| Friday in Iowa Gulch
Trailhead - Upper Iowa Gulch
Distance - Around 6-7 miles?
Elevation Gain - Around 3,000?
Having given up my attempt at finishing the Sawatch centennials before the close of 2008, I decided to go revisit the Dyer area. I had eyed it from Horseshoe the week before, and there is just something special about that area the I really like in fall time.
I arrived at the upper Iowa Gulch TH right around first light. I added a few minutes to the beginning of the trip backtracking to my truck to get my cell phone (I had forgotten it, and well, you never know.) Finally I started up Iowa Amphitheater towards the saddle of Dyer and Gemini at about 7:30.
The first part of the route follows an old road for .25-.5 miles, but after reaching some old mine buildings the road ends. From here I more or less aimed for the west end of the Dyer-Gemini saddle following trail segments as they appeared.
Approximate route from end of mining road to Dyer/Gemini Saddle (Taken from Sherman)
I reached the saddle at around 8:45, and reached the summit about 15 minutes after. The wind on the summit was harsh, but nothing like I usually experience in this area around fall time.
Mt. Evans B from Dyer Summit
Gemini and Sherman from Dyer Summit
Summit register header. Hmm..reminds me of some recent forum topics.
I vegged out for a bit on the summit (I was unusually tired) and came close to falling asleep. Tired as I was, it was only a bit after 9, and I would've kicked myself if I had come out and only had a short hike and semi-nap show for it. So, I headed out for Gemini.
Last November, I had experienced the strongest winds I had ever felt on top of Gemini, so I was hoping I wouldn't get blasted in the same way again this year. I was in luck, because although it was quite chilly and the wind was brisk, it was quite bearable.
Looking back at Dyer from Gemini Summit
Looking ahead to Sherman
I was feeling a little more energetic on Gemini than I was on top of Dyer. So after a few minutes on top, I started descending the east side of the summit. (Mistake) I seem to recall ascending this side once in the past, however I did NOT recall the high amount of loose rocks. After swearing at myself for not remembering these rocks from before, I was almost to the bottom when a skateboard looking rock made a skateboard looking move, slipping right out from under me. It was a hard landing, but the worst part was my leg opposite had overcompensated to catch myself and apparently pulled something in my lower quad. More ticked off than ever, I did some stretching trying to ease the muscle, and was able to tell that it would probably be pretty painful the next day, but for now it would just be more of a nuisance. So, I continued onwards toward Sherman.
I made it to Sherman after 20 or 30 minutes, but with the wind attempting to blow me off the top, I just took a couple pictures and started down towards the Sherman/Sheridan saddle.
I met the first and only other hikers of the day on my way to the saddle, they were ascending from Fourmile. This was my 3rd time up Sherman, and the first time ever seeing anyone on the mountain. Amazing, considering how popular the mountain is. (I've always been up there later in the year.)
After reaching the saddle, I continued down the Iowa Gulch route of Sherman. This was my first time on this trail, and I must say I wouldn't have wanted to ascend it. It kinda sucked. Bross Jr-ish, if you will.
Looking back up at Sherman from the descent. (With the two hikers in center)
Looking back up my descent route
The very "UnShermanlike" south side of Sherman.
Much of the days ridge walk, viewed from Iowa Gulch. (Gemini in center)
45 minutes later I was at my truck, contented with having completed 1 ranked centennial, 1 unranked centennial, and 1 14er without too much effort.
Despite the tweaked muscle in my left leg, and my soon to be black and blue right knee, it was a pleasant day.
And here comes the clouds, the reason I went Friday and not Saturday!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):