Hiking the Spanish Peaks

The twin Spanish Peaks were another exciting hike on the front range of the Rockies. The Peaks are an amazing sight especially when approaching from the southeast plains of Colorado. They jut up sharply from the overwhelmingly flat landscape and stand, snow-capped and imposing on the horizon.

Two things struck me on this hike more than on others. The first was perspective. Certainly by the time Adam and I had arrived at West Spanish Peak I was familiar with the jarring way that such incredible altitudes mess with one’s sense of perspective. It’s apparent each time you look up toward the summit, then walk for an hour, and look up again only to see that you appear just as far away. Equally unnerving is the experience of seeing a city or town from a summit, appearing as if you were flying overhead to the realization of, “I walked here.” But on the Spanish Peaks, the perspective seemed even more intense to me, I think due to how flat the surrounding areas are. There are no rolling hills or advancing landscapes leading up to the mountain. It’s just as if the mountain has erupted from a never-ending field.

The second thing that struck me during this hike was the way that these mountains are formed. Most mountains appear from a distance as jagged rocks that reach into the horizon. The concept of mountains as large, boulderesque and cohesive structures is reinforced by the fact that most I’ve seen tend to have huge rocks exposed, ready to be climbed. But the Spanish Peaks are just piles of rubble. It is intense to climb onto an enormous, 13,000 ft. high pile of flat rocks. They shift underfoot in an alarming way. It was a wild experience.

We experienced some fog at the summit, and found a good deal of snow there too, but for the most part our weather was excellent during this hike. Check out some of the pictures below.

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