I’ve always thought that spontaneity is a good thing. Sometimes it leads to wonderful adventures and sometimes to … not so wonderful adventures.
Last Wednesday Stormy said she was helping with a book-binding course on Saturday so I though I’d try to line-up a climb of the Cable Route on Longs Peak, then on Friday Stormy said the course was a week from Saturday. “I have a great idea” I said. “Let’s head to Rocky Mountain National Park on Saturday, try to find a campsite at the Longs Peak trail head. We’ll take a hike and spend the night.” Secretly, images of a free-solo attempt at the Cable Route on Sunday morning flashed before my eyes. “The weather is supposed to be great.”
Stormy liked the idea so we started getting ready Saturday morning. You might think this was a little late to start packing, but this was a spontaneous trip and too much planning would spoil it. So off we went bright and early at about 11:00 AM. Of course we had to stop and visit Jessi on the way.
We finally made it to the Longs Peak trailhead at about 3:00 PM Saturday. To our astonishment all the camp sites were full! I suppose I knew chances were slim that we would find a campsite, but I hoped that some other group would be as spontaneous as we were and decide to go home early and leave us their campsite.
We decided to take a hike anyway even though the clear weather I’d read about in the forecast had disappeared and it was cloudy. No views of Longs Peak today. We headed up the trail and had a very nice time strolling along and enjoying the cool afternoon.
Then it began to rain. Only a little at first, then more, then more. Oops we forgot to pack Stormy’s rain jacket—a little too spontaneous perhaps. We got to the car soaked at about 6:30 PM. Just as we were stripping away wet clothes FLASH-CRACK! Lightning hit about 100 meters away.
It was raining hard by now, but I had another great spontaneous idea. Let’s drive through RMNP to the west side. I told Stormy with great confidence, “This is just a local thunder storm. It’s bound to be clear on the west side of the park. We’ll find nice try camping there.”
Stormy was skeptical. She said, “It will take us at least an hour and a half to get to the western slide and we’ll be setting up the tent and cooking in the dark”
“No, it will only take 30 or 40 minutes.” So off we went. An hour and a half later we finally got to the Timber Creek campground on the west side of the park. It was still raining—hard! The campground is huge with a population density greater than Hong Kong. We both decided it would be better to move on than to pitch the tent and cook in the dark while being serenaded by RV generators.
Driving through the rain was slow and tedious. This wasn’t a local thunderstorm! A few miles down the road, as we were complaining about the abysmal weather, we encountered some RMNP pedestrians. They looked wet, but completely unconcerned about the rain. The baby’s weren’t even complaining. They did have some nice fur coats though.
We finally arrived home about 1:30 AM having done more driving than hiking or camping. Was it a good spontaneous adventure or a not-so-good spontaneous adventure? Well, we spent as much time in the car as out, got soaked, and couldn’t see the mountains. What did we conclude? It was a good day!