Culebra 14,047 & Red Mountain A 13,911


RT Length: 8.4 miles

Elevation Gain: 3850’

I’d purposely scheduled Culebra as a hike on a Sunday because I knew I’d 100% be able to do the hike availability wise, but as the date of my reservation neared I realized it wasn’t the best time for me to hike this mountain.  I looked at the weather reports, and while the weather was fine for Culebra all weekend there were a few other summits I want to hit this weekend that would require more commitment and time than Culebra, and I needed to be back home on Friday for a 4pm board meeting, meaning I wouldn’t be able to hike at all on Friday because all other summits required more time.  I felt I could hike Culebra and Red Mountain A and be back for my meeting by 4pm, but I did not feel I could do so with the other hikes I wanted to complete this weekend.

So I did something I NEVER do.  I emailed Carlos at Cielo Vista Ranch and pleaded to change my time from Sunday to Friday.  To put this mission into perspective, to me, asking to change a time I’ve reserved 3 months in advance is beyond rude, and I honestly didn’t expect him to let me do so.  But he did, and I was ecstatic!  This freed up my Sunday to hike a more challenging 14er(s)!  Woot!  Happy dance!  Also, Carlos is amazing.  Thank you Carlos!!!

On Wednesday of this week I went to the Colorado Springs 14er happy hour and mentioned to someone who’d done Culebra last week I was planning on hiking Culebra Friday mainly so I could hike and be back by 4pm.  He blatantly told me there was no way I could do it and be back by 4pm (and I hadn’t event mentioned Red Mountain A….).

I talked with him about the hike:  It wasn’t technical, was it?  There wasn’t any rock climbing involved or anything, right?  Nothing unexpected about this hike?  I reasoned with him, letting him know I’m a strong hiker and stated some of my other summit times.  This would be my 44th 14er.  He wasn’t impressed.  I began to doubt myself. Could I really complete this hike in enough time to make it back for my meeting?  Well, I’d already committed, so I was going for it anyway.  But now I wasn’t so sure…

I don’t sleep well at trailheads, so I woke up at 1:30am, got ready, and drove to the trailhead (taking special care to use the directions from and not google, as per previous advice). I left plenty of time for mistakes (I’m prone to making mistakes when searching for trailheads, despite extensive research) but I made it to the gate without a hitch at 5am.  There were 3 gates all right next to each other (I wasn’t sure which one was “the gate”) and about 10 cars waiting to be let in.  Most people had slept in their vehicles overnight and were now waking up and brushing their teeth.  Hmmmm…. I wasn’t sure where ‘the line’ was so I just picked a free spot and parked.

I had an hour to kill, but I was prepared.  I went over the route a few times, and when I felt I’d exhausted that avenue I prepped my gear so I could just hop out and go when the time came.  And then I got out my knitting.  I knit hats for School in the Woods (a school that focuses on naturalist outdoor education for 4th graders and takes place completely outside, so each student gets a knit hat because it’s cold going to school in the winter outside.  I make the hats, but wear some of them on 14rers before donating them because the kids think it’s cool).


I was prepared to knit until the gates opened, but bless the man, Carlos arrived 15 minutes early to open the gate.  He’s my new hero!!!

I drove the 2 miles to headquarters and was greeted by 2 of his sons.  Carlos is a very charming individual, and his sons are as well.  It seems today was their first day on the job:  they were starting new check in and check out procedures, and it was more efficient for Carlos to let everyone in the gates and for his sons to check them in.  When we were all ready to go we were told check out was to be different as well:  when we were done hiking we needed to check out at the office and there’d be a code for the gate key. Please let yourself out and replace the lock and key.


From headquarters it’s 4.6 miles to the top of the 4WD trailhead.  The road isn’t really that rough, but the elevation gain is pretty steep.  A 4WD vehicle is needed for the grade alone.

I was anxious to get going.  This was going to be the latest start I’ve ever (intentionally) had on a 14er, and it was killing me not to be out there hiking already.  Time was ticking.


