| G stands for: Great, Glamorous, Gorgeous, Glorious Gurlz!!!
Elevation Gain: 5,600'
The Glorious Gurlz: aliciaf, Birdie, Colorado29, HarknessHooligans, kara, lovskiing, mollykay, scramble, Upstate Hiker, waller19, Wildernessjane, Michelle, Maureen, Talai
Bill and Dave's Gurlz: Cookiehiker, EmmaM, ketel1, LuLuLuv, marciamallow, marie123, SilverLynx, Emily, Zolo
This year was a unique year for the Gurlz hike. We had an opportunity to surprise Bill on the summit of a peak for his finisher. I didn't want to choose it outright, so there had to be a poll to go through. Many ladies were torn, as they wanted to join the gurlz hike, but had already committed to Bill's finisher. The stars must have aligned, as Holy Cross was a peak that most gals needed on their peaks lists, so it won the poll, fairly. I warned them, but it was still the chosen peak this year!
So now the "fun" of planning a surprise hike was in the works. How to do it? Where to camp, when to start? I had it all down. We'd start 1.5 hours earlier, so we could hike as slowly as we needed. We'd camp lower down the Tigiwon road at another campsite, using a different group name for the sign. We'd even carpool to the trail head, so some of our more recognizable vehicles, like my truck, wouldn't be there. I even had spies on the inside, feeding me info on Bill's hike. Ahhh planning...
Then came the bad weather forecast. I'm guessing a lot of gals decided to not come because of it. I know I was leery that we would spend the day hiking in the rain and snow. Then as I was driving in to the campsite, Bill upped his start time to 6am. I had no way to warn those driving in in the morning, so no way to up our start time. So now that we had done our best to keep it secret, what happens will happen. On with the show!
We had 10 gals camping out at the old Tigiwon Community House campsite. It even had a water spigot, though I never tested it. It was enough off the road, that we could hide most of the vehicles. Many of Bill's group stopped and checked out our sign, and as it turns out, it fooled them all! Thanks lovskiing for putting it up! We had a small campfire as we got ourselves dinner and ready for an early bed, only disturbed by the bright moon.
The morning came early as I woke up an hour before my alarm. I made the rounds and made sure everyone was up. It was here that I found out the RiceSnob had to go back home. It was her 4th year trying to make it, and unfortunately family and work circumstances took her back again. Hopefully next year! We made it to the trail head, and immediately walked up the trail beyond the trees, so that we wouldn't disturb those at the trailhead. I was amazed at the number of gals that had showed up. With the forecast, I hadn't expected a total of 15 gals! So I handed out pink scarves and gloves and we got on our way in the chilly darkness.
15 gals start the trek in the dark
We took a break at the top of the pass, and we watched the sun rise on the peaks around us. The group was keeping together pretty well as lovskiing was taking lead and keeping a good pace. We did have a duo that was a bit behind due to health issues of one, but we gave them a radio, so we could communicate. Now that it was daylight, I figured navigation should be easier now, and we could have two separate groups.
Birdie and Michelle with the glowing orb rising behind the Gores
HarknessHooligans giving a curtsie
Sunrise on the 13ers on the pass
A great backgrop
Snowy face of Holy Cross in the morning
Eventually I knew, the vanguard of Bill's group would catch up to us eventually, and whatever secrecy had been, would be gone. They caught us as we were descending into the valley around the stream crossing. Now our two groups were more or less merged until the summit, and we all went our own pace as we went up the steep grunt to the summit.
The snow started a little above treeline, probably at 12,000-12,500', and got progressively deeper as we went higher (maybe a few inches tops). Not too bad, some microspikes were applied to feet, as well as gaiters. The snow never got too bad, and even made everything much prettier!
The long ridge up
Applying snow gear to feet. Wish I hadn't forgotten mine!
I worked my way up the line of gals, to make sure everyone was doing well, and so that I could get photos of them as they hiked up.
Yet another great backdrop
scramble hiking in a dance dress
I didn't make the summit before Wildernessjane or lovskiing, but I caught up to everyone else, so I could get some photos of them topping out, and to cheer them on.
Colorado29 and Birdie summitting
HarnessHooligans celebrating the top!
Talai making the top
While we waited for the last 2 of the gurlz and the 2 finishers, there was quite some fun to be had. So beware the shots of visual pepto bismol start now....
HarknessHooligans and yours truly, showing off our PINK
Girls who are boys, Who like boys to be girls (Blur - Girls and Boys)
Pano of the summit party - Photo Credit: HarknessHooligans
Eventually the party started as Dave and Zolo showed up on the summit, as well as Bill and the final ladies. Then the picture extravaganza began!
Dave and Zolo summitting
The Brat Pack awaits....
Upstate Hiker and waller19 complete the gurlz on top!
Your 2012 Gurlz
Bill's dream comes true!
I think the gurlz outnumbered the boyz on the summit...
Soon enough, we had to leave the summit party behind. Most of Bill's group was going to do Halo Ridge. It would have been nice to go a different route, but I wanted to make sure none of the Gspot hike got lost in the Burmuda Triangle of 14ers, so down the standard route we went. Much easier to talk on the way down without having to breathe so hard. So I was able to catch up and talk with a bunch along the way.
Descending with the summit behind
Not quite skiable, yet
A lone pretty aspen tree.
I want to thank each and every gal that showed up for the hike. Your smiles and enthusiasm during the day makes all the planning and prep so worth it! Every year I stress over the secrecy (as secrecy is safety in a world of stalkers and creeps), as well as the weather, health and safety of all the gals. So to see everyone have so much fun, makes this one of the most enjoyable hikes of the year!
Next year.... I'm thinking Sept 14/15, mark your calendars! Hopefully after the monsoons and before the snow.
I've posted up my other photos here:
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):