Blaze Orange, Blow Downs and Beer: Mt Evans Wilderness

An attempted S24O in the Mt Evans Wilderness with Cam “Swami” Honan of .

Photo courtesy of Cam Honan

Through my activity in the backpacking community, I’ve been able to correspond and get to know many people over the years without actually meeting them.

With many people, I’ve had years of correspondence and discussion about many topics, cracked a few jokes and exchanged information.

And one person I’ve exchanged emails with a fair amount over the past few years is Cam Honan aka Swami.  A very accomplished backpacker I’ve written about before.

He is currently in Colorado helping out the with CDTC . It also gave us a chance to get in a quick backpacking trip before another event on Sunday morning.

I figured it was a good chance to show off something that was not on a long trail. A little bit of Colorado enjoyed by the locals.

The trip did not go as planned, but it was still enjoyable.

At 6:30 or so in the morning, I met up with Cam in Boulder. After a quick stop for coffee, we made our way to the Echo Lake trail head, donned our blaze orange as it was the first day of elk hunting season and made our way up the trail at 8:30 AM.

There was snow on the ground, but the day quickly warmed up. The snow became slushy.

We reached the top of our on-trail climb, spoke to a group of friendly hunters and then headed down into the valley.

We could see the ridge was wanted to hike.  Good time was being made.

But then the jaunt changed.

Just past the junction for Bear Tracks Lake and the Cub Creek trails, we hit a massive amount of blow downs.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. From

We thought perhaps if pushed through, perhaps the blow downs would just be a temporary thing.

I was wrong!


As we looked up to our ridge, and continued to see more and more blow downs, a decision was made.  Our time was much slower then expected and we had a hard deadline for Sunday morning.

We turned around and headed back to the trail head. Slowly.


We made it back to the junction where the blow downs were first encountered.  A quick scout on the Cub Creek trail also showed similar conditions.

Our way was made out of the valley to the high point. We could see a storm brewing in the distance. We also saw a hunter who knew the area really well and gave us the skinny about the blow downs. Wish we had talked to him four hours earlier!  🙂

But it was not quite time to head back yet. Since we now had time, a side trip to Lincoln Lake was in order.

It was peaceful. The warm sun was wonderful. It was great just to take in all in.

But it was getting later. Daylight was ending. Time to head out.

At just past 6 PM, we reached the trail head.  Some dry socks were changed into. And we reached Tommyknocker’s in nearby Idaho Springs by 7PM or so. Some beer and a burger along with good conversation concluded the hiking day.

A quick change of plans was made to stay in CDTC World HQ (aka Teresa’s house) from where we would drive up to Herman Gulch for the CDTC sponsored hike.

The same snow storm we saw brewing up yesterday made the highway a sloppy mess on Sunday. The hike was canceled.

So it goes at times.

A good weekend never the less!

Post-hike research:  I searched for current conditions for  the Bear Track Lakes Trail out of curiosity and to see how extensive the blow downs really were.  Much to my surprise, on the USFS website, there was nothing about the blow downs that apparently date from 2012. And no information on the kiosk at the trail head.  The only  mention of any trail conditions was on the Alltrails,.com site.   Seems it was good we turned around when we did. And the possible alternate trail on Cub Creek would not have worked either. Perhaps in 2015.


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Cam "Swami" Honan
9 years ago

Thanks for the bushwhack……….next time I get to pick the route!! 🙂