When I made it to the trailhead I was totally ready to go.  I jumped out of my truck, fixed one of the rocks another vehicle had kicked up while parking that looked like it could puncture a tire, grabbed my gear and headed out on the trail.  It was 6:32am.


I wanted (needed) to get started first.  To most this will seem like an overreaction, but I really want to summit all 58 14ers solo (as solo as they can realistically get) and I feel more confident doing this if I’m first on the trail.  That way I make my own trail and don’t follow someone else’s.  It’s “too easy” when someone is ahead of me.  Usually I do this by starting super early, but with this hike we all kind of start at the same time because we’re queued to do so.

I crossed the stream and went right, and them immediately realized I needed to go left and turned around.  Whoops!  Ok, now I’m on my way.


I looked toward the ridge and saw a large animal.  It was either a goat or an elk, and I’m going with elk due to the body type.  When I reached the ridge there was no sign of animal life (except for scat.  Lots of elk scat on this hill).


This hike has no established trail.  In fact, they don’t want there to be a trail.  It felt very similar to hiking Matterhorn Peak:  just aim for the summit and keep hiking.


I’m going to side track here for a bit and step on my soapbox.  I teach Leave No Trace etiquette, and one thing that really bugs me is hiking etiquette.  As far as I’m concerned, the best way to make the least impact on the environment is to hike in a straight line and create a trail for others to follow, and then to stay on that trail and properly maintain that trail.  Use one animals have made, because they follow it too.  But most Leave No Trace trainers will tell you to spread out to reduce impact.  The problem is THIS DOESN’T HAVE THE INTENDED CONSEQUENCE!!!  Instead of having low impact, everything is destroyed, especially in alpine environments.  All flowers are destroyed, tundra that takes thousands of years to grow is trampled on en masse, and tons of new routes are formed because no one wants to form ‘one route’.  I absolutely hate hiking off trail because it destroys the environment:  It destroys all of it, instead of just damaging one single area.

However, it expressly states in the contract I signed with Cielo Vista Ranch that I’m not to use an established trail, and to create a new path if I see a trail “to limit impact”, so I did so, even though it killed me to do so.  All I could think about as I did my best to hop from rock to rock to avoid crushing plant life was how I was destroying precious alpine tundra by trampling all over it.  Oh, and I saw dozens of minor trails the entire hike because there wasn’t one ‘established’ trail.  How is this low impact?!?!?!  OK, I’m done now.  I seriously love Cielo Vista Ranch.  Stepping off.

The route wasn’t difficult at all. I just aimed for a peak, made it, followed a ridge, aimed for another peak, followed it to another ridge, etc.  I couldn’t help but think what a bugger this hike would have been in bad weather with low visibility, but on a bluebird day it was phenomenal.


I love this cairn!  It’s the only one on the hike and quite a cairn!


I looked ahead and thought I saw someone standing on the summit wearing a backpack, but how could that be?  I was the first one up here?  And then I hiked closer and realized it was kind of a cairn. Kind of…


I knew I summited in good time but didn’t look at the time because I wasn’t going to pressure myself.  I took a summit selfie

12 Culebra Peak 14047

And a video from the summit.

As per usual I didn’t stay long, even though it was a nice day.  I looked at the route before me that led to Red Mountain A (or as I like to call it, Red Mountain, Eh?), and went for it.  A GPX file was not needed for this route on a clear day (but you should have one just I case the weather turns).  It was easy to navigate.  I just had to follow the ridge down to the saddle and then back up to the summit.


Despite every intention I’m sure, the route up Red Mountain had a well established path that zig-zagged up some red colored scree.  This was the best scree I’ve ever hiked on!!!  Have you ever heard of good scree?  Nope?  Well, this was good scree (you’ll have to hike it to understand).


I summited at 8:58am and thought to myself:  See?  This is totally doable!  You’re right on time (maybe even a little early).

15 Red Mountain A 13908

And summit video

And back down.  I made it all the way down Red Mountain and past the saddle to Culebra when I saw a fit father and son duo hiking towards Red Mountain.  They stopped to say hi.  I learned Culebra had been the dad’s 54th 14er (his finisher) and congratulated him!  High five!

