Wednesday, June 29, 2011

To the Top of the World! (Or at Least the Top of Colorado)

One of my favorite unofficial titles is Sherpa.  On Sunday I got the opportunity to take another friend up their first 14er, so I decided we should go for the tallest one around.  This is the tale of our travels. 

The day started early, at 0300.  At least for me.  I'm not sure when Jenny got up, but since I'm the only one who feels compelled to shower before hiking 9 miles up a mountain, I'm guessing it was later.  Regardless, she was ready when I stopped by at 0400 to pick her up.  We did a drive by the Burger King, but to my dismay there would be no Croissanwich today.  Apparently normal people don't eat breakfast at four in the morning.  Fortunately, McDonald's caters to abnormal people, and we were able to get breakfast to go from there.  The kid at the drive through was very confused on our order, but after walking him through an egg McMuffin and sausage McMuffin meal with soda instead of coffee three times, he finally got it and we got our fuel for the morning.

On the down side, Jenny was unable to get much sleep on the drive, and since I didn't want to put her ears through undeserved torture, I was unable to enjoy singing to my tunes like I usually do.  On the plus side, it was nice to have another human being to converse with on the trip.  In the end I think I came out ahead on this one.  Jenny probably not so much, considering she only got about 4 hours of sleep the night before.  But since I paid for breakfast and gas I'm counting it as all good.

Finally we arrived at Mt. Ebert at about 7:00.  The trailhead was easy to find, and we took one final turn at the restrooms, which was literally less than two minutes after Jenny had made me stop at another restroom on the way that might have been 800 yards up the road, and then it was on to the hike.  In her defense I will say that Jenny held it until we got back, which is both impressive and probably terribly unhealthy. My bladder is approximately the size of my thumb, so I will never accomplish that feat.

After crossing a couple of streams we came to where the trail splits.  The trail to the right takes you up 4100 feet of elevation to today's destination.

The first half of the trail pleasantly winds its way through the woods.

As you approach hte treeline you can see the false summit.  This is not the final destination.  But it is close.

This is a closer view.  This is the steepest, roughest parts of the hike, but it doesn't last long.

The views from the top are fabulous.  Of course, I won't be there for your picture, but you probably look better anyway.
Jenny and I traded cameras and took pictures of each other on the hike.  I had to go to her Facebook page to get proof she went with me on this trip.

It took us 3 hours, 45 minutes to get to the top, and after a quick lunch we started back down.  2 hours later we arrived back at the bottom.  We took a wrong turn after re-crossing the streams and ended up a half mile down the road from the parking lot at the Mt. Massive trailhead.  We were too tired to do that one so we headed back to the car and returned home.  This time Jenny did the driving and I got some much appreciated sleep.  Another great climb on the books!