Argentine Pk - 13,738 feet
Edwards, Mt - 13,850 feet
Argentine Pk - 13,738 feet
Edwards, Mt - 13,850 feet
|Argentine, Edwards, some goats, wind, and a sunrise|
The Short of it:
The Long of it:
Argentine Pass trail is easy to follow - it's wonderful to have a trail after multiple weeks of 13ers without one! I love that aspect however sometimes it's nice to be able to turn off your brain a bit, tilt your headlamp, and just go. We really only used the headlamps part of the time too because of how bright the moon was. The sky was so clear! I even saw a few shooting stars above the dark outlines of the mountains. The wind hadn't picked up yet, and it was magical.
The first faint colors are peaking over the horizon as we reach the top of Argentine Pass/the saddle between Edwards and Argentine. We turn right and head towards the summit over a few bumps, determined to reach the summit before the sun made its appearance. There are bits of a trail every so often but otherwise, it's back to typical 13er - know your route and go for it. We bypassed most of the bumps and went to the side of them rather than over the top. The wind was in full force at this point, and that was a nice reprieve.
As the sun looks like it's about to peak over the horizon - I make it to the summit with a minute to spare. Trevor has slowed down to take photos - I can almost hear him wanting to sing the Lion King songs with the sun rising.
The sunrise was incredible. The low-clouds had set over Denver, so it was like looking over an ocean. The moonset behind combined with the reflected sunrise colors were not to be beat.
The wind was unbearable by this point. The rock shelter at the summit was a short wall and didn't provide much relief. Even in gloves my hands were freezing, so I can't imagine how bad Trevor's hands were (whose gloves were on his kitchen table in Gypsum - a bit too far to go to be able to use them that morning). So, we decided to head back down - at least moving with wind helps keep you a tiny bit warmer? Maybe? Jury's still out.
Trevor had already climbed Mt. Edwards, so we parted ways at the saddle - he was heading home (and probably to find a warm cup of caffeine), while I was heading up the second peak of the day. He left with a call of "Enjoy Edwards!" and after he turned around I heard him say "f'ing burr!". I couldn't have said it better myself. The wind was still strong.
This was such a nicely cairned route with a trail almost the whole way! There were some slight ups and downs en route but nothing that would slow you down significantly or cause pause. Per usual, the route looks longer than it actually is and goes by quickly.
I was only going to take some pictures on the summit then head down - I wanted this side trip to be an hour RT, but, alas, I got distracted watching the ant-train of folks head up Grays and Torreys. They really are huge, magnificent mountains - I just prefer the solitude of the mountains less traveled. The wind on the route wasn't too bad but it picked up on the summit. I was ready to head home.
After 10 minutes or so, I was on my way down at a nice pace. I'm turn down Argentine Pass at the mark and make my way down the trail. Then there they were - the goats. There was evidence of them all over the mountains - lots of fur, poop, some musky smell - everywhere. But no goats. I now have found the goats - a momma and a baby to be exact. And I love seeing wildlife - I was super excited to see the goats! Then I realized they were blocking my route.
I know what to do with bears and some other wild animals but in the past goats have always just moved along and carried on their merry way. So, unfortunately I wasn't exactly sure what to do with goats and felt silly for not knowing. These two did not carry on their merry way. These two kept eating. They were LOVING whatever they were eating. They kept digging at it and going after it.
I kept inching closer, making noise, my bell on my pack clanking away - hoping the noise and my approach would cause them to scurry off the path. They looked at me with their beedy eyes and kept eating. Then watching me. Then eating. Then the momma didn't stop looking at me. By this point I was sitting down just minding my own business because I'm not about to walk RIGHT BY a momma and baby pair that are on the trail. No way above or below them either - I tried. It was loose and steep, and that would've caused more issues (and I didn't want to fall or hurt myself or cause rockfall down on the goats). Not worth it.
Then momma walked up the path toward me. I walked back up too and looked back, she was still coming ... so I kept going... then she stopped, looked at me to make sure I was looking at her, then she peed to mark her territory. Then went back down to baby and kept eating. So I found some more stable rocks and sat. And waited.
They then both walked up a bit, so I scrambled up on some more sturdy rocks (thank goodness there were some sturdy ones right there!). They stopped below me. They kept an eye on me the whole time then ate. Right below me. I inched farther away in hopes of being able to reach the trail segment they had come from. Every time a rock moved or fell they looked. I turned around and only baby was on the trail - momma had hopped up on the rocks behind me. At that point I skidaddled and shot down to the trail, causing some rock movement. Oh well. I didn't want to be there anymore and left.
I passed a couple of folks with some dogs not far past the goats, so I let them know what was around the corner - adorable momma and baby goat but they're territorial. I realize there were probably other ways I could have handled the goat situation. But I didn't know and didn't want to risk it - not with a momma anyway... they are their own breed! I should probably figure out what to do with mountain goats now that I know they don't generally "shoo" on their own as I have always encountered.
The way down was uneventful. Since we did the hike in the moonlight, it was nice to see the views and plentiful wildflowers in the mid-morning sun. They were all over and gorgeous - I just love how these flowers stand out against the background.
From the below pictures you maybe able to see a couple walking on the trail - this picture looks back on the slope and Edwards in the corner.
Old mines are always cool to see, as well, so of course I took a final picture near the parking area before taking off! Also - the water on the creek is so icy blue/clear! I haven't seen anything like that in the Rockies before (at least that I can recall). I don't know what causes it to look like that, but I was mesmerized. Plus, being able to cross on such a wonderful bridge is a treat! No wet feet here!
Overall, this was a wonderful morning and climb of 2 different 13ers. Sure there was the goat incident, but there are worse ways I could spend 45 minutes. Sitting on the side of a mountain, without anybody but goats around, enjoying the views - can't beat that!
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
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