Mission: Summit S. Arapahoe Peak (elevation 13,397') and "Old Baldy" (elevation 13,038')
Who: My wife Siona and I
Total Length: 9.5 miles
Elevation gain: 3900 ft.
Starting your three day weekend with a 2am wake-up call is not for everyone. Fortunately for me, my wife also likes to get outside and see alpine sunrises on occasion.
We did a short drive to the aptly named "Fourth of July" trailhead and were on the trail at about 3:45am.
The first couple hours of our hike went by quickly highlighted by a careful crossing of a waterfall which was much easier in the daylight than in the dark by headlamp. Before we knew it, we were a couple miles into the hike and rising above the tree line after crossing a marshy area. We made quick work of the great trail, We arrived at one of the giant cairns and a field of wildflowers just in time for sunrise.
|Sunrise and wildflowers at 11,900'.|
After admiring sunrise views for 10 minutes or so, we continued up the empty trail. These empty trails brought to you by our very early start. We shared some much needed and great conversation. We talked about life and our marriage, since we would soon be celebrating our 6th anniversary.
Hikes with anyone often bring people closer, and this is true even when hiking with my wife whom I've known for nearly 10 years now.
|Siona admiring the summit of South Arapahoe Peak.|
|A marmot bidding us "Good Morning".|
Before long we arrived at the saddle between South Arapahoe Peak and "Old Baldy". We started up South Arapahoe Peak. Here the route becomes "difficult class 2" for the last 400' of elevation to the summit.
|Views to the South from the saddle.|
|Siona making her way up to a well placed cairn.|
Reaching the summit, we found that this summit has a very interesting metal plaque that has arrows pointing to mountains and cities nearby and the distances to them. It was very interesting to see that some of the elevations on this plaque are wrong since the plaque was clearly installed almost a hundred years ago.
|Apparently this plaque says Mt. of the Holy Cross is not a 14er. :)|
|Summit photo with my favorite climbing partner, my wife.|
|The ridge over to North Arapahoe Peak.|
On the summit, we briefly discussed doing the traverse to North Arapahoe Peak, but decided against it in favor of just having an enjoyable and chill day in the mountains and not having to potentially race afternoon thunderstorms.
We relaxed on the summit for nearly 45 minutes and then began our descent to the saddle. Upon arriving at the saddle, we decided to go walk up to the top of "Old Baldy".
Immediately upon beginning our ascent up "Old Baldy", the wind let itself be known, and it would gust ferociously at times.
|Me nearing the summit of "Old Baldy".|
|Siona with the wind giving her a "good hair day".|
|Summit selfie with my baby!|
After some quick photos, we immediately headed down to get out of the wind. The entire descent we took at a leisurely pace and took in the beauty of this area that we had missed on our way up in the dark. The nature lover would not be disappointed in this area.
|Wildflowers are everywhere!|
|Me stopping to admire the Colorado beauty.|
|This is the waterfall crossing. Don't slip or fall here.|
|An appropriate trailhead to be at on 7/4/14.|
This hike was not only great exercise, super fun, and filled with great scenery; but it really meant so much more to me. Having my wife out doing adventures with me again is a dream come true and it strengthens our relationship every time we can spend time outside of our daily routine to just enjoy each other's company.
I love you Siona! I can't wait for our next adventure.