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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Trail Ridge Road‏

October 5th, 2007 · No Comments

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Maybe I’m crazy. I know I’m different. Today I went where no one else was willing to go.

Before sunrise I drove to the top of my world, which means Rocky Mountain National Park. The scenic Trail Ridge Road, which had been closed on Wednesday, is open again.

For one last time this year I went to the Alpine Visitor Center at 11,796 feet and walked the short trail to the top of a peak at 12,005 feet at sunrise. I was completely alone. Nobody else wanted to do that. No other vehicles were at the huge parking lot, which in summer was always so full that I would have to wait for a parking place to open up. No one was on the trail.

I just had to see my beautiful mountain peaks again. This summer they were nice in their nakedness. Today they were stunning in their snow.

Like my favorite songwriter, Leonard Cohen, “I came so far for beauty.” To me the mountains have so much beauty that I got up at 4 a.m. and drove 60 miles each way to see them by first light this morning.

Sunrise at the Top of the World

Sunrise at the Top of the World

As beautiful as the view, the weather was terrible. Not only was it below freezing but the wind was also so strong that not just my nose but my whole face hurt. Actually, that meant it wasn’t so cold that I couldn’t feel my face. But some part of me would have preferred that.

I took a lot of pictures. I knew that I had to take more than usual, because there was no way that I could hold steady in the wind. Fortunately, some of them were sharp enough.

Tundra and Snow above the Alpine Visitor Center

Tundra and Snow above the Alpine Visitor Center

Even though my continuous glucose monitoring system didn’t think so, I did fine today. That system told me that I had gone into hypoglycemic shock, but I knew better.

A couple of other times when I had hiked for hours up to 12,000 feet or so, this monitor told me that my glucose levels were below 40 mg/dl. This time even before I hit the trail it said I had gone way low. So it’s simply the elevation not the exertion.

Today when I was at about 9,000 feet at 6:17 a.m. it said my level was 100 as it had been all night long in a remarkably straight line. But just 10 minutes later it had apparently plummeted to 64 and 10 minutes later I was, it said down below 40, at which point it assumes the user is dead, so it stops specifying. When I got back to Suzy at the Alpine Visitor Center at 7:42 I was apparently at 44, but my fingerstick meter said I was at a reasonable 125.

As I reluctantly returned to what we call civilization, I stopped at every turn-out to enjoy the nature that I prefer to asphalt. This photo shows one of the reasons for my preference.

The View from Trail Ridge Road

The View from Trail Ridge Road


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Posted in: Hiking, Photography

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