I decided to sleep in my bed in Boulder rather than camp. Mainly, for the quality of sleep and ease of having a good breakfast; plus I enjoy the waking up process that the drive lends. We got held up behind a herd of elk on Trail Ridge road and I found out that the GoPro was out of batteries so I would have to deal with lower quality phone images. Ah well. Jack and Kiri were already at Milner Pass when we pulled in; I was a little stressed on the tardy start time so I pretty much got out of the car and started walking.
|It's actually quite a special moment now that I'm not in a rush (Photo: Abby)|
If you actually plan on reading this whole thing, I might recommend following along via my Strava (part one, part two) if you don't happen to have been studying this route for the past couple months and aren't sure where any of this stuff is.
|Leaving Milner Pass TH (Photo: Abby)|
|A regal looking Longs Peak on the horizon from the summit of Sprague.|
|Last year Abby and I found a flowing stream at the Eureka ditch, but here is just vaguely moist dirt. Just below Knobtop.|
|Heading down the North Inlet switchbacks (Photo: Abby)|
|Lake Nokoni Trail|
|The Ptarmigan Towers|
|Looking towards Isolation from the Andrews col. Andrews peak has a magnificent east face, barely seen on the right.|
|Looking up towards the Cleaver (somewhere in there, not sure where). The boulder in the foreground is where Abby and I waited out a thunderstorm last year!|
|Ten Lake Park which composes a small portion of the much larger, unexplored and trail-less Paradise Park drainage. Mt Adams (?) in the distance.|
|The west ridge of Isolation, there is more to go beyond what is seen in this photo, but the notches you encounter are easily navigable.|
|Embracing the wind on top of Isolation Peak|
|My remaining traverse along the divide before dropping off, Ouzel (left, dark peak) and Ogalla (grassy high point just left of center).|
|Looking back towards Andrews Peak (grassy, left of center) and the two passes used to traverse from the North Inlet drainage to the East Inlet drainage.|
|Looking back towards Alice, McHenrys, Chiefs Head, Pagoda, Longs, Meeker, Ouzel (left to right) from just beneath Ogalalla's summit|
|The central Indian Peaks basking in the evening light, one of the best views of the entire traverse! If you know where to look for the Mohling Traverse, it is incredible from this perspective, Iroquois looks very proud.|
|Looking down the Ooh La La! - Cooper - Martin ridge, Island Lake and subsequently Gourd Lake lay just beyond the grassy slope.|
|View from the summit of Ooh La La!, Ogalalla's East Ridge, Chiefs Head (barely!), Pagoda, Longs, Meeker, Copeland, Elk Tooth (looking very proud!)|
|A reflecting pool just above Island Lake, it would have been nice to take my time and photos here but I wanted to get every last drop of daylight on this tricky descent!|
|Looking back at my glissade path, there wasn't really another option!|
|Meanwhile down below... (Photo: Abby)|
|Happily eating Abby's homemade potato and cashew soup! (Photo: Abby)|
|The usual night time nap break view. Sidenote: the sense ride is phenomenal!|
|Neva's North Ridge|
I text Abby that I'm done at Rollins Pass. I feel totally satisfied with what Milner Pass to Rollins pass entails. She drives to Rollins Pass while I move painfully slow over UN12660 then down and up Devils Thumb Pass. On the final climb I am forced into a two steps to ten breaths tactic to maintain myself. I thankfully join the High Lonesome trail heading south to where my journey will end. I meet Abby two and a half miles from the pass. In no rush we lay in the grass, she brought me two bottles of water which I easily dispose of along a peanut butter sandwich.
|Not a bad place to lounge about. (Photo: Abby)|
|Done. (Photo: Abby)|
Mt Ida, 12,880'
Chief Cheley, 12,804'
Mt Eleanor, 12,380'
Sprague Mtn, 12,713'
Ptarmigan Pt, 12,363'
Flattop Mtn, 12,324'
Isolation Pk, 13,118'
Ouzel Pk, 12,716'
Ogalalla Pk, 13,138'
Ooh La La!, 12,945'
Mt Neva, 12,814'
Mt Jasper, 12,923'