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Tag: wildflowers

Grand Basin Traverse: The Basins of Mineral Creek

Black Bear Pass to Columbine Lake
Saturday, August 17, 2019

This weekend I decided to skip the peak bagging for a minute and just wanted to go on a nice hike in the high country through the upper basins of Mineral Creek near Silverton. I have wanted to hike to the turquoise blue waters of Columbine Lake for a long time but I didn’t really want to follow the steep trail that everyone else does, so I decided that I would drive up to Black Bear Pass and then hike over to the lake by passing through a couple different high alpine basins and maybe stop at a couple of passes along the way. Now after hiking this route I’ve got to say that it was pretty amazing! One of the nice things about this hike is that it was all above treeline and pretty much stayed between about 12,600 feet and 13,000 feet. There were a lot of ups and downs along the way, but it didn’t feel like I was climbing a steep mountain and the route offered spectacular views in all directions right from the beginning. This Grand Basin Traverse takes you through Mineral Basin, Porphyry Basin, Silver Cloud Basin and Mill Creek Basin on your way to Columbine Lake. Along the way you have the option of climbing up to two different passes for views into Mud Lake Basin and Bridal Veil Basin, plus you will also pass by Porphyry Lake, Bullion King Lake and a number of other small tarns along the way. This is definitely the way to hike to Columbine Lake!

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Mount Columbia via Frenchman Creek

Saturday & Sunday, August 10-11, 2019

I had such a nice time in the Sawatch Range a couple of weeks ago when I climbed Mount Yale that I decided to return again this weekend with Diane so we could go on an overnight backpacking trip along Frenchman Creek and climb Mount Columbia (14,073) on Sunday morning. Since we didn’t have a long hike ahead of us, we slept in later on Saturday morning before heading out on our way to the Arkansas River Valley. We stopped at K’s in Buena Vista for lunch and then from there it was a quick drive over to the Frenchman Creek Trailhead at the boundary of the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. When we arrived I was pretty surprised to find that there were no other vehicles parked there, plus we would not seen anyone else on the trail all weekend. It was a little bit strange, even for a non-standard route on a 14er, especially on a weekend on this side of the mountains, but I’m not complaining!

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Riding Along the Rim of the Grand Mesa

Flowing Park to Point Peninsula
Sunday, August 4, 2019

After spending Saturday morning hiking to the summit of Red Mountain #2 and then going to a concert in the evening, we slept in a little later on Sunday morning before heading out for the day. It has been a while since we have gone on a mountain bike ride, so we decided to head up onto the Grand Mesa for a few hours with our bikes. After looking at a map we decided to give the Flowing Park Trail a try since it looked like there wouldn’t be too much elevation gain and that it would follow along the rim of the Grand Mesa for a while offering us distant views of the surrounding landscape. While I had hoped to ride the full loop when we started, we ended up turning around when we reached Point Peninsula and returning the way we had come. Even though we didn’t ride the entire loop, I do believe this was still our longest mountain bike ride ever, so there’s that. During the last few miles of the ride back to the trailhead we got caught in a storm and were soaked by the time we arrived back at my Jeep. It was a good time!

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Snow Mesa: Baldy Cinco & Baldy no es Cinco

Baldy Cinco Group | Friday – Saturday, July 26-27, 2019

Since Diane was working all weekend, I figured that this would be a good time to attempt my first 14er of the year and had settled on trying to climb Mount Yale in the Sawatch Range. The weather forecast for Saturday wasn’t looking too good, but Sunday was, so I decided to push the Mount Yale hike off until Sunday and find something shorter and easier to do on Saturday morning. Last year I had planned to hike Baldy Cinco and Baldy no es Cinco from Spring Creek Pass in late September but ended up changing those plans at the last minute, so I decided to give that hike another shot now.

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La Plata Mountains: Centennial Peak

Plus A Failed Attempt at Hesperus Mountain
Friday – Sunday, July 19-21, 2019

I have been looking forward to this weekend since early March when I was able to secure an overnight reservation for the Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower on Sunday night, and since I was going to be in the area I decided to spend the weekend peak-bagging in the La Plata Mountains. As usual, I left right after work on Friday and headed south into the San Juan Mountains with a quick stop in Delta for dinner. I drove over Red Mountain Pass to Durango and then headed west to Mancos where I took the West Mancos Road into the San Juan National Forest and found a spot to spend the night in Spruce Mill Park just after dark. It had been a long day and I was planning to get an early start the next morning, so I went right to bed.

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