Friday, September 3, 2010

Quandry Peak

Recently my friend Mike was in town for a conference, so we got to spend some good quality time together and he decide he wanted to go on a hike, but not "a lame 2 mile hike", so I suggested we do a 14er.  Since he is from out of town and only had a week to get acclimated, I decided we should do an easy one, so we drove up to Quandry Peak on Friday afternoon after he was done with his last session of the day.

Ok, so there are no easy 14ers.  But this is about as easy as it gets.  So up we went.  I packed Mike some snacks in Heather's Camelbak backpack, although he brought his own bladder.  It was very humorous listening to Mike try to explain to Heather what a Camelbak is, before I told him she has one.  She was so good about listening attentively I didn't want to break in.

The bottom half of the hike is very pleasant, with a well maintained trail that meanders through the woods.

I think some hikers must feed the wildlife, as these goats were very friendly.  Or perhaps they were attracted to my "wild goat" scented deodorant.  Either way, it was good to know that if a freak snowstorm developed I would have something to slice open and climb into for warmth.  I called dibs on mamma goat, as the kids wouldn't keep much more than my feet warm. 

Quandry Peak in the background.  Two of the Billy Goats Gruff in the foreground.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get the troll under the bridge to pose for a pic.

We ran into a couple of guys who were somewhat skeptical about us having enough time to get up and down before nightfall. Their words "I hope you brought a flashlight" helped keep us motivated. That and not wanting to run into the troll after dark. For the record I had planned on bringing a flashlight but forgot to pack it, so we were definitely motivated to finish before 7:45 - the official time of sunset. Since we didn't get started until 3:00, we knew we would have to stay moving. Needless to say, it was a tough haul for Mike, who wasn't properly acclimated. My hat's off to him for not only making it, but for summiting in only 2 and a half hours. We weren't able to take as many breaks as he would have liked, and he had a pounding headache and difficulty breathing, but he never talked about giving up.  He did find it necessary to stop and sit down often, but I couldn't fault him for that.

This is how Mike will remember our climb.

This is how I will remember it.

The views aren't as spectacular as other 14ers, but it's still a rewarding spectacle for all of your work.

Even with a 10 second timer I still almost didn't make it in time to get in the picture.

We hoofed it down and made it to the bottom right at 7:45. Mike was really glad he went, even despite hurling on the way home. I will never forget the haunting sound of his body dispelling the orange poweraid he had been drinking on the way home. Not that vomiting is ever pleasant, but the gurgling mixed in there made it especially awesome. At least I didn't have to hold Mike's hair back.