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Tag: weminuche wilderness

Edge of the Weminuche: Whitehead Peak Loop

Weminuche Wanderings | Thirteeners Around the Deer Park Cirque
Saturday & Sunday, August 29-30, 2020

This weekend I was originally planning to leave right after work on Friday like I usually do, so I could climb three thirteeners along the edge of the Weminuche Wilderness near Silverton on Saturday morning and then head back home in the afternoon so I could prepare for an upcoming trip later in the week. However, after looking at the weather forecast for Saturday and seeing that it was supposed to rain and storm for most of the day, I shuffled my plans around a bit since the weather on Sunday morning was looking like a safer bet for hiking in the San Juan Mountains. Since I was now home on Saturday morning, Diane and I ended up going for a bike ride in the rain along the Colorado River near our home instead. It was one of the coolest days of the summer so far and was a nice way to start the day.

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Along the Continental Divide: Stony Pass Peaks

Saturday & Sunday, August 22-23, 2020

After spending the morning hiking to a couple peaks along the Colorado Trail near Kennebec Pass in the La Plata Mountains, I thought it was time to visit a couple of 13ers that I had missed on a previous visit to Stony Pass a few years ago since I got sidetracked that day helping a mountain biker get to the airport in Durango. After grabbing a quick lunch in Durango I headed back to the heart of the San Juan Mountains near Silverton and drove up to the Continental Divide at Stony Pass in the late afternoon. I found a spot to camp for the night and rested for a little bit. As sunset approached I hiked up the Hardrock 100 route to the summit of Hardrocker (13,214) so I could watch the light show. I made it up to the summit a bit earlier than I had planned, but since the summit was large and grassy I just laid down for a while and enjoyed the comfortable temperature and beautiful scenery from the top.

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Weminuche Wanderings: West Ute Lake Loop

Continental Divide Trail: Hunchback Pass to West Ute Lake
Labor Day Weekend | Friday – Sunday, August 30 – September 1, 2019

Since we just spent last weekend along the Continental Divide in Wyoming, I figured it would be nice to spend some time along the Continental Divide Trail in Colorado this weekend. Since Labor Day is a popular holiday in the mountains of Colorado I planned a backpacking loop into an area of the Weminuche Wilderness that I hoped would not be very busy so we could try to avoid the crowds. The plan worked out great as we only saw a couple of other people all weekend and had plenty of solitude! As for the trails we hiked, they required more bushwhacking and route-finding than I expected, so that might be another reason why we didn’t run into too many people.

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West Needle Mountains: Crater Lake

Saturday & Sunday, July 13-14, 2019

This weekend I wanted to finally get out on our first backpacking trip into the mountains for the season. I was looking for an easier overnighter that wasn’t too far from home, preferably in the San Juan Mountains, and after looking at recent satellite images to see how much snow was left in the high country I decided that we would give Crater Lake in the West Needle Mountains a try. From the recent satellite images it looked like there might still be a little snow on the ground in the area, but nothing we shouldn’t be able to get through. All of the other options I was looking at still had considerable snow on the ground and would have to wait a while longer. This six mile trail starts out in the Andrews Lake Day Use Area located just to the southwest of Molas Pass and climbs up to Crater Lake, nestled on the north side of North Twilight Peak in the Weminuche Wilderness. Last year our first backpacking trip into the mountains was also in the Weminuche Wilderness, but thankfully this time we didn’t have to inhale smoke the entire time!

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Highland Mary Lakes & Verde Lakes

Saturday & Sunday, June 9-10, 2018

This weekend Diane and I decided to go on a very early season backpacking trip into the high country near Silverton. During a normal year we wouldn’t even consider going on a backpacking trip into the mountains until later in June or early in July, but with the low snowpack this year we decided to give it a try much earlier to see how the conditions really were. Also, since it’s still early in the season, the monsoons haven’t started yet and we would be able to camp well above tree line without worrying about storms or lightning. Plus, with Highway 550 closed between Durango and Silverton because of the 416 Fire, we figured the mountains near Silverton wouldn’t be very busy right now and we hoped to find plenty of solitude.

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