WAYPOINT :: KINGSTON
Single day off road and hiking a 13,250’ peak in the Colorado Rockies with Triple Aught Design…
Waypoint :: Kingston is the third Triple Aught Design Waypoint Event to date. This took place on the front range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The event was going to begin on a Saturday morning a little over 4 hours from our home base. We decided to head out on Friday to camp in an undisclosed location closer to the event SP.
We located our Friday campsite area thanks to some intel from a friend at TAD who had done some fly fishing in the area. The lake and streams in the area were gorgeous! We did some hiking at the lake then dropped a little altitude into the trees for our overnight camp. We were just finishing up supper when storms began to roll over the peaks to our west. We got the meal and furnishings repacked just as some heavy rain and sleet started to fall on the tall spruces. It may have been over 100 degrees when we started, but it turned out to be a VERY cold night on the mountain.
There were about ten miles of trail and backroads to traverse before we got to pavement in the morning for the 1 hour drive to the rally point for the event, so we woke and finished packing before the sun came up.
The rest of the convoy arrived in short order at the trailhead, and we started out after a team meeting for introductions and an overview of the day. Some wildlife watching was taking place even before the Toyotas and Jeeps began to roll up the mountain. It was going to be a good day.
We quickly ascended to above tree line, but not before splashing through some mud holes and passing a VW Jetta that had removed its oil pan on a rock a mile up the trail. The sky was clear and the brisk views were ColoRADo typically exceptional. We made a couple more pit stops for photography and soaking in the scenery before reaching a parking area not too far from the James Peak trail. The plan for the day was to summit James Peak on foot as a group.
After some clothing and gear changes, the team headed out. We had to cross some open fields to reach the established foot trail. The dogs were loving the alpine streams and occasional snow bank. We first reached an overlook of Loch Lomond that had to be enjoyed and appreciated. The hiking trail only got rougher and steeper from here. It was getting into the afternoon by the time everyone reached the summit. Each arrival was celebrated. Unbeknownst to me, this was the highest peak Vicki had ever attempted! This was an extra special accomplishment that reminded me that adventure is deeply personal, and coming alongside someone else to challenge and defeat their limits is the greatest satisfaction there is. After some snacks on the summit the team had to ourselves, clouds started to roll in and it was time to head back down.
We took a respite once we reached the vehicles and had a good time just interacting and enjoying the moment. Sadly, it was getting late in the day and time to drag ourselves off the mountain. Some water crossings and a loose hill climb awaited us on the trail ahead. There was also still a pit stop at the famous rock house mailbox where Old Glory was flying steadfastly in the alpine wind. We continued down the mountain through some spooky Bristlecone Pines that were twisted and gnarled through thousands of years on the mountain slope. Once we reached civilization (a graded road), we aired up tires and said bittersweet good-byes to friends old and new.
Until the next Waypoint!