|The small, but pristine Chalk Lake. It is spring fed and loaded with fish.|
|A challenge was made, and the race was on!|
|The scramble up the boulders ended up being much steeper than we thought it would be!|
|Zoe led the charge and I couldn't keep up with her!|
The trailhead for Agnes Vaille Falls was right across the street from the campground. It's only a half mile hike, so you can expect a packed parking lot when you arrive.
Sadly, we learned Agnes Vaille was an avid outdoorswomen who died after falling 100' during a winter ascent of Longs Peak in 1925. She actually survived the fall, but succumb to hypothermia before she could be rescued! That was definitely a downer as we started the short hike. Interestingly, the shelter on Longs just below the Keyhole is also named after Agnes Vaille.
|Once again, Zoe was full steam ahead.|
If you have a good 4X4 vehicle, you can drive 3+ miles up a very rough jeep road and get much closer to treeline. I wanted to run it and make it about a 18 mile outing (inc. the road back to the campground).
|The first hints of fall colors. Climbing Antero means OHV roads all the way to 13,700'. It all very runnable.|
|The last time I hiked Antero, my buddy James & I drove my truck across this creek. This day I hopped the rocks.|
|Around 11,000', the Aspens were exploding.|
|Same trees but a little closer.|
|I had originally intended to tag Cronin Peak before Antero, but I couldn't find the trail over to the north ridge.|
|A good look at Antero's summit from above treeline.|
|Cronin Peak was named for Mary Cronin, who was the first woman to climb all CO 14ers in 1921.|
|At 13,100', I finally noticed just how spectacular the clouds were this day.|
|From here you can easily climb the SE ridge of Cronin Peak, but I would have to pass on it as my time was running out.|
|Now at 13,700', this is the end of the road for the OHV's.|
|I thought I'd document the time it took me to get this far. 2:01. I was feeling great and ready to make a strong push to the summit.|
|After crossing the ridge, I plowed my way up the talus. It was quite shifty and I couldn't follow any defined trail.|
|Looking back on the ridge.|
|Yeah! Only 17 mins to the summit!|
After introductions, I learned my summit companion was Bob Whitely, 20 time finisher of the Pikes Peak Marathon! He's a 68 year old hiking and running machine...and a really nice guy. We spent over thirty minutes on the summit talking and enjoying the views. He was getting in a last long run in preparation for Imogene this weekend.
|The Chalk Cliffs. I learned they're not actually chalk.|
|Mts. Tabegauche & Shavano.|
|View to the west, Baldwin Gulch, Cronin Peak, and the Antero switchbacks.|
|Mt. Princeton and the Sawatch Range to the north.|
|Thanks for the summit shot Bob!|
|Funky cloud over Shavano.|
|The jeep roads were unforgiving at times.|
|But catching this clump of gold again on the return trip reminded me of how lucky I was to be in the high country.|
|Getting the last bit of life out of my gnawed on Hokas. 963 miles and still going.|