Father: “We’re quick hikers.  We’re rarely passed, but never smoked.  You smoked us!”

He was referring to how we started at the same time but at this point I was about an hour and a half ahead of them in the hike. I took this as a real compliment.  I’m not gonna lie, it was quite an ego boost.  We talked for a bit about training and goals, and then we went off in our separate directions to finish our hikes.

Culebra in summer conditions on a bluebird day is not a difficult hike.  No 14er is easy, but I was feeling pretty good about myself.  I hadn’t needed to stop to catch my breath at all, I wasn’t tired or sore or experiencing any of the usual physical effects that usually occur with hiking a 14er.  I hadn’t had a sip of water and never broke open my food stash.  This was almost too easy, and I felt a bit guilty for not continuing on to hike a few more 13ers on such a perfect day.  But my schedule didn’t allow for it, so I hiked back.

When I reached Culebra for the second time I met a few hikers at summit debating whether or not to continue towards Red Mountain.  My advice:  go for it!  It’s seriously not that challenging, and you’ll kick yourself for not summiting later if you choose to hike the centennials.  They asked me to carry them down. I declined and hiked back on my own.  Oh, and I saw this marker, which I think is more of a property/survey marker instead of a summit marker?  Any insight from someone more knowledgeable?  It was at the peak…


As I was hiking down I ruminated over today’s experience, as well as my previous experiences hiking 14ers and the reactions of my friends and family, mostly negative.  I realized I was second guessing myself because of the fears of others, not because of my abilities or fears.  I’m not scared of hiking any 14er (I hold a healthy dose of reality to the dangers, but I’m not scared).  I know my abilities.  I know how fast I can hike, what conditions I feel comfortable (or not) hiking, and ditto for climbing.  I know I can do this, so why did I keep second guessing myself when someone says I can’t do something, like when that 14er Happy Hour guy said I couldn’t summit in a certain amount of time when I knew I could?  Or last week when my mom said it was too windy so I shouldn’t even try? Why did that make me second guess myself?


I came to the conclusion I can do this: I know I have the skills and abilities, and I’m not going to live my life based on other people’s fears and limitations.  Hear me out.  I second guess myself because other people are afraid or can’t do something, not because I’m afraid or I can’t do something.  I tend to overanalyze and internalize other people’s fears, and that’s going to stop now.    I know my abilities.  I trust my abilities.  I have the training, I have the knowledge, and I have the skills:  I just need to trust myself.  I know I can do this, and I will.  Stop telling me I can’t.  Or go on and keep telling me, I won’t listen.

Now I was hiking with a purpose!

There’s no trail, but you can see the trailhead at the end of the dirt road (center)


I made it back to my truck at 11am, making the 8.4 mile, triple summit (come on, I did Culebra twice!!! It counts as 3…)  trek in 4.5 hours.  I realize that isn’t record breaking, but it wasn’t bad.  In fact, it was just what I’d expected of myself.

On the drive back to headquarters, just after I crossed the meadow on the 4WD road I saw a very husky cinnamon colored bear run/lumber/gallop across my path and away into the hills (why do bears always run away from me as fast as they can?!?!?).  I tried to take a picture, but I didn’t get my camera out in time (I was driving) and when I stopped where it had entered the trees it was long gone.  Oh well.  Weird, a bear out in the afternoon….

I signed out and left two cases of S’mores Girl Scout Cookies as a thank you to the team for allowing me to change my reservation date without a fuss (be nice to those who help you!!!!) and was on my way.

I stopped at gate and entered the access code, only to realize I was using the wrong key box (whoops, there were two, and I missed the ‘obvious’ one).  I located the correct one and quickly exited, closed the gate, and drove home.


Oh, and that board meeting?  I made it home in plenty of time to shower, change, do a conditions report for and made it to my meeting with 40 minutes to spare.  Boom!  Take that naysayer!!!


