Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending 3 days in Colorado, hanging out with friends of the backpacking persuasion and doing a little hiking. I thought I'd share some photos.

We were camped at about 9500' in the mountains near Golden, CO (home of Coors Beer and the Colorado School of Mines, two facts which I hope are unrelated).
Aspens near camp where just starting to turn.

Food was a central theme of the weekend. That's not surprising--not only is it natural in any gathering of people, but backpackers are particularly obsessed with food.
Something good was heating in the dutch oven.
The member from Louisiana made gumbo.
On Saturday, a few of us went off to try our sea-level lungs against 13,605' Grey Wolf Mountain, from Guanella Pass. This is the same trailhead as for the heavily-traveled Bierstadt Mountain trail, but we quickly left the trail for a cross-country route we had all to ourselves.
Bierstadt on the right, and we are headed left--once we get through the willows and swamps. There were comments from the Louisiana hiker about coming all the way to CO to hike in a swamp. I contended that it was much nicer, because there were no gators nor snakes in this swamp.
Once out of the willows, the climbing began. It was sunny, but breezy and cool, as it is wont to be in late September at 11,000' or so. With the ground cover only ankle high we could pick our route with ease.
Who stole all the oxygen??
Halfway up there was a beautiful tarn.
In the morning.
The afternoon sky and light made it almost perfect. Note the snow on the north face of Bierstadt. There were localized thunderstorms in the area the day before, leaving bits of snow here and there high up.
The only "person" we saw on the climb was a mountain goat. Unlike some, he didn't come mooching, but required a long telephoto.

 Part of the fun of hiking with guys is they can handle the heavy lifting. Big mountains require big cairns.
Not really. That was there when we got there, and no way could they have actually lifted it, nor where they going to try.
 Three of us reached the summit of Grey Wolf Mtn.
I'm on the right in purple, in case you can't tell. It was blowing hard on the summit.
From the summit we could see how wide-spread the aspens are.






























On the way back to camp we stopped and got a closer look at some of those aspens.



I haven't seen very many aspens that turn red, but there were patches of them, some much redder than these.
Just to cap it all off, while flying home on Monday, I got to look down on the area we hiked. The tallest thing with the long face pointing toward us is Mt. Evans, which has a road pretty much to the top for easy 14er-bagging. Just to its right is Bierstadt, and Grey Wolf Mountain is just in front of it.
Not a great photo because of shooting out the window of the plane.

Happy autumn equinox (only a day or two late)!

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2016
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