Peak(s):  Huron Peak  -  14,003 feet
Date Posted:  07/13/2008
Date Climbed:   07/04/2008
Author:  gatorchick

 The mountains win again ... (4th of July on Huron)  

The week before the 4th of July had been fairly frustrating and I was pretty bummed the day before we were to leave for the mountains. I almost considered not going and staying home and licking my wounds instead. Then I remembered the default rule: GO TO THE MOUNTAINS! It was good therapy and by the end of the weekend I was feeling a whole lot better.

I had been itching to do Huron for a while after hearing such great things about it from other people. When 4th of July weekend rolled around we decided to head to the mountains and do Huron and La Plata from Winfield. We ended up bailing on our second day (La Plata) but our experience on Huron was definitely enough for a FABULOUS 4th of July weekend!

We left Boulder around 5:00 on July 3rd and we were a little concerned about finding camping near the TH. There was PLENTY of camping in the area tho and we found a nice spot just beyond the campground (and near the stream) in Winfield. We set up camp and turned in around 10 for an early start.

I have a CRV and didn't feel like chancing it on the road up to the TH. We probably could have made it (saw a CRV, Rav4, and Forester at or near the actual TH) but it didn't seem worth the potential damage. Plus it was a beautiful morning and the easy walk up the road was a good warmup for what was to come.

We made it to the actual TH around 6 (left the campsite around 5:15 and took our time up the road) and signed the register.

jasper9890 (hereafter known as "the fiance") signing the register

crossing the stream

The beginning part of the trail was basically a series of switchbacks to get above treeline and they seemed to go by pretty quickly.

We made it above treeline just as the sun was peaking over Brown's Peak ...

and we got a great view of where we were going ...

At this point it started warming up and we started shedding layers. There was no wind to speak of and the sun was bright and warm. By the time we made it to the summit I had stripped down to short sleeves (but would put a fleece on at the summit). We could NOT have asked for better weather!

There were a few snowfields to cross and sections of the trail were wet where water was running down but otherwise there was nothing tricky about the trail. The trail was extremely easy to follow and in great shape. You could easily avoid the wet parts - I had on trail runners (not water proof) and no gaiters and my feet never got wet.

the fiance soaking up the sunshine

wildflowers were out in abundance

even the dog was having an awesome day!

From here we hiked up the slope to the saddle between Brown's and Huron and then to the final section of trail up to the summit. This part got a little steeper but it wasn't bad at all and the view the whole way up was not too shabby!

the fiance on the final push to the summit

We finally made the summit and spent almost an hour on top enjoying the day. I could have stayed up there forever. The weather and the views were gorgeous and I could not think of a better way to spend the 4th of July than taking in the view at 14k with my fiance and my dog! Life is good.

A bunch of shots from the summit ...

The dog was not so impressed by the apostles ...

She was much more interested in our lunch ...

family summit photo (aka "us blocking the view")

My girl and I's 7th 14er summits together.

The hike back down went by pretty quick. Unlike other 14ers I've done this trail wasn't especially loose so we were able to make good time on the way back down. The hike back up the road to the campsite was a bit of a bummer but it wasn't too bad. I had stashed my chacos in my bag and put them on when we got back to the TH. Walking through the water on the road felt soooo good on my tired feet.

After the hike we took a nice long nap in the tent and then headed to Rosie's in Leadville for some post-hike beer and burgers. It doesn't get much better than that!

I really REALLY enjoyed this hike and it has become my new favorite. It seemed like the easiest of the 14ers I've done (including Quandary, Bierstadt, and Sherman) but that might be because I'm in better shape than I was back then? It was certainly the most enjoyable! I would recommend for anyone to give it a try and I can't see why it wouldn't be a good first 14er. The hike up the road is really no problem so if you don't have 4wd don't let that deter you.
If anyone is interested, there are a bunch more pics on my flickr site:

Thanks for looking!


 Comments or Questions

”..well marked trail..!”
07/14/2008 05:46
I found it funny how in love with the well marked trail the trip report was, but you know, it really IS a well marked trail...! Good post there, gator


I think you mean ...
07/14/2008 05:57
... the route description?


Awesome photos!
07/14/2008 21:49
Wish you were doing Belford and Oxford tomorrow with me!!! CU short track should be interesting after 3 14ers in 3 days! HA! Last place, here I come!!!!


Nice ...
08/04/2008 19:04
love the great trail shots! Very helpful trail information, thanks!

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