I decided last fall to start chasing the Colorado county highpoints and since I found myself headed to the Front Range to meet up with some friends, I decided to knock at least one more off the list. Grays Peak, high point of Summit and Clear Creek counties, had the benefit of being a dual county high point as well as being a 14er. I left Ridgway at about 6pm and drove straight to the trailhead.
I set an alarm for 5:30am but it was rendered unnecessary by the influx of cars into the parking lot about that time. This was my first experience with a 14er in the Front Range and I was absolutely astounded at the traffic on the mountain. Fortunately, Sprocket was very not concerned; the only thing that seemed to change was that he didn’t visit much with anyone because he was mostly focused on keeping track of me and passing slower people (which was pretty much everyone, I guess).
I made really great time up until the climb actually started and then started grinding along. Sprocket was loving the cool temperatures and was rather impatient for his mommy to get going. (It was pretty chilly with a dusting of fresh snow just at the summits!) I hadn’t totally decided whether to summit Torreys as well because it was clear by the speed at which clouds were passing over the summits that it was windy.
We only spent a couple of minutes at the Grays summit admiring the view and then I decided that it was cold but not TOO cold plus it was barely 8am so over to Torreys it was!
I’d gotten a glimpse of a mountain goat on the shoulder of the mountain on our way up so we took a few pictures and headed back down. I’m almost a 100% certain Sprocket would consider a mountain goat to fall under the deer/elk/moose/cow rules but I didn’t much feel like finding out and we headed down the mountain.
I took more photos on the way down the mountain than on the way up for a change since the mass of humanity seemed to have spread out a bit and made the hiking a little more pleasant. (I also got a kick out of watching Sprocket strategically walk up to people figuring out how to duck through their group.)
All in all, it was a good hike: a little busy for my taste but ultimately I got some awesome views of an area of Colorado that’s pretty new to me! I have a lot of hiking to do on some more remote 13ers in the area to work on my mental map that I like building of places.