We knew better than to run Kingston Peak from south to north. The trail is just fine in that direction, but finding the southern end is always way too difficult. To make matters worse, we came off of Yankee Hill and went farther north into Alice, getting us turned around right from the start. We even accidentally ended up at the Loch Lomond trailhead at one point. Jeffrey got us on the right track, though, and we eventually found our way to the trail.
We'd only passed a couple switchbacks when a Jeep appeared, going the other direction. Monica flashed an open hand with five fingers, noting there were five vehicles behind her. The other Jeep shot both hands above his windshield, flashing both hands twice. Twenty-one vehicles in total! We pulled up on the sides of the trail to make room, and the parade began.
It was a group from the Mile-Hi Jeep Club, and it was fun to see all of the 4x4 vehicles. They seemed like a happy bunch for the most part. It was too nice out to be anything but happy. It took a little while, but then they were past our relatively tiny group and we were on our way again. Of course, the trail opened up just past there, so we would have had no problem getting out of the way if our luck had been a little better.
We stopped at the overlook, and it was already really chilly and windy. Still, the scenery was gorgeous and we enjoyed our stop. We knew we'd spend some time at the Rock House, though, so we pushed on.
We didn't find anyone else there, so we hung out for a bit. There were lots of people below us at Loch Lomond, and the slightly snowy mountains around the lake were beautiful. We snapped a bunch of pictures and stacked rocks here and there for good luck.
The first hill was easy, though bumpy. When we found our way at the bottom, in the valley, we also found that it was difficult to determine which trail was the correct one. We stopped a couple of times to discuss it. Unfortunately, we had no way of knowing if we were correct, but we did our best.
We were in the middle of the flat section when random people started running at our group. Jeffrey was first to respond, thinking they were in trouble. "She said yes!" is all he heard, though, as it was just an enthusiastic marriage proposal that went well. We were happy for them, though they scared us to death.
We passed a few vehicles along the way, and there were a couple of them in front of us a distance. We climbed up the next hill without any issues.
At the top of the descent down to the overlook at St. Mary's Glacier, we could see people at the parking area. No one was coming up, so we started heading down. We were about a third of the way down when a single, stock Jeep started up. It was going to get tight, but there wasn't much we could do. We kept slowly working our way down, planning passing places. Then the Jeep did a multi-point turn in the middle of the hill. It wasn't safe, and it wasn't smart. But we didn't have to pass him.
When we saw the guy at the parking area, we could smell the beer. A lot of beer. That explained things. We looked ahead to see people on their way along the shelf road so we waited, but the lone Jeep decided to head that way anyway. It takes all kinds of people, and we were lucky to avoid him the rest of the day.
People hiking in the area were happy, and they told us about how challenging it is on the way up. We chatted with them and the driver of a big Unimog. When the vehicles made it to the parking area we headed that way. The shelf road isn't much of a shelf, but it's very exposed. It's a unique section of trail, and we liked it.
We were wondering who was going to get in the mud puddles, and then we found them fenced off and dried up. How sad! There isn't much mud in Colorado, and that was the biggest spot of reliable, muddy water we knew of. We're all for it if it's better for the environment, but was it? It was a bummer.
The rest of the trail on the way down is scenic but fairly uneventful. We decided to do Mammoth Gulch too, on the way out. Even without the mud puddles, Kingston Peak will always be one of our favorites.
Reports from Other Days: 10
Use the arrows or dots to flip through the previews of the other reports for Kingston Peak. Click one of them to read more and see all of the photos from that day.