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The Sirens of Mt Shavano

In Greek mythology, the Sirens were dangerous and devious creatures, portrayed as femmes fatales who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island.

Well, after a week of watching the sun go down behind Mt Shavano, I think I was hearing the sirens of the mountain – of course, it might have been the adult beverages – or, maybe feeling I had been sitting too much and not hiking enough…

Whatever the reason, I went to my 14er website bookmark and checked the route out…

Difficulty: Class 2
Trailhead Elevation: 9,750 feet
Elevation Gain: 4,600 feet
Round Trip Length: 9 miles
Trail to Summit: almost complete
Rank: 17th
Elevation: 14,229

Damn, this was going to be a challenge –

The trailhead was a short 3 mile drive from my site and since I had heard vehicles going by daily I knew I wouldn’t be alone on the trail to the summit – good thing too – that way someone would find the body if the sirens in fact had lured this nomad on to the rocks of Mt Shavano 🙂

What – me worry – never….

The first hint of trouble was the very first mile – straight up hill – over a well marked trail – marked that is by rocks just big enough to turn an ankle. No time to think about that though…the elevation climb gave no time to wake up properly; no time to develop a good steady pace – a real gut punch of a start – damn those sirens!

Then through what I called the “yellow cut road” – ie – the Forest Service and/or volunteers had just come through here to clear the deadfall from a recent microburst that had toppled trees for a mile up the trail through the forest – kind of sad to see all the devastation; and, a reminder of Mother Nature’s strength and occasional fury…


Then right to go left ….and then left to go right… no wonder this trail was nine miles roundtrip…

Then above tree line, another one of those, talus trails – if you can call it a trail…

And then another 1,000 foot climb virtually straight up from 12,200 to 13,300

And, about the time I am thinking I cannot do this – here come the sirens 🙂

Ok, not really – but damn I thought I was seeing things

14 or so brightly colored winter jackets descending towards me – quick – grab the camera – take a shot of these sirens

wait, – they have braces; they have ponytails – they’re young teenage girls –

yup – they were 13 – 15 years old; had left the trailhead at 1:30am – yup – the middle of the night – with headlamps and flashlight and had summited to watch the sun come up sitting atop Mt Shavano – you just can’t make this kind of stuff up – absolutely incredible!!

I was in fact being passed on their descent at 9:30am – they were thrilled to have their picture taken; a couple asked for my biz card after I told them about the blog; they all encouraged me to go on – “mister, you can do it…”

Yup – I was the oldest guy on the mountain for sure – told them come back when you’re 54 and not 14….

Fact is – I was inspired now – now I had to go on

Of course, there was still a lot of mountain ahead of me – another 750 feet straight up – again – over some rocks forcing another of those scrambles on all fours in places


And, then all of it is forgotten when I am finally on the summit –

another of those out of this world vistas – waves of peaks falling away in every direction…absolutely amazing!!


And, like on Mt Sneffels two weeks ago, I hated to leave the summit I had worked so hard to attain – but – weather was coming in – time to get off the exposed summit and saddle

Time to head down – down 4.5 miles – my right knee is not going to be happy – no sir’ee 🙂

9 miles…8 hours to make the round trip – I am a tortoise not a hare – a grueling day…

Well, I obviously survived the sirens and the summit – it was one hell of an undertaking – time to rest up –

time to move on in fact – heading out in the morning –

Time to go find some more stunning scenery and new adventures…

Take care …see you down the road

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