We chose a doubleheader for our first 14ers of the year and it did not disappoint! The hike itself is pretty straightforward: am obvious trail departs from the road and leads you via the path of least resistance up Grays and then Torreys. An optional knife-edge trail descends from the summit of Torreys, which we omitted, but could be used as a nice way to vary the scenery on the return trip. It doesn’t really change the mileage but ads some exposure. Both summits offer glorious views of the Summit County mountains. But the factor that really takes the cake for me is the stunning alpine valley from whence you begin. The best way (IMHO) to tick off these peaks is to drive up Stevens Gulch Road the day before until you get to the end or until you’d rather not punish your vehicle any further. The road peters out nearby an extensive alpine meadow sprinkled with mining remains and ample opportunities for car camping. Get an early start, find a nice camp spot and take in some world-class views while you acclimate. Waking up at the trailhead really takes the edge off of a 14er and the ambiance is second to none!
It occurred to us the other day, that for some reason we haven’t been backpacking once yet in Colorado! Clearly this was unacceptable, so Kelly picked out a nice warm-up outing so we could get our backpacking legs under us for the season. We booked a spot at Ouzel Lake, which has an upper and lower site. The lower spots were filled so we settled for the upper sites. The upper site is a tad farther from the trail-head, though in either case the whole walk would have been roughly 10 miles round trip. Would have been…
One year ago today, we met Atlas at barely four weeks old. It’s crazy to think back to that day. He just passed his 1st birthday! It’s been a long year, a wild ride, and Atlas has changed Catherine and my lives in unexpected ways. Let me introduce you to Atlas.
After earning some turns, we set off the next morning for Vantage, WA to climb at Frenchman Coulee. I’ll be writing this entry since Sweeney has a backlog of his own adventures to catch up on, so stay tuned for that. Vantage was quite a change of environment, by leaving spring in Seattle, driving up over Snoqualmie Pass, through winter and into arid flat lands. Catherine has a great photo post of the trip, but I’ll try to add some details about the climbing itself.