There are certain areas in my ‘backyard’ that I return to ever year. A favorite local hike in the nearby foothills. A route that lets me stride in the fresh snow. And an area that beckons for my first backpacking trip of the season and is typically my last trip before I switch to skis once again.
This place is the Lost Creek Wilderness. A place of unique rock formations, wide open meadows, aspen forests, wild flowers and (except for some areas) surprisingly little used.
I love the Lost Creek Wilderness. It is a fitting place to start the backpacking season and think of trips to come and to end the backpacking season with a display of splendid Fall color.
Not only was it the first backpack of the season, it was also my first backpack with someone. someone comes from the “more camping; less hiking” school of backpacking that most people enjoy doing. Hike in five miles, make basecamp, explore around a bit, hike out the following day or so. Bring lots of gear to make camp comfortable, weight be damned. Can be fun…but it is much different from the type of backpacking where hiking is mainly done and where camping is secondary.
As I told her, this is a hiking trip..not a camping trip. By the end of the weekend, she would see the difference. Joining us for this trip would be my good friend d-low and his fiance’ Wendy.
The four of us camped the night before at a lovely site off a FS road. The cool, crisp morning was a great start to the day.
We then made it to the trailhead and almost immediately came to overlooks with views of the red rock formations that Lost Creek Wilderness is know for…
We continued along the trail. someone seemed to enjoy the new, lighter pack (2.5 lbs vs 6 lbs of her old pack..and only $40 in the used sports store!) as she ambled along the trail.
Along the way, we saw a plethora of wildflowers…
The day continued in a similar vein.
We at last came to the Lost Creek itself. The dramatic view of the creek and the rocks is certainly appreciated by many people…it is even on the cover of the map!
Towards the end of the day (~11 miles on the ~12 mile day), we had one last climb. Not being used to these ‘big mileage’ days, someone and Wendy slowed down a fair amount. D-low and I scooted ahead, found a camp site, setup the tents (yes..I brought a tent!), and did the camp site activities.
Not quite the Hotel Hilton, but a setup tent and dinner about to be cooked was most welcome by our better halves.
The evening in camp was relaxing. Gorgeous twilight, a welcome campfire and some stream-chilled sangria made for a fine evening.
The following day, we made it to the literal and figurative highpoint of the trip with commanding views to all of Lost Creek, towards Pikes Peak and up to Evans.
The trip was coming to an end. The weather was heating up…but the shaded trail by the stream was a welcome way to end the loop.
The trip came to an end. We waited for Wendy and d-low with a comfy camp chair, a cold beer and relaxed. Life was not bad…
It was a learning experience not only for someone..but for me as well.
Learning to be patient with someone whose background in the outdoors is much different than mine and may not have my level of fitness. For someone’s part..she learned I may know what I am talking about when it comes to backpacking.
- someone learned that if you hike ~23 miles in a weekend on maintained trail, that leather boots may be overkill. She agreed to use trailrunners!
- …..and to ditch the Crocs!
- She liked Wendy and D-low’s Lunar Duo (which I suggested to them); I do not have to take the 5.5 lb Kelty Zen again! (It is a solid, reliable tent though). No tarp or cowboy camping for someone..but she is going backpacking, I can’t complain.
- She also acknowledged that Sports drink bottles indeed make more sense than Nalgenes; plus you can drink them on the run..er walk..easier than a Nalgene
- The Thermarest is non-negotiable, though!
- I’ve done many different outdoor activities since I’ve been in Colorado. But, backpacking will always be my favorite. The simple joy of walking. Being immersed in nature more so than even hiking. And just the sheer simplicity. Take a pack, some food, a few piece of equipment and walk. It may be just walking…but it oh-so-enjoyable and satisfying. And sharing it with someone? Pretty cool.
ALL THE PHOTOS