Mountain Goats on Quandary

Quandary Peak (14,265′ Elevation) was our third and final hike during our Colorado vacation this year. Most of the info I could get off the internet about this peak said it would be a fairly mild climb with a total round trip length of 6.75 miles and 3450 of elevation gain. So that didn’t seem too bad but in fact with the snow still remaining in the mountains all hiking over 10,000 feet becomes a lot more strenuous. Regardless we were going to do it and glad we did.

We had stayed in Dillon that night so we had a 40 minute drive to get to the trail head. We got up early, stopped and got a couple of Starbucks coffees to go and headed out. I know that you can probably get better coffee than Starbucks at some local specialty coffee shop, but we know Starbucks and when we are on vacation we do stop there as a treat. Otherwise it is not something we do, you know the latte effect, you could pay for a car in 10 years with that little morning splurge. It was going to be a nice day, clear and sunny and temps near 70 degrees.

Our plan was to hike together for the first portion of the trail and then Susan thought she may turn back at some point depending on how she was feeling. She loves to get out and walk and hike but isn’t as interested in going all the way to the top of a 14000′ mountain. It’s just isn’t fun for her after a certain point. We got to the trail head, parked the truck, and used the porta potty. The first part of the trail was in the woods probably for about a mile so that is always nice to see the beauty of all the trees and small animals and birds. The trail did have quite a few people on it, more than we had encountered the first two hikes, probably due to the nice day. But you did have times where it was just you and nature with no one around you. As we progressed we started to get out of the trees and could see more of the terrain in front of us and how much snow there was in adjacent mountains. I just never get over the beauty of it all.



The above picture was taken as we started to get above tree line. Great view huh.

Then after going a little further up the trail got a lot more rocky and quite a bit steeper as you can see.

And then we hit snow and I think if we would have been there a week or two earlier this would have been a snow trail. Once we got to the end of this path there was a steep uphill on all snow and that is where Susan decided she would turn around along with quite a few other people that decided it was going to be more work than they bargained for.

This is looking back on the trail after I climbed the steep snow slope and traveled a distance on the ridge. Not to bad in this area.

This is looking forward on the ridge/path, it went back and forth like this for quite a while, exposed rocks or inclined snow field. That is not the summit up there that you see. The trail actually continues to the right and then heads back to the left again. Summit is hidden from this view, false excitement.

Here is on top of the summit looking out.

Another view at the summit. It was really windy up there and it was a pretty narrow area, I didn’t feel comfortable, but there were two other guys up there huddled behind some rocks just taking in the view trying to stay warm.

Then on the way down I got a real treat. Mountain goats, these two are young and basically on the path. I got so close I could reach out and touch them at one point. I passed their mom a little further back.  I read a story about a guy that got gored and killed by a mountain goat but these guys seamed to be more interested in the sprouting grass than me.

Above is a picture of their mom I believe. I didn’t get a good picture, she was off quite a distance from me so this is blown up quite a bit.

Mountain goats up close, a great way to finish off the day.



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