*Disclaimer* I have Huron tagged but did not summit. I do find this will be useful for Huron Peak hikers though.
Start Time: 2:02 AM
Belford Summit: 4:35 AM
Left Belford Summit: 4:41 AM
Oxford Summit: 5:18 AM (37 minutes from Belford)
Left Oxford Summit 5:40 AM
Belford Re-Summit 6:12 AM (32 minutes from Oxford)
Missouri Summit 7:45 AM
Back to Missouri Gulch TH: 10:10 AM
Left from Huron 2WD TH: 11:00 AM
Arrived at Huron 4WD TH: 11:22 AM
Found out I was on wrong trail: 11:45 AM
Started up Huron Trail: 12:00 PM
Lost track of time, failed to ascend Huron back on highway by 2:30
Total Time: ~12 hours
Distance: 25 Miles
Elevation Gain: ~9300'
Left Golden at 2:30pm, arrived at the trailhead around 5, prepared pack, ate a boat load of pizza and went to bed at 6pm.
I slept soundly in my car until sometime after dark 2 dudes pull up right beside me and start to prepare their camping stuff. No big deal, I'll just put a hat over my eyes. Then they crank their music, no big deal I'll put in ear plugs. They leave, but must have forgotten something because they came back around 30 minutes later and started cranking their tunes again. Argh!
Woke up @ 1:30, on the trail by 2. Saw a black bear and unzipped my coat to use as wings and said many mean things to the bear. The bear couldn't handle my verbal thrashing of his character so it ran off. It was a pretty wimpy bear actually. It was dark and I couldn't grab a picture but it looked something like this:
Not going to lie though, this freaked me out until I got above tree line.
Got to Belford pretty slowly, then I got some energy and ran to Oxford and back a bit quicker. Then the sun came out and I could see Missouri.
Oxford as seen from Belford
Many people suggest going to the South of the traverse then regaining the ridge. NO NO NO! there is probably a way to do this, but I dropped down to about 500' above the lake once the climbing got bad and it was a loose steep scree field back up to Missouri. If this is fun for you give it a shot otherwise just descend to Elkhand pass on the NORTH of the Missouri saddle.
The route I took; NOT recommended!
I finally got to the Missouri summit by 7:45 AM, and stretched, got some food and descended.
The easy part - Belford Oxford Missouri
Missouri Looking North and West
Missouri Looking South and West
My plan was to descend the West side down to Clohesy lake then ascend the East side of Huron, but I could not for the life of me find the descent route off the West side. I thought that it gained the ridge at the same point as the Missouri Gulch trail, which it does according to the route description, but I could not see any sign of a trail, I spent another 20 minutes half regaining the summit of Missouri looking for this but could not see any trail anywhere on the West side.
Looking at the route description I don't think there really is one. If you want to do the Missouri West ridge I highly recommend a GPS with Bill's .gpx file. (this may be easier if you had ascended this way)
My next idea was to go back to my car and then drive as far as I could to the Huron TH and then thumb a ride to Huron.
Fall Colors on Missouri Gulch descent
I got down to my car quickly and downed some more pizza, refilled my camelback, iced my knees and pondered if I wanted to just call it a day. After a bit of a break I decided to head for the Huron TH. I parked at the 2WD trailhead and ran up the 4WD road.
I was running so fast that I did not notice the Huron trail was not the main trail at this trailhead. I started becoming concerned that I was on the incorrect trail because I saw no one on it (I figured a 14er trail on a weekend would be pretty busy) I ran back to a group who I passed, and they reassured me that it was the Huron trail and I should keep going. A few miles up the Apostle Basin trail and I was certain I was lost.
If you see this you've gone way too far
By the time I had ran back to the Huron TH I was incredibly sore from running all day (I had done almost a marathon's worth of running up to then). I started up the Huron TH, popped an ibuprofen and a gel packet, but the soreness did not subside. After getting to treeline I decided to turn around and limped back down to my car.
2 guys gave my a ride the last mile or so which I was really appreciative of because my limp got progressively worse.
I wanted to do these 4 in one day to test my limits. They were certainly tested and I know my limits now. I couldn't blame my lack of success on anyone but myself this time, my knees are simply not that strong. The only disappointing thing is that if I had taken the actual Huron trail I would have made it to the top of Huron instead of almost gotten to the 3 apostles.
I wanted Huron so badly. Honestly I was very tearful when I had to turn back and was incredibly upset with myself. I started blaming other factors in my life for my failure but finally accepted that the problem was with me. This was a very humbling experience for me, but healthy for me to finally experience. I truly gave it my best shot though, and can return next summer to redeem myself with a LaPlata to Huron marathon. I will be training hard in the mean time as I really do not want this to happen to me again.