Thursday, July 12, 2012

Shavano & Tabeguache

On Wednesday, Maggie and I drove up to Buena Vista and camped at the Shavano trailhead. What a gorgeous place! We pitched our tent smack in the middle of an Aspen grove. There was some rain for about half an hour, but it was dry the rest of the evening and into the night. As we were hanging out after dinner, a 22-year-old rode his bike to the parking lot. To celebrate his recent birthday he had ridden from his home in Leadville (60 miles away) and planned to hike the mountain the next day. The poor guy was exhausted and in need of water. Fortunately, we were able to help out, since the nearest stream was a 45-minute hike up the trail. We hit the sack when the sun set to help us get an early start.

Thursday we woke up at 5:00 and were on the trail by 6:00. The trail climbed over 4000' up the east slopes of Shavano, a huge fourteener seen from Salida and Buena Vista. The morning was absolutely perfect. Cool, sunny, and cloudless! There weren't many other people on the trail. Two women from Boulder, a trail runner, and a big Boy Scout group (that started at 3:30!) were the only people we saw until our descent. We reached the summit of Shavano in three hours.

After the necessary pictures and snacks, we started our descent down the northwest ridge to Tabeguache (pronounced Tab-a-watch). Maggie wasn't feeling up to the full descent and subsequent ascent of the neighboring peak. I went on, tagged the summit, and met her back on the ridge in less than an hour. We then climbed to the top of Shavano (again!) before heading back down towards the car. Clouds were starting to form, but they weren't getting too big or too dark. We ran into our buddy from the night before---his legs were shot but he was still having a blast and moving upwards! We returned to the trailhead without incident 7 hours after we left. A great day!

Overall: 11.5 miles, 5400' gain, 7:00 hours

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