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Month: June 2021

Elkhead Mountains: Hahns Peak Fire Lookout

Friday – Saturday, June 25-26, 2021

After spending a night in the Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower almost two years ago, I thought it would be interesting and fun to try visiting at least one new fire lookout each summer. Last year Diane and I hiked to the Fairview Peak Fire Lookout, which is the highest fire lookout in North America, so this year I decided to check out the Hahns Peak Fire Lookout in the Elkhead Mountains north of Steamboat Springs. There is some confusion as to whether Hahns Peak belongs to the Sierra Madre or the Elkhead Mountains, but according to SummitPost and the book History of the Elkhead Mountains, Hahns Peak is the eastern-most point in the Elkhead Mountains. This is a part of Colorado I have never been to before, so I was looking forward to exploring new terrain!

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The Flat Tops: Above & Below the Chinese Wall

Chinese Wall Trail to Lost Lakes Peaks & Skinny Fish Basin
Friday – Sunday, June 18-20, 2021

After spending last weekend on the San Miguel River and then in the Lizard Head Wilderness, I was looking forward to spending some more time in the high country to get away from these 100 degree days in the Grand Valley. Originally, I was planning to hike in the La Sal Mountains this weekend, since that’s where I usually kick off my peak-bagging season, but with the Pack Creek Fire burning in the area I decided it would be best to stay clear of that area for now. For the past couple of years I’ve also been trying to go on an early season trip into the Flat Tops, so I thought I would go ahead and do that this weekend instead. I’ve always wanted to hike to the top of the Chinese Wall, so I figured I could do that and visit the summits of the Lost Lakes Peaks while I was up there.

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Cross Mountain Trail to Lizard Head

Saturday & Sunday, June 12-13, 2021

After spending Saturday afternoon floating through Norwood Canyon with Jackson, I decided to head up higher into the San Juan Mountains to the headwaters of the San Miguel River so I could go on a quick hike Sunday morning before heading back home. It’s time for me to start hiking in the mountains for the summer, so I figured I better start acclimating again by spending more time at elevation now. It’s funny, I’ve spent a lot of time in the areas surrounding the San Miguel Mountains, but I don’t recall ever stepping foot inside the Lizard Head Wilderness area before, so I thought it was time that I finally did.

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Norwood Canyon of the San Miguel River

San Miguel Canyon: Beaver Creek to the Piñon Green Truss Bridge
Saturday, June 12, 2021 | Average CFS: 608

Unfortunately, this is only the first river trip of the year for me, and it feels long overdue! I was really hoping to get in a few more river trips this spring, but thanks to the dismal snowpack and poor spring runoff, things just haven’t worked out for me this year. The smaller desert rivers that I wanted to float did not have enough water and I did not win any permits from the lotteries this year, so lately I have been keeping an eye on some of the rivers in western Colorado hoping that there would be enough snowmelt to run something. This past week it was looking like the San Miguel River was going to be our best bet, and since we had a really nice time on the lower San Miguel River and Hanging Flume Canyon last year, Jackson and I thought it would be nice to check out a new section through Norwood Canyon this time. There is not a lot of info about this stretch of the San Miguel available, but we found enough bits and pieces online that helped us figure out the logistics of the trip. It was going to be another hot weekend on the Colorado Plateau, so we were looking forward to keeping cool on the San Miguel River!

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Cedar Breaks: Ashdown Gorge & Rattlesnake Creek

Ashdown Gorge Wilderness & Cedar Breaks National Monument
Friday – Sunday, June 4-6, 2021

After spending last weekend wandering around the Book Cliffs, it was time to head back into Utah for one more trip before I start spending most of my time in the mountains of Colorado. It was supposed to be another hot and windy weekend across the Colorado Plateau, so I thought this would be a good time to finally hike through Ashdown Gorge near Cedar City. This hike has been on my to-do list for over ten years now, so it was time to finally do it! Last year I had tentatively planned an overnight backpacking trip through Ashdown Gorge in the early summer with Diane and Jared, but thanks again to COVID-19, those plans were cancelled. Since Diane is now too busy with school, it would just be me and Jared going, and since the hike is not too long and mostly downhill we decided to skip the backpacking this time around and just do it as a day hike.

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