This became our #1 priority ever since my aborted attempt at January’s Snowshoe Stomp. Hardly a day went by that I didn’t give thought to conquering these two. We were on the trail by 5:30 am and started slow and easy. The views toward Glacier Gorge were beautiful, so needless to say, we spent a fair amount of time stopping to photograph the scenery. The trail was quite manageable with a number of overlooks that allowed for prime viewing of Bear, Bierstadt, Dream, Sprague and Emerald Lakes. Since Sandy never saw a photo op she could pass up, we spent a lot of time setting up & breaking down the tripod and camera. As we approached treeline the wind began to pick up noticeably. The sky was that beautiful Colorado blue, but with the wind cutting to the bone you almost didn’t notice. We were reminded of the importance of sunscreen and chapstick, both of which we seemed to have forgotten. It was fairly miserable going with the wind blowing, the sun burning , and the lungs aching. We finally reached the summit of Flattop & were completely blown away ( figuratively speaking). Appropriately named, Flattop is a huge almost level plain littered with boulders of all shapes and sizes. The views of almost the entire Park were awesome. You could see Grand & Shadow Lakes to the west, the Mummy’s to the north and darn near to Kansas to the east. We hung around taking pictures and enjoying the victory for about an hour, then decided it was time to conquer Hallett’s. Talk about an ugly trail! To get to the summit of Hallett you literally pick your boulders and commence to hoppin’! The way is marked with cairns, but they’re not needed, because all you have to do is just head due up. It looked a lot more intimidating than it really was and we made the summit in short order. Again, beautiful! We stopped and hunkered into some windbreaks some thoughtful soul had built just for us.
We ate lunch and visited with a group of college girls and a German botanist ( allegedly). The German was working ver-r-y hard at impressing the ladies. We then had our obligatory photo session. At “The Stomp”, Glenn brought us all “Fat Head’s” t-shirts to wear for our summit picture. Notice what I’m wearing in my summit picture. Better late than never! Storm clouds started rolling in, so we thought it best to shorten our stay and head down. I must admit one of our favorite sounds is that of thunder echoing off the peaks. We could have stayed and listened for hours but unfortunately the accompanying lightning scared the hell out of us. We also met a lady from Ft. Collins who would have put Smudge & Erik to shame. We met her initially at the Emerald Lake overlook and again at Flattop. While eating our lunch in the windbreak she came strutting up. She said she had just come back over from Otis Peak, and we were impressed with her quickness, but then as we were arriving back at Flattop, there she was again. Ptarmigan Point she announced as she raced by! In the span of a couple of hours she had darn near hiked the entire range!The trip back was uneventful and quick! It was a great feeling to finally get a chance to exorcise some demons and bag these two summits!