West Spanish Peak – 13,584


West Spanish Peak – 13,631

RT Length 7.9 miles

Elevation Gain 2400’

I’ve been eyeing this trail for weeks, and was finally able to make the hike!  I don’t do well in the cold (or wind) so I’ve been looking for a relatively clear, wind free day.  It’s been clear but the wind hasn’t cooperated, so instead of 14ers and 13ers I’ve been hiking 12ers, 11ers, 10ers, 9ers, and 8ers for the past month and a half: I needed to get above treeline again!!!

Today’s forecast at the summit was 38* with 15mph gusts, which I figured I could handle.  I’d been keeping an eye on the Webcam, and the peak looked pretty barren from snow:  (side note:  If you use this link, know the best time to view for clarity is around 3pm, and the bottom webcam is only updated once a week, the others usually every half hour).

I found several directions to the trailhead, but none of them were ‘exactly’ correct.  This is the exact route I took:

I25 South to Walsenburg, Exit 50 (the second 160) turn right

Continue on 160 for about 13 miles

Turn Left onto CO12

Continue on CO12 for 21.8 miles

Turn Left at Cordova Pass CR46

The trailhead is exactly 6 miles on the road, near the campground

The road in was a 2WD road, but iced over in a lot of areas, making it an easy 4WD road for this point in the year.  Just be careful:  there are 3-foot-deep drainages on either side of the road filled with snow so they look like they’re level with the road (but they’re not), and driving into one of those isn’t fun to get out of, even with a 4WD.  It was obvious many had made this mistake.


The trailhead is the West Peak Trailhead.  I parked here.  There are restrooms but they’re locked.  I was told to pay a fee, but all signage and fee envelopes (etc.) were gone, presumably closed for the winter.  I gathered my gear and started on the trail at 8am.


A few yards in I came upon a trail register.  The last entry was from December 28.  I was pretty sure I wouldn’t seen anyone else on the trail today.


I hiked for about a quarter mile before coming to a meadow.  I’d seen quite a bit of cow patties along the trail up to this point, and figured there were cattle in the area.  When I reached this meadow I thought I saw cows on the saddle ahead of me.  I made a mental note to look out for them, and stopped to put on my gloves and hat because I could hear the wind picking up.  The wind didn’t stop for the entire hike!

What I thought were cows ended up being bighorn sheep!  So cool!  They were a bit skittish and ran up and over the hill as soon as they saw me.


When I’d entered the meadow I thought I was out of the treeline, but the trail dipped back down and I walked for about 2 more miles through the trees.  Most of the path was clear, but there were a few snow covered areas.


This trail is super easy to follow the entire way to the summit.  There’s only one trail junction, and it’s clearly marked.


The trail is also very easy until you get to treeline, but make no mistake, most of those 2000+ feet in elevation occur during the last mile of this hike, so it is still quite a workout.  Once you hit treeline you turn right and see what’s ahead of you:


The trail follows the ridge on the left (but stay to the right while on the ridge).  It’s all loose rock until it becomes scree, and it’s straight up for over a mile.  Since there are so many rocks there are tons of cairns and the route is easy to follow.  About halfway up I saw a small wind break made out of rocks, which was filled with snow.  There was no other snow on the mountainside.


After hiking for what seems like forever you’ll come to a false summit, but it’s ok to be happy about it because the rest of the trail is very easy and is only about another 100 yards or so.  This was also the only spot I saw snow above treeline (besides in that small shelter).

10 False Summit

I was able to make that little bit of snow look like a lot of snow…


Here’s a view of East Spanish Peak from the summit of West Spanish Peak

12 East Spanish Peak

And photo proof I summited.  I started at 8am and summited at 9:45am.

13 WSP 13631

The summit was very windy and cold.  The weather predicted 38* with 15mph wind gusts, but those winds were actually closer to 20mph and sustained.  I didn’t spend much time on the summit before heading down.  Here’s a view of the ridge back down.  Crazy huh?  It’s January 5th and there’s no snow!!!  Check out those dry ski runs…


About halfway down I noticed a very small heart on a rock.  It was less than 2 inches in diameter, and randomly caught my eye.  At first I thought it was moss, but upon closer inspection noticed someone had painted it on the rock.  I have no idea why they did this, or why they chose this particular area:  it wasn’t on the main trail and it wasn’t very visible.  It made me happy to see it, and I took a picture of it before reminding myself LNT.  So, to the person who painted this, it made me happy, but it’s really not cool to do this stuff so please don’t do it again.


