Anyway, when SAR woke us up, they were really looking for their tent and not the tent of the person who called SAR like Dom thought. So that was the rescue operation and we congratulate the SAR, as well as the three guys who helped, on a job well-done.
Dom and I made it back down to camp around 1pm. Dom had set the waypoint from the campsite and told me we had hiked 4.7 miles with approximately 3,500ft elevation gain. Those are the benefits of killing yourself the day before. I will say that on coming down Humboldt, I could feel one of my traps going numb from my pack even though the weight was much more reduced. For that much weight, it is imperative to have a frame in your pack. Take my lesson to heart and do not lug that much weight with a day pack.
We got to camp I chilled out and after 30 minutes or so, I realized that people were coming out of other campsites to look at ours. We had two bighorn sheep checking us out. These animals are awesome to watch as they effortlessly bound over rock.
While we were hanging out, Greg from earlier plodded into camp and let us know of his day. It sounded harrowing. Greg had nabbed six 14ers (easy ones) before attempting the Needle. He had gone solo and did not seem to have much knowledge of the route. He had gotten up to 13,500ft and had been enveloped in clouds and got jaded. He said the cairns up there were confusing and believe you me, Crestone Needle is not one to be confused on.
Greg said he bailed even though he was close to the summit. He actually said, “I am happy to just be here right now.” For second time, the gravity of these peaks hit me. We are allotted a small window, so I hope you pick yours well.
After that, Dom started setting up his fly fishing rod. We headed out to one of the South Colony Lakes and we arrived at the right time. Dom got a hit and nabbed a 11-13inch Cutthroat Trout on the second cast. Money! I tried my hand casting a fly reel, but boy was it difficult. Patience and consistency are definitely needed. Dom started casting for me (he had caught a few other fish after the initial), and it was hard to see the fly. I learned why fly fishing is so hard as the fly has to land a certain way on the lake when you cast, meaning that wind greatly decreases your chances of landing a fish. When you see the insects buzzing around the lake, you know you are good. I got 2-3 hits but was not quick enough to pull on the rod and the line in time. Knowing the fly’s location is crucial.
I did not catch a fish and we headed back to camp to cook and chow down. We started a small, very controlled fire and had some sips of Bacardi and Coke we had packed in. It was a great ending to an interesting weekend in the mountains. Most of the time, the summit overshadows everything else but not this time. The Crestones are not to be trifled with…we will be coming back.
Related – Transylvania: The Land Beyond the Forest
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