Two weekends ago, N and myself, along with newlyweds J and C, drove down to Lake City and then American Basin to climb Handies Peak (14,048 ft). Fans of Cannibal! The Musical should know that Lake City is where Alferd Packer turned up after his gruesome winter picnic. This was my first 14er from the San Juan Range. Unfortunately my camera's batteries were dead, so these pictures are from either N's camera or my phone.
Our approach was from American Basin, which, like nearby Yankee Boy Basin, is a big open area ringed in by mountains. Here it is with the sun rising:
As the sun came up, we were reminded of R's immortal description of Iceland: "It reminds me of Brecon." However, it reminded us of Iceland!
There's a pretty glacial lake called Sloan's Lake at the base of American Peak. It looked pretty cold.
We hiked from there up to a saddle and sat to have a snack. There were lots and lots of flies.
N and I at the saddle.
From the saddle it was quite a short and quick climb up to the summit. C and I stopped halfway to talk about geology and then carried on, arriving a few minutes after N and J. There we met a friendly puppy.
J and N on the top, with canine friend.
Aww, N makes a friend.
Views from the top... it was a beautiful day.
Trying to cover the horrible red line left by N's hat.
Back down into the basin, there were tons of gorgeous wildflowers.
And that was our Handies Peak trip. It took much longer to drive there than to climb it -- it was probably the easiest 14er I've ever climbed and the hike was very quick and easy. I started off thinking I should pace myself and was surprised when we got to the saddle and were so close to the top. However, despite the ease of the hike, we were rewarded with amazing views and all of these incredible wildflowers. All in all, a fun day!