I left Golden with Chase and Nate at about midnight. the plan was to meet everyone at the trailhead at 130. I had a brainfart on hwy 9 and kept missing the blue lakes road somehow. We probably drove up and down Hoosier Pass 3 times. What makes it even worse is that i have been to quandary 3 times before. Anyway after a lot of profanity we show up and meet the rest of the group at the trailhead at about 215.
Fellow 14ers members farcedude (greg), bstine (brad) and his wife, tommycli (tommy) and cubs108 (david, i think... im terrible with names) all came out too. so at around 230 we began hiking up the trail under the full moon. The trail was bone dry in most places and very easy to follow and we were making great time through the trees. When we popped out onto the ridge the light from the moon was incredible. I couldnt figure out how to make my camera take a good shot in the dark.
best i could do in the dark
My friend chase is a mountain goat and set a pretty fast pace. i was so tired and just generally out of it i just sort of followed him as best i could. We made our way up the ridge and hit the summit at about 520am. A little early, but the sky started to light up over grays and torreys in the distance. we were eager for the sun to come out, because it was pretty chilly on the summit (very little wind though, which was so nice). Chase and I walked over to scope out cristo couloir and saw 2 people nearing the top...turned out to be 14er member cbmabon (cant remember your name sorry)
still night to the west
crazy colors around the moon
me on the summit
we sat on the summit for an hour and 20 minutes, taking in the incredible sunrise and all the views. The clouds were filling the valleys to the south, creating a sea of clouds...i had imagined in mind what the sunrise was going to be like many times on the way up, but what I saw far exceeded what i imagined. It was simply the most incredible thing i have ever seen. Made me thankful to live in colorado, thats for sure.
theres the sun
We tried to race down the ridge to get back to the car as fast as possible, because we were fading fast and still had to drive all the way back to golden. i took a funny step and tweaked my left ankle somehow. it wasnt too bad but enough to make the rest of the hike down unpleasant. We passed a bunch of people on the way up. Right before we got to treeline we saw a solitary mountain goat cruising past. camera was finished at this point, but the image of this goat standing there slightly uphill from us, with his fur blowing in the wind seemed pretty damn majestic.
group summit shot!
a sea of clouds
clouds drifting over the ridge
after the goat, it was a quick walk through woods and we were back at the car. 90 minutes later we were in golden, enjoying breakfast at the golden diner. if you havent eaten at this place, i highly recommend it.
all in all a great trip, easily my favorite 14er hike so far. I definitely plan on doing more moonlight hikes this summer
******Some additional photos from farcedude (greg) - awesome shots
Supermoon on the horizon
Democrat, Lincoln, Cameron, Bross
2nd group shot