Twenty-four hours in Lost Creek

Originally I was going to head down to New Mexico this past weekend.

A relatively short drive after work. A chance to backpack in a wilderness area I have not been to before.  Something always pleasing.

Alas, the weather forecast had lots of t-storms where I had planned to backpack. Perhaps not the best conditions when above treeline for the majority of the trip.

Just as well. It was probably best I stayed local for various reasons.

But I wanted an overnight trip.

A chance to sleep under the stars and have the quiet of the Colorado backcountry lulling me to sleep.

Something a day hike just can’t satisfy.

I went to an old favorite: the Lost Creek Wilderness.

Though there are some dramatic parts in the this wilderness area, I tend to go to nooks and crannies that are perhaps more subtle. Wide meadows, pleasant woods and a relaxing quiet are what I typically seek. And usually find.

More day hikers and trail runners are seen for a bit at the start…then I pretty much have the area to myself.

There were signs of fall just starting to phase into the backcountry. Yellows and reds were starting to appear among the still present wildflowers.

Only a brief stretch on the Colorado Trail had any people out for the night. And only a very few. I did see one 4WD trailhead with a fair amount of car campers.  I quickly passed that area and went deeper into the wilderness area.

Daylight was running out.

An area was soon found that was flat and nestled in the trees.

I settled in for the night.

The stream below added a pleasant noise that accompanied my dinner.

I recently read an essay of someone criticizing sleeping under the stars. The person, in essence,  said such camping was a symptom of people who “Go light. And go fast. And miss what the outdoors is about“.

As I was sipping my libation with a dollop of whiskey and admiring Saturn, Mars and Antares in perfect alignment above, all I could think of was how foolish that person was who wrote that essay.

The night sky above was wonderful. A slight chill was in the air. And I could see my breath for the first time in weeks.

Another sign that autumn is coming.

And soon.

The following morning I walked down the meadow and enjoy the tranquility of this wide open area.

Before heading on another trail and into the woods again, one last look was taken of the meadow.

The woods was re-entered. A wooded saddle was reached and the gradual descent was made to the car.

Another weekend in the backcountry.

It was not dramatic. Or intense. Or epic.

It was simply enjoyable and relaxing.

And it was time spent outside.

That’s all I needed.

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7 years ago

I was on a solo backpacking trip in LCW that weekend as well. Such a magical place!

Rachel McCurdy
Rachel McCurdy
5 years ago

The Lost Creek Wilderness sounds amazing! I’m considering backpacking the loop mid-week in mid-September in the hope of as much solitude as possible. I know the weekends are busier, but do you happen to know roughly how many people I might see at that time? My last trip was to the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness where I saw one group or person a day which was perfect in my opinion.