Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

Everybody has heard of the incredible beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park, but few have experienced the wonders of the magnificent mountains close-up. On this trip, you will hike along backcountry trails that will give you breathtaking vistas that car bound tourists just can't access.

The park is host to a wide variety of plants and animals including black bear, elk, coyote, mule deer, moose, bighorn sheep, marmot, white tailed ptarmigan, blue grouse, and beaver as well as Colorado Blue Spruce, Quaking Aspen, Lodgepole Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Douglas Fir, and endless fields of redolent wildflowers.

Summer is prime time in Colorado, so why not join us to improve your fitness level and lose some weight (or more accurately, alter body composition)?

Itinerary

The Rocky Mountain Fitpacking Trip will be from July 28 - August 9, 2012. Here is the proposed itinerary.

Our trek begins on the Cow Creek Trailhead at about 8000'. You will want to be super hydrated to stave off the effects of altitude. We'll head up to Lawn Lake into the Mummy Range. From there, we'll hike towards Fern Lake, one of the most scenic and sought after backcountry areas in the park. Then, we'll summit 12324' Flattop Mountain and hike West all the way across the park, bisecting it before crossing the famed Continental Divide Trail (that goes 3100 miles from Mexico to Canada). We'll spend a night in a lodge/motel in Grand Lake, CO and then head back over Flattop via a different route before ending our trek near the the mysterious Cub Lake.

Difficulty

The trails through the Rockies often have good footing but elevation changes can be dramatic, which implies more difficulty, but also higher, unimpeded views. Furthermore, those arriving from lower elevations may have difficulty with the altitude. Our first day in Denver should help ... so will staying super hydrated, but it will still take a few days to fully acclimate. Distances will be kept below 10 miles per day, but the longer days will require perseverance, especially when we summit Flattop, where we'll break camp just after dawn.

Weather

Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Summer is the ideal time to hike in the rockies. Expect daytime hiking temperatures into the 70s and 80s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s & 50s. However, be prepared for the possibility of day temperatures into the 90s and nights as low as the 30s. There are also ubiquitous afternoon thunderstorms at high elevations that are to be avoided for safety (and comfort) reasons. Here are the historical weather averages Be prepared with lots of sun protection and water containers that add up to 5 liters of capacity.

Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg, lives in Hull, MA and has many years of backpacking experience over a variety of terrains and guides most Fitpacking trips. He is a SOLO certified Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Trainer, and Certified Food Handler.

Bruce Cannon, lives in Columbia, SC and is a Wilderness Medicine certified Wilderness First Responder and a Leave No Trace Master Educator. He is a long-time Scoutmaster and maintains a section of the 76 mile-long Foothills Trail in South and North Carolina.

Equipment List

Here is a list of equipment we suggest you bring. The list is extensive and can seem daunting, but please don't let this deter you from the trip. You can rent top notch quality gear for reasonable prices from Traverse Outfitters, Lower Gear or Outdoors Geek. It may also be possible for us to provide some gear for you at a nominal fee if you let us know far ahead of the trip. Unfortunately, we're not in the gear business so the selection of our available inventory is unpredictable. Please feel free to discuss any gear with us before the trip.

Menus

We don't believe in austere eating regimens. Backpacking is a rigorous, rewarding activity. You must feed your body in order for it perform. Your body will dictate that you eat often, so it's important to have fuel to feed it. Please check out the sample menus. This list is not comprehensive and may be altered or augmented. If you want to bring personal food, say a 5 pound chocolate cake, go for it. You'll not only hate carrying it almost 50 miles through the mountains, your body will reject the empty calories and prefer nutritious food.

Cost

$1750 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a room with another participant during the 3 hotel nights. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Denver International Airport (DEN), personal equipment and any restaurant meals eaten off the trail.

Covered expenses include 3 hotel nights, campground fees, 11+ days of trail meals, ground transportation to/from the parks, National Park permits, insurance, satellite phone, and awesome guides.