| Lucky Number 14 (Huron North Ridge)
After being unable to find a hiking partner for the weekend, I decided to attempt my second solo climb. If successful, Huron Peak would be my 14th 14er. That seems like it should be a milestone or something.
I left Littleton at about 3 PM on Friday - just in time to join the rest of the Front Range population on I-70. After making better than expected time, I turned on to Chaffee County 390 about 2.5 hours later and navigated down the road to the ghost town of Winfield. Immediately after Winfield the road degrades rapidly, and I was forced to park the Mazda about 100 yards beyond the town. They weren't kidding about this being a 4WD road! I managed to find a very nice campsite just a few feet away from the rapidly flowing Clear Creek.
After a pleasant evening and dinner of Mountain House Pasta Primavera and a Killian's, I managed to get a few winks of sleep and awoke bright and early. I was eager to get on the trail for my first climb of the year.
I started out hiking up the 4WD road to the main trailhead. There were several forks, but if you follow the route guide it's easy to stay on course.
High clearance vehicle and/or feet required
At one point Clear Creek flows right down the road. It took some careful maneuvering here to avoid soaked boots.
And a river runs through it
Eventually the road levels out when it reaches the valley.
Almost to the trailhead!
I finally reached the 4WD parking lot at about 7:30. Now the "real" hike could begin.
The great CFI trail switchbacks up through the trees, and eventually leads to Huron's northwest slope.
Fun stream crossing
The Continental Divide to the south
About halfway up the basin, I heard the faint "thwump thwump thwump" of a helicopter. A few seconds later, an Army Blackhawk roared over the low point of the ridge between Browns Peak and Huron. The craft swooped a few hundred feet over my head and continued its terrain-following route to the west. A very impressive show, guys!
The trail was well defined all the way to the summit. It gets a little steep closer to the top, but nothing too bad. I encountered the first people coming down when I was almost to the summit.
Just below the summit
I reached the top at a few minutes after 10. A very nice couple from Albuquerque offered to take my victory shot. Thanks again!
I even wore my custom 14ers.com-emblazened hat, but alas Bill was not there with my GPS.
The trail was fairly crowded that day. There were about a dozen people on the summit with me.
And it's you, and me, and all of the people...
Unfortunately the registry was nowhere to be found. I took my time eating lunch and getting some pictures. The haze from the California wildfires made the view less than pristine.
Summit panorama - east/southeast
Summit panorama - southwest/west
Still some snow on the northeast face
The hike down was pretty uneventful. I did my best to encourage those still coming up. I also took in some of the wildflowers.
I even spotted some Columbine near the trailhead.
I reached the trailhead at noon. Another hour or so and I was back at the campsite. For some reason the road seemed a lot longer on the hike out!
Huron is a very pleasant hike - I ran into several people who were doing their first 14er. That, combined with an excuse to leave behind the scorching temperatures in Denver, made this yet another great day in the mountains!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):