Sunday, April 28, 2013

Midland Hill Anniversary Hike

Shavano, Tabegauche, Antero all 14ers

In celebration of our 8th anniversary Kristi and I decided to make a weekend trip to Buena Vista, Colorado.  The locals just refer to Buena Vista as BV so I will do the same.  BV is about a 2.5 hour drive from Denver, and it is a place Kristi had not previously been.  I have been over there twice while climbing Mount Princeton and Mount Yale.  We found a couple breweries to check out and made plans for a Saturday and Sunday in the BV area.
When we first arrived we pulled off of HWY 24 into a viewing location; I posted many of these pictures on FB, so a lot of these from the trip report will be re-runs.  While we were at the view point we found out some info on hiking and I decided Midland Hill would make for a nice morning hike for the next day. 
Somehow I had convinced Kristi to go on this hike.  I was glad but knew it would be tough for her since the vertical gain of 1,600ft was so high.  It was going to be a challenge but I was just happy to get her out hiking with me.
We checked out of the hotel around 9ish and made our way to the Arkansas River where the trail started.  This was a really neat area, most likely dominated by rafters, kayakers and fisherman when the seasons are right.  There are a slew of trails and I didn’t have a good idea of the most direct trail so we just started heading up.
Mount Yale
The trail was well maintained so it made a good day for using my new trail runners.  I’d have to say they worked great; it’s nice not having those big heavy boots on my feet.  We soon found out the trail I selected was not the best of choices since it took us to the north.  After about 300ft of gain we hit a county road and had to make our way south on it to connect with trial 6032.  Not that big of a deal but it probably added a quarter mile to half mile to the overall mileage.
Me Enjoying the View
After crossing the county road the trail gets pretty vertical.  Midland Hill looms just above you for quite a while.  The switchbacks make quick work of the elevation and Kristi didn’t care for them too much.  We made our way up slowly, which gave me a good chance to take in the sights of the huge mountains all around us.  As we got near the saddle Kristi decided to stay there while I ran up to the summit.  And I actually did run, so I got in a hell of a trail run in today as well.
From the saddle I made the summit in 5-10minutes.  The view was one of the best I’ve had yet in Colorado.  There was a tall flag staff on the top, so I had to take a few pictures of it with the 14ers looming behind.  I made it a quick stop, just a minute or two then made my trail run back down to where Kristi was waiting.
As I sat and enjoyed my post-summit beer a couple other hikers made their way by.  Up till now those were the first people we ran into today.  This was a nice change from the crowds we get around Denver.  We made a slow descent with the slippery pebbles from the sand stone rocks, but made good time overall.
It was a fun trip for me, a harder trip for Kristi.  I was pleased to see her out of her comfort zone and look forward to getting her up on more mountains with me as we keep exploring Colorado together.
GPS Track
Date: 4/28/2013
Starting Elevation:  7,920ft 
Midland Hill Summit: 9,556ft
Total Gained Elevation: 1,636ft
Distance: 5.20 miles
Time: 2:33 moving, 1:01 stopped
Partners: Kristi

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