This year my work for CFI is focused on Quandary Peak, just south of Breckenridge. We’re four weeks into our season, and time is flying by!  I’m enjoying my time on the mountain immensely and am fascinated by the constant changes that take place. Life at high elevation progresses so rapidly, especially early and late in the season. It’s hard to believe that when we showed up the first week of June our basecamp site was still covered in feet of snow. It took us several days to dig our way through and another several days to set up our wall tent and other basecamp needs. Just a couple weeks later, barely any snow remained.

Quandary Basecamp (margaret)

Our wall tent during basecamp setup.

Summer has developed quickly on the trail, too. Our initial hikes involved traversing big snow drifts that made it hard to determine the path of the trail at times, and now all that remains are a few small patches here and there.

Quandary Summit (margaret)

View from the summit early in the season.

Mountain Goats (margaret)

Mama and baby goat check us out.


In addition to enjoying the scenic beauty of the surrounding mountains and valleys, we have frequent wildlife sightings. The mountain goat population on Quandary is prevalent and curious. We see different groups daily and are working on identifying the various individuals.




Ptarmigan (margaret)

Ptarmigan hidden in the rocks.



Ptarmigans are a less frequent but equally enjoyable sighting. They’re still adjusting to the changing season and have patches of white mixed in with their mottled brown and gray feathers.



Like the animals, the plant life grows more visible daily as the wildflowers pop up more and more. There are little patches of yellow, white, and purple all around.

Wildflower (margaret)

We’re working hard to select our work sites for the season and focus on the areas that need the most immediate attention. There are many places, particularly on the upper part of the trail, where more definition is needed to prevent the widespread trampling of the fragile alpine soil and vegetation.

Ridge (margaret)

Section of trail in need of more definition.

It’s hard to believe that our first month of trail work is over! I’m excited to continue to follow the progress of the life on the mountain and work to make the trail a more sustainable part of the system.


CFI is grateful for the all of the financial support provided to complete the Quandary Peak reconstruction efforts in 2016. Thanks to the National Forest Foundation “Ski Conservation Fund”, The Summit Foundation, the Town of Breckenridge, the Town of Silverthorne, the Town of Dillon, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife “State Trails Program”.

Margaret McQuiston

After spending two amazing seasons with CFI in 2015 and 2016, I’m back for another round and looking forward to readjusting to life at 14,000 feet. I originally hail from the southeastern US, but I keep moving back to the western mountains. I love working on trails and previously spent several seasons in the southwest, Four Corners area. I’m excited about another great year with CFI!