Thursday, August 28, 2008

Uncompahgre Peak

Jay and Garrett hiked a 14er, Uncompahgre Peak, for Garrett's 14th birthday. The hike actually took place the day after Garrett's birthday, but we had to have a day to get there and camp. They got up at 5:30 a.m. since it's a good idea to get to a high summit before noon in case afternoon storms move in. Uncompahgre's elevation is 14,309 feet, the sixth highest mountain in Colorado and the highest mountain in the San Juan range. It's kind of weird to do a trip report blog for a hike I didn't do and photos I didn't take! Jay did a good job taking pictures for me. Check out the sunrise.
Garrett taking a break.
It looks like Wetterhorn Peak sticking up there, but it might be Matterhorn. I'm not sure since I wasn't there. If I mislabel any mountains, feel free to correct me or add additional info in my comments.
Good view of the peak.
Looking up the trail. It looks nice here, just steep.
Jay managed to get a picture of a pika running by. They are so fast!
From the left are Wetterhorn and Matterhorn Peaks. The center are Coxcomb and Redcliff Peaks.
Another good view of Wetterhorn and Matterhorn Peaks. Those peaks are named after the Wetterhorn and Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps, and I really see the resemblance.
Jay thinks he could see Lizard Head Peak kind of to the right here. I think I see what he's talking about and possibly Wilson Peak.
Jay thought this picture would freak me out. I know they were being careful. There were some stretches of steep areas that were loose rocks that made Jay worry about Garrett. If you fell you would tumble a few hundred feet, at least. Uncompahgre is only a class 2 hike, no technical skills required, but is obviously going to be a steep hike.
This is the summit survey marker. Jay and Garrett were on the summit by 10:30 a.m. The hike to the top was about 4 miles and had an elevation gain of exactly 3,000 feet.
I told Garrett that the view from the top would be like looking at a sea of mountains. He said that is what he was thinking about while Jay took this picture. What a way to remember your 14th birthday forever.
Uncompahgre Peak is a popular 14er, so if you hike it in August you will definitely see other people. There were 6 other people on the summit at the same time, and two of them were women that sang Happy Birthday to Garrett. Should I mention that these two women were probably in their 60's? That's awesome!
This spot is a popular one for taking photos and usually has someone sitting with their legs dangling off the part of the peak on the left or standing on the edge. I'm thankful that Jay didn't let Garrett do that. In the center is a good view of Precipice Peak.
Cool view of Wetterhorn.
On the way down, the camera was acting up and Jay didn't take very many more pictures. Besides, they needed to concentrate on getting down. They got back to the camp site at around 1:30 p.m.
Looking back at where they had been.
I already added this video to the Nellie Creek Trail entry, but I thought I'd put it with the hike entry also. Toward the end you can hear the pikas squeaking and chirping at each other. There are a bunch of them living in the rocks at the lower part of the trail where the girls and I hiked, about 1/2 mile up from the trailhead.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nellie Creek Trail

The Nellie Creek Trail is off of Engineer Pass 5 miles outside of Lake City. It is also the trailhead for Uncompahgre Peak and our planned site for camping before Jay and Garrett's hike. The road is definitely 4-wheel drive and high clearance only. It's only 4 miles to the end of the road, but took us almost an hour. At the end of the road are the Nellie Creek hiking trailheads. There were a couple of hikes other than Uncompahgre that started here.
We had a primitive camp site that had a rock fire ring. The best part of this camp site was that it was FREE. The elevation of our camp site was a little over 11,000 feet.
There was a really decent outdoor toilet across from our camp site that is maintained by the National Forest Service.
I hiked up about 1/2 mile so that I could see Uncompahgre Peak. I stayed behind with the girls during Jay and Garrett's hike and packed up our camping gear.
The view east toward Lake City from the lower part of the trail.
This is one of two major water crossings as you drive the Nellie Creek trail. I took this as we were leaving.
Aspens lined much of the road. I would love to see this in about a month with fall colors.
Waterfalls of Nellie Creek peaking through the aspens.
I took a video of Uncompahgre Peak with Nellie Creek below. At the end of the video you can hear pikas starting to chirp at each other. The rocky portion of the trail ahead had lots of pikas in it.

Engineer Pass

We drove Engineer Pass again on Monday, August 25, 2008, purely for transportation purposes for Jay and Garrett to be able to hike Uncompahgre Peak. We can drive around the mountains to get to Lake City and the Nellie Creek trailhead, but it takes an extra hour or two. Sometimes Jeep trails really are shortcuts. When we were up here in June there was still a lot of snow everywhere. Most of it has melted off.
Lots of green but within the few weeks everything here will be turning brown before it starts snowing again.
Up, up, up!
This is the clearest weather we've ever had while out on Oh Point. There were a lot of clouds, but at least they were pretty fluffy ones and not dark and stormy ones.
Our Jeep, Savanna and Garrett on Oh Point!
A view of the pass below that we just came up.
We had the summit to ourselves.
Just right of center is Jay and Garrett's destination, Uncompahgre Peak.
A marmot stood up to check us out.
An old Palmetto Gulch cabin.
Henry David Thoreau's cabin, accessible only by a green swinging bridge.
Pike Snowden's cabin built in the late 1870's.
The last two are of the ghost town of Henson.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Garrett!!

I don't know how it happened, but Garrett is 14!! It doesn't seem possible for him to be that old. Here he is with his cake and he managed to blow out all 14 candles in one breath. We just cut his hair, too. After growing it out for 6 months he was tired of it and told me to cut it all off. We had his cake on August 24 because we are leaving to camp along Engineer Pass so Jay and Garrett can hike Uncompahgre Peak Tuesday morning. Jay wanted to take Garrett to hike a 14er for his 14th birthday. Notice the date and time I posted this blog entry is the time Garrett was born. Happy 14th birthday!! I also had to include this alpenglow picture that I took Saturday night. The sun shining on Ajax and the clouds made so many different colors.