Day 68: Gray’s Peak

Miles Hiked: 16

Total Milage: 1089.4

Location: Silverthorne, CO

This morning I woke up at 5:30 am and starting hiking by 6am. We knew we would reach the top of a 14er about 12 miles into the day, so we wanted to start hiking early to allow some time for breaks. I hiked out with 12 Pack while Hummingbird stayed in her tent for a little longer. The trail continued for about a mile before we reached a trailhead right next to interstate 70. I used the porta potties there and took a quick break before we continued down a bike path that went along I-70. Eventually the bike path lead to a dirt road that we walked up to a trailhead for Grays Peak. 12 Pack and I took another break before beginning the 3.7 mile 3,000 foot climb to the top of Gray’s. At the parking lot I was hoping to hike an extra two miles to hit Torreys Peak as well but those ambitions quickly disappeared as I got closer and closer to 14k feet. There were so many people on the trail. The parking lot was packed when we got there and most people were on their way down. I figured that most of them got a really early start while 12 Pack and I didn’t even get to the trailhead until 9:30am. As we approached 14k feet my pace for slower and slower. I’ve climbed 14ers before but never with a heavy pack on my back and it makes a huge difference. 12 Pack and I arrived at the top right at noon.

After taking a long break, we started to descend from the peak on to a ridge on the backside. The ridge was extremely narrow and dropped off dramatically on both sides. It looked like hardly anyone walked on it. After dropping quite a bit in elevation, 12 Pack pulled out his map and realized we were supposed to be on a different ridge to our right that looked much scarier than the one we were already on. My anxiety sky rocketed when we had to turn around and climb back up to the 14k peak. The scary trail I walked down looked even worse going the other direction. When I got to the top I was out of breath and almost shaking in fear. We waited for Hummingbird to get to the top while we debated if we should try and do the scarier looking trail or just descend the way we came up and get to a town. When hummingbird got to the top, we let her know our plans. She said she was going to attempt the ridge. 12 pack and I went back down the mountain to try and hitch to the nearest town. When 12 pack and I got to the trailhead, we got a ride down to the Highway and from there we started to wait for a hitch. No cars were driving by. We got a text from hummingbird that she was on her way back down as well. She said the weather wasn’t looking good enough for her to expose herself to a possible storm during one of the sketchiest parts of the trail. I felt a little better to know that even if 12 pack and I decided to hike the knifes edge that we would of most likely turned around due to weather anyways. Hummingbird got back to the Highway in perfect timing for us all to get a hitch to Silverthorne. Once in Silverthorne we got a hotel at the super 8 for the night. My stomach was absolutely killing me so it was nice to have a bed to lay on. For dinner we went out to a Mexican restaurant where we ran into another hiker named “Roger That”. It was a nice surprise to see him because the last town I saw him in was Chama, New Mexico.

Happy Trails!

-Early Bird

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