Tag Archives: Mount Yale

Days 12 to 18: Climbing and biking in Sawatch Range


Day 12: Mount Yale to Mount Princeton

On Tuesday I left my campsite at the base of Mount Yale, headed down Cottonwood Pass to Buena Vista, and then headed back into the Sawatch Range farther south to make another camp near Mount Princeton. The ride into town was a breeze–12 paved miles nearly all downhill. I stopped at Bongo Billy’s cafe for some food and an internet connection so I could do a little research on my route and post some photos. The day started out with some high clouds and that seemed to suppress the mountain convection for a while, but now that it’s mid-afternoon, thunder is starting to rumble in the mountains above me.

I’m camped along the Colorado Trail, a hiking path that runs from Denver to Durango, nearly 500 miles. I’ve mountain biked a good chunk of the trail near Denver and it’s one of the greatest rides I’ve ever experienced. Out here, some of the trail is in wilderness so bikes are verboten but from where I’m camped it looks like I can ride in either direction. A few people actually mountain bike the whole Colorado Trail every summer, taking established detours around the wilderness areas, but I think it would be really tough with a BOB trailer.

I once had visions of biking the Colorado Trail rather than the Great Divide Mountain Biking Route, but that all changed after I went to hear two guys talk about their mountain biking odyssey on the Colorado Trail at an REI event. They were using on-bike panniers and still spent a ton of time walking/pushing their bikes, which doesn’t sound like any fun at all. So tomorrow I’ll unhitch BOB and do a little exploring on the Colorado Trail, maybe staying here a second night to do some more riding, or moving farther down the range toward Salida.

While I was riding from Buena Vista to my campsite, along Chalk Creek, I came upon a guy with a bicycle who was pushing it down the middle of the road–right along the yellow line of the county highway. When I got closer I saw it was a young man, maybe in his early 20s. I never got his name, but he said he was biking from Denver to Phoenix. He’d left Denver that morning at 4:30am and hitchhiked a good part of the way, and with good reason: his bike was a total beater, looking like something you’d pick up at a yard sale for $50. He was wearing a big backpack and had a spare tire slung around his torso but he didn’t seem to really know where he was going. He was just following his iPhone and headed to Gunnison. We came to a hill and I left him in the dust because he’s unable to shift into lower gears, and then our paths diverged. i wished him good luck but he just rode away without saying anything.
. . .
Well now I’m the tent because those far off rumblings of thunder got louder and it started to rain. It’s been pouring, even a little hail, over the past 20 minutes but so far I’m keeping dry. I’m using my Sierra Designs backpacking tent, which I bought in 1992, right after graduating college. Twenty years and hundreds of nights spent inside this thing and it’s still doing great. I’ve sent it back to Sierra Designs a few times over the years to have zippers replaced and fabric patched, and they’ve always done it promptly and for free. Definitely got my money’s worth out of this thing.

As expected, yesterday’s hike has left me pretty sore, mostly in the upper thighs and hip area. But when I jumped on the bike this morning, I didn’t really feel it in my legs. The same thing happened to me on my 1994 cross-country bike trip, from Seattle to Washington, DC. After 2 months of riding around 75 miles a day, a bunch of us went for a short hike around Harper’s Ferry, up to where you could see the rivers and town below. Didn’t seem like much, but the next day or two my legs were aching.

Day 13: Mount Princeton to Mount Shavano

Today was tough. I wanted to make camp near the trailhead for Mount Shavano and Mount Tabaguache, which I’m planing to climb tomorrow, but in the late morning I was all the way down at the Arkansas River, pedaling on Highway 285, about 2,500 feet below where I was heading. I knew getting up here would be difficult and entail a long climb, but this one really kicked my butt. The last 7 miles were on a dirt/gravel road that was really loose, washboarded, and virtually all uphill.

It was a dry day, with just a few fair weather clouds over the mountains, and that meant making the long haul into the Sawatch Range with the sun beating down on me at midday. At lower elevations, this is a pretty dry environment, almost a high desert, and it took me a long time to leave the stubby junipers and pinions and reach the taller pines and aspens. This would have been a challenging hill to climb if the road were paved, but the sandy, rocky nature of the route made it so much harder. I think I was getting dehydrated by the end, and also nearing 10,000 feet so I could feel the thin air. Probably didn’t eat enough either.

