Friday, November 23, 2007

The Unexpected Sunset Summit

Humboldt Peak, November 18, 2007
my 17th 14er

For whatever reason, it seems whenever Heather and I set out for a hike, we end up on some sort of adventure we didn't necessarily plan on...

Last Sunday, we decided to head down to the Sangres and the weather was beautiful, the sun was shining and we were looking forward to a wonderful day. We made it to the 4WD trail which had been greatly improved this past year, but was still pretty rocky and so we just set out and tried to make it as far as we could. Neither of us were feeling adventurous enough to hike from the bottom of the 4WD drive road which would have added anywhere from 6 to 11 miles to our hike. About 2 1/2 miles into the drive, we noticed a pretty large patch of ice ahead of us and so we hopped out to check it out to see if the car would make it down and then back up again. It looked great so we turned back to the car and that was when we saw it...we had a flat tire.

We pulled off to the side of the road, and to make a long story short, it took us forever to change this silly tire. The incline of this mountain road made it especially challenging...
The jack didn't go high enough for us to take the tire off, so we had to find some sturdy rocks. Yes, we realize it's not the safest thing, but we were getting pretty desperate!

After probably something like an hour or two, we decided to go back into town and get the tire fixed and then decide whether or not we still wanted to go for the climb. Thankfully, there was a shop open and he patched our tire and we discussed what to do...

Well, neither of us needed much convincing, though we realized that if we went back for the hike, we'd get to experience a sunset summit...something neither of us had done before so I reconciled with the fact that we'd be hiking back down in the dark and we took off down the trail. We took our chances and continued down the same road where we got our flat, and made it about 4 miles with no issues which was great.

It was a beautiful day...

This is a picture of South Colony Lake, a little bit of ice, but not bad. The upper right is one of the Crestones...gorgeous peaks!!
We made it to the ridge! Finally! I was getting pretty tired, it'd been a long day. But what I didn't realize is that behind me was a false summit and in trying to get to it, I led us up the wrong side and on a much more difficult path...sorry Heather! Had we stayed to the right and bypassed the false summit, I think it would have been much easier...ugh!

We made it! We took a couple quick pictures, but it was pretty cold up there with the wind. I had to take my gloves off to catch a picture and I don't think my fingers had ever been so close to frost bite!

We did get some fabulous sunset pictures. These are the Crestones...pretty spectacular!

It took us quite a bit to get down, but we made it down the tricky part with the last bit of sunlight which was a blessing because it was a lot of bouldering and headlamps would have been tricky. By the time we got to the car, I think we were both so relieved! It had been an incredibly long day, but a really great one!