View Full Version : Bachelor Party on Foot

09-18-2012, 23:42
A trip report that (mainly) take in most of the 'official' CDT in RMNP that most thru-hikers do not take. Thought some may enjoy it here...

A classic lollipop hike from Bear Lake to Grand Lake (http://www.pmags.com/backpacking-loops-%E2%80%93-mags-favorites#bear-lake-to-grand-lake-loop) and back one fine Fall day.

As an impending marriage approaches (http://www.pmags.com/best-full-moon-hike-ever), there are certain rituals that are done. The wedding site and reception place (http://www.parks.state.co.us/Parks/goldengatecanyon/Pages/GoldenGateStatePark.aspx) booked. Lodging (http://www.parks.state.co.us/PARKS/GOLDENGATECANYON/GROUPFACILITIES/RIFLEMANPHILLIPSGROUPCAMPINGAREA/Pages/GoldenGateCanyonRiflemanPhillipsGroupCampground.as px)for the guests. "Catering" (http://www.costco.com/) prepared. And invitations (http://new.evite.com/#home)sent out. If you clicked on the links, you'll see that it is a very grass roots affair. A ceremony in the aspen grove with a cook-out after.

Simple. In the foothills of Colorado. And something that reflects the values that Adrianna and I hold. Where community, simplicity and the outdoors can all be had and enjoyed in one memorable and happy day.

Part of this ritual is the bachelor party. At thirty-eight years old, the typical bachelor party did not appeal to me. Spending lots of money to watch a sea of jiggling silicone while doing shooters of mutli-colored shots is really not something that enthralled me.

So, what better way to end my bachelor hood than a hike in the Fall (http://www.pmags.com/the-joys-of-autumn) with friends and BBQ and beer after?
We did a the classic Bear Lake to Grand Lake and back lollipop (http://www.pmags.com/backpacking-loops-%E2%80%93-mags-favorites#bear-lake-to-grand-lake-loop) with a stay at the Shadowclff Hostel (http://www.shadowcliff.org/) conveniently located half way around the loop and just off the trail.
On fine Fall day on Sept 8th, 7 of us met in Boulder. Josh (my officiant), Markhamm, Kevin, d-low, Disco, Matt and I carpooled up the ranger station, received our parking permit and left the vehicles in RMNP for the night.
Off we went and immediately appreciated the fine fall weather at Bear Lake.

We climbed up the steadily switch back trail and quickly noticed the changing fall colors on the tundra.
We finally approached Flat Top Mountain and had a snack break by Tyndall Glacier.
From there we relished the fact that the hardest hiking of the day had been done.
Off to Ptarmigan Point we went…..
While enjoying the view towards Odessa Lake and Notchtop below (http://www.pmags.com/taking-my-climbing-gear-for-a-walk-notch-top-mountain) where an alpine climb was attempted earlier in the summer.
We eventually started leaving the tundra behind and climbed into the trees.
We made our way through pleasant single track and stopped for another leisurely break at Big Meadows.
Without exaggeration, it was one of the highlights of the day.

Shortly after, we made it to the trailhead. 100 yds to the hostel. 100 yds or so to the other trail and mere feet to where our friend Mark parked.

Mark could not join us for the hike, but did meet us in Grand Lake with Gatorade, salty chips and cold, delicious and scrumptious BEER. What a friend!
We settled into the nearby hostel, enjoyed the porch overlooking Grand Lake and prepared for the evening.
And what a evening it was. Mainly one more of gluttony than debauchery. http://www.pmags.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif
Perhaps a little too much beer..and definitely too much food!
Markhamm's face says it all….
The following day we managed to wake up at 7ish somehow and get on the trail An satisfying breakfast was had at the hostel before we started out. The Colorado peaches were amazing and some of the best I had all summer.
The trail hike back started out mellow and flat with great views of the aspens just starting to hit peak.
The day was mainly pleasant walking through forest until about early afternoon.
We then crossed over the treeline again. The weather was again amazing, if not better.
We then reached Flattop again and took one last look around before starting our descent.
After nearly four miles that seemed longer than the day before, we came near the lake and again enjoyed a tunnel of aspens.
The hike finished and concluded the weekend with a stop (if less gluttony..salads were eaten!) at Oskar Blues in Lyons.
A fine weekend and a great bachelor party.
Now to get married on Sept 22nd. http://www.pmags.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif
All the photos (http://www.flickr.com/photos/pmags/sets/72157631553080580/)