Here’s a photo of what it looks like when you get to treeline.  See that meadow in the middle?  That’s the one that I crossed that had the Bighorn Sheep.  The entire hike above treeline I kept that meadow in view in case I got lost (although this is such an easy, well maintained trail I didn’t foresee that happening).

16 Meadow in the middle

The hike back down went quickly.  When I reached the meadow again I looked for those sheep but didn’t see them.  Well, that is until I’d made it all the way across.  At that point I looked back and saw them about 100 yards away from me.  Never one to miss an opportunity, I backtracked and tried to get a few photos.  The wind was blowing towards me so I was able to sneak up on them pretty close before they saw me.  By pretty close I mean about 15 yards away.  I stood in the shade of a tree and tried to get photos of them before they noticed me and ran off (about 3 seconds).

17 SHeep 2

I continued on, and during the last part of the hike I actually saw a pair of birds.  They were about 10 inches long, much bigger than this picture suggests (I still need to identify them…)


I made it back to the trail register and signed out.


I reached my truck at 11:40am.  I hadn’t seen another person on this trail.  It’s funny how it usually takes me longer to hike down than hike up:  must be all that elevation training I do everyday…lol!




Wetterhorn Peak 14,015 and Matterhorn Peak 13,590

The weather today for just about every 14er in Colorado was
the same:  Windy.  I’m not a fan of wind gusts of 45+ mph (which
usually end up being around 85mph up on the peaks if we’re honest) but they’re
manageable if it’s a warm day.  I ruled
out any peak with snow on it because wind and snow don’t mix (as I learned last
week).  That left me with Wetterhorn Peak
for today’s 14er.  I checked the weather:  20% chance of snow and 100% chance of 25mph+
winds with gusts of 43mph.  Hmmmm.  That didn’t sound too promising.  Not bad, but not great.  I knew there wasn’t any snow on Wetterhorn,
so that was a plus.  I was just worried
it would get snow during the night/day and ruin the trip.  I didn’t want to drive 6 hours out there to
turn around.

I was musing all this to my kids when my youngest said “Mom,
you should just go.  You’ll never really
know the weather or if you can make it or not unless you try.”  She’s a smart 14 year old. (She must have an
amazing mom…).  I told her she was right,
and set my alarm for midnight.  Besides,
this would be my 33rd 14er and my 3rd class 3.  Lots of 3’s mean it’s meant to be, right?

The trailhead is easy to find/follow.  From this sign it’s really a 4WD road.  

I know others have posted it’s manageable in a 2WD, and I’m
sure it is for those amazing 2WD gods out there, but if you value your 2WD
vehicle, do NOT take it on this road.  However,
if you’re looking for a reason to get a new vehicle, by all means proceed.  Here are a few pics:

I made it to the trailhead at 5:30am and was on the trail by
5:45 (I drive fast).  There were 2 other
vehicles in the lot (I parked lower down).
There’s probably room for 15 vehicles total at the upper trailhead,
including parking about 10 yards below the lot.
Here’s what the trailhead looks like in the daytime.  The trail starts to the left of the trail

Note:  Most of these
pictures were taken on the way down because my fingers were too frozen to take
pictures on the way up.

The beginning of the hike was pretty uneventful.  (Another Note:  The summit ledger is full and the pen
provided doesn’t have any ink left.  Maybe
a hiker could bring new supplies with them?) It was just me hiking in the
dark.  The trail was wide, clear of snow,
with just a few muddy spots in areas.  It
was about 37 degrees, and there wasn’t any wind.  Yet.  

