On this past holiday weekend, I decided to walk in the Sangres of Colorado.
I could not leave Friday, and the insane amount of traffic on Saturday persuaded me to make the trip a three day one instead.
Unlike the Sangres just south in the New Mexico, the Colorado Sangres are a bit more narrow and knife edged. There are no trails on the ridge for the most part. The trails tend to come up from the valley, go over a pass, and descend back to the other side of the ridge.
What does this mean? Loops are rarely done in the Colorado Sangres. Unless you are comfortable linking together dirt roads, multiuse ATV tracks, and off-trail hiking of course. 🙂 This type of loop is navigationally easy if physically challenging.
My original goal was a bit more ambitious. But with one day less, I did a very similar backpack to what I did in 2009.
My trip started with a dirt road walk that connected two of the trailheads.
The most interesting part of this road walk was an older cemetery and chapel.
After a couple of hours of this road walk, some single track trail was finally met in the wilderness area.
I was delighted to find some rare wood lilies. My first sighting in the wild since 2008!
My destination for the evening was reached with an enticing view of the Sangres crest above.
The following day I gained the ridge via an obvious pass. The off-trail portion would now begin.
I walked along the crest. And enjoyed the alpine terrain.
Some weather moved in along with dark gray clouds. A thunderclap was heard in the distance. Time to go steeply down a drainage!
Camp was made. The following morning I walked the valley and gained elevation I could again see the ridge above.
A steep climb was made to the saddle where I’d pick up a known trail.
The same trail I took nine years ago was on the other side of the saddle. The mudslide from 2009 was now washed out debris. I suspect unless the local USFS office becomes flushed with cash, the “trail” in this wilderness area will remain in this state for a while.
I continued to follow the drainage. The debris path eventually turned into single track again. Gamble Oak replaced the alpine flora from above. My trip was almost over.
The car was reached. It was late enough in the day where any holiday traffic was long gone. A relaxing drive home was welcome after such an equally relaxing trip.