We left our digs in Littleton at about 5:45, stopped off at McD's in Idaho Springs and reached the Stephen's Gulch trailhead in a 4X4 at about 7:30. We were carrying about 5 liters of H2O, extra clothes, emergency gear, food, etc. About 25# each in our packs. I used trekking poles; my wife doesn't care for them. Shorts/jacket worked for me; pants/jacket for her until we reached the sunny portion. Temp summary: cold at the beginning, hot in the middle, cold at the summit and hot on the way down.
Medium crowds accompanied us up the trail. We drank/snacked every 30 minutes or so. Reached Gray's summit via the 'Superhighway' Gray's Peak Trail route at 10:15am. Ate, drank, photos, etc and then hit the saddle. Made Torrey's at about 11:15am. I was surprised that I had cell service and called my folks back in Littleton.
Came back across the snowfield traverse below Gray's. This is what makes the route a class 2. Everything else is just a class 1 slog. I handed over a pole to my wife and we just leaned into the well-traveled slope. It lasted about 10 minutes or so. I didn't see anybody attempting to glissade or any tracks down the snow face. Reached the trailhead by 2pm. Not bad for a couple of flatlanders!?!
Saw a steady stream of hikers with no gear or packs heading up when we were finishing up. Luckily for them, there were barely any clouds and none of the threatening thunderheads that Colorado mountains are noted for in the afternoons. Couldn't believe all the Buicks and Hondas parked at/near the trailhead. We thought it was a pretty rough road for our 4Runner. Well, the best part of the trip was a Beau Taco pie at our favorite place, BeauJo's. Life is Beautiful, indeed!
Photo: Looking North from Gray's