| Mt. Evans - Community Trail and My First 14er
I decided after 10 years of living here in Colorado, instead of driving to the occasional 14er (Evans a number of times), I would make this my summer of first 14ers. I decided this back at the end of 2012, but I don't have winter gear and have rather impatiently been waiting to watch snow melting off the Front Range from my perspective 30 miles east.
I decided a few weeks ago to make my first one and "unofficial 14er" (under 3000 ft gain) to see how I would do. I also attended REI's 14er clinic put on by Josh Fox, which is highly recommended! So this would be from the Summit Lake parking lot to the Community trail straight up the side that lands you in the parking lot at the top, 1,400 feet. I had done the Manitou Incline twice in 3 days last week, so I decided I was ready for the higher terrain.
What I had read said the trail is unmarked after walking .6 miles up the road. This cairn actually marks it quite well. See photo 1. Photo 2 is also a great representation of the slope and what to expect ascending what felt like constant 45-60 degree trail. You make really good progress in a short distance.
After a few minutes, turn around and you get a wonderful view of the valley below looking due east. Photo 3, Photo 4, Photo 5
I had been checking the weather for a number of days and knew it would be a better chance of rain and storms after a perfect week of limited clouds and good temps. Leaving relatively early for a shorter hike I convinced myself we would beat the weather, but here in photo 6 you can see what was coming. Photo 7 was our first good glimpse of top, where you get right to the parking lot. However, the closer we got to the top, the darker it seemed to get and thunder was rolling all around with streaks of lightning next and around local ridges. I decided it was best to get to the top where there would be some shelter.
Photo 8 is what it looked like walking toward the shelter. And finally, my son and I in photo 9, hunkering in front of the bathroom with some shelter waiting out the storm that arrived as we did to the summit. We didn't actually ascend to the top because of the exposure and lightning (there also other kids I was responsible for in our group). But I count it.
I loved it and if, like me, you are hoping to hit a 14er with a really good workout and do it in a relatively short time, I highly recommend this hike. I'm going out for more this summer!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):