Thursday, August 20, 2009

Handies Peak Hike, Elevation 14,048 Feet

This week we did something HUGE as a family. We hiked a 14er!! In case you don't know the slang, a 14er is a mountain that is above 14,000 feet above sea level, and Colorado officially has 53. Handies Peak is rated the 10th easiest to hike. We drove back to American Basin off of Cinnamon Pass to the trail head, back to the place we visited two weeks ago. I spent most of the time behind everyone on the hike, so a lot of these photos show Jay and the kids from behind. At least you can get an idea of what the trail looked like.
The beautiful ridge above American Basin.
We had an elevation gain of about 2,500 feet, so we were going up most of the way.
Finally the peak comes into view.
I had originally set a goal for Maralee and I to at least make it to Sloan Lake. It seemed like since we made it that far, we should go ahead and summit.
Looking back.
There were marmots and pikas all over the place chirping at us all day long. One pika almost ran right over Garrett's backpack during a rest break.
The trail isn't really as narrow or steep as it looks here. This hike literally has almost no exposure. Even if you slipped and fell here, you wouldn't tumble down the mountain or anything.
Of course, we took a lot of breaks. Jay even carried Maralee a few times.
Looking back at Sloan Lake.
Before the final stretch, I was ready to give up and wait with Maralee and let Jay, Garrett and Savanna go to the summit. Jay was sure Maralee and I could make it, so we just took it slow. I was mostly nervous about having to walk back down this part of the trail.
We did it!! It was chilly and windy, and started to snow on us!
This is the tube with the register inside. I was so excited to fill it in!
Now for the part that I regret. I failed to get decent summit photos of Jay and I. Our friend Steve Garufi of always has a great summit photo of all of his hikes. Since we had the peak to ourselves, there wasn't anyone to take a family photo. I snapped only one photo of Jay thinking I would get a better one later. Then he took the camera for a bit.
Jay took a photo of me while I checked to see if I had cell service and I took some photos with my phone. I was honestly really scared about hiking back down those steep places. I can't believe I never looked up and at least smiled! Oh well, at least we have proof that we were there. :)
Sloan Lake definitely looks like a puddle from the summit.
Uncompahgre Peak is just right of center here. Wetterhorn is left of Uncompahgre and looks very different from this view compared to the sharp point that we usually see. I know Redcloud and Sunshine are out there somewhere, but I'm not familiar enough with them to recognize them.
Jay and Garrett climbed Uncompahgre Peak last year. I guess I'm just fascinated with it because it has such an usual shape, and it's also the 6th highest mountain in Colorado.
Going back down wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I used hiking poles and didn't slip much. Jay held Maralee's hand most of the time. Garrett and Savanna did this entire hike like it was a piece of cake.
Back in the basin.
A lot of the poor wildflowers are really shriveled up in American Basin. I took this photo thinking this is how I felt at the end of the hike. It was a great experience and I'm glad I did it, but I definitely won't be one of those people trying to bag all of the 14ers!


julie said...

What an accomplishment! Nice to achieve this before the weather makes it impossible to do soon! Way to go Wilsons!!!! :)

Lois said...

I only knew the slang from reading your blogs Lisa! What a great day and something for the whole family to be proud of. You guys are making some wonderful memories!

Barb said...

Yaaaaaay Lisa - your Family is awesome! None of the 14ners are easy in my opinion. Now I'm wondering when my Grands can accomplish something like that - hope not too far in the future, so I can still accompany them! Your pictures are super and really show the magnitude and elevation. Great job Lisa!

Richard said...

I did Mt Belford a ways back. How long did it take to summit and get back down?

Lisa Wilson said...

I forgot to mention the distance and time! What an incomplete trip report! It is almost 6 miles and it took us a total of 6 hours. I think it took almost 4 to summit.

Barb said...

Lisa - Came back to see these photos of your 14ner hike again. Our temps are hovering around freezing every night - my gardens still look lovely but not for long! As I look out back, there are a few golden leaves starting on the aspens. Goodness - is it soon fall?

EcoRover said...

What a great family peak bagging trip. REALLY glad to hear your pika are doing well--they're winking out in many places throughout the Rockies. Cell service? Oh man...

Lisa Wilson said...

Well I have a friend that hikes 14er's regularly, and he sends out texts from summits when he can. Handies was too remote, no cell service. That's okay.

Anonymous said...

great story about your hike...we took our first 14er this past summer 2009 in Breckenridge..Quandary is an amazing experience....lots better experience if you are in shape and your cardio is good...We are looking for a second one for this next summer and considering Handies. Thanks for the story