As soon as I hit treeline the wind began to blow, but it
wasn’t too powerful and it wasn’t cold outside, so it was bearable.  As the sun began to rise I noticed what
looked suspiciously like snow clouds on the mountains next to where I was
hiking.  Luckily the wind was blowing
them away from me.  It seemed like the
sun took an awful long time to rise this morning.  I passed a boulder field that was easy to
navigate but didn’t have any cairns?
This could be a problem in the winter.

The entire trail was very well maintained, all the way to
the ridge

I looked for the turnoff to Matterhorn Peak but never saw
it?  I did see this sign, which, despite
it’s name, does not go to Matterhorn Peak.

I could see a few hikers in front of me by their
flashlights.  They seemed far away, but I
quickly caught up with them.  They looked
really cold in their hoodies.  I was cold
in my snow clothes.  

At this time the sun began to rise and the temperature began
to drop as I hit the ridge and the wind picked up.  I still think Colorado Flag sunrises are

At the top of the ridge I could see most of the route
left.  This scree hill was insanely
slippery!  I could tell a lot of people
had chosen to just walk on the tundra.  I
put on my microspikes and braved the scree.

At the top of the scree hill I could see the path to the
summit (or part of it).  

It included a LOT of scrambling over a lot of rock walls/large
gullies/insanely tall boulders.  These
pictures just do not do them justice!

This part should have been fun for me (I love scrambling)
but the weather made it really difficult to find my way.  The wind was cold and intense.  I had to find a cave to shelter in to get out
my map, and taking my gloves off made my fingers freeze instantly.  I’d look at my map, put it away, put on my
gloves, head out to hike, and the terrain kept changing on me.  I even brought up the pictures on my
phone.  Nothing up close looked like the
pictures I had?  Well, every once in a
while they did, but not on a consistent basis.
I gave up and just followed the cairns.
Luckily there were a lot of them.

Did I mention the boulders were COLD?  My hands were frozen!  And it was pretty windy, so I didn’t want to
rest too long to appreciate the view.  I
just wanted to summit, and was thrilled when I did!

I could see Matterhorn Peak and Uncompaghre Peak in the

I took a selfie to prove I’d summited

And a quick 360 degree video

And headed back down.
I needed to get warm again.
Soon.  I was seriously worried
about two fingers on my left hand at this point that were solid and starting to
burn.  I kept trying to flex them to keep
the blood pumping but they wouldn’t move.
(No, not frostbite, I have Raynaud’s, so I’m overly susceptible to cold

Climbing down is different than climbing up, as your center
of gravity is off and you can see more of the exposure so it’s more mental.  I took my time, even though my fingers were
frozen.  I didn’t want to slip.

Just as I was finishing the climbing part of this hike I ran
into the three hikers again, getting ready to cross over the first obstacle.  

OK, time to book it back down in elevation to warm up these
fingers!  Luckily the sun was coming out
and the clouds all seemed to gravitate towards other peaks. It was still windy
though.  As I hiked back down I
contemplated Wetterhorn. She was beautiful!

Summiting had been really anti-climactic and I was trying to
figure out why?  I should have LOVED that
climb!  It must have been the
cold/wind.  I mentally tried to decide if
I was even up for hiking Matterhorn Peak today?
I went back and forth in my mind a few times, and told myself the
decision hinged on actually finding the trailhead and my fingers defrosting.  Oh, and warmer weather and less wind wouldn’t

As I descended into the basin and passed through the boulder
field there was a brief period where all wind stopped.  The silence was deafening.  I didn’t hear a bird, marmot, pika, airplane,
wind, etc.  Nothing.  I grew up in Southern California, and
directly before and after earthquakes everything becomes still (for different
reasons).  That’s what this felt
like:  The still before the chaos.  I hoped that wasn’t foreshadowing for the
hike ahead.  

I kept debating the whole Matterhorn Peak thing.  My fingers had finally defrosted, the wind
had died down a bit (but don’t let those photos fool you:  the wind was intense!) and I didn’t really
want to drive all the way back here to hike Matterhorn at a different time.  But I was tired, and I still wasn’t sure
where that trailhead was?  As I was
hiking I had a thought:  Could it be
here?  At the Ridgestock Driveway and
Wetterhorn Peak junction?  

