We arrived at Lake City on Friday afternoon intending to hike Wetterhorn the following day. The weather was questionable and we decided to do Wetterhorn on Sunday. So, we had Saturday to play around and asked Cecil (Wupperman Campground Host) what to do. He suggested that we fish Sloan Lake in American Basin... he said it was absolutely gorgeous up yonder. He got out a map and dropped his Texan finger on a small lake ... I picked up the Texan's finger and asked, "Is that the trailhead for Handies?" Well, Cecil had never heard of Handies ... as a matter of fact, he'd never heard of 14ers.
We decided to check out American Basin. Turns out ... Cecil knows something about beauty. American Basin was other-worldly. It was AMAZING.
It was 1:00PM when we got there. Most people were finishing their hike. We started walking up the trail and got to the sign in post. Deb asked, "Are we going to the summit?" Ummmmmm .... YEP .... you can't take crack away from a crack head. Let's go!
WTH? We didn't do Wetterhorn today because of the weather. And NOW we are starting up Handies with graupel falling? It was warm and the hike was actually pleasant. We decided that we would turn around at the first lightning bolt. We were almost to the top and thunder cracked. OMG. I froze and waited for another one. The summit is RIGHT THERE. Magically, the clouds started to blow over and the skies cleared for us to finish. I thought for sure this was my "The summit will be there for another day" days. We were lucky. We reached the peak under clear skies.
By the numbers, it looked easy on paper. However, no fourteener is easy. This one was a grunt to the top. Nothing technically challenging ... just steep ... and did I mention other-worldly beauty?
Difficulty: Class 2
Summit Elevation: 14,048 feet (Handies Peak)
Elevation Gain: 2750'
Round-trip Length: 5.6 miles
Trailhead: American Basin TH
7:30 AM Awake
1:00 PM Start Hiking
3:00 PM Summit Handies Peak
5:00 PM Back at Trailhead
Date Ascended: 7/3/10
Roundtrip: 4 hours
Wildflowers peak in July/August,,
Sweet little flowers,,
Sloan Lake ,