The 14ers Part 2. Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln & Bross

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We slept in as late as we could but I was kinda disappointed in how early I gave up on sleep and started looking for mountains to climb on my phone. I found a few ideas and once the guys got up we decided on Mt Shavano. The plan was to drive an hour or so north near Pancho Springs then up a 2WD gravel road into the mountains. We would do little to no hiking Saturday to rest up and then hike the mountain Sunday morning.

We all hopped back in the hot tub and I planned to do some swimming to loosen up but I got a nose bleed and stayed out of the pool. Then we took showers and went to breakfast and to check out. The hotel had a main building where the office and breakfast was and an annex 5 blocks away with our room, hot tub and pool.

We had breakfast coupons from the hotel for the attached restaurant and breakfast was great. Then we drove to the mountain and stopped for a case of beer on the way. We saw the mountain from a long ways out.

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The plan was to hike Shavano (on the left) but I secretly planned to talk them into adding in Tabeguache (middle) also. We parked the truck and did some looking around and checking out the trail.

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We hoped to find a good water source and had some ideas but didn’t come across any. Then we found a nice spot to camp near the trail head and decided to relax in hammocks and drink the beers.

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We were setting up the hammocks in a little triangle when Jake stirred up a hive of bees. Moments later it started to rain. We tossed the hammocks in the truck and gathered firewood and tossed it under the truck. Once we had a nice pile the rain stopped. So we found new trees away from the bees and started to hang the hammocks again. Then it started to rain again. We put the hammocks away and decided the rain would not last long and was not coming down hard so we would go look for a creek or something to gather water from.

The water search was not going great but we got far from the truck and the sprinkle turned into pouring rain. We rushed back to the truck with the water stinging our arms as it fell. Shortly after getting into the truck we saw really small hail start falling. We sat in the truck and Jake looked up the forecast. The rain was supposed to continue until 9pm. As we sat and decided what to do the horn randomly started blaring. One continuous loud horn blast. Jake tried turning the truck on and off and locking and unlocking but nothing would get it off. We had some tools but none would disconnect the battery. We looked up fuses but could not find the horn. Then we found another wrench that worked on the battery and got the horn stopped.

Once the noise was gone we found the wire for the horn and disconnected it. Once we reconnected the battery it started pouring again and we got inside. Jake discovered all the electronics were acting screwy. None of his controls worked for the radio or cruise or anything. All the sensors were acting nuts. We tried a bunch of stuff and talked to his brother mechanic and eventually got the right stuff unplugged and replugged and the truck was back. The rain however just kept coming and the sky looked bad.

We decided to kill some time in town at the brewery.

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The first beers were so good and they had good wifi so we got some more.

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The forcast still looked pretty bad so we started looking at other mountains and eventually found 4. They were another hour or so north and it looked pretty possible for us to climb all of them in 1 shot. So we finished our drinks and drove.

Once at the mountain we had another long rough gravel road but the truck made it to the top pretty easy. It was getting dark fast so we quickly found a campsite and paid $12 for it.

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It was beautiful. We were in a valley of grass and wildflowers next to a clear lake with the peaks all around us. We had a lot to do and got the tent up, started filtering water and cooking dinner and packing our day packs for the morning. It was dark as we ate and then we boiled water from the lake for some peppermint tea. It felt a lot colder and we bundled up before bed.

Shortly after 4 we started to hear other campers and we got out of the dark tent at 4:30 and got busy. We packed up our sleeping bags and pads and the tent, we boiled water for oatmeal and coffee and then tossed everything we didn’t need in the truck and started hiking. We could see headlamps on people already way up the mountain and a few campers were just ahead and lots were coming in behind us. It was cool out and the trail was not bad and we made good time getting up the hills.

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We looked down and saw a mountain goat way below us already.

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Our nice cool shade was slowly disappearing as the sun rose and we climbed higher.

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It felt pretty good and we climbed on.

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Then we reached the top of Mt. Democrat.

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(it was actually July 31st, the sign was old)

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We caught our breaths for a few minutes then continued on.

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We went back down a bit and across the ridge to the next mountain, Cameron . Then looked back at Democrat behind us.

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We had a great view of the valley and the lake we camped in.

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It was crazy windy for a bit and really cold but the hike was not bad to reach Cameron.

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Once again we caught our breaths and then had to continue on to the next peak. Lincoln was the coolest looking mountain and the path there looked pretty good right until the end.

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Off we went

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3 down and 1 to go.

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The view on Lincoln was one of the best.

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It was pretty exposed so we didn’t stay long and climbed back off the point.

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Then onto the trail to Bross.

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Once we got out of the wind we stopped for brunch with Lincoln in the background.

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Bross was interesting because the National Park land went almost all the way but near the top you left the park and trespassed illegally if you wanted to summit. Everyone was doing it, so we did.

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Totally worth it.

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We could see a storm in the distance and were eager to finish so headed on.

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The trail looked so nice.

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We didn’t have to backtrack and we could see it slowly winding it’s way back around the other side of the mountains and back down to the valley.

Unfortunately we found it to be really steep and slick and a really rough time all around, esp on our tired legs and worn out feet.

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It also seemed to never end.

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But of course we eventually reached the grass.

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We crossed the field and got to the truck right around 11:30. 6 hrs of pretty strenuous climbing with only brief stops. We came to hike 2 summits and had finished 6 and were a day early, we felt pretty good.

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Our victory beers were still cold from the night before.

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We changed into less stinky clothes and headed out. First stop was gas then Mexican food and giant ice teas. We hit a wall of traffic going back into Denver after the weekend and then got some cheeseburgers and drove most of the night.

We reached my house at 2am and unpacked the truck. Heath and Amanda were waiting with mojitos but we just wanted waters. We shared stories from the trip and some pictures and got to bed way too late.

 

 

 

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