I'd refer to this link here for mileage, maps, elevation gain and other pertinent info (http://www.pmags.com/backpacking-loops-%E2%80%93-mags-favorites#bear-lake-to-grand-lake-loop)
If you have more than 2 (maybe 3) people, I'd strongly urge calling ahead and booking at Shadowcliff even for a bunk. The place can be popular.
Shadowcliff serves a simple but satisfying breakfast. Hard boiled eggs, oatmeal, nuts, fresh fruit, bagels, juice, coffee and tea. At $8 it was less expensive than town and we did not have to bother with going into town either. With the TH being 100 yds away from the hostel, it was very convenient.
Having said that, the town is only about a 10 or so minute walk from the hostel..maybe 20 after the beer. http://www.pmags.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_wink.gif
A smaller loop that is great for a mellow-ish weekend backpack is to start/end at Grand Lake. Eliminates the hike to and from Flattop and Bear Lake. Shaves about nine miles and 2700' gain. Makes an ~25 mi R/T and 3000' hike roughly over two days. Great scenery with easy logistics.
Even if you do the "European Style hike" my friends and I did (no campsite in the park), you still need to get a parking permit from the backcountry office. The permit for parking only is free (but still requires paying the park entrance).

Feral Bill
09-18-2012, 23:52
Looks like a better bachelor party than mine for certain. Many happy years to you and your new bride.

Sarcasm the elf
09-19-2012, 00:07
That looks awesome Mags. Your trip reports continue to make me jealous!

09-19-2012, 00:12
Very nice! But hopefully not something you will leave behind after marriage...

Best wishes to you and your bride to be!

09-19-2012, 01:45
Beautiful and Congratulations!

09-19-2012, 02:20
Oh, I have to say it cuz it came to me, MAGnificent report and pics, Mags. Thanks for whetting our Rocky Mountain appetites. Many happy returns to you and your bride-to-be.

Train Wreck
09-19-2012, 05:05
One nice thing about this bachelor party is you want to remember what you did!
Congratulations to you and your bride to be!

09-19-2012, 09:41
outSTANDing Pmags!!! Warms my heart.

Just an aside: I recently wed as well (this last June), my bachelor party this last May took place as a weekend canyoneering trip out in the middle of nowhere in Utah. I was duct-taped to a blow-up doll most of the weekend. Ever navigate tight slot canyons including a few rappels attached to a "full sized" blow up doll? "She" didn't quite make it all the way (inflated, that is). Fun times.

Anyway, thanks for sharing. You sure picked a perfect weekend!

09-19-2012, 11:23
What a magnificent way to celebrate! Congratulations Mags and warm wishes to you and Adrianna as you embark on this new phase of your lives together.

09-19-2012, 13:43
Having said that, the town is only about a 10 or so minute walk from the hostel..maybe 20 after the beer. http://www.pmags.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_wink.gif

How far is it when you are crawling? Good Luck, and congrads.

Mountain Mike
09-19-2012, 19:02
Great way to celebrate! Awesome trip report. You are a class act Mags.

09-19-2012, 19:07
Ditto!!! :)

The Solemates
09-20-2012, 09:48
we went rock climbing for my bachelor party....like yours, it was a great alternative.

Highway Man
09-20-2012, 12:54
Always enjoy your trip report and trail inforamation. Very nice to have a bachelor party out there in Rockies that you are immersed in deeply, and congratulations to you and your future wife!

Gray Blazer
09-20-2012, 13:10
At thirty-eight years old, the typical bachelor party did not appeal to me. Spending lots of money to watch a sea of jiggling silicone while doing shooters of mutli-colored shots http://www.pmags.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_wink.gif

Silicone doesn't jiggle. That's the trouble with it. :(

09-20-2012, 16:44
Awesome hike--See you Saturday!