Saturday, July 21, 2012
I left work at 11:00am on Friday, finished loading up the Jeep and made my way east on I-70 to the Front Range. One of my personal goals for the year was to hike to the top of three 14ers, so I decided to try and hike the Grays Peak and Torreys Peak combo to knock two more off of my list. I made it to the Stevens Gulch trailhead around 3:00pm and found a nice campsite nearby. Had I arrived later in the evening, I doubt I would have been able to find a nice campsite right near the trail. There were a few sprinkles of rain in the afternoon, but they only lasted for a short time. I spent much of the evening reading and relaxing. The sky stayed overcast until I went to bed around 9:00pm, so I didn’t even bother taking any photos around sunset.
My campsite with a nice view in Stevens Gulch. Grays Peak is visible in the distance.
My alarm woke me up bright and early at 4:00am on Saturday morning. After having a quick breakfast of oatmeal and getting my pack ready for the hike, I was on the trail at 4:30. I started the hike up Stevens Gulch under a canopy of stars with the silhouettes of the surrounding mountains just barely visible. There were a few other people on the trail at this time, but they were pretty far ahead of me, so I was by myself for a while. It was nice, especially since I knew the trail would be packed full of people in a few short hours. The stars soon faded as the dawn light arrived. As I was nearing the base of Grays and Torreys I was treated to the first light of the day striking both peaks as the sun was just rising in the east. I took a few photos of the peaks glowing orange before starting my climb up to the top of Grays Peak.
Just as the sun started to rise, it gave Torreys Peak a purplish glow for less than a minute. Luckily my camera was handy.
Then the mountains in front of me were bathed in amazing warm light. It was an incredible sight and made me wish I had dragged my heavy DSLR along with me. The mountain lit up in this photo is Torreys Peak.
Here’s a view with Grays Peak on the left and Torreys Peak on the right. The angle and location of this photo makes Torreys look much higher, but Grays is actually three feet taller.
Another view of Torreys Peak from further along the trail as the warm light has started to fade.
When I reached the summit of Grays Peak there were only 4 others up there, which was nice since I would notice later in the day that were a lot more people up there. Grays Peak, at 14,270 feet, is the highest point on the Continental Divide in the United States and is also the highest mountain in the Front Range.
There were only four people on the summit of Grays Peak when I arrived. As I hiked down later, I would look up here and see a much larger crowd.
The view from Grays summit over Chihuahua Gulch and Ruby Mountain towards Peru Creek.