Day: 9
Miles: 1,723
Location: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

 I don't know how many times I've quoted it, but "the good traveler has no fixed plans" and I came up a little dry today. The original plan was to, weather permitting, climb Longs Peak. Its a fourteener in the Front Range of Colorado. A good mountaineer (not that I'm one), takes more pride in knowing what he/she can't do than what he/she's done. I'm still learning how to gauge and make judgement calls, but I'm getting better at avoiding "summit fever". After all, there's old climbers and bold climbers, but no old bold climbers.

The conditions for Longs were not very good when I drove up today. There was a recent snowstorm and the roads were a tad icy. I drove to the trailhead, but the peak was bathed in clouds. This isn't always a deterrent, but this mountain has some particularly difficult sections that are prone to avalanches. There was a chance of snow and somewhat warmer temperatures, so avalanche danger was high; I had to back out before I even hit the trail. Oh well!
So, Plan "B" was to climb Flatttop Mountain which is easier, but still a climb. Busted again! The road up to the parking lot was also very icy and I couldn't risk it! Bummer! On to plan "C" which was Deer Mountain. Its about a 6 mile round trip hike/snowshoe to a 10,000ft summit. 

This was not exactly a difficult hike, but I still felt the elevation. The trail is completely covered in snow so I had to do some route-finding. I was taking my time and made it to the "summit" in a couple of hours. There wasn't much of a view, but it was nice to add another mountain to my tick-list. Clouds were forming around the higher peaks and I made my way down in an hour and a half. Again, not a crazy climb, but rather relaxing!
I had a little time to chill in the town of Estes Park! I'm planning the next section of my trip through Wyoming and trying my best to plan around the weather. Stay tuned for a visit to Yellowstone, the Tetons, Saratoga, and the Wind River Range!