I finally reached the trailhead and then set about to find some water and a campsite. But the gulch I thought might have water was dry and it would be a mile or two down the Colorado Trail to Squaw Creek. I headed off down the trail, with the BOB trailer in tow, but the path quickly got steep and rocky. I thought about ditching the trailer, fetching water and bringing it back, but it looked like there might be a lot of hike-a-bike ahead of me. I was down to my last water bottle and decided to head back down the road I’d just climbed, about 2.5 miles, to where I’d seen a stream and a nice looking campsite. Maybe I’d bike to the trailhead in the morning to climb Shavano and Tabaguache. The ride down only took about 5 or 10 minutes, but I discovered a “No Camping” sign near the creek. So I drank a lot of water, filled up all my bottles and bladders, and then started climbing back to the trailhead, this time with about 15 pounds of water added to the load. Re-hydrating at the creek and eating some snacks gave me a little boost, but I was fried by the end.

In retrospect, I should have unhitched my trailer and either gone down the Colorado Trail or down the hill to get water, but in the end I’m glad I’m making camp up here, just a short walk to the trailhead.

I pitched my tent on the edge of a huge meadow, about the size of a football field, that’s flanked by aspens. To the south I have a great view of Mount Ouray and I’d like to come back to this area to car camp sometime.

I tried to take advantage of the clear skies and strong, high-altitude sun by laying out all of my clothing in the meadow and letting it bake for an hour or two in the ultraviolet radiation before the sun dipped below Shavano. That actually seems to have made them smell better! I haven’t showered since Friday, and won’t again until this Friday, so I’m feeling pretty dirty, but I have been able to bathe in some streams along the way.

I’m going to bed early, not only because I’m exhausted, but also becaus I need to wake up before dawn tomorrow to start the climb of nearly 5,000 feet to the top of Shavano, maybe also across to Tabaguache, time and weather permitting.

Days 14 and 15: Climbing Shavano/Tabaguache

Thursday began before sunrise as I woke at 5:30am to make the trek up to Shavano and Tabaguache, two 14ers at the south end of the Sawatch Range. Pulling myself out of the sleeping bag and getting out of the tent in the dark took a lot of effort, but I knew that the sooner I got started, the better the odds I would make it to both peaks.

I set off just as the sun was rising and casting the forest in a warm orange glow. It was totally cloudless, but I knew that wouldn’t last. After 5 minutes hiking along the Colorado Trail, you start up the Shavano Trail, which is straight up for the first couple miles through a pine and aspen forest where hundreds of trees had been knocked down recently (the pine needles were still green). I’m assuming it was a windstorm in the spring or winter and it must have been ferocious: there were pine trees two feet thick that had been completely uprooted or had snapped 10 or 15 feet up from the ground. Fortunately, a crew had already come in and cut the trucks laying across the trail.

Some 14er hikes are fairly mellow in the first few miles and then get progressively harder, but this one started out really hard, in part because of the steepness, but also due to the rocky, rooted nature of the trail. It was around 6:30am, in the 50s, and I was drenched in sweat after the first half hour on the trail. After reaching treeline, the trial proceeds up the side of a huge valley and you can see where you’re headed for the next mile or so. Although there were some steep sections, the grade of the trail up to the saddle wasn’t too bad. From there it’s a steep climb up a huge jumble of rocks and boulders.

Like all 14ers, this one was barren above 11 or 12 thousand feet, but it seemed especially desolate up there. I got to the peak of Shavano at about 10am and by then I could see little cumulus clouds forming over the surrounding peaks. I knew it wouldn’t be long until the thunderstorms started, so I hurried over to Tabaguache, which requires going down 600 or 700 feet, then up another 500 feet. And then you have to retrace your steps and reclimb the last part of Shavano before descending. It only adds about 2 miles to the hike, but it’s all above 13,000 feet.

The views from up there were magnificent–is there a 14er with a bad view?–and it gave me a vantage of some country I haven’t really explored. I have to say it was gratifying to look down on the Arkansas River, around 7,000 feet below me, and know that I’d made it up there all under my own power. By the time I returned to Shavano, the skies were mostly cloudy and getting darker above me. I descended quickly, wishing two guys good luck as they headed up into the burgeoning thunderstorm.

