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The Strange Team Hiking Quandary PeakThere’s nothing like doing something you like to do and having friends join you.  Especially when what you like to do is see the view from the top of the world.  About 3 years ago I decided that a good way to connect with friends, associates and to meet new friends would be to do something I enjoy and invite them to come along. Being a Colorado resident the obvious bucket list item was to climb a 14’er. We started 3 years ago with Grays, last year was Mt. Bierstadt and this year it was Quandary Peak.

Most of us came from the Denver area so we met at I70 and exit 259 at the park and ride (T-Rex lot) to caravan to the trailhead. There were 11 of us and we had plans to meet another six in Breckenridge. We gathered everyone and started on the trailhead at 9am. I realize it’s a little late (although to sell a gathering like this it takes some caressing) so a little later start was required.

Before getting started we missed the turn (the driver was pretty excited and drove by the obvious sign indicating where the trailhead was) and headed down 850 to the lake. This is worth a visit. There’s a cool stream that runs from the lake through the valley. On this road we came across some goats that we believe we saw again on the trail to the summit.

We had a good mix of seasoned hikers, some have hiked before and several were doing this for the first time (one of which was my 9-year-old son). The trail starts out with a pretty good incline through a forest. The trail is very well marked and is a nice treat with some interesting sights. There was lots of cool fallen trees and some great meadows. The first break in the trees is in a meadow of sorts with some breathtaking views of the valley and neighboring peaks. After seemingly forever we peaked above the tree line. The path remained relatively easy to see. Several large rock piles help guide the way as the path does look a little worn in some places.
The rock path goes on forever until you reach the ridge separating the last pitch to the summit. A slower pace would lend this segment to another hour of hiking. This is where we were greeted by a tribe (I googled this Wink ) of goats. There were several babies and they were pretty docile. I saw a marmot on the trip as well as numerous pikas (mouse like creatures).

Of the 17 that joined us 14 summited. My 9 year old was one of them. He managed pretty well and he’s pretty athletic. We did experience some rain and heard thunder. We made out after getting a good looking storm that came from behind the peak that only brough rain and not lightning.

Sunday traffic in the afternoon is not ideal so instead of heading down I-70 we  went down CO Road 9 to HWY 85 going through Fairplay and Bailey and made it back in less than 2 hours. The folks that went down I70 said they got stuck in painfully slow traffic.

With a large group like this the fastest of us made it to the top in 3 hours and the longest time on trail had our last group down around 4pm. All in all it was another great experience and I look forward to it again next year.

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