Yesterday Chris and I went up and climbed Mt. Evans. We had a PERFECT weather day and really enjoyed the climb.
We left the house around 5 am (Mt. Evans is very close to Denver so it didn't require the usual 2 or 3 am departure from the house -- wohoo!). We were climbing with Turbo by 6:40.
Before we chose this 14er as our first of the season, we mostly looked into which peaks were free of snow and which would be fun enough that I wouldn't get frustrated right away. Chris has climbed Evans on bike, I've done it in car, and since we'd both seen and sat on the summit, it wasn't necessarily the most exciting choice. However, we read some reports of trips from Guanella Pass and it sounded like fun. It was supposed to be 8 miles. 10.5 miles and about 8 hours later, we were back at the car with one tired pup.
These are the infamous Willows. Everyone complains about the Willows. Basically they are gigantic bushes, as tall as me sometimes, that have very small, if any, trails that go through. Basically you bush wack through muddy marsh with an unknown destination out in the distance as your only guide. It sounds crappy so we expected the worst. Actually, it was one of the best parts of the trip. It kept everything exciting and changed up the terrain a bit. Once I gave into the mud, it was lots of fun. Luckily I had thought ahead and brought an extra pair of dry socks!
I should also mention that it was definitely Turbo's favorite part of the trip. He was running crazily through the willows, bouncing and bounding like a little puppy. He LOVED it and it was hillarious to watch. He was an extraordinary trail finder as well since he is so low-profile :)
After the willows we crossed a few ponds/lakes/streams and headed straight up a rocky gully.
Turbo swam in the freeeeeeeezing cold pond and thought it was great.
That saddle where the sunlight is cutting through is the rocky gully that we climbed straight up.
This is looking back down the gully and to the beautiful scenery behind us.
In the gully we also passed a small herd of mountain goats having their Wednesday afternoon bridge club. There was one little baby and they would huddle around the baby to protect it. One goat kept his eye on us both on the way up and the way down. They were pretty cute.
At the top of the gully we got to my personal favorite part. There was a rocky/grassy field that was slightly flat and had some rolling hills and absolutely beautiful flowers. To our left was Mount Spalding (a 13er) and to the right was Mt. Bierstadt and The Sawtooth.
For those Michiganders who climbed Bierstadt with my brother in the past, the peak in this picture is Bierstadt, the ridge to the right is called The Sawtooth -- it's a hard way to connect Bierstadt and Evans. Chris and I tried this back in the fall but I freaked out and we turned around. We will do this sometime this summer. I must get revenge.
After this went on for a while, we came to a rocky ridge where we crossed over to the summit of Evans at 14,264 ft.
We made it to the summit around 11:00! It wasn't the advertised 4 miles out, but perhaps we took an extra long way through the Willows or something. This was fourteener number 11 for Chris and I, and number 9 for Turbo!
This is what we expect to be the actual high point on the summit.
Turbo admires his accomplishment. "I'm higher than those silly humans who drove up here!"
The way back down was fairly uneventful... basically the previous stuff in reverse. As Chris and I admired some airplanes that were twice as close to us as they were before, Turbo waited for us on a rock. He had the funniest look on his face:
His little head was cocked to the side, smiling, tongue hanging out, and he was looking at us like "hellllllooooo, humans, let's go already..." Hehe. He's so cute.
So, we headed down. The gully was a little interesting on the way down. Lots of skree skiing. Once I stepped on a rock that had little pebbles on top of it and it sent me flying -- but in an acrobatic act of balance I landed on two feet. Somehow. That could've ended poorly...
Here are a few random pictures from the way down.
As you can see, we stopped at the final stream crossing and soaked our feet in the snow runoff. It was cold. I could dip my feet for about ten seconds at a time while Chris kept his in for about 10 minutes. I learned he has feet of steel.
We made it back to the car and puppy immediately fell asleep. Chris drove us home and we spent the rest of the night eating on the couch.
If there is such thing as a perfect day, this was pretty darn close.