| Handies, Redcloud and Sunshine in 2 days
We arrived at Grizzly Gulch & Silver Creek TH on Friday afternoon.
We always prefer to backpack a little bit into the trail rather than car-camp, so we started hiking up Grizzly Gulch trail to about 11,200 feet where we had a great view of Handies Peak.
Next morning we woke up at 5.30 am and started our hike at 6.15am. The valley looked beautiful with many flowers along the side of the creek. Even at that hour in the morning the clouds were already starting to form.
The hike was pretty gentle and easy to follow.
Looking back at the trail
Looking down into the valley.
The final climb up to Handies.
We summited at 8.30 am (I think this is our record for the earliest summit).
We spent about half an hour at the top (the wind was starting to blow hard) and then we headed down.
Marmots are really curious…
And so are deer…
It took us about 1 hour and a half to get back to our campsite. Took a rest and then packed and headed down to start going up on the other side (Grizzly Gulch) since the next goal was Redcloud and Sunshine the next day.
We made it to the junction of the trail and the creek, at about 11,300 feet and camped there.
Next day (4th of July) we started at 6.45 am from our campsite. These guys were doing an amazing job:
The hike up to Redcloud was enjoyable and not too steep.
With some nice views of Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre.
The final climb to the top of Redcloud.
We made it to the summit at exactly 9am. We could see the trail going up to Sunshine, our next goal for the day. After a quick snack we were headed off to Sunshine.
It took us about one hour from Redcloud.
My 33 14er!
We spent some time at the top since there was supposed to be a flyover but it never happened. We met San Juan Ron at the summit, it was nice to meet you! As well as other folks there who were waiting to see the flyover. Well, after waiting for almost one hour we decided to head down. We had read about an alternate route going down to the valley without having to climb Redcloud again, and sure enough there was a sign for it:
It looked steep and loose, but San Juan Ron had done this route before and said it saves quite a bit of hiking time. So we decided to give it a try, why not? Mike went first leading the group that now had followed behind us. It was not that bad, some loose rocks along the way, a couple of butt glissades, but we made it down safely. There are some pics I took of the group that went down with us.
Once down it was an easy trail to follow along the valley, and in fact it is a pretty route, we were glad we chose to go down this way. Thanks again San Juan Ron for the tip!
A nap felt good, I slept like a log…
We encountered a rare wild red columbine. Flowers were everywhere…
We finally made it back to our campsite and rested for the day. Oh, the next day a snow storm had passed by and left ice on the tent! I thought it was summer…
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):