What a hike! You start at over
9000 feet, yet gain almost a mile of elevation before reaching the top at 14,255. The trail combines just about everything a hiker could
ask for, from a relaxing walk through the woods (OK, a relentlessly uphill walk in the woods), to scampering across VW bug sized boulders,
to the near-vertical rock climbing in the trough. The trough is the only place where I've had to spend a significant amount of time deciding
where to put my hands and feet next. Some of the reaches between hand- and foot-holds were at the limit of my admittedly short limbs.
Added to the mix is an endless string of
awe inspiring views, especially above tree-line. There are alpine lakes, meadows, plenty of wide Rocky Mountain vistas, and crazy rock
formations all along the way. Despite this incredibly wide range of terrain, Longs Peak can be completed in one day without rushing,
although you may start and finish in near-dark conditions. Round trip distance is somewhere near 15 miles. You need to come
prepared for a wide range of conditions, as exemplified by the blizzard that moved in quickly during my first descent. A tee shirt and shorts
were the order of the day just a few hours earlier!