Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ruffneck Peak Hike

Saturday I decided some hiking was in order. I ended up choosing Ruffneck Peak since it had good highway access, has another peak (Langer Peak) within reach, and didn't require rising early. It was about 7:45am before I left the house... a little later than I had planned! After getting gas and getting stuck behind slow drivers it was 10:30am before I got to the trailhead.

I got moving on the trail around 10:40am and quickly made progress. The trail starts in an old burn area; shortly before exiting the burn area I headed straight up the ridge toward Langer Peak. This was kind of a grunt but encountered no obstacles. From the top of the ridge it was an easy ridge walk over Point 9052' and on to Langer Peak.

Langer Peak had a very interesting summit register; it was initially placed in 1983 by the wife of deceased Charley Langer on the 40th anniversary of his death. The register, besides being over 25 years old, was signed by many family members and other visitors to the peak. I was the first to sign it since 2007. After enjoying the summit, I decided to head straight down the west face of Langer Peak toward Langer Lake. This made for a direct route but required negotiating some steep and loose terrain in trail running shoes. After getting through the obnoxious part, it was once again a pleasant hike through the forest toward Langer Lake. On the way I encountered a gorgeous meadow which highlights the beauty of the area.

Langer Lake, on top of being a gorgeous lake, has great views of both Ruffneck and Langer Peak. I spent a little bit of time relaxing but had to keep moving due to both mosquitos and time. From the lake it is a direct and pleasant hike up to the Ruffneck Lookout. As expected, the peak has excellent views in all directions which were fortunately not impaired by the high clouds hanging around. The lookout was fully stocked with supplies and appeared to be occupied but nobody was home. Perhaps the lookout went out for a day hike?

The hike out was uneventful. I did stop at Langer Lake and pump some lake water to enjoy and take home to Katie. Nothing beats alpine lake water!

After getting home I discovered a straggler... a tick had decided to latch on to my side for a nice bloody meal. Katie was kind enough to remove it.. hopefully I'm not now a carrier of some kind of horrid disease!

Trip statistics: 10.5 miles, 4200' elevation gain, 6 hours

Ruffneck Peak Pictures!

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