Wednesday, Chris and I completed 14er number 14!
We chose Huron Peak because we had a hard weekend of riding, and Huron Peak is advertised as one of the easiest 14ers. In fact, it is the second shortest 14er in the state at 14,003 ft!
The plan was to climb Monday or Tuesday, leaving many days for Chris to recover before the Colorado Trail. One thing lead to another, and after a very very productive day of house cleaning on Tuesday, we decided to climb on Wednesday instead. We headed up very early on Wednesday morning to the trailhead that is about 20 miles past Leadville. We left home at 3 am and were starting out on our journey by 6:30.
One of the coolest parts of this hike? We got to take our bikes along and do a mountain bike approach. There is a 2.5 mile 4WD road that leads from the teeeeenyweeeny town of Winfield to the trailhead. The Element probably could've made the drive, but it would've been slow going and nerve wracking. Instead of putting ourselves and the E through that, and rather than adding another 5 extra miles of walking, we brought along the mountain bikes.
Around 6:30, we packed ourselves onto the bikes and we rode up the road while Turbo ran. Going up the road wasn't super awesome, since I didn't have my bike shoes so my hiking shoes kept slipping off the tiny little pedals. I never quite realized how much I rely on my bike shoes and clipless pedals until this trip. Each bump would launch my feet, make them slip, or jar places that aren't meant to be jarred. I walked most little steep sections, but we still covered the road section in less than a half hour instead of the hour it would've taken to walk it. We stashed our bikes in the trees and then headed off on the trail by foot.
The views from the trail were spectacular. The Three Apostles were beautiful as the sun lit them up.
We hiked through the trees for quite a while, then through fields of wildflowers, and finally through the last rocky pitch to the top.
Chris and Turbo bounded up the mountain while I lagged behind. My legs and body were definitely not recovered from the hard weekend and I was feeling quite sluggish. It was a "keep putting one foot in front of the other" kind of day for me.
We made it to the summit at 9:30, where we enjoyed some sandwiches and Turbo had his SummitBoney. The clouds were rolling in, but while we were at the top, we had absolutely perfect weather. I think it's one of the first summits that I've been on where I didn't have to put on at least my windshirt. There was little to no wind and bright, beautiful sunshine. We spent a half hour on top with the summit all to ourselves. On our way down, we'd encounter a few groups heading up, but by this point the clouds were building and dark and we were glad we were on our way down.
We took our time down for the most part. We enjoyed the fields of wildflowers, trickling streams, and peacefulness that always waits for us around 12,000 ft.
By the time we got back to the trees we could hear thunder off in the distance so we walked more quickly back to our bikes. It felt wonderful to sit on the bike and give our ankles and knees a rest. We got to cruise back to the car while Turbo happily ran alongside. His endless energy always amazes me (although at the moment he is zonked out on the couch after getting to swim and taking a bath today).
By the time we got back to the car around 1:00 it had started to sprinkle. We had hiked/biked nearly 11 miles and bagged our fourteenth 14er. We stopped for some delicious lunch in Leadville at the Golden Burro, aka Brass Ass, before heading back down I-70 to home.
One more summit picture to add to our poster! I would recommend Huron as a first 14er for anyone up for the challenge. The trail was really easy to follow and it's not crowded.