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Peak(s):  Mt. Shavano  -  14,230 feet
Tabeguache Peak  -  14,158 feet
Date Posted:  09/03/2021
Date Climbed:   09/24/2020
Author:  petal53run
 Yellow Leaf Silver Dollars   

Yellow Leaf Silver Dollars
While I was sorting my computer documents, I found this 2020 Shavano and Tabaguache report needing pics to finish. Life got busy. The world was reeling from COVID19 but I was helping my deployed sailor son move, caring for his dogs & finishing summer projects at my place. It was my last climb for 2020. It was a gorgeous & memorable climb because fall colors were breathtaking everywhere. To catch up, this is my September 24, 2020 climb.
Fall is my favorite season of the year. The temperatures are comfortable, the weather is predictable and consistent, trees are shouting colorful leaves and I can still do stuff outside wearing a tshirt/shorts. I made time to snag 2 more 14ers so S&T were it. I left at 3AM to drive in the dark as it was a 4hour trip on 285/W on CR140/CR250/FR252 to TH, but, hey, the coffee tasted good, no traffic and I could drive with the windows down.
On the dirt road driving toward the TH were some cows meandering across the road(pic1). There were several cars in the parking lot but better late than never so onto the TH, I started (pic2) on a shared wilderness trail with the CO trail(pic3). Next is a grate crossing for spring waters(pic4) to enter the yellowing aspen grove(pic5). A S&T sign directs the way off the CO trail going W(pic6). The start was the only flat part of trail. At the registry box(pic7) is where the dirt, embedded rock trail goes one way: UP.
In the middle of the aspen grove, the golden leaves shimmer in the sunrise(pic8). The hiking trail is dotted with yellow silver dollar sized aspen leaves(pic9-10). To bad they weren’t real dollars! Some interesting sedimentary rocks (pic11-12-13) and one with iron content(pic14) to add interest to the slow trudge upward. Look at this strange tree trunk(pic15). Finally out of treeline, the trail gets steeper before it stretched in front of me as a loose rocky section that looked flat and fast but NOT(pic16). To borrow context from one of Chelsea’s reports, glaciers move at a faster pace than I did in this section. Exposed and feeling the sun warm my back, the distance was short but there was ample time for reflection. Another cool layered rock(pic17) and I found a flower in the middle of the snow going towards the Angel of Shavano(pic18). Shavano looked even further away (pic19).
The summit in sight, gaining ridge, scrambling and on top(pic20). The Sawatch range views were absolutely spectacular under the crystal blue skies(pic21-22). One more 14er on the to do list and down the vague trail(pic23-24) to creep up the summit to Tabeguache(pic25) which had more super gorgeous views(pic26). It was time to hurry back as with shortening daylight hours, I didn’t want to linger on the peaks and be walking in the dark. Regaining the elevation was harder going back up Shavano and there were a few discouraging false peaks in the way.
Almost to the car, the shadows were stretching(pic29). Since the sun was still shining, I could still see the yellow leaves of fall(pic30-31-32) along FR252. The trees along 285 were hinting at yellow but along CO24 toward Leadville the fall colors were golden(pic33-34) and in some places the leaves had fallen off the trees.
In sum, this is a solid Class2 out and back hike. Routefinding was easy as this makes for a thinking trail. The footing was solid and the dirt to block rock scrambling made the climb varied and alive. Going is a constant uphill, and downhill is a steep return so one must be careful not to blow out the knees. The elevation gain between S&T was the hardest part but after resummiting Shavano, its downhill to the car. Although a lengthy drive from Denver, it was a healthy distance of 9.5miles of hiking. It took me about 8.5hours total and I drank 2 bladders(2L) of water. Because I stop at Leadville on a regular basis after climbing, the associate at the Sinclair station asks about my adventures. With 2 more 14ers to my name, the golden dollar for me was drinking the fresh brew of caffeinated coffee.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

Comments or Questions
Excellent report
9/4/2021 2:11pm
That was an excellent report with wonderful photographs.

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