| Antero Aquamarines on Independence Day
After doing Shavano/Tabeguache the 3rd of July, we decided we needed something more moderate for 4th of July, so Lonnie, Al and I decided to go do Antero. We were told we could drive up the jeep trail a little ways to make the route a bit shorter, so we did just that. Lon and I met up with Al at the 7-11 in Buena Vista and followed him to the base of the Baldwin Gulch road where I parked my Pathfinder (Al has a new FJ, so I figured he wanted to break it in doing some jeeping).
The Baldwin Gulch road is awful. This just doesn't show how bad it was in places.
We had to go so slow so he wouldn't scrape the bottom of his car. After quite a while we made it to just above tree line where we decided to park so we could say we "climbed" this mountain.
Parked just above tree line.
We followed the road up a little way, and then decided to cut off a few of the switchbacks and go straight up gullies. Although it was steep, we managed to shave off some distance and time this way.
Finally, upon traversing around the mountain, we started up again on switchbacks. We were passed at that point by people on ATV's and motorcycles and a few modified Jeeps. They drove to a parking spot about maybe 1,000 feet below the summit of Antero.
We talked a bit with two guys from Texas (just love that Texas accent) driving ATV's who were "scouting" the route so that they could bring a teenage church group up to hike Antero later in the week. They started hiking at the ridge with us.
Looking back at the two guys from Texas.
Lonnie and Al just past the ridge line and starting up the talus.
As always, Lon was on a roll, and flew up the mountainside and arrived at the summit of Antero well before Al, me, or the Texas duo. Al and I arrived shortly thereafter.
Lon on summit already signing summit register.
We really felt kind of robbed that the mountain didn't provide us with the scenic tour that most 14ers put forth. Nonetheless, we took some summit shots, had a nice lunch and headed down, this time rock hopping the ridge line.
Looking from Antero to the summits of Shavano and Tabeguache that we climbed yesterday.
Nearing the ATV parking area, I noticed a group of people mining the side of the hill.
There were several others we met up with that were heading over to mine the mountain for Aquamarines. One of the guys gave Lonnie a beautiful small Aquamarine, and invited us to scout the hill for some additional Aquamarines. This same guy found one while walking along, and set it on a rock for me to nab. Pretty cool. One of the guys from Texas found a bunch of them just walking along.
I finally had to drag Lonnie and Al away from nose-to-the-ground searching, and told them we should get headed down the hill. All the way back, Lonnie and Al were stopping and looking at the ground for more Aquamarines. We found some Beryl-laden rocks, but no true Aquamarines on our way down. The guys from Texas and quite a few of the folks who drove up passed us on our way down.
We finally made an escape down a gully back to Al's car.
The prospect of finding more Aquamarines really made Al and Lonnie reconsider their original opinions about Antero. Although the views were beautiful toward the top, I don't think I would climb this 14er again. As we stepped into Al's car, for the first time over the weekend, it started to rain and rained the entire way back into Buena Vista.
Al's car going back down the smaller stream crossing.
Lonnie and I watched fireworks from the balcony of my townhome when we arrived home. What a great weekend. I was already getting a sore lower back from all of the hiking.
My best wishes to the group from Texas. I think the two men told me they were going to scout Lincoln, Bross and Democrat the next day. I hope they were able to summit all three of them, and that their teenagers had a good and safe time on the trip.
Here is a nice link to some interesting information about the Aquamarines on Antero.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):