Not long after I was below treeline it started to rain, then thunder, then hail at a pretty good clip. I got fairly well soaked while it poured for about 20 minutes but felt safe in the shelter of the forest. I had to stop at a creek a few miles up from the trailhead to get all the water I would need for the rest of the day and Friday morning, so that subjected me to some more rain and I got chilled after having spent most of the day sweating bullets. But then the skies began clearing and I started drying out and warming up.

I only met 10 people on the entire hike, which is unusual for a 14er, even midweek. I was totally alone for virtually the entire 8.5 hours it took me to do the dozen or so miles. Being at the top of both peaks while alone was fairly intense and something I’ve never experienced on a 14er.

Even on a mid-summer day with relatively benign weather, that high-altitude environment is harsh and desolate, though I’m always amazed to see tiny plants, birds, and other forms of life up there. At that altitude, I find that my brain really slows down due to the hypoxia, which is actually kinda nice for someone whose mind is always running on and on.

Spending so many hours up so high up left me exhausted by the time I got back to my camp around 3pm. I wolfed down some food, guzzled some water, and dozed off for a few hours as the rain pattered on the fly of my tent. I woke up, ate some more, and then got back in my sleeping bag to read before falling asleep.

I slept about 10 hours but still felt tired when I woke up. I’d subjected myself to two tough days in a row. But today all that lay in front of me was a downhill ride to Salida, about 15 miles away, where I’m staying in a motel tonight. The 7-mile climb up the dirt road that took me about 2.5 hours on Wednesday only lasted about 25 minutes this morning and it was sheer bliss flying down that mountain without having to pedal except for two tiny climbs out of drainages. Once I got down to pavement, it was also mostly downhill to Salida, and with the wind at my back.

I arrived at my hotel at 11:30am and was hoping they might let me check-in early, but that didn’t work, so I had 3.5 hours to kill. My motel is on U.S. 50, along with the predictable parade of chain restaurants and establishments, so I pedaled 10 blocks over to the historic district, which is really cool. Lots of bars and funky stores. Seems like everyone working here in town is off-duty from their second careers as paddlers, bikers, and climbers. At the bike store, I got some advice on doing the Monarch Crest Trail tomorrow and a map. Then I went to a local pizza joint and scarfed down an individual pizza and house-made root beer. I was tempted to get a real beer, made on the premises, but decided to hold off since it was only noon.

The guy in the bike store recommended some singletrack trails just outside of town, in the Arkansas Hills, so I headed over there to give it a whirl since my trip to Salida had required almost no effort. Looks like a fun place, but I had to turn around after 20 minutes when the rain and thunder started. So now I’m in dark bar, watching a torrential downpour, and getting ready to head back the hotel. They say Salida is in the “banana belt” because it’s unusually warm and dry here, compared to the surrounding mountains that cast this valley in a rain shadow, but not this afternoon.

I really need a shower (it’s been a week) and I really need to do some laundry (ditto). I’m definitely feeling bedraggled after the past week camping out, braving the elements. Tomorrow morning I’m going to hitch a ride on a shuttle to the top of the Monarch Crest Trail and then ride back to town–about 40 miles, but generally downhill. It’s supposedly one of the greatest singletrack rides in the West and I’m looking forward to doing it without hauling all that crap behind me!

Day 16: Monarch Crest Trail

They say the Monarch Crest Trail is one of the greatest mountain biking rides in the country so I went into today with pretty high expectations, and I’m happy to report I was not disappointed! I’d put this trail right up there with Slickrock in Moab as one of the greatest rides of my life.

Most people do this ride as a one-way shuttle and I paid around $25 to have a van take me and my bike from Poncha Springs up to the Continental Divide at Monarch Pass, elevation 11,898. About 4,000 feet of elevation gain for $25 seems like a bargain to me these days. Once at the top of the pass, you set out in a southerly direction on the Continental Divide and Colorado trails, which are one in the same here. The next 10 miles or so, to Marshall Pass, definitely have some climbing and technical sections, and you’re above treeline and 11,000 feet for most of it, so this is no beginner ride. But the scenery is outrageous: you’re riding along on a narrow singletrack trail with sweeping views of the Divide and surrounding mountains, through terrain that you can usually only access by hiking.

