Startled by Silence

A Handies Peak Adventure

August 2, 2020

I climbed the steps through the woods. The sound of the river faded in and out as the trail wound its way between the trees.

The forest began to thin. The trees became more and more sporadic until I was left in a small clearing.

I caught my first glimpse of Handies Peak standing proud in the distance. A gentle breeze wrapped around me.

Remnants of an avalanche littered both sides of the trail. 

I stepped across a muddy creek, twigs snapping under the weight of my boots. The river sounds picked back up, the volume of the water matched the steepness of the ascent.

The trail plunged back into the woods. I took a deep breath of the fresh Christmas tree scent and admired the rhythm from the soft pitter-patter of my footsteps on the dried pine needles padding the trail.

I continued along in this fashion. Weaving closer to the river than further away again. The leaves of the willows gently rustled in the wind.

A glance backwards showed Sunshine Peak and Redcloud Peak behind me, still silhouetted under the early morning sun. Eager birds began to chirp as it rose higher into the sky.

Startled by Silence - Travel Journal - A Morning Bluebell - Handies Peak - Colorado - 14er - Fourteener - Hiking - Day Hike - Dani's Drive
A morning bluebell

At tree line, the pines gave way for good and the scenery transformed to a valley with plentiful patches of yellow wildflowers. 

The dainty beauties swayed gently back and forth in the morning sun. Water trickled all around, nourishing the flowers roots beneath the earth.

Startled by Silence - Travel Journal - Handies Peak - Adventure Inspiration - Colorado - 14er - Fourteener - Hiking - Day Hike - Dani's Drive
There's always time to stop and smell the flowers

The elevation gain picked up, carrying me through the flower filled field. Each patch begged me to take its picture as I passed. My camera’s shutter clicked away as I obliged. 

After a short climb, the trail flattened out and I was startled by something I haven’t heard in a while.

Or more accurately, a lack of something.


I paused to soak it in. Holding my breath, I listened to the nothingness.

No water rushing.

No wind blowing.

No city sounds.

No cars, no planes, no buses.

No electronics humming.

No fans blowing.

No feet stepping.

Just quiet.

Pure, blissful silence.

As if sensing my peace and beginning to fear I’d never leave, an upset marmot let out a few chirps.

The floodgates opened.

The wind picked up.

And it carried with it the sounds of another hiker.

The sounds of the river below.

The rustle of plants.

The marmot chirped again.

The silence was broken.

I released my breath and hiked on.

Love Dani - Dani's Signature - Dani's Drive

Are you planning to hike Handies Peak? Check out this post for the most scenic way to hike it.

For other adventure inspiration, read Here Comes the Sun or Origins.

When was the last time you "heard" silence? Leave a comment below!

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I invite you to join the adventure!
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