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My thirteen-year-old son Will and I have hiked five 14ers this summer and a total of nine over the last three summers. This week we attended family camp at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp with many good friends, including Tom, Bob, and his son Ben. We have hiked together the previous three summers at family camp, climbing Pikes in 2009 & 2010 and Yale in 2011. Each hike has been remarkable, and this year we began our planning for hiking the peaks around Kite Lake weeks before.
We left RMMC at 0530 and drove into Alma at 0645 and reached Kite Lake at 0710 and began our hike at 0720. Here is Will at the beginning of the hike. It was a cold start at 12,000 feet.
The stream we had to cross at the base of Kite Lake was really flowing. We started our hike by taking off our shoes and wading across, and then we had a couple of fun jumps as we criss-crossed the stream. Here is Ben making the jump. Cold feet.
There were numerous private land signs all across the hike.
Here is a nice view of Kite Lake. Notice the shape of the lake - hence the name.
We saw a beautiful ptarmigan (we think) with her chicks. The camouflage is pretty amazing.
The hike up Democrat was the most challenging of the hikes. It was steeper than we expected, and Will was not feeling well as we climbed. We reached the Democrat-Cameron saddle at 0845 and then made it to the top at 0920. Here we are at the top, and Will was feeling very poorly. Lincoln is in the distance in this picture. At this point, I was really worrying that Will and I would have to just go down to the car and wait until Tom, Bob, and Ben finished the rest of the hike. It was not looking good.
Here are Ben and Bob on the top of Democrat.
Here is Will with the sign. It is a pretty forced smile at this point.
We did witness a pretty nice event on the top of Democrat. A man proposed to his girlfriend right as we got there. Tom videotaped the proposal, but, even though he is a minister, he was not asked to perform the wedding right there on the mountain. Here is a picture of the couple and their dog admiring the wedding ring. Congratulations you two!
We began our first descent at 0950, and, fortunately, as we descended Will felt a lot better, and by the time we caught up with Tom, Bob, and Ben at the saddle around 1020, Will was ready to keep on hiking. That was great news for all of us. We made it to the Cameron summit around 1110 and stayed at the top for about 10 minutes. I feel bad for Cameron not making the official list of 14ers. It is a nice summit with a good view. I liked it more than Democrat. Here is a picture of the two of us at the summit.
We really enjoyed the hike from Cameron to Lincoln. It was a nice stroll on fine loose gravel, a striking contrast to the hike up Democrat. Here are Tom and Will sauntering across the saddle.
We reached the summit at 1140. Here are the five of us touching the marker with the poorly spelled sign marker on the top of Lincoln.
Here is Will writing in his 14ers journal. His list is getting longer at each summit.
After ten minutes on the summit, we needed to move on. The skies were darkening, especially around Quandary to the north with the wind blowing our way. We needed to get around the Bross bypass trail and back to the car ASAP. We reached the Cameron-Bross summit at 1210 and then hit the closed sign shortly thereafter. We reached the Y split on the trail with the closed trail to the closed summit and the new bypass trail. We took the right fork and headed around the bypass.
Here is Bob taking a picture of the Bross summit.
The hike along the Bross bypass was quite nice.
We began heading down at 1250 and soon we hit the talus field on the descent. Very much not fun, and it was beginning to spit rain. Not a great combination. We took the descent slowly, and here is Tom navigating the rocks.
At the bottom was a beautiful waterfall. The run off was quite impressive, especially since it seems like the water just emerged out of the ground.
We made it back to the trailhead at 1400, mission accomplished. Here are the five of us in front of the signage. I hope one day Bross can be opened. It seems odd for private individuals to own a 14er.
As we drove down the road away from Kite Lake, we had to stop and soak our feet. Very much worth it, and Bob ended our day in tree pose.
So my son Will and I climbed nine 14ers this summer, and Tom, Bob, and Ben each accomplished the Decalibron. We all head back to the very hot flatland and away from the mountains this weekend so this will be my last trip report of the season. But we still have many mountains left to climb, and hopefully we will climb many of them together.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
The Oklahoma heat is oppressive right now. I was in CO last week also. Hopefully we missed the worst of the heat. I have a couple orange hats for you guys if you're interested. J/k. I love seeing fellow Okies up in the mountains.
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