| What a gift!
This was supposed to be my finisher year! This was the summer I had looked forward to ever since Grays and Torrey’s had so gently asked me to go meet all of their other brethren around Colorado. I of course, had to oblige. But this season was fraught with change in my life and my little hobby had to take a very reluctant back seat to life. My career had changed, but for the better I would say. I ended up going to school because being a emergency medical dispatcher is not what I wanted to do, and if you don’t like where you are in life, change it! EMT here I come!
My wife knew I was heartbroken that I would no longer have the time to hike and climb this summer so she promised me that after I finished school, we would go hike any 14er that I wanted to. I picked Uncompahgre because of it’s beauty, and the thought that perhaps Amanda would be able to summit. I left Broomfield armed with my newly earned skill and my wonderful wife, could life be any better?
Amanda had made reservations at the Backcountry Basecamp in Lake City and she had kept a tight lid on where we were staying so I had no idea. It is a wonderful place, and I would recommend it to anyone.
We woke up at 0500 and left shortly afterwards, in hindsight we probably should’ve left sooner, oh well. We started hiking from the trailhead at 0630 and I was hit with a wonderful sense of nostalgia that was so powerful I was almost brought to tears. “The LORD is great,” I thought to myself and we meandered our way up the smooth trail. This being my first hike of the season, coupled with months of stress and career change (i.e. No training, and I put on a few lbs) I wasn’t sure how I would do.
Just getting started
Amanda was feeling good this morning, as was I. We slowly meandered our way through the forest hoping for a glimpse of a bear or a moose, but that was not in the cards today.
As we gained elevation my excitement level increased when finally, Uncomphagre slowly lowered it’s veil of spruce trees.
First view of Uncompahgre
I had been here before, but Amanda hadn’t. I knew the basin would blow her away, and we were close.
A nice look at the future
There were a few people that passed us, but essentially we had the place to ourselves. It truly was worth the wait, and I couldn’t have chosen a more opulent spot to start my summer of hiking.
San Juan Monolith
Amanda was not disappointed with the basin
Slowly making our way up
Amanda was absolutely floored by the spectacular views, as was I. We were truly enjoying ourselves. This is what I missed all summer long. The views were spectacular and I was drinking them in like it was the world’s most expensive Dom Perignon and I was savoring every drop.
I love this place!
The higher we hiked, the more erratic the weather seemed to become. My hopes of a summit were looking dim. There was no way I would drag my wife into a dangerous situation, and we were hiking very slowly.
Amanda was beginning to tire, and the same could be said for me. I told her at the beginning of the hike, “The only thing holding me back from this summit is bad weather.” I didn’t care if my legs were cramped up into little balls, I was going to summit. I haven’t made it safely up and down 50 plus 14ers by being careless. And the thought did cross my mind to leave Amanda and hike at a more brisk pace, until I saw the anxiety splashed across her face when I mentioned the weather. “You can go, I will wait here for you.”
My wife is so wonderful, she knew how badly I wanted to summit and was willing to do what it took for me to accomplish that goal. I knew I couldn’t hike much faster, and had no clue how long it would take me to get to the top. There is absolutely no way I am going to leave my wife exposed high on a ridge with the potential for weather by herself. Time to bail.
Wetterhorn from our turn around point
Even though we didn't summit, there's no denying the exhilaration of climbing high in Rockies!
We made it to the beginning of the final summit push which was so close! The weather may not have been as bad as it looked, I don’t care. There’s no taking chances when my wife hikes with me. We took our time going back down and enjoyed time together in this majestic place.
Our turn around point was around 13,300.
So long my friend.
I know this wasn’t a summit trip report, and there are no summit shots, but I’ve been dying to write one all summer long! Thanks for reading, climb on!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):