04 February 2010

Hike to Mt. Royal

My parents and I decide to take a Sunday hike to Masontown on Mt. Royal near Frisco. We can just start from the house and in a few short minutes we are on the trail. It rises immediately and there are a few folks on the trail. Masontown is an abandoned mining area, with little remaining, but makes for a nice destination. When we arrive, I decide to continue to the summit while my parents head down.

The first stop is an old mining cabin and mine up the slope I decided to see before heading to the summit. There are piles of tailings still remaining from the late 1800's and great views. I can only imagine what this was like when it was a working mine.

The view here is toward Lake Dillon and the towns of Dillon and Silverthorne. The patchy clouds allowed some sun to shine and I had to add some wind pants and a shell to stay warm as the wind was more evident.
The trail was fairly hardpacked from snowshoers, but in a few spots I would plunge down to my waist and have to wrestle my way out. I was the only one up here by this time, so I reveled in the solitude.

The summit of Mt. Royal is pretty bare and the wind was howling, but I spent quite a bit of time strolling back and forth exploring. Elevation is 10,502 ft. and I could see I-70 about 1500 ft. below...if you fell you'd basically land on it....
Trees were pretty tortured on the exposed summit, but made some very interesting shapes! With the lack of snow lately I could see footprints from all the people who'd made it up here in the past two weeks.

The wind was really blowing and there was a constant stream of spindrift flying over the saddle. After about 30 minutes I headed back down for a nice warm lunch and a nap! So wonderful that this point is under 2 miles from the front door!