Handies Peak

Woo hoo!  The weekend of August 22, 2008, Tracy and I finally summited our first 14er.  We climbed the 14,048 foot Handies Peak outside of Lake City, CO.  We drove to the mountain on Friday night and camped just down the road from the trailhead.  We then woke up at the crack of dawn on Saturday and drove up to the trailhead.  We needed the high clearance of the Xterra to get to the American Basin trailhead, but when we arrived there were only 3 cars at the trailhead.  That was much better than the Redcloud Peak trailhead we passed on the way in, which had dozens of cars.  The hike up was incredibly pretty.  It was amazing seeing how much different the mountains look at that elevation…it’s hard to explain, but they were just really pretty.  I was pushing up a little better than Tracy for most of the trail, but near the summit she started to leave me behind.  I was stopping for a few seconds every 5 steps or so once we were over 14,000 feet, but Tracy was pushing right up.  I’m convinced she was pushing so hard because she’s so competitive and wanted to be the first at the top!  Well, she was the first to the top!  
The summit was incredible.  The views were amazing.  The summit itself was really small, and there were about 4 groups on top, but the views were too nice to be spoiled by the people.  Everyone on top was comparing their 14er accomplishments.  It was a little strange…it kinda felt like everyone up there was just out to climb 14ers for the sake of climbing 14ers…and to talk about it with others.  We talked to one guy and his granddaughter.  The girl was 9 and had been climbing 14ers since she was 7.  The hike down was tough near the summit, but other than a little sliding, we didn’t have any problems.  The weather was absolutely perfect, and we couldn’t have asked for a better trip.
After leaving we did some 4×4 driving up Cinnamon Pass and down into Silverthorne.  We then drove all the way over to the La Sal Mountains and camped again at Buckeye Reservoir.  When we first went to Buckeye we fell in love with it.  Since then we’ve gone back twice, and now we think it’s a little too crowded and a little too redneck for our tastes.  We probably won’t be going back.  On Sunday we did some good 4×4 driving through the La Sal’s and down into Fisher Valley outside of Moab.  
All in all, this was a great trip, and we’re very happy to have made our first 14er summit.  And while the views were incredible, we luckily avoided getting summit fever, so we didn’t catch the bug of having to climb all the 14ers.

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