Friday, November 18, 2016

Quandry Peak

Atop Quandary Peak
After having Andrew around and taking him out on some walks, it really struck us that soon it will be very much winter and having the option to jump out for a nice walk and explore will not so much be an option. So a day after he left, we thought if we were going to go, we might as well go big and go high. Quandry Peak at 14,265ft or 4,347m was the target and our first "14er". So we trotted off with the dogs in tow and they were our guides as they are seasoned 14er climbers. Annoyingly, Keona decide to get lost early on in the climb through the forest, as were we puffing and panting and just staring at the ground in front of us with each step, so we didn't notice for a bit. So I then ran back down the trail 15 mins or so to locate the missing mutt.

Once back above the tree line, we were faced with the straight ridge line rising and rising above everything else around. At this point the wind was really starting to whip around, but it didn't seem to bother the dogs too much. Tinkerbell would walk right by my side and Keona would sprint up, turn around and run back down, only then to repeat it. Getting to the final steps ascent, the last few hundred meters to the top, it was slow going. The legs had begun to feel like lead and navigating the boulder field was tiresome. One last burst of energy was required once we peered over the summit to see a beautiful mountain goat, and then that mutt Keona took off after it, and I took off after them.

The highest place we've ever been on Earth
At this point we were alone on the summit, with panorama views in all directions getting battered with ice cold wind. With frozen fingers, we clumsily ate our sandwiches while crouched between rocks for shelter, encouraging the dogs to cuddle us for extra warmth. We had a quick appreciative scan of our surroundings and then pointed our noses downhill. With wobbly legs we descended, while along the ridge we spotted a pair of mountain goats coming across our course. We stopped, while I held the dogs back because I'm sure there was nothing more that they would love to do than chase the pair off into the distance, or a off a cliff. They walked right across the trail in front of us, completely in their element, they stood as tall as a bull, jacked shoulders with huge snow white coats flowing in the wind so majestically, not even bothered by our presence. From there it was just trudging on down and trying not to be blown away as the wind was only getting more ferocious. Our timing was right on for taking the opportunity to make the trip, as the following day winter truly arrived.

A Rocky Mountain Goat

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