| An Easy Day at Antero
According to a dog friendly Colorado hiking book, Mt. Antero is the most recommended for our 4-legged friends to safely ascend and descend because it's nearly all road. My dog Duke gained a few pounds after having been neutered, so I figured an easy 14er was in order. To skip to the end of the story, in celebration of his first ever 14er summit, I decided to write my first trip report as well!
The day started out pretty easily. My buddy, my dog and myself departed the Springs at 4:00am to get an early start on the summit. We took my 4wd 4runner so we could attempt the 4wd trail and see how high we could make it. The trail itself wasn't bad at all, and I imagine a 2wd car with an owner not too concerned about repair costs could have made it. Not a single rock scraped under us, though it was a bumpy ride.
The 4wd trail up.
The river was only ~8 inches deep which made it pretty easy to cross. In actuality, there were 3 river crossings, the largest being the shallowest, flattest and easiest. The others were shorter crossings with substantially larger rocks and faster water flow, though still pretty easy with the 4runner. I was expecting a LOT worse.
The river crossing.
We made it to tree line around 8:00am and decided that even though we could realistically drive the entire length of the road (to 13.4k ish ft), it would completely defeat the purpose of even doing a 14er, especially with Duke. We passed no one on the way up the 4wd trail (though a car was parked at the first river crossing) and there was a single jeep parked at treeline. This is where we started the hike. It was a beautiful day with cloudless blue skies, warm enough for shorts and a t-shirt ... pretty much ideal, though over the course of a couple hours, clouds rolled in like they tend to do around here.
Duke and friend at the start of the hike.
The majority of the hike was by far the easiest 14er I've done, and I can see how it would be rated as extremely dog friendly. It's literally just a gravel road ... though one with great views.
Me and Duke on the road.
At the end of the 4wd trail where the real hiking starts, I was a little bit worried for Duke, but it turned out that there is a really well defined trail for this stretch with only a few places where he had to dog-scramble. Below us, a 4wd truck made it to the end of the road and started hiking with his dog, but we wouldn't see him again until after we summitted.
Duke and friend checking out the summit.
Me and Duke starting the rocks.
The last stretch right before the summit was substantially worse for a dog, though still not THAT bad. The trail wasn't particularly well defined, and it was almost easiest to just go straight up, climbing from rock to rock. Duke more or less made his own path along side me as I tried to follow the trail. It probably would have been easiest for Duke to climb straight up the bit of snow that had yet to melt, but for the most part, he chose the rocks. Even I tried the snow, but post-holing gets old pretty quickly.
Me and Duke almost to the summit.
Duke checking out the views.
Summitting was probably the easiest and most straight-forward I've seen of about 10 14ers, though as soon as we got within 50' of our goal, the temperature dropped 10 degrees and a light snow started. It took us all of 2 and a half hours to go from tree-line to the summit, and about 90 minutes to come down.
Just before heading back down, Duke decided that he needed to mark the mountain off his list as well...
Duke saying he owns the mountain.
On the hike and drive back down, we passed about 8 jeeps and 4 hikers. Just as we reached the 4runner to start the drive back, it started a light rain. Perfect timing!
A view from the top.
Another easy 14er off my list, and a first for Duke! The last 1/4 mile down or so (just before reaching the car), Duke lagged behind us a bit and it was pretty obvious he was tired, but he was a champ and made it the whole way. His paws were fine too. The only thing he needed was a long nap on the ride home.
We'll definitely be doing a few more this summer/fall and might even try one this winter.
I should mention too that between the highway drive, the 4wd drive and the hike, we saw elk, bighorn sheep, pica, marmot and even 3 white pelicans (which was the first time I've EVER seen them in Colorado), but for all but the pica, we were too slow with the cameras to get a shot
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):