Let’s get to some motorhikeling! After consulting with the alpine expert (Jo), we settle on Quandary Peak for our first big climb. There’s no such thing as an “easy” 14er (that’s short for 14,000 ft. peak), but Quandary is popular and of relatively mild difficulty, considering. It sounds like a good pick for a first attempt, especially for Bugman who’s coming from a low elevation.
The best way to hike 14ers is to get up VERY early and start hiking before dawn, the reason being that you really don’t want to be on top when the early afternoon lighting storms move in, it’s best to be back below the tree-line by noon. Uhg, so that means we need to suit up and ride the bikes in the cold, dark Colorado night to reach the trail head in time... Grumble...
Jo is amazing, she leaves breakfast and snacks out on the counter for us. She won’t be joining us; it turns out she’s hiked FIVE 14ers in the past week, so she’s taking a break. Good thing, we might just get embarrassed...
Off we ride. It’s cold. It’s dark. AND the roads are wet. Are we having fun yet?!? Not Texas Not Texas Not Texas...
The trail head parking is already filling up, we will certainly not be alone on this hike!
Upward, HO! The hike is a steady uphill march, no flat spots. Pretty soon we both want to stop and peel off some layers; what great cardio!
It’s mostly overcast, but occasionally the sun peeks through.
Snack break above tree-line, about half way up:
That’s where we’re headed!
It seems that most peaks ramp up the angle of ascent at the end, and Quandary is no exception! Huff-Puff-Huff-Puff... There’s about fifteen people at the top enjoying the view and fueling up on snacks. There’s a cold wind and the cloud cover definitely adds to the chill factor. Okay, it’s now or never, it’s time for round two of...
PEAK PERFORMANCE - ormance - ormance-
The assembled crowd of hikers whoops and hollers with surprise as the Black Death reveals itself at 14,271 feet above sea level (plus 5’ more, if you count my personal elevation holding the viola
). It’s so damn cold my fingers will barely move, but I try my best to hack out a couple melodies. Everyone is snapping pics and having a great time despite my frigid scratching; another random act of VIOLAnce. LOL! Okay, another carbon fiber test passed... Note to self: Lose the goofy hat for the victory photos!
Mmmmm, strange lunch: Natural peanut butter, carrots, and dried apples on a tortilla.
Quandary Peak just got VIOLATED!!! Let’s get outta here. Back in the trees...
We found out later that Quandary Peak is actually one of the most deadly of the Colorado 14ers, my guess is because of it's "low difficulty" inexperienced hikers climb it and then goof off near the cliffs, and statistically there will be more dumb-asses per mile hiked on these popular trails.
There was gridlock heading the opposite direction on our ride home, but we happily zoom along heading south glad not to be stuck in it. At a gas stop we hear that the cause of the traffic backlog is a motorcycle vs. 18-wheeler match up. Not good. The news we heard was that the biker went wide and hit the semi head on as the truck driver locked up the brakes and rolled the whole rig trying to avoid him. Big mess. Be careful everybody, this is sad to hear.
Back to B.V.:
Glory-be! Harvey and Jo are good to us, there’s a great dinner with wine waiting for us tonight. Oh, yeah.
What’say we crash an ADV rally next, eh?