Myself and my husband (Tyler Harmon) were joined by our historic hiking group including my Dad (Dan Orr), Joe Olsen, Kate Danna, and Andrew Crouch. And - by historic I mean....we have been doing this together for a LONG time! We also brought along our pups, Copper (a 5 year old great dane) and our 6.5 year old Booda (a great dane-pit bull-ish mix!?).
After leaving the heat in the plains we finally made it up to Lake City. We got there just in time for an early afternoon thunderstorm - so we hid out, had some BBQ, and of course grabbed some brews to bring up with us.
The rain stopped right before we drove up the shelf road to the Grizzly Gulch trail head. That road is not for the faint of heart! It has some exposure itself, and can get quite tight!
Going up a tight road!
This was our first time camping at a trail head. Normally we either day hike, or backpack in a few miles. We crossed the bridge heading up the Handies Peak trail, and ducked into the pines to the left. There we found a perfectly cozy little campsite, away from the crowds - but still close enough to the truck to keep some celebratory brews cold!
The next day started a little before the sunrise.
Good morning Copper dog!
We all downed a couple granola bars, and set Copper to gaurding our Xtera for the day (he has climbed 4 14ers - pretty good for a dane! - and is now officially a retired hiker ). Then started up the trail.
Maybe these are why the mountain gods blessed us with such nice weather!
The girls are ready to go!
The morning was quite warm for this time of year, and I could tell the weather was going to treat us well! The snow melt provided for some awesome views of the valley streams, and there was still a ton of snow in the upper valley (on the slopes) and on all of the surrounding peaks. We also saw quite a few rock beavers.....errrrrrr.... marmots along the way. All chirping at us, pretty upset Boo boy was walking past their dens!
Me and my Dad
Still going up!
We stopped for a mid-morning snack before crossing a boulder field. Once we crossed the boulder field and gained some elevation, there were spectacular views if the ridge and peaks to the north!! There was also a lot of slushy, wet snow to cross.
snow field numer-o uno
Going up, gaining the ridge!
Ahhhh! On the ridge at last!
Boo felt safest here :-)
The summit is in sight!
Approximately 500 feet below the saddle the trail went off towards the south and dived under a rather large snow field. Having not seen any foots prints across the snow field, we decided to climb straight up a grassy slop and head straight for the saddle. From hear on out it was an easy cheesy ridge walk to the summit.
We shared the summit with a twosome (one from Denver and the other from Albuquerque) and their dog. In all my years climbing I can only remember one, just ONE other time the summit has been warm and COMPLETELY windless! It was SO peaceful and perfect up there! Below are some of our summit pics:
Group pic on the summit. w00t!
My husband I on the summit
What tan lines?
Such a good boy!
The hike down was a piece of cake, and we all got back in time to enjoy some brews around the campfire and make some s'mores. Copper dog was happy to see us and spent some energy playing in the stream, while Boo was plum tuckered out!! This was Boo's 5th peak
Well deserved play time!
The next day we unfortunately headed for home. Although, I heard reports of hail at the trail head that day around 11am, so I'm SO glad the mountain gods were with us the days before!