| My Sawatch Finisher!
Distance: 10 Miles
Time: 5 Hours 15 Minutes
Elevation Gain:3,400 Ft
For the longest time I have wanted to finish the Sawatch Range, but I have been so busy that it never happened. My wife and I planned on hiking Antero no matter what this summer so that I could finally finish. I have heard many people say this is one of the more boring 14ers with hiking on a 4x4 road for miles. I found this mountain to be fun, beautiful and it has a very interesting history, not to mention crazy weather!
After dropping off the kids at grandma's for the night we made our way from centennial to Buena Vista. The drive was uneventful, with occasional rain drops and zero sign of wildlife.
Baldwin Creek crossing
Our plan was to camp just above the first creek crossing and get a 3:00 AM wake up call so we could avoid the rain. I had never driven up this 4x4 road so I didn't know what to expect, but we made it easily in my stock Cherokee. The creek seems to be running high but I did not have any issue driving across it. We camped about 100 yards passed the creek and headed to bed around 9.
Within 5 minutes of us laying down we heard the pitter patter of the sprinkling rain and not so distant thunder. 5 minutes later we were in some sort of a crazy downpour with lightning so bright it was hard to see. I have never in my life heard thunder that was as loud as that night, holy cow! This was also our first time trying out our new Marmot Limelight 3 backpacking tent, and it did 10 times better than I thought it would! We stayed completely dry the whole night!
The alarm went off at 3 AM and what did I hear? more rain! I assume it stopped during the night but it was still raining fairly hard so we decided to wait it out and see how long it would last. We fell asleep on accident and my wife woke me up at 6 AM and it was crystal clear out, and it looked beautiful out! We quickly gathered our things and headed up the road.
Along the road
Most of this hike was easier than I thought, the easiest Sawatch in my humble opinion. There were great views of North Carbonate, and Tabeguache on the way up, with views of Shavano waiting until the last part of the hike.
The rest of the hike
We ended up with awesome weather the whole day, summiting in just under 3 hours and after spending 30 minutes on the summit, it took us about 2 hours and 20 minutes to descend.
Shavano and Tabeguache
Next stop, Castle and Conundrum, then Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):