| Getting schooled on Yale- Denny Creek Trailhead
So after being stranded in Ohio for over two months, I was definitely looking forward to being in the mountains again. I flew into Denver on Wednesday afternoon, and then we drove down to Buena Vista, where we spent the night. After a long day of travelling, I was beat, so we got maybe a little later of a start- we hit the Denny Creek trailhead around 8:15.
Morning sun on the mountains (as seen from our hotel room)
It was rather chilly, but once we got moving, we were fine with a couple of layers and some gloves. The trail through the forest was great, and we were making decent time, seeing as I hadn't been over 1,000ft in months.
My usual view... Hans as a tiny dot up ahead
I was definitely glad to be out there again. And was enjoying the brand-new trekking poles that Hans surprised me with that morning! (Unfortunately no good picture of those, but trust me, they're beautiful!)
We stopped for a short second breakfast just before we hit the fun stuff:
Trail to the right
Trail of doom
Now I had heard that once you hit treeline on Yale, it was slow going. Talk about an understatement. Between loose gravelly trail, and super-steep inclines, I was barely moving. I resorted to counting steps just to keep myself going. Of course, on the many breathers I had to take, I also took a ton of pictures:
What a goofy-looking guy...
Hans, having the completely unfair advantage of ridiculously long freak-legs, routinely ended up quite a bit ahead of me. Luckily, he waited periodically so that we could hit the summit together. After we finally got to the summit ridge, I couldn't have been happier to play on the boulder fields. And finally the summit! And since I know the key to avoiding altitude sickness is staying hydrated:
We stayed at the summit for a few minutes re-fueling and taking in the beautiful views, and then we were off again. The wind was nothing short of atrocious, and the way down was tedious through the steep, loose gravel, but once we hit treeline it was nice again. We got back to the truck…. At around 6. Yes, it took us around 10 hours to do Mt. Yale. Around 6.5hrs to summit, and about 3 back down. Blame it on the poor flatlander. But we made it within daylight, and then grabbed supper at Jan's in Buena Vista and some dessert at K's, and headed back to Pueblo for the night. It was a long day, but we had a great time, and I loved being out in the mountains again. Plus we were the only people out there all day. However, I don't think I'll be doing Yale again anytime soon – check it off the list, no need for a repeat!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):