For anyone who actually bothers to read these things..some quick trip reports/photos!
August 4th – Blue Lake
My good friends Patricia and Nahum were married on August 5th. The day before, they had a wonderful hike for the guests. A way to see why they enjoy Colorado.
Blue Lake is only five miles round trip with little elev gain, but it is a wonderful destination. Nestled against the divide with wildflowers in abundance. What a way to share the weekend!
August 5th was the wedding. I won’t go into too many details other than to say it was an honor to hold the chuppah, one of our closest friends was the officiator, the wedding was held by the creek on a sunny day and was just a wonderful event. Friends who are like family brought together.
August 11th – Pawnee Pass
A nice little solo jaunt to the Continental Divide. Of course, great views. There was even a glacier involved.
August 19th – Colorado Trail Traverse
An awesome stretch of the CT that goes from Copper Mountain to Gold Hill Trailhead. This segment of trail is about 15 miles and 3800′ elev gain and goes along the Ten Mile range. Almost all above treeline and expansive views. Hard to believe this remote-feeling stretch of trail is sandwiched between an interstate and two ski areas! Simply amazing.
What is nice about this stretch of trail is that you can take a side trail to end in Frisco, grab some happy hour beer and then take a free bus back to Copper Mountain. You can slack yourself!
Alas, I misplaced my camera and lost all my photos from these two amazing days. Ouch… expensive weekend!
August 25th – St. Mary’s Glacier to Berthoud Pass
An awesome hike that takes in Five 13ers, is almost all above treeline and is on the Continental Divide. This route is one of the highlights of the Jim Wolfe route of the CDT.
The hike was a CDTer reunion of sorts. On this hike was FJ, Disco, POD and myself from CDT 2006. Also my buddy d-low from CDT 2005. Along for the hike was Nira (42) from the AT last year. And one non-thru hiker from Crested Butte name Brittnea. She does plan to hike the PCT in 2008, so we are indoctrinating her. 🙂 Four triple crowners among all of us!
We camped out on Friday night. The following morning, we climbed up St. Mary’s “glacier” (a permanent snow field, really) and then climbed to the divide.
The day was fantastic! The weather could not be better for being up at over well over 12000′ for most of the day.
After five 13ers, we made it to Berthoud Pass on the Continental Divide. Looks like the USFS is finally constructing the new visitors’ center that has been talked about for a few years.
At the pass, my truck was waiting with a cooler of beer. Seven hikers and a dog made for an interesting ride back up the winding road to St. Mary’s. My truck is also a 4 cyl one. The road goes to 10k ft as well. 1st and 2nd gear was put to good use… Ahem.
August 28th – Deer Mountain Full Moon Hike
A wonderful “view to effort ratio” hike. Done on a full moon! No headlamp needed. Great views of Longs Peak, the Continental Divide and the Mummy Range. A little wine and cheese as well. Mmm..good.
Of course, on the way back a bear almost ran into our car. I kid you not. Made for an interesting way to end the evening!
Labor Day Weekend – The Wind River Range
I had my digital camera back just in time for what is perhaps the most gorgeous range in the American Rockies!
The Wind are just fantastic. Glaciers (which are now much smaller that what is shown on the topo maps. See other discussions on hiking boards for that type of..er, interesting info!), sharp granite peaks, wide valleys, huge lakes.
I camped in the Great Divide Basin the night before starting the trip and had some good memories from my CDT trip last year.
We hiked in the area that is Shoshone-Arapaho reservation land. The permit was rather expensive ($80 pp!), but 4 days of backcountry bliss and seeing only a handful of people, made it all worthwhile. Heck, cheaper than golf, right?
Highlights of this trip included having base camp 10 miles in at Sonnicant Lake, being on top of the Continental Divide on Kegavah Pass and going to the seldom visited Roberts Mountain. There was a register from 1972!
The “trails” in this little used are are very faint, poorly marked and often overgrown. We had to navigate by map and compass at night. :O The talus fields slowed the travel quite a bit. No worries. We were prepared and it was warm out at night…plus three of our friends had a campfire going and some wine. Life ain’t bad.
EAGLE’S NEST WILDERNESS SEPT 8th
In 2001, I did a backpacking loop in this rugged wilderness area. The highlight was a seven mile hike along Elliot Ridge. A closed down jeep track along an above treeline ridge with mountain goats on the 12400′ high Meridian Peak.
I wanted to do it again. Due to social obligations, we decided to tackle this 26 mile, 4500′ loop as a day hike.
The day was awesome. We started off the day with sub-alpine lakes each prettier than the next. Then we approached the ridge. The mountain goats were still there, the mountains just as jagged and scenic as I remember, and the ridge as wide open and awesome as six years ago.
What did change from six years ago was that, unknown to me or the apparently outdated maps I carried, that a trail was abandoned, a road that was open six years ago was turned into trail and trail signs were gone. Basically, my 1990’s vintage map did not conform to reality! What was an easy loop six years ago does not really exist now.
We were making good time..then everything got mixed up. We saw what WAS the trail (according to the topo lines and stream) and it soon petered out. We made our way through using map and compass over heavily wooded terrain. Slow going! . We finally hooked up to a trail that was still used. However it was 7pm and still had five miles or so to hike. Headlamps were about to be broken out when we bumped into some fishermen who said, if we wanted to, they could give us a ride. There car was a half-hour walk up the trail and it would be no big deal to drop us off at the other trail head. Being no fool ,we said yes!
A wonderful, if a bit more eventful day than we planned. This “trail-petering out-and-no-longer-existing” motif is getting repeated quite a bit!
(Go hiking with someone and you bump into a former girlfriend. Damn small town indeed!)
There you go… enjoy the photos, the purple prose and my adventures in forced map and compass training.