| Humboldt Peak - Colorado at its absolute best!!
Total distance 7.29 miles
Total elevation gain 3,032
It started out like any other 14er, up at 3:15am, suck down breakfast, pack the lunch, and meet the rest of the crew (Todd and Carl) over at the local park and ride in Colorado Springs so that we could head out for the long drive to the latest conquest, Humboldt Peak. Carl graciously drove his jeep and after putting the top up due to the still cool morning, we were on our way for the two and half hour drive to the mountain. We made quick time and soon drove past the lower trail head at the bottom of the mountain. The road quickly turned nasty and we continually appreciated the fact that we had the jeep to get us up to the upper trail head!
These guys were either trying to keep something in or something out with the wire mesh around the bottom of the cars and since we didn't see any chickens our guess was they were trying to protect their cars from car eating marmots.
We hit the trail head at 11,076 feet at 6:50am and began the hike through the canyon that would take us to where we would start ascending Humboldt. The weather was beautiful, the skies were clear, and the air was crisp.
Humboldt- you can see the false summit to the left.
There was still some snow on the trail that was quickly melting and the wild flowers were in what appeared to be full bloom.
Carl and Todd
Todd and Carl took many detours during the course of the day to take pictures of the flowers in all their glory. The stream along the trail was flowing strong and there were numerous tents set up along it from people who had spent the night.
The mountain lakes were inviting too and we made a mental note that we'd have to spend more time exploring one of them on the way back down.
The moon was still in the sky even though it was about 7:30am by now and we happened to catch it at the perfect time in the notch of one of the neighboring 14er's.
After passing a number of other climbing parties we began the ascent of Humboldt.
Carl, Todd, and I as taken by one of the hiking parties we passed. Thanks guys!
On the way up we got word that there was a mountain goat up ahead and sure enough, just below the false summit we ran into this amazing specimen! He was easily within 15 feet of us and incredibly docile. We snapped a few pics and then he got bored with us and decided to head down the mountain.
There were Marmots all over the trail and as we hiked by they were signaling to each other that we were invading their territory.
The trail was well marked with a few cairns at the top and extremely well cared for. After a leisurely stroll up, we reached the summit at 9:30 and spent the next half hour enjoying the view of the surrounding 14ers and having an early lunch.
A pika tried to nibble on my pack to get some food and Todd caught him in the act.
The clouds were starting to build up on the summit and we decided to start the descent so that we'd have some time to explore the mountain lakes before it was time to head home. Every turn revealed more flowers on the trail and a quick hike down turned into an extended photo shoot. The day and scenery was so beautiful though that a few more minutes on the trail were well worth it.
Just as we were getting to the bottom of the descent we spotted a family of Big Horn sheep near the lake that we were aiming for. They were a pretty large group that appeared to be still shedding their winter coats and had three new members in their midst.
After watching them for a while, we passed by and made our way to the lake. The morning had gotten warm and by now the water was looking extremely inviting. We each took turns jumping into the icy cool water. It was exactly what we needed!
Carl's version of cliff diving.
We had all finished our swims and were sitting on the bank drying off and recounting the days events when Todd said, "Hey guys, turn around!". Carl and I looked behind us and our friend the mountain goat that we encountered earlier on the trail had followed us down and was heading straight toward us with no sign of stopping.
Carl and I quickly grabbed our packs, got out of his way, and watched him walk down past us, across the stream, and into the meadow. What a beautiful animal!
After getting all our gear back on we followed the stream down to the lower lakes, through meadows of wild flowers and across the remaining snow fields. On the way we stopped to pick up some rocks that caught our eye and take a few more pictures of the surrounding wildlife and flowers. We got back to the car at 12:50pm, packed up the jeep, put the top down and set off for the five and a half mile ride down the road from hell.
It started to drizzle on the way down and we all remarked that we were happy that we got an early start.
Here's looking back at the mountain range that we just conquered.
We were all pretty hungry from our adventure and decided to stop in the town of Silver Cliff and see if we couldn't find a good burger. If you're ever in the area be sure to visit the Silver Stone restaurant. For $6.95 they'll set you up with a killer burger. They've got some good ice cream too!
The rest of the ride back to Colorado Springs was rather uneventful but hot. We're all still in awe of the pristine-ness of the Humboldt region, the flowers, the animals, and the total experience. It was by far our favorite of all the 14er's we've done and truly Colorado at its absolute best!
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