We (husband Jay and I) decided to give Massive a try – one of Jay's goal mountains for awhile. This would be #20 for us, and since we are Floridians, we are thrilled to check off a few mountains every year. We headed out on Friday, July 6, hoping to avoid some of the weekend traffic. We read several recent trip reports that were really helpful, including one regarding the elusive white marmot. Definitely something we hoped to see! Jay downloaded the GPX file from 14ers.com. Thanks for the helpful waypoints – essential in places on the rocks where the cairns were difficult to locate.
We drove our rental 2WD Nissan Versa to the 2.0 mile marker on the road to the trailhead. No problem with Jay's excellent driving! We set out from the North Halfmoon Creek Trailhead and headed into the woods. We both agreed the hike was one of the prettiest with flowers and plants most of the way to the top. What a well-marked and well-maintained path! Kudos to the awesome people who maintain the trail! We had some beautiful views as we hiked out of the woods.
First Views As We Hiked Out of the Woods
Moon on the Way Up
We reached the summit and enjoyed the magnificent views – but I was nervously watching the skies and started down the mountain after a very short stay on the top. We actually had to hike down in some wind, rain, sleet, and thunder as monsoon season decided to come early on our hike. Fortunately, the rain stopped; the skies cleared out for a few hours; and our knees survived the long, arduous trek down the mountain. It was all good.
A few highlights – yup, the white marmots! We didn't see them until the rain hit.
White Marmot in the Rain
A Second Marmot Runs When We See Him
Also, we found the memorial to the Black Hawk helicopter crew that crashed on Massive some years ago to be quite interesting. Because everyone we asked on the mountain had a different version of what happened, we did a little research and were glad we did. If you are hiking Massive, don't know the story, and want to read about it in advance, here's a link: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/20579727/detail.html
Apparently, there's some confusion about an earlier FedEx plane crash and the helicopter crash.
Info about the plane crash: http://planecrashinfo.com/1990/1990-4.htm
Black Hawk Memorial
Finally, cheers to my fellow Steeler fan from Wexford, PA, who stopped to talk about Steeler Nation – which exists everywhere in the world, even on the top of Mount Massive.
Jay and I on the Summit
We always end our hikes with a "boot picture". It was a little too wet for us to lie down in the grass and pose with our feet in front of Massive, so we found an old, run-down cabin on the road toward Leadville and posed our boots there.
Our Boots With Massive in the Background