Joan and I drove up to the San Juans this past weekend. The time in the higher peaks is slowly coming close, and we wanted some time in the mountains.
We spent our Friday night at an area where we backpacker a month or so ago. The road seemed fine in the dry weather. The rain and potential snow for later in the weekend made us reconsider our plans. After a quiet and peaceful night, we packed up the truck and headed to a lower trailhead not far from the pavement.
By the time we had breakfast, more than a leisurely cup of coffee or two for me, and made our way down the rutted road and the paved road, it seemed lunch arrived. A quick tailgate lunch and packing up brought us to 1 PM.
No matter, we wanted to hike a loop that we knew we could do in twenty-four hours or so, which seemed to offer interesting views, and one we had not done before.
After much elevation gain, we walked along a pleasant ridge with views to the higher peaks gathering dark clouds.
The hike did not have the alpine terrain or cirques tucked into rocky terrain. Instead, it featured pleasant walks through the leaves starting to show their autumnal glow.
Around six at night, we found a spot for our tent. And set up the shelter just as the first raindrops started coming down. As we laid in our shelter that evening and heard the pounding rain on the fly, we felt thankful we decided to go lower. Not because of hiking in the rain but because the thought of driving down a tight, twisty, and potentially slippery road along a cliff did not invite good vibes!
The rain lulled us to sleep, and I am firmly convinced it is one of the best sounds you can hear while in the backcountry.
We worked up the following morning to more rain. Knowing we only had a few miles back to our truck, I could enjoy another leisurely hour or so of coffee drinking. Once I finished my cuppa joe, the rain abated, and the sun even poked out.
The miles went by if with some slippery and slow descent down some switchbacks. But more manageable than the road equivalent!
We soon started the gradual descent to the gulch and reached the trailhead.
The trip is perhaps not the grandest or most awe-inspiring compared to others. But we spent time outside, enjoyed the scenery, and had a backcountry lullaby at night.
In other words, another fine weekend spent in the backcountry.