That wasn’t in any of my notes, and didn’t really make sense
(shouldn’t it be at the Matterhorn trail junction where it wasn’t?).  But in the daylight it looked right.  I got out my altimeter.  Ugh!  I
was at 12,500’.  If I was going to do
this hike I was going to have to gain another 2000’ in elevation, after already
doing 3300’ this morning.  I was
tired.  Did I REALLY want to do
this?  I heard my daughter’s voice in my
head again: “Mom, you should just go.
You’ll never really know if you can make it or not unless you try.”

Before making the decision to hike Matterhorn Peak I decided
to see if this was actually the correct junction to take.  Then if it was I could either continue
hiking, or know for next time when I’d most likely be hiking in the dark.  I started up this hill.  It really did seem to go on a lot longer than
it looked like it should, and more than once I thought about stopping this
nonsense and heading back down the trail.
But I’m stubborn, so I continued on.

At the top of the hill the trail kind of split in two.  Left is the correct way to go

This is what I saw:  

I was intrigued.  What
I saw before me truly looked like fun.
Sure, I was tired, but this looked like FUN!  There was no trail, I’d get to make a trail
for the first time, and this looked totally doable!  I just needed to cross the stream and head
up!  I was in a basin, so it would be
difficult to get lost.  

I was in.  Since there
was no established trail I designed a plan:
I’d leave the trail, cross that little creek and hike straight up the
mountain (no sissy switchbacks for me, I wanted that elevation gain).  I looked at the entire mountain and visually
picked cues (rocks) to aim towards.  Here’s
the route I took:

Before heading out I turned around to get a good visual of
where I’d started from so I could return to the same spot.  I snapped a picture with my camera just in
case I forgot, and was off!

I told myself no looking back/down.  The elevation gain was indeed intense because
I just went straight up, but I kept making small goals and taking breaks when I
met them.  I took a lot more breaks than
I normally do.  As I got further up the
mountain I could see the rocky ridge above me, and made out two figures in the
center that looked to me like rabbits (think Easter Bunny Chocolate
Candy).  They were right in the middle of
the ridge, so that’s where I aimed.  

As I got closer they looked more and more like rabbits.  

I reached the rabbits and gave them my trekking pole for
safe keeping.  I trudged on.  I could see the summit in front of me.  

There was no clear path to the top, but I could clearly see
the peak and several routes I could take to summit.  There was a lot of easy scrambling (compared
to Wetterhorn this was a piece of cake!) and a very small summit.  So small I couldn’t get a summit selfie.  I straddled the summit and just sat there,
thinking about what I’d just done.  I’d
rocked that climb!  And check out my

I was surrounded by Uncompaghre, Wetterhorn, and the entire
mountain range.  I was in the middle of
it all, sitting on a peak, completely enjoying the experience.  I the sun and a huge smile on my face.  This was awesome!  This is why I’d come to hike today!  And guess what?  For the 15 minutes I was on Matterhorn Peak
the wind completely stopped.  I was warm,
could take off my gloves, and took a few pictures.  

I was happy.  I was
thrilled.  I felt accomplished and my
self esteem soared.  I love solo
hiking!!!  I spent about 15 minutes on
the summit, which is unheard of from me.
I usually summit, take pictures, and head back down to a lower elevation
to warm up.  However, it was now time to
head back.  I still had a 6 hour drive
home ahead of me.  I revisited the
rabbits, thanked them for watching my pole, looked for my point of reference
and headed back down the mountain.  

I kept looking for and finding my past reference points and
headed towards where I’d initially gone off the trail.  I must have done a really good job, because
about three quarters of the way back I started walking over the tracks I’d
initially made!  How crazy is that?  All those years of practicing orienteering
paid off!

I made it back across the creek, found the trail, and headed
back down the mountain. I was in a much better mood than when I’d started
today!  I was so glad I’d decided to come
hiking.  Matterhorn Peak is my new favorite