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A Tale of Two Summits- Hiking Mt. Shavano and Tabeguache Peak




The first time I hiked Mt. Shavano was in June 2020. I was solo, and it was probably my eighth 14er. Starting in the dark, I was really scared and found myself singing loudly just to keep my nerves in check until another group passed me.


By the time I reached the summit, that group was already descending, and I couldn’t see anyone else coming up the trail. Knowing I was alone up there and seeing clouds building, I didn’t feel comfortable attempting the further peak, Tabeguache. So, I snapped a few photos and made my way back down.


Back then, I didn't know much about 14ers. I didn’t know how to research them on sites like 14ers.com and relied mostly on the presence of a trail and markers like cairns or signs. Even if I had attempted Tabeguache, I wouldn’t have made it far, as there are no signs and not much of a trail to follow.


Looking back, I’m just glad I had the sense to recognize that I was facing terrain beyond my experience level as a solo hiker.


Yesterday, I returned to summit both Mt. Shavano and Tabeguache Peak as my 37th unique summit. It was an eye-opening experience, and I was struck by how much I’ve grown as a hiker.


This time, I felt much more comfortable and confident in my ability to read the terrain, gauge the weather, and prioritize safety for myself and those around me. I noticed rockfall potential in places I wouldn’t have recognized before and chose my route accordingly. I saw snowfields as areas to avoid without the proper gear to self-arrest. Instead of just following a trail to the top, I felt like I was in a conversation with the mountain.


The first time up Mt. Shavano, I left feeling slightly disappointed that I didn’t summit both peaks. But yesterday, I felt grateful for the opportunity to return and see the skills I’ve built over the past few years.


It was a good reminder not to get overconfident or impatient to venture into terrain I'm not yet ready for. The mountain will always be there, and I can continue to develop my skills until I'm ready to meet its challenge.

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