We meandered our way back to the city from Salida, with many birding detours! Just outside of town, we stopped at a housing community to see a flock of pinyon jays. Then, we went back a different route than the way we came through the mountains.
I hiked to the first “peak” (I think to the saddle?) in the trail on a whim, before heading back to the Loveland pass parking area. I forgot to look closely at our dashboard reading, but past weather online says it was 45 degrees. I was wearing a “not fancy gear” synthetic long-sleeved top with thumb holes and a hood, and cheap jeggings. The wind was whipping through the mountains, so I donned my parka, lighter smart wool socks, snow boots, hat and gloves. I carried my buff and should have pulled it over my cold and wind-beaten face! I was wearing sunscreen, but maybe next time, I’ll prepare by bringing something for my skin to ward off the wind chapping? Anyway, it was quite chilly, but I warmed up as I went up the steep ascent. So, I unzipped my parka part of the way down and huffed my way to the top. That was the highest elevation we visited, or at least spent any amount of time in (we were there for maybe an hour or so). The cold, dry air did a number on my throat: I was still coughing a bit when we got back to Denver after driving through Guanella pass! We weren’t prepared for a long hike, but it was still nice to do a little climb at high elevation and set foot on top of a ridge.