| Mt. of the Holy Cross - Redemption!
I called this report Redemption for two reasons. One reason I will explain now and the other later. Two weekends ago my wife and I drove to the San Juans in an attempt to summit Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre. We drove our 2wd Jeep Patriot to the Wetterhorn trailhead and backpacked up to where the trail splits over to Uncompahgre. Our plan was to summit Uncompahgre the next day and Wetterhorn the day after that. When we awoke, the sky was completely overcast; I told my wife this could be a bad day. We began our hike to Uncompahgre; upon seeing the peak, it was engulfed in an enormous cloud. At about 12,500, it was raining fairly hard and by 8:15am at 13,000 we heard thunder above our heads. We would return to the tent only to go through a series of thunderstorms. We finally packed up and packed out. Even though the hiking we did was great, I was depressed for two days. This was our big goal for the year, and I had thought about this weekend for quite some time. It did make me realize my priorities in life were getting a little off, if not a lot.
Below you can see what Uncompahgre looked liked at 7am on 07-26-09!
Fast forward two weeks. My wife was given the oppurtunity to teach in Eagle, and the company put us up in a condo in Vail. We made plans to do Mt. of the Holy Cross. We would hike in on Friday, summit on Saturday, hike out on Sunday, and be in the hottub later that day. She would teach on Monday. As the weekend approached, we were still a little gun shy and were hoping for good weather. What we got was truly a blessing. This hike has been my favorite to date. If you can do it over three days and two nights I would highly recommend it.
Day 1 (08-07-09): Backpacking into East Cross Creak.
Below, I was looking back at the hike up from the car. We were almost to the top of Half Moon Pass.
On the other side of the pass Mt. of the Holy cross comes into view. Here my wife is taking it all in.
As you hike the trail down to East Cross Creek, the views of Mt. of the Holy Cross are inspiring. Really getting us pumped for the climb the next day.
Day 2 (08-08-09): The summit!
The only thing in the sky was a full moon. Picture perfect day!
As we headed up through the trees, we realized how much elevation we had lost. After our 25th stop before treeline, my wife was getting on me about how slow I was going. This really is a steep climb from the creek to the peak. I reminded her that I call myself mt_turtle for a reason, and I can go as slow as I want!
As we came out of the trees, the goal was in view, and my pace picked up.
The fun began as we started up the ridge.
We had heard of many people getting lost on this mountain. On the way up, it was hard to see why. We did take note of the different cairns along the trial. This cairn on the way back would help us stay on the trail. We saw several different groups being misled down the natural yet deceptive drainage to the valley below. They would then up climb to get back to the trail. I then could see how someone could get lost if they had not studied the trail description.
My wife was having fun hopping up the boulders on the ridge.
We still had a lot of work ahead of us, but the weather was still perfect and would be all day.
As we started up the peak, here is the view looking back down at the ridge.
On San Luis Peak my wife watched in envy someone eating a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. So, now on every summit, we share one together.
Here is our summit shot. It was a little windy and chilly, but still very nice.
As we headed off the summit, you can see from the picture the steep terrian. The mild scrambling up was fun!
At 13,500 we stumbled upon one of the most noble hikers I have ever seen. The short legs didn't stop her and her pride was evident.
Here is a picture just for perspective. If you look closely, you can see people on the summit.
Day 3 (08-09-09): Heading out!
At East Cross Creek, there are many great campsites. Here is my wife as we are packing up camp.
My wife is always cautious at creek crossings. She has about a 25% success rate of crossing with dry feet.
Our last look at Mt. of the Holy Cross before our trek up to Half Moon Pass. Again, another day of perfect weather, and we realized how fortunate we were.
Because we took a third day to hike out, the 1000ft gain back to the pass really wasn't that bad even with full overnight packs.
After making it back up the pass, I was reflecting on our weekend and was reminded of the gifts given to us. Seeing the beauty of God's creation, made me think of how much more I will enjoy His work in eternity. He has revealed Himself to us through creation and redeemed us through faith in His Son. What greater gift is there than that?
Isaiah 44:22 "I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you."
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