| No-cloud and Sunshine
(Sorry for the delay in posting- I was road tripping and then didn‘t have access to decent Internet for several weeks. Forgive me.)
After visiting with friends for a few days and getting some warm-up hikes under my belt (Waldo Canyon, Greenhorn, The Horns on Cheyenne Mountain), I decided it was time for this Ohioan to get back on a 14er or two. I was on my way down to New Mexico, so I decided something easy in the San Juans would be good. Hence Redcloud and Sunshine. I set up camp at the Silver Creek trailhead (after having said a few prayers that my Taurus would make it up the road).
I woke up a few times a little chilly, but I figured it was just my old-school sleeping bag that I think I got for my birthday when I was 10. Turns out I had good reason for being cold- I woke up with frost covering my tent.
This inspired me to crawl back under the covers, resulting in a later start time than intended, 7:30. It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky, which is probably why it got so cold the previous night.
The trail was pretty easy going, with only a little snow left. There appears to have been a second trail created by people trying to get around the snow and some other debris, just off to the left of what I imagine is the true trail. I didn't take the alternate, and I made it fine without poles or gaiters, and with minimal postholing.
The trail remained obvious through the basin, and then began to get steep and loose as I got onto Redcloud's ridge.
Looking back at the trail through the basin
Looking toward Redcloud's ridge
View from the ridge
There's a sign that looks pretty new pointing to the right, apparently trying to get people to not just try to cut straight up to the false summit. I don't think there's any way of getting to the false summit that could ever be enjoyable though, so I just struggled through the trail pointed out by the sign.
After reaching the false summit, the rest of the hike up Redcloud was comparatively easy. I hit the summit around noon, and got in my summit shot (as well as one of my travel buddy, a horrendously green teddy bear).
He may not be pretty, but he never complains about needing a pit stop
A look toward Sunshine
I then decided the weather looked good enough to go ahead and make my way over to Sunshine. This trail was pretty straightforward, though there was a bit of snow to contend with near the summit.
I stayed to the right of the snowfield on the way up. I hit the summit of Sunshine around 1:30 (no one ever said I was a fast mover), and got in my summit shots.
Then it was back over to Redcloud. (Side note: Does everyone doing this climb get to count the Redcloud summit twice? It only seems fair.) I strapped on my gaiters and had some fun going down the aforementioned snow field near the summit of Sunshine, although the snow was much too soft to slide too far.
The trail/maze of trails back to Redcloud:
The return to Redcloud somehow seemed much easier than the ascent to Sunshine, and I made it around 2:45. After that much hiking, I figured I needed some hydration.
I stuck around the summit for about 15 minutes, and then made my way back to the trailhead. The descent to the basin was somewhat tedious, all the more so due to the marmots that were out in swarms.
Sad but true: I almost started to miss these guys over the last months.
I finally made it back to the trailhead around 5pm, and tore down camp, and headed to Lake City for some Southern Vittles (I suggest the BBQ sandwich). All in all, a successful return to the 14ers.
Still one of the best sights of the day: the trailhead
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):