Monday, November 30, 2020

Colorado - 2013

I'd hoped to be with my boys for the fourth straight year in Colorado hiking fourteeners, plus Judy was coming along as a very nice addition. However, at the last minute Sam couldn't make it (I don't recall the reason, but we had a flight reserved for him on Frontier Airlines out of Salt Lake City). 

On Thursday, August 8, 2013, Andrew, Judy and I left LAX on United at 8:21 p.m. and arrived in Denver at 11:41 p.m. We rented a Jeep Liberty from Fox Rent A Car and had a hotel room for the night at the Ramada Plaza Denver Central on Bannock Street in Denver. We didn't get to bed until after 1:30 a.m. 

Friday, August 9, we slept in and got a late start on our drive from Denver. We stopped at Safeway in Idaho Springs and continued on through Frisco and Breckenridge, to the Quandary Peak Trailhead, 88 miles and 1.75 hours away. 
We didn't get started until 11:30 a.m. I spent about an hour with Judy and Andrew hiking slowly up the trail looking for mushrooms, but then it started to rain and I realized I needed to start hiking or I would never make it to the summit. So I left Judy and Andrew to look for mushrooms and I pushed on. 

A gray jay.
The summit of Quandary Peak is a 6.75 mile roundtrip hike with 3,450 feet of elevation gain. The weather started to get nasty with thunder and hail, but I pushed on and started to pass people on the way back down because of the weather. I saw several mountain goats along the way and summited the 14,265 foot peak all alone in a window of nice weather.  

I quickly turned around and met Andrew and Judy near the bottom, finishing about 5:30 p.m. We drove to Buena Vista, about 52 miles and an hour away, where we stayed at Vista Court Cabins & Lodge, Cabin #2, for the rest of our stay in Colorado. 
     Quandary Peak  (Bob)

Saturday, August 10, we had a 27.6 mile drive to the West Winfield Trailhead which is for the southwest ridge route up La Plata Peak. 
The last 13 miles were dirt roads and the last 1.8 miles were very bumpy, justifying the need for a four-wheel drive. 
We arrived around 10:30 a.m. Judy and Andrew were looking for mushrooms and I was hiking 7 miles roundtrip with 3,380 feet of elevation gain. At 14,336 feet, La Plata is the fifth highest peak in Colorado. I saw a pika and a marmot near the summit. 

The mushroom hunting for Andrew and Judy was not as good as the day before. We had dinner at the Roadrunner Grill in Buena Vista. 
     La Plata Peak  (Bob)

Sunday, August 11, Judy got up early to drive me to the Mount Yale trailhead. The trailhead was right off the highway and only 11.5 miles from our cabin. 
I got started at 7:10 a.m., almost 3.5 hours earlier than my start for La Plata Peak and 4.5 hours earlier than my start up Quandary Peak. The earlier start makes the hiking easier and less likely to encounter thunder showers. Judy came back later with Andrew to look for mushrooms. The hike is 9.5 miles roundtrip with 4,300 feet of elevation gain and the summit is 14,196 feet. I called and left a message with Andrew about spots I saw mushrooms on the hike up. On the way back from the summit I saw a beautiful red pine grosbeak and several boreal toads which are endangered. 
Mount Yale

I met Judy and Andrew mushroom hunting on the way down and joined them. We got a great haul of king boletes and hawks wing mushrooms which we took back to the cabin. 
An assortment of king bolete and hawks wing mushrooms I collected in my cap. 
Andrew made an amazing soup using both types of mushrooms and also sautéed them. The mushroom soup is the best I've ever had. I particularly love the hawks wing mushrooms. 
     Mount Yale  (Bob)
     Pine Grosbeak  (Bob)
     Boreal Toad  (Bob)
     Colorado Scenery  (Judy)

Monday, August 12, we made an attempt to climb Mt. Princeton. The last three miles of the road to where we wanted to hike is extremely narrow, too narrow for two vehicles, with huge drop-offs and only two or three places along the entire section with pull-outs. 
It was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of driving I've ever had. My hands were sweating on the steering wheel and I was praying that no one was coming down the opposite direction. We hiked a relatively short distance and decided to turn around because of the potential for thunder storms. On the way back we saw some pronghorns on the outskirts of Buena Vista, the first pronghorn I'd seen in Colorado. 
We had dinner at Los Girasoles in Buena Vista. 
     Mount Princeton  (Bob)

Tuesday, August 13, we drove from Buena Vista into Denver and visited the Denver Art Museum, then ate at Ted's Montana Grill, founded by Ted Turner, the largest landowner in the U.S. with 55,000 buffalo roaming on it. I was looking for buffalo meat and the menu had plenty of it. We started with an appetizer of bison nachos, then Andrew got bison meatloaf, Judy got braised bison short-ribs and I got a Delmonico bison ribeye. It was fine, but it was not the Buckhorn Exchange or The Fort, two of my favorite restaurants anywhere, that also happen to be in Denver. We had 4:54 p.m. flights out of Denver International on United and arrived at LAX at 6:20 p.m. 

1 comment:

  1. My recollection is that you would have continued up Mt. Princeton had I not freaked out about the coming storm. Face it--I probably saved your life.