I truly loathe the spurts and bouts of weather regression during spring, especially after a couple of teasing weeks of outdoor perfection. So our weather pulled a "Breaking Bad" a few days ago. We're nearing the fourth consecutive day of unnerving, tree-toppling wind that pack gusts to over 40 mph. Worse, the weather guessers now predict snow tonight.
After a prolonged spring tease that felt more like summer, the unwanted fickle bitch of winter always finds a way to make you pack up your shorts and t-shirts and hightail to lower elevation hikes.
During the summer tease, however, we managed to squeezed in couple climbs above timberline. This fair-weather hike was on Hayden Trail, which is located on the far shore of Crystal Lake, about 7 or 8 miles south of Ouray. A short walk west across the dam put us at the trailhead.
|One of the few level respites on Hayden
Hayden is more staircase than trail, at least the beginning section, anyway. But our legs and lungs soon warmed to the task and we made good time.
With all but a few patches of snow melted away, a few lupines got a jump on the summer wildflower bloom. Red Mountains were slower at shedding their winter coat. The Gray-Copper Gulch trail to Red # 3 still has a couple of weeks to go before we can tackle a summit (above photo, to the left of Red Mountain).
A non-triangular west face of Mount Abram is featured in the above photo. The approach ridge looks to be doable from our vantage point. I love that hike...can't wait.
Above, hiker Babe, Michelle, sets a brutal pace through treeless tundra, two-thirds of the way up to the "pass." Below, I reflect on the elevation gained from our Crystal Lake starting point, way, way down on Highway 550.
Seemingly unfazed by altitude and tired legs, giddy Michelle decides to run over to a nearby volcanic peak and blow a kiss to the world.
It's always windy on the "pass," so we duck a depression of boulders for to have a sheltered snack. This pass features colorful volcanic tuff, which always mesmerizes Your's Truly.
|Michelle and Ruthie
|A tired-faced Bobbie :)
We briefly discussed continuing on to the eastern-most Hayden Summit...another 2 plus miles across windy, rolling tundra. We chickened out, instead, and turned-tails for home.
The views from upper Hayden rival the best Colorado has to offer...if you are a mountain goat hiker.
|Happy Hiker Babes, Bobbie, Ruthie, and Michelle. What a view...
|Switchbacking down, down, down.
It looks like it will be Wednesday before this kink in the weather unknots itself. Oh well...the price paid for living in the Rockies of Southwest Colorado. Don't worry, we'll find another mountain to climb...
mark and bobbie