm glad you like the reports! Unfortunately, I only have one more to do - the Longs summit report. I left a couple days early and didn't do the Mt. Ida hike.

Yeah, I'm glad I changed my plans from what I originally was going to do. The advice and warnings of the people on this forum turned out to be really valuable. The only regret I have is that I didn't do the Chapin, Chiquita, Ypsilon day hike as I planned. I scheduled that for Wednesday the 30th, between the Black/Frozen Lakes and Boulderfield hikes. I got back from spending a couple days in the backcountry on that Tuesday afternoon and I was pretty fatigued. That night I stayed up pretty late on the phone and I overslept on Wednesday morning. I was hoping to be awake by 6:30 or so and I didn't wake up until around 10:00, which was probably too late to do the CCY hike.

That day I drove around on Trail Ridge Road and a few other roads around the park and took pictures. I really wish I could've done the CCY hike. The next time I'm in the area I'm definitely going to do that hike. The pictures I've seen of that area are just awesome.
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#11 weatherbe

 
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Posted 07 September 2006 - 05:12 PM

Awesome report and pics! Thanks for sharing!

Weather bee.gif
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#12 Allie

 
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Posted 07 September 2006 - 08:26 PM

Wonderful report, I felt as if I was there. Your statement about being alone, and never feeling closer to God was awesome. I am so glad you had such a great trip, and I have really enjoyed reading your reports. Can't wait for the next one.

Allie
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#13 becky

 
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Posted 07 September 2006 - 09:07 PM

OklaHiker,
You have a really cool way of writing about your feelings on your trips, especially about feeling close to God at the Boulderfield. How awesome, and thanks for sharing that with us. There is a song called "Awesome God" that I had going through my head several times last week on our trip.
I admire you for being alone at the Boulderfield---I like solitude, but sometimes it's nice to have a few other friendly faces around! smile1.gif
Looking forward to your summit report, too!

Becky
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#14 Aaron

 
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Posted 07 September 2006 - 09:23 PM

Thanks for the trip report! five.gif That would feel kinda weird being alone camping there, but would be pretty cool at the same time. Good job on the report!

--Aaron jockey.gif
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#15 Chad

 
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Posted 08 September 2006 - 05:20 AM

Cool report and pics, man! Your tent looks VERY solitudinous in the boulder field all by itself. By nature, I lean more towards being introverted, and I'm very comfortable and content doing things alone. That said, I don't really know if I could handle being THAT alone.
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#16 workrelease

 
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Posted 08 September 2006 - 07:11 AM

Thanks for the great report and pics!! ...and staying at the boulderfield alone...lucky dog!
Can't wait to see your summit report.

Grazie.
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#17 dennis

 
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Posted 08 September 2006 - 08:42 AM

I've done the chasm lake hike and the longs peak summit, but never camped in the boulderfield. Some people don't think it's worth the effort to include that in a longs peak hike, but I always thought it would be fun. That is one more goal for me in the near future. Thanks alot for a super report! Dennis
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#18 Weasel

 
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Posted 08 September 2006 - 08:57 AM

Great report and photos. I think once you survive a night alone in the Boulderfield, you must realize you can go just about anywhere and be OK, right?

Thanks for taking the time to write all of these reports.
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#19 Ladyslipper

 
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Posted 08 September 2006 - 09:02 AM

When camping alone in the boulderfield, at least you don't have to worry about big furry creatures that go bump in the night ohmy.gif , do you??
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#20 OklaHiker

 
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Posted 08 September 2006 - 09:23 AM

QUOTE (Ladyslipper @ Sep 8 2006, 09:02 AM)
When camping alone in the boulderfield, at least you don't have to worry about big furry creatures that go bump in the night ohmy.gif , do you??



Ha, that's true. I didn't have any bear scaredness in me that night. You do, however, have to worry about little furry creatures that break into your tent ohmy.gif . More on that later...
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