| The Sawtooth (my first class 3)
5 Summits in 5 Days Baby!!!
1) Shavano, 2) Tabeguache, 3) Uncompahgre, 4) Beirstadt, & 5) Evans
Unfortunately this was my last 14er hike of the summer, because I have to head back to Michigan and get back to my real profession, teaching. Many of my cohorts at the park keep telling me to move out here since I spent the last two summers out here volunteering for the National Park Service. I should take their advice, Colorado is an awesome state!!!
I spent the night in Georgetown at an overpriced Motel 8 after driving from Gunnison coming from the southern end of Guanella Pass and trying to find the trailhead in the dark so I could camp. I woke up at 5:00am and got a cup of java juice at a gas station and tried to find a trail map, but was unsuccesful in finding one. So, I figured like other 14ers, it has a well established trail that shouldn't be hard to follow. I started hiking at 6:25am and got to the summit at 8:00am.
I passed a few folks on the way, and got passed by a trail runner. He was flying up and down Bierstadt. During the entire time hiking up to Beirstadt's peak I was contemplating if I should do the dreaded "Sawtooth". I met two guys on Beirstadt, John and Dan, both from Kansas and came out to Colorado to hike some fourteeners. I asked if they were going over to Evans, and Dan said that he would. I asked if I could join him, and he said "sure, love the company". John decided he was going back to the car and waiting. So, after having breakfast on Mt. Beirstadt, Dan and I began hiking over the Sawtooth.
The "class 3" hike was definitely not what I imagined. It was much easier than I thought it was going to be, and definitely A LOT of FUN!!! I am ready for more class 3 hikes!!! The Sawtooth was over before I knew it, and I definitely wanted to more. I can't wait to see what Longs Peak will be like whenever I get around to it. The icing on the cake was the two mountain goats that we saw during the scramble over the Sawtooth. It was a mother goat and her kid. I was literally a couple feet from the two mountain goats, it was an awesome wildlife sighting! We also saw a weasel-like animal, which could have been a weasel or pine martin.
I waited at the end of the Sawtooth, and he said that he didn't mind if I went ahead to Evans ahead of him, so I did. Along the way we saw more mountain goats as well as bighorn sheep. Mt. Evans was kind of a surreal somber sight. I didn't feel like I accomplished much after seeing the paved road and observatory. But, I enjoyed my second summit of the day among the people who drove up to the summit. I waited for Dan and got our photo together. Then I decided to leave.
I went to the ridge overlooking the Sawtooth and took some photos of it looking down on top of it. Then, I hiked down the gully with the snowmelt stream. This was a little sketchy due to the loose gravel, but manageable. I got to the infamous "willows" and quickly realized that this was by far the most challenging hike of my entire day. During portions of hiking through the willows I had to navigate a route of my own as well as walk through mud hoping that I didn't sink into the mud past my knees, which I was doing occasionally. The willows slowed my pace to that of a turtle, but it was definitely adventurous!
I finally got back to my car at 2:30pm and talked with John. He said that when Dan gets back they will probably go get a brew and some food at the Red Ram, and asked me to join them. So, I did. We declared it the place for 14ers.com folks to eat and drink after a day hiking the nearby 14ers. Hopefully so.
I had an awesome summer! I successfully hiked up 12 fourteeners this summer in less than two months. I would definitely keep hiking up more, but my summer volunteer position is over and I have to head home. I hope to get back out to Colorado again and hike up some more, what a great goal to accomplish.
Thanks to all for maintaining such an awesome website. If it wasn't for this website, I wouldn't have gotten all the information and motivation that I needed for my fourteen hikes.
ps: If anyone cares to view my blog about my summer, click the link below
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):