Well we started out the trip by meeting over at Absher’s house, and doing an initial bag check. Then Chance, Absher and I decided an REI trip was a good idea. We went for some isobutene and ended up coming back with new shoes, a hat and various other trinkets and baubles. REI is dangerous. From there we decided to have some beers and we went to Odd 13 brewing for a couple of brews. Cool story is that all their main beers are named after childhood friends made into super heroes. From there we ended up at Miner’s Tavern , where we played shuffle board and drinking some more (I was DD, I only had 1 cider all night). We were waiting for Dan to show up, but like usual he went to the wrong place. So we had to leave and go meet him back at Absher’s. More drinks and a final bag check and packing occurred.
We woke up at 7 am and headed out after a hearty breakfast prepared by our personal chef (Absher). Then we promptly got lost due to Google dumping us in the middle of the road and stating that we were at our destination. So we arrived about an hour or so late, checked in, payed our dues and hit the trailhead.
Well it was the wrong trailhead and we ended up hiking about ¼ mile down the road to the Horseshoe trailhead. Then west on the trial for around ½ mile and a left on the Black Bear trail, where Chance heard a mystery noise. Dan and I promptly convinced him a wolf was following us, then turned and barked loudly in his face midsentence. He jumped pretty well.
We pressed on to the peak, stopping every 15 feet to joke or recover from jokes, and generally made bad time due to too much fun.
We stopped at what we thought was the actual peak, for an hour, and ate lunch. Absher and Chance had never used a rocket stove before so it was all new to them and Dan and I had some fun watching them struggle.
We could not for the life of us discern the trial sometimes. We went off trail at least 5 times due to snow or confusing markers, and at one point there was 5 markers in a 10 foot area. All in a circle. With arrows pointing different directions.
Coming down the other side towards Mule Deer Trail it started to snow/hail/rain. In that order. So we put our ponchos on, and were very happy that we had them.
From there we went on to the Mule Deer Trial and had a nice walk until Chance started saying that there was a cougar behind us. We had been making cougar jokes all day, so imagine my surprise when I turn and see a white wolf running up the side of the mountain. We all stood in awe for a few minutes. It was awesome. Hands down the coolest wildlife sighting I’ve had to date. Sorry I didn’t get pics I was too surprised.
Near where the sighting was, there were a few old cabins, and being much slower than the wolf I had ample time to get photos.
We hung a right on to the other most difficult trail, yes they have two most difficult trails, and started the hike up to the top of Coyote Trail.
We walked on until we got to a good looking place to stop and then set up camp. We were on an incline, so it was good we all were in hammocks. One of my favorite things about hammocks is their flexibility on setting up nearly anywhere.
The next day was nasty and beautiful. I woke to a fog on the next mountain over where we a fantastic and scary lightning show the night before, and before long it was on top of us.
The Coyote trail before it got too steep. It was hard going, both the Black Bear and the Coyote Trails were around 2 miles long and each gained and lost around 1000 feet in that time. Coupled with rocky ascents and wet conditions, it was sure treacherous. I seriously hoped my new Merrell Chameleons had the grip to keep me shiny side up (review on these later).
We made it to the top and had a view of about 12 feet.
The way down was beautiful and creepy. Ever played Silent Hill? Yeah, like that. Everything was quiet, the visibility was low, and the weather was just cool enough to warrant some kind of head gear, I had on my awesome removable fleece hood it’s here. And was very warm. It’s surprisingly water resistant!
We went on down, and eventually ran into another abandoned cabin in the fog. And I was surprised that I never even thought of serial killers.
From there we continued down the trial in the fog and mist and didn’t really talk or joke, we were ready for some hot brunch. About 2 hours later we were in the warm confines of the Blue Parrot INSERT LINK in Lafayette CO. People look at a man in tights weird.