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Tag: summer of 12ers

La Plata Mountains: Kennebec Pass Peaks

Friday & Saturday, August 21-22, 2020

This weekend I knew that the entire state of Colorado was going to be completely covered with smoke from wildfires since it seems like the entire West is currently on fire. After looking at smoke and weather forecasts for the weekend it looked like my best bet to escape the worst of the smoke might be to head down to the southwest portion of the San Juan Mountains, so I thought another visit to the La Plata Mountains would be a good idea. In order to continue my Summer of 12ers I decided to hike to a couple of peaks near Kennebec Pass along the Colorado Trail. It’s been about ten years since the last time I drove up to Kennebec Pass and I was looking forward to spending some more time hiking in this area again.

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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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Middle La Sal Peak: Mount Mellenthin

La Sal Mountains Peak Bagging | South Mountain from Medicine Lakes
Friday – Sunday, July 10-12, 2020

This weekend I continued my annual tradition of spending an early summer weekend peak-bagging in the La Sal Mountains near Moab. Usually I try to make this my first peak-bagging trip of the season, but this year that honor goes to Trappers Peak in the Flat Tops. Since I have now hiked all of the popular peaks in the La Sal Mountains, it is time to get started on the more obscure ones, and this trip I thought it was finally time I went for Mount Mellenthin, also known as Middle La Sal Peak, which is the second tallest peak in the La Sals after Mount Peale. I was originally planning to hike Mount Mellenthin after floating the Moab Daily a couple of weeks ago, but I had to cancel those plans when I came down with some sort of allergic reaction after getting off the river. I was looking forward to getting back into the La Sals this weekend, especially since there was a heat wave in the area and I hoped to stay cool at higher elevations!

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