There were about 20 people in two shuttle vans–virtually all white guys in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who looked like pretty serious riders. I made a smart move by allowing nearly all of them to pass me on the trail early on. Last thing I wanted up there was to be in a traffic jam. I’m glad I’ve spent the past 2 weeks hauling my BOB trailer at elevation because it got me in shape to tackle this ride, which has a few heart-pounding climbs in the beginning. Most of the trail is really smooth, which makes it easier on the uphills and a helluva lot of fun on the downhills, but there are enough rocks and roots to keep you on your toes.

You have lots of options for coming down off the Divide and I chose the standard route, down Silver Creek, which requires a couple more tough miles on the Colorado Trail before plunging down the drainage on a pretty rough trail that includes some wild rides over talus slopes. To save some time, I jumped on a Forest Service road that the shuttle driver recommended and I was bombing down that thing faster than a car.

After the ride, I met up with Ginette and the pups in Salida. My face and body were splattered with mud, and my beard is getting longer, so Ginette described me as “looking pretty scary.” I went over to the Salida mineral springs to take a shower and then we got some ice cream in downtown before heading out to camp for the night.

We found a great spot, up Pass Creek, with a breathtaking view of Shavano and Tabaguache. It’s amazing how dry it is around these parts: walking around we found a bunch of tiny cactus and we’re at around 9,000 feet. Tomorrow we’re planning to do a day hike up to Pass Creek Lake and then camp here again Sunday night. I need to head down to Salida on Monday to pick up a new back tire–my knobby is almost a slick–and then I’ll bid farewell to Ginette until she and her mom pick me up in 2 weeks in Northern New Mexico. From Salida to Del Norte, my next stop in civilization, it’s 4 days and 153 miles. Before leaving Salida, my guidebook advises travelers to “stock your larder” because provisions will only be available if you take a detour from the route.

Days 17 and 18: Pass Creek

I hit my first major snafu today. Ginette and I camped for two nights in the San Isabel National Forest, about 10 miles southwest of Salida, and when we got in the car this morning to drive back to town, it wouldn’t start.

It looked to be a dead battery. I keep a portable jump starter in the car for exactly this type of contingency, but it didn’t have enough juice to get the engine to turn over. Fortunately, we had cell phone service if we walked a little ways to the top of a hill, so I called Better World Club, a green alternative to AAA that also offers to rescue you on your bike. But I’m now not such a big fan of this service because the towing company eventually called us back to say Better World wouldn’t cover a repair call that required going on unimproved dirt roads, even though we were only about 4 miles up a decent dirt road from US 50, a major highway. So then we had to call all of the towing companies in the Arkansas River Valley to try to get them to come jump start the car. One wouldn’t do it. Another wanted to charge $500. But finally we found a really nice lady with Gunsmoke Towing who was willing to drive up in her Suburban and jump start us for $150. She was in Buena Vista, so we had to wait for about 90 minutes, but eventually she arrived and the engine started in a snap as soon as the jumper cables were connected.

We headed down to Salida, where I was planning to spend the night anyway, and got the battery checked at a NAPA store. They said it was time for a new one, so we had to fork over another $111. Ouch.

Up until the car troubles, the weekend was going well. This campsite where Ginette and I are now stuck is one of the best we’ve ever found. Yesterday we took a 10-mile hike up to Pass Creek Lake, which was a little more exercise than I was hoping for, but the destination was pretty scenic and the dogs seemed to enjoy themselves. I think our puppy Phoebe probably covered 30 miles during the day, running up and down the trails.

I was already planning to make this a rest day and sitting around waiting for the jump start didn’t require much physical exertion. But it was a stressful, annoying, and expensive experience I’d care not to repeat. The glass-half-empty side of me thinks it was really lousy timing for the battery to die, but the glass-half-full side thinks we got off pretty lucky, given that we weren’t too far from civilization and were able to make calls on our cell phone.

Before Ginette took off for Denver, she stocked up on a great discovery we made here in Salida: green chile ale from Amicas, a local brewery. I also stopped at the bike store to pick up a new back tire and the guy who helped me said this next stretch of the Great Divide is going to be tough. In my motel room, I installed the new tire, fixed my brakes, and trued my wheels, sort of. So far, my bike has been holding up quite well, but after today I’m a little paranoid about mechanical issues.

