| 4 summits on a whim
As we all know, most plans don't always go as initially intended. This was the case for my fiance and I Wednesday morning. Our intentions of having a grand escape to Montana for a few days went up in flames, so we had to brainstorm and come up with a plan B!.... What's there to do in the state that happens to be one big playground, you ask!?! Climb some 14ers of course!! So after some very quick deliberation, we landed on the idea of doing the Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross loop. Our last trip had been the Four Pass Loop Trail down in Aspen, so we figured we were up for the challenge!! So we packed up & left Denver at about 5pm, just in time for my favorite thing ever....denver rush hour. 2 and a half hours later we rolled into Breckenridge, had a few pre-14er brews, and carried onto Kite Lake!!
We arrived at Kite Lake close to 10pm. The place was packed. All the designated campsites were taken and there were at least a dozen cars already there. We played it smart and parked along the side of the road just below the fee parking area. Grabbed our gear & trekked a little ways off the road to set up camp in a clearing (there are ample camping spots to be had). Got to bed with enough time for a descent nights sleep!
5:30am came in a hurry, so we packed up, layered up, and began our climb! At 36 degrees, it was a pretty chilly morning. We hit the trail at about 6:15 am when all was said and done. Plenty of other people had the same itinerary in mind, as there were early risers already on the trail both in front and behind us. A weeks worth of lack of sleep and remnants of a sinus bug had both of us feeling a little less than excited about the initial climb, but we powered through, looking forward to having a yummy bagel on Mt. Democrat. We made the summit at a slower than normal pace for us, but still managed to begin to break away from the crowd that seemed to be forming. Summiting Mt. Democrat at 7:25am.
Onward to Mt. Cameron! After enjoying our bagels & energy drinks, we made it down to the Democrat-Cameron saddle & powered up Mt. Cameron.
Once the trail hooked over to the left side of the ridge, the wind was letting us have it! The rest of the journey remained this way, with the wind insisting on me losing my hat, but in the end, I won. Hat-1, Wind-0! Mt. Cameron came as a surprise summit for us... took only 30 minutes from the saddle, & it's not the typical 14er summit we all are accustom to. It looked like a vast flat area with a tiny little pile of rocks in the middle of it, indicating we had hit 14,238'. Snapping some more pictures & munching on a few electrolyte blocks, we pressed on to the now visible Mt. Lincoln!
Mt. Lincoln was the best part of our day! You had the confidence boost of already bagging 2 summits, and Lincoln was sitting within 15 minutes of hiking of coming down off of Cameron. The sun was managing to cut down the chill of the wind a bit, and we were in great spirits! exactly 15 minutes later, we hit the summit of Mt. Lincoln where the wind made another attempt on my hat!
From Lincoln, you can clearly see the Bross Bypass trail. Our momentum coming down Lincoln broke into a bit of a trail run for a brief moment, and we hurried on over towards Mt. Bross. Excited that it was only a little passed 10:00am at this point, we began to let ourselves see the finish line! Checking the weather the day before, the storms should be rolling in around 1:30-2pm, so we were making good time. A cloudless sky & 1 final summit left, we pressed on! I believe we were on a 4-wheeler trail on the way across from Lincoln to Bross... I believe it was the 2 4-wheelers that had passed us on our journey to Bross that brought me to that discovery... nothing gets passed me! Finally 10:40am struck, & we found ourselves seeking shelter from the wind with about 5 other hikers in the summit rocks! 4 Peaks done before some are still having their morning coffee back home!!
We quickly snapped a few more pictures and began the trek down Bross back to Kite lake.
Funny side note: Kite Lake actually looks like a Kite from the summits!... coincidence!? So the descent took us the longest. My fiance was smart & brought his trekking poles, myself on the other hand was not fully awake in the morning & left them in the car. The trail down was steep & scree filled. Slow going the entire way down. With a misplaced step, my fiance started a tiny little rock slide that seemed to just keep going & going! It was just about noon and the clouds were just starting to form, signaling to everyone that it was time to get off that mountain. 12:30pm we made it back to the car, a whole 2 hours less than what we thought it was going to take us! After a brief internal happy dance, my knees were ready for me to sit and relax for the ride back to Denver, so we got in our heavenly feeling flip flops & said our goodbyes to the loop! What a fun spur of the moment trip!
Cheers to living life by the soles of your hiking boots!!
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