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Category: Photographing

Fairview Peak Fire Lookout: Highest in North America

Fossil Ridge Recreation Area & Cumberland Pass Peaks
Saturday & Sunday, August 8-9, 2020

This weekend Diane and I headed over to the Sawatch Range near Pitkin so we could visit the highest Fire Lookout in North America, which is located on the summit of Fairview Peak at 13,214 feet. Last summer I spent a night in the Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower and since then I’ve been interested in checking out more of the fire lookouts in Colorado. The highest one in North America sounded like the perfect place to start, especially since I could hike a new 13er at the same time! While we were in the area we also planned to hike to the summits of a couple other peaks near Cumberland Pass so I could continue my Summer of 12ers! It’s been a long time since I spent much time around Cumberland Pass, and to be honest, I don’t really remember being that impressed with the area when I drove through, but I was probably in a hurry to get elsewhere at the time, so I was looking forward to spending a little more time exploring this part of the Sawatch.

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Western Edge of the San Juans: Groundhog Mountain

Saturday & Sunday, August 1-2, 2020

After spending Saturday morning hiking along the Calico Trail in the Rico Mountains I wanted to hike one more quick and easy 12er on Sunday morning before I headed back home. Since I’ve been avoiding the busy high peaks in Colorado this summer, I thought I’d make this the Summer of 12ers! After watching Groundhog Mountain on the horizon over the past couple of weeks, I thought it would be a fun to climb Lone Cone’s closest neighboring peak, especially since I figured it probably doesn’t see too many visitors. So after visiting Colorado’s only geyser on Saturday afternoon I drove further west towards the fringe of the San Juan Mountains and found and excellent campsite at the edge of Black Mesa which offered me a great view of the San Miguel Mountains. I ate my dinner and hoped for another spectacular sunset from this great vantage point. I wasn’t let down as the following photos will attest!

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Rico Mountains: The Calico Trail

National Summit Day: Calico National Recreation Trail Peak Bagging
Friday & Saturday, July 31 – August 1, 2020

Last weekend I was supposed to go backpacking in the Weminuche Wilderness with Jackson, but those plans got rained out by the wet weather we had, so this weekend I really needed to get back into the mountains and since Saturday is National Summit Day, I figured some peak-bagging was in order. I had considered heading down to my favorite area of the San Juan Mountains between Ouray and Silverton, but things have been pretty busy over that way this summer, and I was looking for somewhere with a little more solitude. After thinking about my options during the week I decided that I wanted to return to the Rico Mountains. While Diane and I were hiking along the Colorado Trail near Bolam Pass two weeks ago, I had noticed Calico Peak in the Rico Mountains on the horizon since it stuck out pretty well from the surrounding peaks, and I knew that I would have to climb it eventually since I have a cat that we nicknamed Rico (which is short for Tellico) who just happens to be a calico. It must be a sign! While researching Calico Peak I found that the Calico National Recreation Trail went right near it, plus there are a couple of other 12ers nearby, so I thought it would be a good idea to follow that trail and bag a couple of other peaks in the area, too. Why only bag one peak on National Summit Day when you can get four or more!

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Flat Tops for the Fourth: Wall Lake & Trappers Peak

Headwaters of the White River | The Flat Tops Wilderness of the White River Plateau
Independence Day Weekend | Friday – Saturday, July 3-4, 2020

After spending the last couple of weekends on the river it was finally time to start heading up into Colorado’s high country for the short summer season! This weekend Diane and I decided to head up to visit the headwaters of the White River in the Flat Tops Wilderness, where I hoped we could find a little solitude over this popular and busy holiday weekend. Although I’ve gone on a few day hikes into the Flat Tops Wilderness before, this would actually be our first backpacking trip into Colorado’s third largest wilderness area and I was looking forward to it!

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Dark Canyon Wilderness: Woodenshoe Canyon

Friday – Monday, May 15-18, 2020

This weekend I was supposed to be backpacking with Diane in Canyonlands National Park, but since the park is still closed due to COVID-19 they cancelled my second permit there this spring. At this point I guess that I will just have to try again next year. While looking into alternate plans for the weekend the weather forecast was predicting much warmer temperatures across the Southwest, so I tried to find someplace that was a little higher in elevation where it might be cooler, and after weighing my options I decided it was finally time to check out Woodenshoe Canyon in the Dark Canyon Wilderness. Although I’ve driven around the edges of this wilderness area before, this is one part of the Colorado Plateau that I have ignored for far too long! With the change in plans, Diane decided that she was going to stay home this weekend so I invited my friend Jerry to join me on this four day trip. Unfortunately, this was one of those rare trips where things didn’t quite go as planned and we ended up cutting the trip short and headed home a day early.

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