#57: A Massive Detour (14,421') Mon Sept 26- Tue Sept 27.
Throughout this project, I have learned how to adjust a plan for anything that might be thrown in my way. Monday afternoon was no different. This time it wasn't mother nature, or a bear attack, a lightning strike, or anything else.
Instead, it was a road closure to Tigiwon that had to be dealt with. Peak #57 was supposed to be Holy Cross.
At 2pm I was prepared and off, riding my Brother Jared's motor-bike towards the Tigiwon TH, because recent reports had indicated that the road leading to Holy Cross' trailhead was closed to everything except Mountain Bikes, Hikers, and motorcycles.
At 230pm, I arrived at a closed gate and was greeted by Ken Cunning, a local US Forest Service Officer Ranger. We had a nice chat about the state of the logging, but he unfortunately wasn't going to let me ride my Motorcycle up the Tigiwon road. I might have softened him up a little becuase I was able to talk about my projec tand growing up in the valley, but it wasn't enough, I was still denied access on my motorcycle.
This could have been devastating for the finishing of this project, but I quickly improvised. It was approaching 3pm and I had to act fast. There was no way I could make it back to Edwards with my brothers Motorcycle and grab my Truck in order to get to the Massive Trailhead in time. It was also too late in the day to go back for my Bike to try and take it up Tigiwon to Holy Cross.
I immediately turned the dirt-bike up Hwy 24, up and over Battle Mtn. Pass, Tennesse Pass, behind Leadville on Some dirt roads, and before 4pm I was within minutes of the North Halfmoon trailhead and easy access up a dirt road to the trail leading up the East side of Massive.
I locked up the motorcycle around some trees, and by 430 was headed up the peak via N. Halfmoon. The east side of Massive is wild, rugged, and remote. The trailhead is at roughly 10,600', which means that in a little less than 3.5 miles, I would gain almost 4,000 vertical feet and arrive on the summit of Massive before sunset. I had to put the hammer down yet again!
Once leaving the Valley, the trail switch-backed up the east slopes of the peak, and the views just got better and better.
By 620pm I was on the summit ridge, and also keeping tabs on a small set of storms stretching over Mt Elbert and the rest of the Sawatch to the south.
Everything appeared to be moving east, and after i set up my tent, I got some dramatic photos. Not only were the fall colors getting good, but the nearby storm was a nice touch of color and danger that kept me on guard the entire evening.
Although this was supposed to be Holy Cross, my detour led me to the 2nd highest peak in Colorado and I was loving every minute of it.
Once the sun set I was treated to awesome colors,bright stars and a windless night.
In the morning I got some more great pictures, and couldn't believe I only had one peak to go.
I would descend to the valley, pick up the motorcycle, ride back to the Vail area and leave immediately with my Mtn. Bike to try and make it up Holy Cross for the finisher. The awesome fall weather continues!