We made it into Silverton on Tuesday evening. We came in late, so it was already dark by the time we got into Town. We decided that it would be easier to sleep in the van since most of the kids were already asleep anyway and the idea of setting up camp in the dark did not appeal to either of us.
We spent the morning at a coffee shopping updating our last blog and allowing the children to explore the town. One thing I truly love is allowing our children to be a little more “free”. They shared conversations with people, looked in window shops, and we wrote and somewhat “got our shit together”. It was decided at that point they we needed to go big, so why not head out to Lake City. We drove the four hours and set up camp with two options for the next morning, Redcloud and Sunshine peaks, or Handies, Sabrina’s arch nemesis.
Redcloud was our first 14’er that we decided to tackle. The trail to the peak was about 3.5 miles and then went on another mile and a half to Sunshine Peak, an adjacent barely 14’er (14,001’). We hike about two miles in starting from our camp at the Grizzly Gulch/Silver Creek Trailhead. As we rose above the tree line, we came into an absolutely surreal basin that led us up to a saddle where the climb became truly challenging (both steep and challenging terrain). This last mile had us climbing 1,500’ to the summit over loose rocks and sheer drop-offs into the basin on the opposing side of the saddle that we had climbed. Each with a 30lb kid on our backs and three littles on their feet, this was nerve racking to say the least.
–A digression from Sabrina- I HATE hills. It’s bad. Like when I am running the smallest little “hill” (speed-bump) gives me the excuse to walk. Yup… I’m a giant girl… Even worse though is my absolute fear of any and all downward slopes. All that comes into my head whether is be at a baseball stadium in the upper level, a concert, silly little hill, roof top, is me slipping and rolling down. Obviously, I knew these mountains that we were going to tackle would have both of these two dreaded things, but I knew I had to tackle them. So… I cried… a lot. About 500 feet from the summit I just lost it. There was a switch back that literally came to the sheer edge of the cliff and all I could think about was myself, Seth, or one of the kids on the way down loosing footing and slipping off the edge.
I could not get myself together for a good couple of minutes. Eventually Seth came down, and I waved him off, stood up, and kept on trucking. I find that even though my children see me at the depths of a panic attack, they also see me stand up, face the fear, and keep moving. I feel like I show them fear is something you push through, not something you sit in. Although on the inside I may have still been a giant girl!
We hit the summit around 12:45pm. There was a brief discussion about heading on to Sunrise Peak, however, storm clouds approaching from the West quickly settled that. The hike down was nerve racking for many. The grade along with the slippery terrain was a bit much at times. While making our descent some small snowflakes graced us with their presence which was a welcomes surprise for all.
As with all our descents the moral was lifted. The kids were happily spotting marmots and enjoying playful conversation with each other. It’s amazing what children share with you 5 hours in at 12,000 feet!
Lessons learned from Redcloud-
-Sabrina will cry at 13,500 feet, probably every time
-Tay will bonk an hour in to every hike, plan accordingly
– All the children really want to do is play in the snow patches
– The children do not like dates in Sabrina’s camping banana bread
-8 bean/tortilla rollups
-2 packages Clif Black Cherry shot blocks
-3 White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clif Crunch Bars
-2 Squeeze packs of apple sauce
-2 Chocolate Chip Clif Bars
-5 Strawberry Clif Twisted Fruit bars
-1 Strawberry Stinger Waffle
-1 Peanut Butter Cookie Lara Bar