Yesterday, during our hike, I was thinking about how the trip has gone so far since I had just crossed the halfway point. I’ll be home in 2 weeks. Aside from this dead battery and my butt being sore for a few days in the beginning, everything has gone really smoothly: no big problems with my bike, my body, the weather, or anything else. Here’s hoping that the next 2 weeks don’t break that mold.



Days 9 to 11: Collegiate Peaks

Days 9 and 10: Camping/hiking in San Isabel NF

I spent the weekend with Ginette and our dogs, Gabriela and Phoebe, camping and hiking in the San Isabel National Forest, about an hour’s drive west of the Great Divide route, but only about 15 or 20 miles as the crow flies. Ginette picked me up at my motel in Silverthorne on Saturday morning and it was so great to see her! She said I looked “a little furry,” now that I’ve got 10 days of beard growing.

We had a late breakfast in Silverthorne and then set out west on I-70, up to Copper Mountain, where the Continental Divide hiking trail passes through, then drove over the divide itself at Fremont Pass, where the Climax mine has obliterated part of the high-alpine landscape that separates the Colorado River and Arkansas River watersheds. We had car camped south of Leadville a year or two ago, in fall, and eventually headed up the same road after an aborted hourlong venture up another drainage that didn’t yield any decent camping spots. We wound up driving all the way up to 11,500′, nearly to the top of Weston Pass, and found a great spot just at treeline. The weather on Saturday was unusually good for August high in the Rockies. The Southwest monsoon has receded for a few days and it was in the 70s and sunny way up at that altitude with just a few clouds over Ptarmigan Peak, which is just shy of 14,000 feet.

Ginette went for a walk with the dogs and I spent the next hour servicing my bike and resupplying myself from the bin of food, fuel, toiletries, etc. that I packed before leaving Denver. This was one of the highest campsites I’ve been at and the altitude was affecting me: a little queasiness, spaciness, and grouchiness seem to kick in for me around 10 or 11 thousand feet. Before sunset, we took a walk up a dirt road and the light was goregous. Back at our campsite, the wind started to really whip up and the skies over the surrounding peaks darkened. The weather up here changes before your eyes. We both got a little cold, made dinner, and sought shelter in the tent, along with the pups.

Sunday morning dawned perfectly clear, surprisingly warm, and with barely a breeze. The last time we’d camped up Weston Pass, in September I think, we made the mistake of camping down in the valley, beside a creek, where all the cold air from the watershed above sank overnight and froze our water bottles. We headed down the mountain and toward the town of Buena Vista (pronounced “BEW-na Vista” for some reason). We picked up sandwiches and headed west up Cottonwood Pass, into the Sawatch Range, home of the Collegiate Peaks, a collection of five mountains that rise above 14,000 feet. Besides mounts Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and Oxford, there are another five 14ers in the Sawatch range, home to the highest wilderness area in the US.

I’ve decided to take a little detour from the Great Divide route to spend some time in the Sawatch Range this week before reconnecting with the ACA’s route in Salida on Friday. On Sunday, Ginette and I hiked up about 3 miles to Hartenstein Lake in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. On Monday, I’ll set off from the same trailhead to climb Mount Yale, a 10-mile round trip. I’m now camped about a mile down the road and will probably bike up to the trailhead super-early tomorrow morning.

It was tough saying goodbye to Ginette this afternoon, even though I’ll see her again on Saturday in Salida. I was actually kinda sad about it all day and kept thinking back to what it was like on parents’ visiting day during summer camp: a great thrill to see someone you love that all too quickly turns to loneliness when they leave.

I’ll hop back on the bike Tuesday and head south down the base of the range. I’d like to try climbing another 14er or two near Salida on Thursday or Friday. All told, I’ll probably only bikepack with my trailer around 40 miles between here and Salida on Friday. I’ll be spending more time hiking and maybe riding some singletrack sans trailer on the Colorado Trail.

This l ttle detour was something I was thinking of doing all along, depending on how the first week went. I’m not really wedded to following the Great Divide Mountain Biking Route mile for mile and have wanted to explore the Sawatch Range ever since my first glimpse of it while driving on Highway 285. The Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide hiking trail are one and the same in these parts and run along the eastern slopes of the Sawatch Range. I’ve heard the mountain biking is great and hope to a explore some of the trail that’s not in federal wilderness areas.

