| Squaretop Hike through wind and snow
Woke up early Monday morning, left my house in the Colorado Springs boonies about 4:15, arrived about 7am to the trailhead. Not a bad drive.
Watched the sunrise against Bierstadt...
We continued along the trail which seemed well maintained, a few spots were muddy or icy from snow melt streams, but overall easy dirt and the muddy or wet spots were easy to rock-hop across. It started lightly snowing but was harmless and we continued on.
Shortly after passing the Squaretop Lakes the trail disappears and you‘re left to basically pick your own route up. This was a little odd at first, but it was very nice that it seemed to lack the human damage that comes from people always stomping across the exact same route.
The view towards Bierstadt was one that required frequent admiring...
Shortly after that picture was taken some dark clouds rolled in and visibility decreased from the snow. It wasn‘t too bad, could still see well enough, but as I was not familiar with the route and I‘m not particularly experienced I decided to turn back.
Amazingly, I went down a ways, stopped to eat my lunch, and by the time I was done the dark clouds and snow cleared to reveal the gorgeous sunny weather that we were able to enjoy the rest of the hike. We turned back and summitted happily.
The summit was extremely windy, difficult to keep my balance, but the view was gorgeous and outweighed the wind. A couple pictures from the summit and a panoramic video from one of the false summits(too windy at the real summit for even a slightly stable video)
Random, but this totally stood out to me as a "2" on a rock, I had to take a picture.
A small group of Mountain Goats made a brief appearance, but once they saw the dogs they were weary of us. My dogs are always well behaved on the mountain and never even saw them.
At the lower Squaretop Lake with the summit way off in the distance.
My two hiking companions with their conquered peak in the background. This was taken within a half to a quarter mile of the trailhead.
In the last half to quarter mile stretch I heard a loud noise of the my right, where there were willows and further the woods, but due to backback rustling loudly I couldn‘t hear it clearly. I stopped and listened and sure enough heard the noise twice more. I looked around and when I couldn‘t find the source of the noise we quickly finished the rest of the route and got in the car. The noise? A bear. A roaring bear. I don‘t know what was agitating it or how close it was, but I didn‘t want to be anywhere near it.
Overall it was an excellent hike, I would certainly do it again. Didn‘t see a single other person the entire hike, I loved the isolation and the views were amazing. Not too long and an easy hike, I think a person from out of state or not used to hiking/out of shape could still knock this one out pretty easily. Finished within 4-5 but I did descend a ways and then go back up due to weather, so that time could be shorter.