Thursday, August 9, 2007

Day 7: 7/31/07: Huron Peak: 14,003


9.5 miles

Ascent – Lulu Gulch and Brown’s Peak

Descent - Standard Route – North Ridge to Clear Creek

Company: Wendy Chi

Wildlife: marmots, goats, rabbit, humming birds

3500 feet

Start: 8:05 am

Summit: 12:35 pm

Stop: 4:05 pm


Clear/warm – 8:00 am

Cloud formation – 12:00 pm

Getting to Huron Peak was as eventful as climbing it! Once again, adventures in off-road travel proved too challenging for the combination of the driving skills I possess and the vehicle I drive. So what was meant to be a “rest day” with a hike of less than 6 miles turned into a long day of route-finding, hopeful following of other hikers and a lot of walking on 4WD roads. After crossing a small stream not far from the parking at Winfield and the “You need high clearance” sign, we parked in an alcove. Our timing seemed perfect as we parked just in time to catch a gigantic white Suburban (or something equally behemoth) barreling uphill unfettered by 2-foot ruts and pig-sized boulders. Asking if we could hitch a ride to the trailhead, the 2 blonde large-haired ladies gaping wide-eyed declined due to their rig being “too full”. As they rocketed away, leaving us in a cloud of exhaust and disbelief, we started the trudge playing and replaying various non-violent revenge scenarios. Obviously the cloud of exhaust and disbelief clouded our usually careful routine of memorizing the route and driving directions.

So when we came to the fork in the road, and the decision to “when in doubt, stay high” led to a series of switchbacks up the Road to Nowhere. On this road to nowhere, we met a foursome consisting of a Quaker minister and his wife along with a couple recently transplanted to Boston (after years teaching in Boulder –Paul had even subbed @ my school!) Up through a drainage (Molly according to the minister, but Lulu according to the map) and on up to the summit of Brown’s Peak we went. 13er! By this time, one of the group had backed down the way we came and the ultra-fast minister and his wife were but specks of movement in a vast unmoving scree field hanging below the sharp-toothed ridge to Huron. The three of us (Wendy, Karen – who latched on with us after her husband descended the other side and myself) picked through the rubble slowly like high-alpine dentists, picking at each rock with trekking poles to ensure solidity. We finally connected with our originally planned route high into the switchbacks on the flank of Huron. Accompanied by a goat, the summit was ours. #10!

Taking our leave of the remaining three, Wendy and I went down into the woods on-trail. Finally exiting the humid warmth of tree cover, we found ourselves at the trailhead – that very trailhead we hadn’t found so many hours before due to our error in navigation. With no Suburban to hitch a ride with, the two of us continued back down the long road to the car, rehashing the day’s unexpected length, adventures, and the spectacular loop hike of Huron Peak.

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