Photo: Into the sunlight on the way to Handies Peak, Colorado. June 2012
After a couple days acclimating we set our sights on Handies Peak (14,048 ft) as the target for our first Colorado fourteener. This was partly because it would be a good easy hike for a warmup and partly because we were already somewhat in the area; Though crossing Cinnamon pass isn’t the smoothest way to get to the trailhead. It something that it still a bit odd for me: in California we typically drive to the end of the pavement, park, then start hiking. In Colorado the mountains are crisscrossed with roads, and depending on the abilities of your vehicle, it’s often possible to drive to around 12,000, making the approaches to many of the mountains a lot shorted than what I’m used to. My knees probably wont complain about this though!
We hiked Handies from the American Basin trailhead on the west side of the mountain. Even with a start just after dawn and being in the shade most of the way up until hitting the final ridge to the summit the temperatures were quite mild and I was glad to delay putting on sunblock for as long as possible. It got a bit windy while up on the ridge, but nothing too bad. We were the 2nd group up the mountain for the day, with one other guy approaching from Grizzly Gulch on the other side. On the way down we passed lots of parties on the way, making me glad I we got an early start to beat the crowds.
Next up: Mt. Elbert…
Photo: Still a few flowers around high up on the mountain. June 2012
Photo: On the summit under clear blue skies (well, a bit of haze from the wildfires). June 2012
Photo: Descending the gentle ridge from Handies Peak, Colorado. June 2012
Photo: View from the American Basin trail head. June 2012