You’d think after last weekend’s super long trek to Russia, I’d be kicking back/lying low for a few weeks.  Not true, blame Ash.  Texted a high-altitude pic last week – snow, alpine lakes, Aspens popping yellow.  Autumn in Colorado.  Wanna/hafta/gotta 14er hike before the snow blows…usually that’s September, so this hiker’s on borrowed time.

430am start.  Backpack, pup, treats – packed, all ready to go.  2 hours west on Colorado’s East-West highway (I-70).  Bakerville exit, 8 miles shy of Eisenhower tunnel, east of the Divide.  Mountain road weathered by the long summer hike season – 5 miles of dirt & massive potholes.  Road wash-out 1.2 miles from the trailhead.  Today’s 14er destination: Grays Peak 14,270ft.

My third trip to Grays – first summited September 2012, returned last August (2015).  Good day for a hike.  Summer lightning season’s passed, day’s seasonal snow squall not forecasted ‘til 3pm.

Chilly start; kept Ro leashed thru the first 2 miles of willow thicket.  Easily distracted by ground critters.

Shed layers before the first switchback, crossing & climbing the open Colorado steppe.  Glacier remnants on the peaks, blunted tundra colour, nipping wind, tree line disappears just before 12,000ft.  Mountain heaven.

Left to Grays, slight right to Torreys.  Stopped & took in the landscape.

Not a lotta down time today…Ro was a climbing machine.  Stop, stare, wait for me – then hastily UP UP UP.  Dog on a mission.  Crampon-free day, not enough snow to warrant the trouble.

Summit SUCCESS!  Wind stilled.  Took advantage & soaked in the magic.

Peaks all 4 corners, expansive Lake Dillon to the west.  Ash ice fished there 2 winters back.  Appears I missed leaf peeping by at least 2 weeks.  Would have to slow-lane the ride home to see any remaining Aspen colour (lower elevation along the highway).

Hike day did not disappoint.  WOW.  Just WOW!  LOVE LOVE my Colorado life.

 

Ro update: car ride snooze, followed by his favourite spot on the bed – out ‘til morning.  Heck yeah I’m jealous.  HA!

 

 

Grays Peak 14,270ft

 

 

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