Lon and I left from Denver at 2:40 a.m. on the morning of the 3rd of July to hike Shavano and Tabeguache. The weather was forecasted to be 50 percent chance of precipitation, so I figured it was going to be a wet day, and I was hoping that the lightening would stay at bay long enough so that we could summit both mountains.
We met Al, who slept at the trailhead, at 5:20 a.m. and began hiking up the trail in the early morning dawn.
Lon at the trailhead.
Both Al and I had purchased the same GPS systems recently, so we were eager to try them out and compare notes. I think it made the trip quite a bit longer since we were constantly trying to figure the GPS route out, and we did get off route a couple of times (particularly when we passed campsites).
We worked our way up through the trees and arrived at tree line finally when the sun was well into the sky.
Al on the trail still in the trees.
At tree line, we were able to see the head of the Angel. Most of the snow had melted off by that time. There were intermittent clouds and a little wind, but nothing major.
Al and Lon with head of Angel in background.
Looking down at Angel with no snow.
We worked our way up to the saddle. The wind was blowing pretty hard at the saddle, but Shavano did not look like it was too far away. The clouds were getting a little heavier, and with the wind, it was a little chilly. I figured we were going so slow that we would probably only get Shavano and would have to leave Tabeguache for another day.
Looking back down at trail below saddle.
We finally reached the summit of Shavano – lots of rocks to shelter the wind and find a quiet place away from other people.
Al arriving on summit of Shavano.
We took some summit shots - Lon and Al on summit.
Lon had eaten a bunch of Pringles and started to regret his gluttony. I wanted to try to get over to Tabeguache, so I rallied Al and Lon and told them we needed to get going quickly. Nonetheless, I took time to add duct tape to Al's ankles as he suffered so much getting to the summit of Shavano in new boots that rubbed huge holes in the backs of his feet.
The ridge down to Tabeguache was fun with some rock hopping thrown in. We reached the saddle and started up to Tabeguache. Lon's stomach was hurting pretty badly by that time, but he just kept going. About ¾ way up Tabeguache, we hiked up a snow ridge with a drop off on the right side of us.
Picture looking at Tabequache - snow ridge near top.
The snow was like soup, and we had to be careful where we stepped as it broke away or we post-holed every other step. Finally we reached the summit of Tabeguache. I told Lon to take a nap for a few minutes because it looked like the clouds were not getting any worse.
Lon on summit of Tabequache.
It was an enjoyable summit that we shared with only one or two others. The wind had died down at that point.
Ridge back up Shavano.
Close up of Shavano from summit of Tabeguache.
Close up of Antero from summit of Tabeguache.
I woke Lon and we started back down to trudge back up the ridge to Shavano. It really was not as hard as I thought it looked. By that time, Lon was feeling better, and we were having a great time hiking. We reached the summit of Shavano again, and took some pics of marmots that were quite bold.
Lon taking nap back on the summit of Shavano.
Bold little guy.
Looking down at saddle from Shavano.
The trip down from Shavano was uneventful, but we were tired and Lon had to take off his boots at one point because his feet were sore.
The weather held out, and by the time we reached the trailhead, it was hot out, and we had shed most of our clothing.
Lon did them!
It was a very nice trailhead nestled in a grove of beautiful Aspen trees.
Al mentioned that during the night he kept hearing the moo-ing of cattle nearby. We headed back into Buena Vista so that we could get ready for Antero the next day.
Don't you wish you had a job like the weatherman where you could be wrong most of the time and still keep your job? It never did rain that day.
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