The third day of our hiking exploits took us up to Birthday Peak. We drove the dirt road trail up to the trailhead after taking the long drive from Denver, CO. Some fires had closed the road in that direction so we were detoured which made the trip even longer. The forecasts called for some storms in the afternoon so we wanted to get up and get down as quickly as possible.
Birthday Peak was always the peak that I was excited to do because of the name and the fact it required some off trail hiking which is what I enjoy. 🙂 It takes me back to my military days. We started the hike which started off relatively easy. There was an awful smell about 3.5 miles into the hike. We saw a sign that said a dead horse was on the trail and authorities had been notified. We didn't see the horse but the stench was pretty bad. We crossed the creek and continued onward.
We finally got to the section where we went off-trail. Luckily I had previous military SAR training because there wasn't much of a trail through the brush. It was a lot of fun and Mr. Hester's advice of following the creek up worked as well. We finally reached the clearing and saw the saddle. We headed for the saddle and got to the boulder scrambling section.
It was very intimidating and the rocks do move a bit so testing them first is very important but it was worth it once we saw the beautiful Colorado vista for 360 degrees. There was a cool breeze. We found the summit register and Mr. Hester's signature so we added ours as well.
We noted that the dark clouds were coming so we didn't spend much time at the top because the rock scramble down was a bit more difficult and slippery. I enjoyed a nice slide down the mountain scree for about 30 feet which was accidental at first but decided it was easier to just continue the slide. My girlfriend was a lot more careful so she made it down without any slides. Haha. Wasn't injured but I was a lot more careful from that point on. We decided to head down the same way since it was getting darker.
We finished the 3rd peak and about 1 hour later we had our 1st Colorado storm on the long drive back to Denver which was an experience in itself. We later read the weather forecasts and it appeared our quest for 6 was cut short because snow and rain at the higher elevation peaks of Grays, Horseshoe, and Sherman had got some snow. It was also forecasted that the temperatures would be below freezing that night. The long dirt trails would be muddy so we decided to switch from being hikers to tourists.
We did enjoy the rest of our trip and still added the summits of Prospect Mountain in Estes Park (Aerial Tramway and short hike to summit), Pikes Peak (Van tour up and bike ride down 19.5 miles). Bike Ride down was an awesome experience, Castle Rock (Short hike of 1.5 miles round trip with some rock scrambling) and Lookout Mountain (Drive up to Buffalo Bill's burial plot with some Root-beer floats on a hot day).