And though I once preferred a human being's company,
they pale before the monolith that towers over me -They Might Be Giants
"Oh be quiet, you. You can't possibly be hurting already."
It's two thirty in the morning, and one of the twins is giving me grief. We've been on the trail for less than a half mile, and it already looks like things could turn ugly. The problem with hiking with twins is that when one starts starts giving you guff, the other is sure to follow. It's dark, but they know exactly where we are. We've hiked the Longs Peak Trail several times before, and it always seems to bring out the worst in them. Perhaps I am slightly to blame for making them bear the extra weight of my camera gear all summer long.
I have a couple goals in mind for today's hike up Mount Lady Washington. The first is to get some pre- and post-sunrise shots of Longs Peak from the summit. The second is to do some exploring to find some good places to photograph in the future. I figure we should be able to summit before sunrise if we leave the trailhead by 2am. After some slight delays, we make it to the trailhead twenty minutes behind schedule, and I try setting a faster pace to make up for the lost time. We reach Chasm Junction just before four, and I'm feeling quite proud of myself for making it here this early. That is, until I see the headlamp approaching the summit of Meeker (congratulations, by the way, to the person or persons who summited Meeker at 4am; both for summiting so early and for making me feel like a slacker for sleeping in so late).
After Chasm Junction, we leave the trail and head up Washington's East Ridge. I have plenty of time to make the summit, so I slow the pace down a bit. The twins seem to like this, and their complaints slowly fade away. We reach the summit about an hour later and I set up my tripod and get ready to start taking pictures. This is what it's all about.
After getting several shots and enjoying the sunrise, I decide to head up the ridge toward Longs to get some different views of the Diamond.
I had been eyeing the descent to Chasm Lake via the Camel as I traversed the ridge. I feel very confident in the twin's ability to make it down and I decide to go for it.
Chasm Lake and Friends (the Camel Gully is in the shade on the lower left)
Looking Back at Lady Washington
The Camel would make a great alternate approach to the Keyhole. Although it cuts quite a bit of distance off the hike up to the Keyhole, there is a bit of route finding up steep rocky slopes and I don't think it would save you much, if any, time. The views of Longs from this route, however, are stunning.
Is the feature on the upper right the Camel? I've seen two different features referred to as such.
Looking up the Camel Gully
Heading down to Chasm Lake
I reach the other side of Chasm Lake and decide to take a nice long nap. I have been up since 12:15 this morning and I deserve it. The entire hike I had been amazed at how my brain was able to function so clearly after waking up so early, but after further reflection I came to realize that someone who personifies his knees and has imaginary conversations with them really isn't all quite there.