“Rest Day” (62)

When the alarm went off at 3:30AM, for once, we didn’t press snooze. We were very excited about the hike up Handies and needed to start as early as possible to reduce the chances of being caught in a storm. We took breakfast to go: energy drinks,  donuts, granola, and yogurt. 

On the drive there, we saw some wildlife!


Not pictured: a moose

The last 20 miles were on a crazy dirt road from Lake City to the American Basin trailhead. At first, it was exciting, but with every scrape of the bumper on the road, we grew more anxious about what lay ahead. 

 The last eight miles of the road were the most hazardous; we even had to cross a stream! We definitely put the rental car to the test.

During the drive, the temperature hit 36 degrees! Good thing we got new gloves yesterday!

The hiking started off under blue skies, and we warmed up once we were moving.  

Unfortunately for us, though, we had to walk through an icy cold stream only a few minutes in (if we had a more suitable vehicle, we could have driven through). 

I found an easier way across at the next stream crossing:

There was some snow left up there for us!


 Only an hour or so later (~8:30am), we started noticing dark clouds over nearby mountains. 

We continued climbing, since the clouds were still far away and not moving directly towards us. With only about 500′ elevation to go, we abandoned our bags (to move more quickly) and we made it to the top before the storm!

The view at the summit was certainly worth waking up so early on a rest day. 

  Sadly, we packed a lunch (and 4 water bottles) but didn’t consume any of it while hiking, because we needed to get down ASAP. 

 As we power walked and at times even jogged down, there were some brave (or stupid) souls going up, despite the storm that was clearly about to let loose on us all. Some didn’t even have cold weather/rain gear!
Sure enough, we had sleet, hail, and rain on the way down, but luckily not many lightening bolts.  

It’s a good thing it wasn’t until the bottom that we ran into a woman who began listing off deaths by lightening so far this year to Rachel,  who had already been extremely anxious.

Ironically, the sun came out just as we arrived at the car, and the clouds disappeared as quickly as they had shown up.
We were happy to have changed into dry clothes and blasted the heat while driving back towards Montrose, despite the haphazard road. 

Also, during the ride back, we finally enjoyed the lunch that we carried up and down the mountain, in addition to some iced coffee we picked up at a mini mart in Lake City.

At 3pm, we returned to the hotel and promised each other we would have a restful evening.  For the most part, it was: aside from a few chore-like activities, we enjoyed the hot tub and pool, picked up take-out for dinner and got Dairy Queen to enjoy in front of the TV before finally calling it a night.

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