So a friend and I decided that we should take one last trip this year, so we both agreed to take that trip in the Never Summer Wilderness, one of my personal favorite wilderness areas.
We both discussed that we wanted to do something a bit more challenging and off trail to test out some orienteering skills. So what we decided to do was to do a more "interesting" version of the bowen/baker loop. We would hike the first day like normal to Parika Lake, but on the second day we would venture off trail and stay high on the ridge before descending down to Blue Lake and then hiking out.
We drove out on a gorgeous afternoon through the national park and grabbed some great views of the park and Longs Peak.
Once we arrived at the trail head we began hiking up to Parika Lake. To be honest I have no idea what the distance is, but if I had to guess I would say around 6 miles. Once we arrived at Parika Lake we ate some quick subway we had picked up in town and went to sleep. It was pretty dang cold that night.
We woke up to a beautiful morning and what proved to be a gorgeous day to do our hike. We packed up camp and headed up to an unnamed pass that sits on the saddle under Parika Peak.
Once we left the saddle we hiked about another quarter mile to a ridge that led to the top of Fairview Mountain. This was the point at which we left the trail and began following the ridge. Once on top of Fairview we could make out the first peak we were going to reach. This peak is the peak to the left of me in the picture. From there we would traverse to the south along the rest of the ridge to the top of Bowen Peak, the peak to the right of me.
On the way up to the first peak (the peak was unnamed), we pasted by some amazing couloirs. This was me on the edge of one peering over the daunting 1000ft drop.
Almost atop the first peak the ridge began to level out and we were rewarded with some amazing views of the entire wilderness area.
Fromt the top of the first peak we were table to really scope out the hike we had ahead of us. This is the entire rest of the ridge we hiked all the way to the top of Bowen peak. This is where we realized that this hike wasn't going to be just a walk in the park.
So we left the top of the first peak and descended down to a wide saddle where we were greeted by some mountain goats.
Once we left the saddle the hike began to get very jagged. In places the ridge was one of the skinniest "knife edge" ridge's I have ever hiked. This provided us with some awesome exposure and great views.
We finally made it to the top of Bowen Peak and we sat up there for about an hour; we just couldn't get enough of the view.
From the top of Bowen Peak we could see down to Blue Lake where we would be camping that night. We quickly realized that we had not judged the topo maps correctly and had quite a steep descent ahead of us. An not to our surprise it was extremely steep. Approximately 2,000ft in about a mile. It would have been a great ski though...
Once we arrived at Blue Lake we set up camp and just relaxed. It had been an awesome day for sure.
From Blue Lake we took the trail back down to complete the loop and back to our car. It was a pretty incredible ridge to say the least and I hope the pictures can do it justice.