| Grays and Torreys Combo
I had some good friends in town from Albuquerque, NM and Reedsburg, WI that had never really experienced Colorado mountains. We talked about doing a hike and decided Grays and Torreys would be a great place to start.
We left my apartment in Westminster at 5:30AM and reached Forest Road 189 by 6:25. We were driving in behind a Jeep in my little Honda Insight filled with three guys and two dogs. We followed the maneuvers of the Jeep and got about 1.4 miles up the road. We finally came to a place with a pretty steep incline with a rock waiting at the top. Knowing the power and ground clearance of the Insight, we decided to stop in a clearing on the side of the road.
We got out, put trail bags on the dogs and headed the remaining 1.6 miles up the road at 6:45AM. It was a good way for my friends to get some brief acclimatization to the altitude. We reached the parking lot by 7:30AM. We quickly looked at the maps next to the trailhead and said a few words to people that were beginning the hike.
Start of the hike
The start of the hike gave us great views of Stevens Gulch, complete with some really great looking wild flowers. We were moving pretty well through the Gulch when we made it to the information sign at about 12,100 when my friend from WI asked if I remembered migraine medicine. Unfortunately, I hadn't. We passed a couple that had turned around and asked if they had aspirin. They handed us two tablets and that seemed to make my friends headache stop beating as severely.
First good view of Grays and Torreys with Fenway leading the charge
We rounded the turn and got a good view of the mountains. As we continued on, we were starting to get a little more winded and took more breaks. The trail was really easy to follow and there were lots of people to follow. Once we started rising out of the Gulch the terrain become much rockier, much to my dogs chagrin. There was one section that passed through a pocket of snow, where a wrong step meant a foot covered in snow, but it was easy to traverse through.
The trail up Grays
After a couple of breaks we finally made it to the summit at around 11:30AM. My friend from WI was definitely feeling the altitude at this point (slight nausea, pounding headache and trouble catching breath). We snapped a few pics, ate a few sandwiches and drank a can of Infinite Monkey Theorem's Black Muscat.
On top of Grays with the dogs
We decided to at least walk down to the saddle and see how we were doing with the altitude. Once at the bottom of the saddle, we saw how close Torreys was and decided to at least attempt it. My WI friend was still battling his headache, but the drop down seemed to help with the nausea. Once we started towards Torreys a mountain goat decided to make an appearance. It was the first time Atwood (one of my dogs) had seen a mountain goat and barked at it. The goat snorted back and changed directions.
A mountain goat on the saddle
We took our time up the slope of Torreys, talking to lots of great people on the way up. It was a lot steeper than Grays.
Looking up Torreys We finally reached the summit at around 12:45PM. We chugged some water and had our second can of Infinite Monkey Theorem's Black Muscat. Once done, we quickly headed down the mountain as some ominous looking clouds rolled in.
Me on top of Torreys
We got a few drops of rain on us, but the clouds passed quickly. Back on the saddle, the mountain goat decided to make another appearance. This time Atwood was having none of that and tried to drag me down the mountain after the goat. After we got her settled down and made sure the mountain goat was on his (or her) merry way we continued back down Torreys trail to meet up with Grays trail back to the parking lot.
Looking down the saddle back towards Grays
Right after heading down the saddle there was a section of deep snow and the footing was pretty tricky. A couple of times, I put my hands down to make sure I didn't fall over. After that section it was just navigating a few switchbacks and then heading back into the Gulch.
Hauling to get out
At this point, my friend from WI was feeling nausea again and Fenway's (my other dog) pads were hurting. We took a few stops, but were just looking to drop down to a lower altitude as soon as possible. We made way pretty quickly from the Gulch to the parking lot, thinking we still had another 1.6 miles to go. Thankfully, someone with a pickup truck agreed to drive us down to the car.
The Insight was able to manage the 1.4 miles down the dirt road. We stopped in Georgetown for some migraine medicine and tried to descend as quickly as possible. After arriving in Westminster, my friend from WI's altitude sickness immediately went away, but Fenway's sore pads remained. It ended being my friends and dogs first and second fourteeners and my third (Snowmass '06).
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):