| A Massive Day
This is my first trip report ever. I've been a member of 14ers.com for a while and have read other reports, but this is the first time I've felt compelled to write in depth about my hiking experience, in the hopes of maybe helping someone else prepare for their trip up Mt. Massive. (Any feedback on how to improve reports like these would be appreciated! )
Mt. Massive has intimidated me for a while because of the round-trip length, but a couple of weeks ago when I thought I'd have all of Monday off, I told my boyfriend that we needed to go for it. I found out later (about a week ago) that I had an evening commitment on Monday, but I was determined to go through with the hike. So, at 7:30pm on Sunday, we left Aspen, drove over Independence Pass, and parked at the Mt. Massive TH. Bringing sleeping pads improved our night tremendously as we both got as much sleep as the full moon allowed us in the back of my Subaru.
We rose at 4am on Monday, and were on the trail at 4:27am. Unfortunately, the moon had set before we got up, so we couldn't use any moonlight to navigate. With headlamps and iPhone flashlights, we made our way up the trail. By the time we reached the 2nd stream crossing and the trail junction, we could see beautiful colors through the trees and there had been more than enough light to put away our artificial lights. We reached the edge of the meadow with Massive in full view at 6:25am.
Elbert looked beautiful as well.
We started our way through the meadow and were greeted with views of some really gorgeous wildflowers.
(To whoever left a green bag of dog poop on the side of the trail around 12,500', that's gross and shame on you. We picked it up on our descent and packed it out. You're welcome.)
8:20am found us at the saddle, where we marveled at the view, as well as how far up we had come from the forest. We then turned right and started up the ridge. It didn't take as long as I thought it would, and at 8:57 we were on the summit!
There was no one else there, so we had to resort to a self-picture.
We enjoyed some beef jerky, texted our friends/parents to let them know we had summited successfully, and then started our descent around 9:20am.
The descent was thankfully pretty uneventful. There were more people heading up at this point, and everyone we encountered was very friendly. We stopped around 13,000' to help out a dog who had injured his paw with some gauze from my first aid kit--if Ollie's owner reads this, I hope Ollie is ok!
The weather continued to be perfect, and we quickly made our way down the mountain, stopping only a few times to shed layers and have some snacks. By mile 12, we were both starting to feel all of the work that we had done earlier. Overly optimistic, a couple of times we each said, "Oh, I think I see the parking lot/trailhead/register!", only to be disappointed as we moved closer and saw it was only a tree or reflection of water fooling us. Finally we made a pact to not talk about it until we were actually back at the parking lot. That happened at 12:50pm. I don't think I've ever been so excited to see my car.
Mt. Massive was one of the prettier trips I've done, I think partly because of all the beautiful flowers (the columbines were just one example!). It was definitely a favorite, and I'm feeling much better than I thought I would after such a long hike!
14 miles, total trip time: 8.5 hours
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):