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Category: Highpointing

Mountains of Minerals: The San Juan Triangle

Friday – Sunday, August 27-29, 2021

This weekend it was time for me to head back down to the San Juan Mountains near Silverton so I could hike to the summit of a couple new peaks in the area. The San Juan Triangle, which is roughly defined as the area between Ouray, Silverton and Telluride, is one of my absolute favorite places in the state to explore the high country, and over the years I have been working to hike as many of the peaks in the area that I can. This time I was planning to hike Eureka Mountain and California Mountain on Saturday morning since they are both right by each other and pretty much surrounded by other peaks that I have already hiked. I had actually planned to do these hikes a couple of weeks ago, but that trip was cancelled when I was stopped by a mudslide on my way up to Red Mountain Pass, so I was happy to return this weekend.

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Carved from Calf Creek Plateau: Powderhorn Lakes

An Introduction to the Powderhorn Wilderness & Cannibal Point
Saturday & Sunday, August 14-15, 2021

On Friday Diane finished another semester of school and finally had a full week off before she starts back up again. We had made plans to spend a couple of days in the Wind Rivers later in the week, but since she hasn’t been able to get out hiking much lately we thought it would be a good idea to get out on a quick overnight backpacking trip this weekend. As I looked over my maps of the San Juan Mountains for an easier overnight trip that wouldn’t be too far away from home, I thought it would be interesting to finally check out the Powderhorn Wilderness near Lake City with a hike up to the Powderhorn Lakes. The Powderhorn Wilderness is jointly managed by the BLM and the Gunnison National Forest and contains two huge plateaus over 12,000ft that make up the largest relatively flat expanse of alpine tundra in the lower 48 states, and I hoped to hike to the highpoint of the Calf Creek Plateau while we were up there. I also figured this area wouldn’t be very busy since it’s not a popular spot with the kind of high rugged peaks that seem to attract people.

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The Edge of the Elks: Marble In the Middle

Friday – Sunday, August 6-8, 2021

I spent most of Friday in Redstone, Colorado attending the GIS Colorado Summer Meeting at the Redstone Inn along the Crystal River, so I figured this would be the perfect opportunity for me to stick around the area for the rest of the weekend. I haven’t spent any time in the Elk Mountains since our visit to the Conundrum Hot Springs last summer so I was looking forward to hiking among these rugged peaks again, even if the smoke was predicted to be bad over the weekend. When the meeting ended in the early afternoon I hopped into my Jeep and headed over to area surrounding Marble so I could try to get in a short hike before sunset.

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The Crest of the Grand Mesa: Crag Crest Trail

Sunday, August 1, 2021

This was one of those rare weekends when my plans just don’t work out at all. I was originally planning to spend most of the weekend trying to hike around the strong monsoon weather in the San Juan Mountains around Silverton, but after leaving work on Friday afternoon and almost making it to Red Mountain Pass, I was stopped by a mudslide that wasn’t going to be cleaned up for a while. I ended up driving back to Ouray figure out my next move, but with mudslides and road closures already common throughout the mountains and strong storms predicted for the rest of the weekend, I decided it was finally time for me to take a weekend off, so I headed back home.

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Spencer Basin to Sugarloaf

Friday & Saturday, July 23-24, 2021

This weekend I needed to stay closer to home since Diane and I had another concert to go to on Saturday night and I wanted to be home early enough in the afternoon so I could rest for a little bit first. I was originally trying to find an easier summit close to Ouray since I was a little worried about all the mudslides we’ve been having in the mountains lately, and I really didn’t want to get stuck anywhere and miss out on the concert, but in the end I decided to head over Red Mountain Pass to Silverton so I could hike to the summit of Sugarloaf from Spencer Basin. Here’s a fun fact: There are at least 28 different Sugarloafs in Colorado (including peaks, mountains, rocks, etc…), but the one located above Spencer Basin along the edge of the Weminuche Wilderness is the highest one in the state at 12,754 feet.

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