| Blank Cabin Trailhead 07/09/2005
This was my first Fourteener of the summer, and talk about jumping in with both feet!
I got to the trailhead around 6:30 on Saturday. The weather was perfect. I started up through the forest, and when I finally reached the krummholz forest on the east shoulder and the view opened out, it was like I was in Heaven! But I noticed a lot of haze when I looked to the east toward Salida (I found out later it was probably due to the large wildfire in Custer County).
When I got to about 12,800 feet up by the Angel Coulier, I saw an animal grazing away! Several hikers and I were trying to decide just what it was. It was brown or tan, had two small horns that curled back, and it stood about three and a half feet at the shoulder. Was it a mountain goat in summer fur, or a female bighorn sheep? I actually was able to get within 10 feet of it, and it didnt bat an eye!
As I continued up, I looked back; and it was following another hiker like it was her pet dog or something! It was funny!
Finally, at around 11:30, I summited! 4,430 feet for the first time out was pretty good, I thought.
I didnt spend much time on top, though, because there was a thunderstorm over Antero, and it was dropping graupel; the ground on the west slope was white! There was also some over Tabeguache, but nothing came too close to Shavano. Still, to be safe, I didnt hang out too long.
The trail is pretty good all the way to the saddle, but it is rocky and a bit tricky to descend without trekking poles. Roach shows it as "Class I" all the way to the 13,330-foot saddle.
Oh, and I was able to pick out the patch of snow that makes up the "Grinch," even though it is pretty well melted out by now.
Just below the summit, it appears th CMC or someone is trying to lay out a new trail that bypasses the false summit; there were several of those rooster-tail orange flags driven into the ground that appeared to show a good trail.
I got back to the car at 3:15. It was a good day to be hiking!