13,701 feet. We got to take the Truck this time (Irv2) because we had to drive some dirt roads to get to the trailhead. Irv2 gets pretty happy when we take him on dirt roads, and it was a lot more fun when I decided to stop and let some air out of the tires so we weren't getting so beat up by the rocks. How's this for a trailhead view... (remember, make the pictures big, they're better that way)
The hike follows a 4-wheel drive road until it reaches a lake, but we didn't feel like bouncing along at a slower-than-walking pace, so we left Irv2 at the trailhead. Good call too, the walk was great. There's that altitude thing, though. We were soon in the "where did all the air go" zone, but were inspired by Grizz's enthusiasm. Notice the clumps of bushes in the next picture...Grizz was CHASING BIRDS from clump to clump. He was having a blast!
We were headed to the peak that is second from the left, with the snow on it's left flank. First, however, as is often the case in the mountains, the lake.
Ok, so the plan was to hike to that low point on the ridge that is almost in the center of the picture. This is one of those ridges that doesn't look very far away, and then you get closer and it looks further away, and then you get closer an it looks further away...you get the picture. Not too steep, but this is at altitude (have I mentioned that I LOVE altitude?), and we were feeling it somewhat.
Our walking took us, not to the low point in the saddle...the snow there turned out to be a wall, so we bent left toward the shoulder of the peak. Then it got steep. Steep, at altitude, such a wonderfully humbling combination. So, I took off my pride, tossed it over my shoulder, and watched it roll away down the slope. Then I took 50 steps and stopped to breathe. Then 50 more. Then 50 more. While I was 50-stepping, this was my view:
And 50 steps by 50 steps, we made the peak in less time than I though we would. (Thanks to Irv Nielson for teaching me that one.) Here's the Peak, with a lovely mountain nymph for added beauty!!
Again the views were stunning, 14ers to the south,
That's Democrat, Bross, Lincoln, and the other one I can't remember. Oh, did I mention that we had the peak, and the trail, TO OURSELVES....ON A SATURDAY!!! 13ers ROCK (pun very much intended). We got to slide down some snow on the far side of the peak, because, if you know Sue, we HAD to do at least a bit of a loop (no out and back on the same trail if we can help it). On the way down the tundra was really beautiful. Look at this color pallette...
We passed another high lake...(our peak in the back, with snow on the left)
and then found a cool snow overhang. I couldn't help crawling in...
After the overhang we ambled back down the trail, through this:
...and ended up back at the Truck. Humbled by altitude, humbled by the beauty, thrilled by the glee with which Grizz flew across the tundra in his bird-chasing bliss, grateful for strong bodies and a Heavenly Father that designed such a beautiful world. I LOVE living here!!