| Snail on Yale
So after a week off to visit the folks, I got back out to the Sawatch. I left Louisville at 5:00 Friday afternoon. I made sure to get to Buena Vista by way of Fairplay so I could have another excellent calzone at Patti's. I must say, though, that I was pretty annoyed at having to wait 10 minutes for my check. And the only reason I got it in 10 minutes was because I went to ask for it. Also, when I placed my order, I mentioned that I'd be walking my dog while the calzone was prepared, but I don't think they started preparing it until I got back.
Anyway, when I got to the Denny Creek trailhead at 10pm, there were a few cars there already. I hiked up the trail just a little ways hoping to find a place to pitch a tent; I didn't see anything so I slept in the car again.
The Denny Creek trailhead is as accessible as any 14er trailhead I've encountered
I was on the trail at 7:00am. For the most part, the hike was pretty uneventful, and the trail easy to follow.
On these slopes up to the ridge, the trail is steep, with loose dirt and small rocks. Very slippery on the way down!
The fun came on the summit ridge. From below it looked like getting up to the summit ridge would be the hard part, and then you could cruise to the summit.
The ridge to the summit
I guess staying to the right (west) side of the ridge is probably the easiest route, but I thought it would be fun to go right over the top. And it would've been fun if I didn't have a 35 pound dog with me. There were a couple of times where I had to carry him a few steps over some talus that he couldn't manage, and a couple of other points at which we had to backtrack and find another route that would accommodate him. Even on the way down, the west side wasn't cake for him. That was the first 14er on which he's had any trouble at all.
I made the summit at 10:45 and stayed an hour on top to eat and enjoy the views.
Harvard over my right shoulder, Columbia over my left
On the way down, as I took a good long break to digest my lunch, Giarcd caught up to me, so we walked down a ways together. Props to that guy. I first met him on Quandary in early June. After 40 years of smoking, he quit 9 months ago and has summitted 8 14ers so far this summer - and he's got great-grandchildren! Keep on trucking!
Like the trip up, the hike down was pleasant but unremarkable. I did see some CFI folks in action and thanked them for their work. I really took my time on this one more than on any other so far - just to enjoy being out there. So it wasn't until, I think, 3:00pm that I returned to the car.
For those of you who hike with dogs, I discovered that K's in Buena Vista will give you a free "doggie cone" - just a small, plain ice cream cone.
On the drive home, my Dad's good buddy John Mellencamp reminded me that:
"There are no free rides, No one said it'd be easy...
So suck it up, and tough it out, and be the best you can."
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):