Although there would be some amazing mountain biking possible in wilderness areas, I’m basically down with the prevailing policy that keeps bikes out of such places. During our hike this afternoon, I really felt a deeper appreciation for wilderness because I haven’t set foot in it since I started this trip more than a week and several hundred miles ago. The Great Divide route follows roads, and wilderness means no roads, so never the twain shall meet. I’ve wanted part of this summer to spent in the wilderness, hence this week’s detour. Although much of my route has passed through remote, unpopulated terrain, there have been signs of civilization everywhere, starting with the road underneath my feet. I might go a couple of hours between seeing vehicles, but I never feel totally alone. No wilderness areas are “pristine” or “untrammeled,” especially in the age of climate change, but in the West these are the places where the human footprint is least noticeable.

To climb Yale I have to wake up early, like 5 am. I cringe just writing that. I’m not exactly a morning person, but the key to hiking 14ers is starting early because afternoon thunderstorms are so common in summer. To get an early start, I needed to find a campsite close to the trailhead and the only option around here is a Forest Service campground. I haven’t stayed in one of these in years, mostly because you can usually find someplace much prettier and free on surrounding public lands. But this campground is actually quite nice and not too crowded on a Sunday evening. My campsite is right by a creek, there’s a picnic table, a flat spot for my tent, and I’ve got two cans of beer chilling in the stream: this place has everything!

Day 11: Climbing Mount Yale

It was tough extracting myself from my sleeping bag in the dark this morning, but I managed to pry myself out of my cocoon at around 5am so I could climb Mount Yale, 14,196′. It was chilly as I made oatmeal and coffee for breakfast and thermoregulation would be a challenge for the rest of the day. I hopped on my bike and pedaled about a mile up Cottonwood Pass to the trailhead, which got my heart pumping and warmed me up. The sunrise briefly turned the clouds above pink and it was a nice time to be setting off on the trail. There were actually a couple other parties of hikers in the parking lot at 6am. People know you have to get done with these climbs early in the day.
The first 2 or 3 miles of the trail aren’t too bad. You’re definitely going up almost the whole time, but the grade isn’t terrible and the trail is pretty solid. But the last couple of miles definitely get steeper and harder. For the last hour or two, it felt like I was walking up a staircase. I was hiking on the west face of the mountain, which blocked the sun, so it was kinda cool during most of the hike. But eventually the sun started peeking over the ridge. Depending on whether I was in sun or shade, I had to adjust my clothing. Climbing made me sweat, but if I stopped I got cold, so there was a lot of rearranging of garments.

Above treeline, the trail switchbacks through giant boulder and talus fields and I saw both marmots and pikas. Also a snowshoe hare. Like many 14ers, the top of Yale is an enormous pile of rocks where the only plants growing are lichen attached to stone. The last 700 or 800 feet of climbing were a little tricky in terms of route finding, but overall it’s a pretty manageable summit and it’s only rated a class 2 out of 5.

I summited at about 10am and it was totally clear above the peak. The views were tremendous and I think there were at least a dozen other 14ers visible since Yale is situated right in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. To the east, I could see Pikes Peak and South Park, the huge high alpine valley where the Great Divide Route goes. A little closer to me was the Arkansas River valley, where I’ll be pedaling the rest of the week. To the south and north were a huge number of high peaks, including many 13ers and 14ers in the Sawatch Range. To the West were the Hunter-Fryingpan and Fossil Ridge wilderness areas, and way off in the distance were the mountains around Aspen and Snowmass.

Cumulus clouds started to form over the summit of Yale and other nearby peaks, and within minutes it seemed like half the sky was cloudy. I had spent 45 minutes at the summit since there was so little wind and the altitude wasn’t bothering me too much, but as the weather started to change I headed downhill. I felt pretty good on the climb, but the descent was a little tough on my knees and toes, which kept jamming into the fronts of my hiking shoes. Although my legs are in good shape from all this bicycling, you definitely use different muscles while hiking so I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m sore from this hike.

I got back to my campsite in the early afternoon, ate some lunch, and then crawled into my tent. I woke up 2.5 hours later, so I guess the hike took a lot out of me. But I’m really glad I took this detour and have been getting in some wilderness hiking. Although 14ers are notoriously crowded, this one was pretty empty on a Monday. On some of these peaks during the weekends it can feel like you’re in a parade.