The mountains have been hazy from all the recent forest fires. This has resulted in some interesting sunsets. We decided to take a quick camping trip down to Buena Vista to see if we could capture this beauty from the top of a mountain.
Years ago, I hiked Mt. Antero with a friend and remembered the jeep road that goes very high up on the mountain. In order to get a sunrise or a sunset shot on most peaks, you are required to spend a good many hours hiking in the cold dark. With the help of the ATV, getting up (and more importantly, down) this one made for quick easy work, avoiding a big chunk of that long walk back in the dark.
This was our first time camping with our family of 4. Our boy is only 4 weeks old. We pitched a tent at one of the campgrounds near the trailhead in the afternoon and I left the wife and kids to head up the peak. I arrivied at the trailhead around 5:00pm and was informed that there was a jeep rollover a short ways up the road that was currently being towed down the mountain blocking all vehicles in both directions. Well, we'll have to make a plan B. Just as I was turning around to head back to the camp, I noticed a line of jeeps coming down the trail. It had just been cleared out! Back to plan A.
|Stream crossing near treeline
The road up was fairly rough. There are tons of pull offs and great camping spots all along this road. The ATV started to struggle a little as I reached treeline. In fact, the higher up it went, the more it wanted to stall. The thin, high altitude air is not just difficult for lungs, but motors too.
|Antero with the 4-wheeler
I made it to the ridge and decided to give the little guy a break. The remainder of the hike took a little over an hour. It's always nice to have a 14er Summit all to yourself. It was totally calm and quite nice up there.
|Some Jeeps made it to the top of the road
|The cast silhouette of Mt. Antero in the Arkansas River Valley
|Mt. Shavano and Tabeguache Peak
|Smokey Mountains. The 3 Apostles and Huron at center. That area was our destination last week.
|Super red coloring
Once the sun was down, I hiked back down the mountain in the still eerie silence of twilight. It was dark when I reached the 4-wheeler. I packed up my camera gear, got on, turned the key, and....nothing. It was dead. Ok... now what? Then I remembered that there's the on/off switch. Sometimes I forget to turn that on. nope. It was switched on. Still not starting. Could the battery have died? I started mentally preparing to hike the whole road back in the dark. How would I get this thing back down? Would I have to hike back up the next day and have someone give me a tow? Will my wife worry about me getting back so late? Will a wild animal eat me? Do I have enough food and water? Should I just shove this worthless piece of junk ATV off the edge of the mountain and watch it roll down?
Then it came to me. Neutral. Is it in neutral? I hop on again and down shift...bam...it starts right up. The ride down to the trailhead was uneventful.
After I loaded the ATV onto the truck I headed back to camp around 11:00. I drove up on a moose in the middle of the road. These animals are huge - taller than my truck. You don't realize their size until you are right up close. It was running away from my headlights but staying on the road. They do run kind of funny, not graceful like a deer or horse.
We checked out the cool Chalk Cliffs of Mt. Princeton on the way out the next day. We would have stopped at the hot springs there, but figured it would be too much hassle with a 1 month old and all.
|Chalk Cliff detail
|White Chalk Cliffs of Mt. Princeton