Yesterday Wes, Abi, and I went for a hike in Rocky Mtn National Park. We hiked to the top of Estes Cone. It was a fun hike – pretty easy and rolling the first 2.5 miles, with a killer 0.7 mile climb to the top. The view from the top was awesome – clouds rolling around and a great view of Long’s Peak. We headed back down after taking some pictures. The sky was getting a bit darker, although it had been clear blue skies when we arrived and a low chance of rain. Wes and I have spent enough time in the mountains to know that doesn’t mean anything, and we packed raingear just in case.
When we saw the rainstorm coming in, we really started booking it down the trail. We passed tons of people, we were somewhere between hiking and jogging. Wes calls it “Laura’s forestry pace” since that’s the speed we used to hike for outdoor labs and when I worked for the forest service. It was sprinkling the tiniest bit, and we were still moving quickly. Everyone we passed looked at us like we were nuts.
We were almost to the trailhead when we hear thunder within 4 miles. I stopped for a second to cover up Abi. We started moving again and 1/2 inch faceted hail (very cool looking, by the way) starting pelting on us. Now we were running, with our raingear flying all over the place. We made it to the ranger station after about a minute of that. Yikes! At least we barely got hailed on – I felt bad for all the other people out on the trail who gave us the weird looks. Abi was just fine!