Monthly Archives: July 2015

Saturday & Sunday, July 25-26, 2015

The Dragon’s Back at sunset with Wetterhorn Peak and Uncompahgre Peak on the horizon.

This weekend Diane and I went on an overnight backpacking trip into the Uncompahgre Wilderness of the San Juan Mountains to explore and photograph the area around Unnamed Peak 12968, which is unofficially known as the Dragon’s Back. I have wanted to visit this area for a few years and had planned to finally get there sometime this summer, so I’ve been waiting for the right weather forecast on a weekend when I was also free. With the wet and stormy weather we’ve been having around here lately, this proved to be a challenge. Finally, we had some drier air move into the area and this weekend looked like it would be mostly storm free and might still have good conditions for photography. It turned out to be a great weekend for this trip and I couldn’t have asked for a better sunset on Saturday evening!

Continue Reading…

Friday & Saturday, July 17-18, 2015

This weekend Diane had to stay home so I set out on my own into the San Juan Mountains to finally climb my first 14ers of the year. I planned to hike to the top of Redcloud Peak and Sunshine Peak bright and early on Saturday morning. I left work early on Friday and after stopping for a late lunch at Handlebars in Silverton, I continued up the Animas River to the top of Cinnamon Pass. I parked at the pass and took a short warm-up hike to the top of Cinnamon Mountain, an easy 13er. Short hikes at elevation and sleeping above 10,000 feet really helps me get acclimated quicker.

Continue Reading…

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It’s been a few years since I’ve hiked to the summit of Mount Garfield in the Little Book Cliffs, so I thought it would be a good idea to head up there after work today and revisit for sunset. Unfortunately, as I reached the second bench before the final climb to the top, a big storm came across the valley and I decided it was time to head back down. Not only was there a lot of lightning, I was also concerned about hiking back down the steep clay if it got wet since that stuff can get really slippery. It was a good decision because once I reached my Jeep at the trailhead the sky let loose and the rain came down hard. In the end I hiked about two miles round trip and climbed about 1,200 feet, which isn’t a bad workout. I’ll have to try again soon. Here are a few photos from the short hike.

Continue Reading…

Crag Crest

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

After work on Wednesday, Diane and I drove up onto the Grand Mesa for an evening hike on the Crag Crest Trail. We started from the West Trailhead and hiked up to the highest point on the Crag Crest ridge (11,189), which is also the second highest point in Mesa County (after Leon Peak) and about 4 miles from the trailhead. It had rained earlier in the afternoon and much of the trail was wet and muddy, plus the mosquitoes were out in force when we started. The mosquitoes were so bad at the beginning of the trail that we couldn’t stop moving or else we would be swarmed by them! Thankfully, they seemed to disappear once we reached the higher portion of the ridge and we also didn’t have any issues with mosquitoes on the hike back down. The sky was pretty cloudy and overcast for much of the hike, but when we reached the summit we were treated to a little blue sky and sunlight. From the top we were able to see the tops of the West Elks and even the distant San Juan Mountains. There was even a tiny rainbow over the Beckwith Peaks in the distance for a few minutes. Thankfully, we never saw any lightning or heard any thunder during the entire hike. We made it back to my Jeep at the trailhead shortly after sunset and we never had to use our headlamps. We were the only ones on the trail this evening and it was a nice way to spend a few hours after work.

Continue Reading…

Friday – Sunday, July 10-12, 2015

June was a busy month for me that prevented me from spending much time outside and then I got sick over the long Independence Day weekend, so it’s been quite a while since I’ve been out hiking and camping and I really needed to get back into the mountains this weekend! Since I’m a little out of shape, I thought it would be a good idea to start out the season hiking a few easier peaks near Red Mountain Pass this weekend that I’ve thought about climbing for years. Diane and I left after work on Friday and drove through Ouray to one of our go-to campsites in Mineral Basin. We quickly setup camp at 11,600 feet elevation and were soon sleeping. I know that some people have trouble sleeping at higher elevations, but I almost always sleep well over 10,000 feet and this night was no exception.

Continue Reading…