Yesterday morning, my roommate, Amy and I decided to head up into the La Sal Mountains so we could soak in the beautiful fall colors, get a little loopy from the altitude, and get our butts off the couch in the house. We planned a hike up Mann’s Peak, the fifth highest peak in the La Sals, at 12,272 feet. We packed a few maps, some snacks, plenty of warm layers and coffee and headed up the road.
Not only are the aspen trees gorgeous at this time of year up there, buts its been snowing a little bit the past few nights, and once we got up into the spruce forest, the dusting of snow on the ground was just additional eye candy. The drive was a bit long, but not bad, and luckily we were driving a 4WD truck.
Once we parked the truck, we had a beautiful view of Mann’s peak, and to our delight, it was covered in snow. There seemed to be some clouds rolling in, so we got on the trail as quickly as we could. There were tons of mountain bikers we had to share it with, as a 25 mile ride called the Whole Enchilada happens to start at the same place. We set a pretty casual pace, and made it to about 500 feet below the summit when we decided to turn around. This seems to be a theme thats recently developed on my hiking adventures. There was some weather moving in, the clouds had been building fast, the temperature was dropping, and we were slightly unprepared to hike on snow-covered talus the rest of the way up. It turned out to be a good decision, as two minutes later, when I turned around to take a picture of the peak, it was completely covered in clouds.
Although we didn’t summit, we now know that it wouldn’t take that long to make it up there (our total hiking time clocked in at about two hours and fifteen minutes), we decided that next time we would drive up the night before, camp out in the back of the truck and get a really early start, when the mountains tend to be clearest.