For the second time in a 4 day span, I found myself caught out unprepared for the rapidly changing weather in Colorado's high country. Wednesday had me huddled up under a tree hiding from hail, and Saturday was an eerily similar situation. Jill and I headed up to the Wild Basin entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park for a training hike for our upcoming backcountry excursions in Glacier National Park.
Sandbeach Lake would be our destination, a 9+ mile round trip with well over 2,000 feet of elevation gain. We set off under blue skies, but knowing that the weather likely wouldn't hold for the entire trip. We made good time rarely stopping, and clipping out mile after mile as the skies turned a darker shade of gray with virtually every step.
As we neared a mile to go to the lake, the skies begin to spit. By the time we had gotten to the lake itself, the rain was coming down very quickly. Of course we had left in a hurry and neither of us had rain shells (READ: STUPID MISTAKE), and while we weren't suffering from being cold, there was still a lot of reason for concern.
We found a rock outcropping and huddled under it, using the emergency foil blanket to keep use dry and help us conserve some heat. We waited the storm out, grabbed a couple of quick (read: crappy) pictures and then headed down. We handled the trip back down in very business-like fashion, knocking out the miles quickly without a single stop.
Back at the car I was glad to be done, but a bit frustrated I had let myself get caught by surprise two times in such a short period. Its a seemingly harmless enough trip that I let my guard down, but have learned my lesson about that. Monday morning I marched down to REI at lunch and bought a proper, packable waterproof (not water resistant like I had) shell.
Look out Mother Nature, I'll be back with a vengeance.