Mt. Shavano

S u m m e r  2 0 0 6

Or our grand misadventures on the way to re-conquer Tabeguache.

And we're off... course, of course.  We struck out on what we believed to be the same trail the next morning.  But remember our 10 minutes of "off-roading" to find a campsite?  When we back-tracked to the trail, we apparently got on the Colorado Trail, and missed Brown's Creek Trail. 

This became apparent to those of us who were sensitive to the fact that (a) we were not performing a net gain in altitude, and (b) our general direction was shifting around more than it should have been.

Here we are trying to sort this out.

The conclusion we came to was that we had gone so far down the Colorado Trail as to render return to Brown's Creek pretty painful, whereas if we stayed our current course, we would end up at the base of Shavano, a relatively easy climb for the next day.  I had climbed Shavano on Reggie Smith's fabled last CO trip in 1996.

Nevertheless, Jim, always in search of the most difficult path, charitably decided to hike back to Kenn's truck, and drive it around to the base of the Shavano climb, so that we wouldn't have to make that same traverse ourselves, after the peak.

Here he is conferring with Adam on the best way back to the cars.

We beat Jim to the rendez vous by about two hours.  He ultimately called us from the truck (cell coverage now being pretty ubiquitous, even in the wilderness) and suggesting that we just "scratch", i.e. head back into town for some mexican food and beer.

Me at high camp.  This was easily my most difficult backpacking experience.  Perhaps I was out of shape, or perhaps I was carrying too much weight. 

In any case, after the day was done, we found a lovely spot about an hour up the Shavano Trail from the CO Trail. 

After about eight hours spent out on the trail, I checked my GPS, and we had gained only 100 feet in altitude.

Adam warming up at our well-worn campsite.

We were in clear violation of the fire ban, as we had been every year since I can remember.  Well, since at least 2000.  We were surprised at the outset of the Massive climb this year (2007) to learn that there was no fire ban.  We generally only inquire so that we can determine how stealthy we need to be. 

The morning after this picture was taken, a busy-body hiker stuck her head into our camp and reminded us of the ban.  We blew her off until we saw her jump on her radio and notify someone else, at which point we promptly did our best to appear to be in compliance...

Jim expounding on some vast conspiracy theory involving the military industrial complex.

Next: Shavano Summit