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Category: Touring

Southern Sawatch: Antora Meadows & Windy Point

Friday, September 2, 2022

After spending the night next to the rushing waters of Willow Creek, I actually slept in past sunrise for a change since I had already climbed Parkview Mountain the evening before and had no other plans for first thing in the morning. Today I was going to be driving a couple hours to the very southern tip of the Sawatch Range where I had originally planned to spend the rest of the weekend. However, after driving south through Silverthorne, Leadville, Buena Vista and then over Poncha Pass to Bonanza, I just wasn’t feeling like I was into the trip anymore and decided I would probably be heading home later today instead.

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Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout Tower

Fire Lookouts Extravaganza | Tuesday – Thursday, August 30 – September 1, 2022

After hiking to the Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout in the morning, it was time for me to head further north through North Park and into the Medicine Bow Mountains of Wyoming so I could spend the next two nights at the Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout Tower while exploring the surrounding area. Over the past couple of years I’ve been trying to visit more Fire Lookouts and Towers in the Rocky Mountains and have already spent a night in the Jersey Jim and Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain Lookout, so it should come as no surprise that I have been trying to reserve a night at the Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout Tower, which sits atop the 10,003 foot summit of Spruce Mountain near Laramie, Wyoming and was renovated and opened to the public for overnight rentals in 1997. Of course, getting a reservation proved to be a bit challenging, but I finally managed to grab two nights (the minimum length of stay allowed) and then began planning this Fire Lookouts Extravaganza!

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Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout

The Only Remaining Fire Lookout in Rocky Mountain National Park
Fire Lookouts Extravaganza | Monday & Tuesday, August 29-30, 2022

Earlier this year I managed to reserve two nights this week at the Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout in the Medicine Bow Mountains of Wyoming and thought it would be fun to make a longer trip out if it by trying to visit as many other Fire Lookouts in the same general area that I could. Since my first night at the Spruce Mountain Tower wasn’t until Tuesday, I thought it would make sense to stop and visit the Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout on the way there. Located near the small town of Grand Lake, the Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout was built in the 1930’s and is the only remaining Fire Lookout left within the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park. I left from work on Monday afternoon and followed the upper Colorado River to Grand Lake with a stop for gas in Kremmling.

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Hagerman Pass and the Colorado Midland Railway

Wednesday – Saturday, July 27-30, 2022

This Thursday and Friday I was going to be attending the GIS Colorado Summer Meetup which was being held at Turquoise Lake near Leadville and then I planned to spend the rest of the weekend exploring the surrounding area. I was hoping to get plenty of hiking in during the evenings and over the weekend, but that didn’t end up happening and I spent most of the time meeting new people and relaxing around camp, which was a nice change of pace. Although the weather forecast had been calling for a wet and stormy couple of days at the end of the week, we didn’t see much rain at the campground, but it was still overcast and cloudy much of the time. These are some photos I took over the days I was in the area.

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A Morning in the Northern Snake Range

Saturday & Sunday, July 16-17, 2022

After hiking Telescope Peak and leaving Death Valley National Park earlier in the day, I stopped for a quick dinner in Tonopah and then continued driving east across the Great Basin of Nevada as I made my way back home. I made another quick stop for fuel and food in Ely and then continued on into the northern portion of Snake Range to find a place to spend the night at a higher elevation where it would be cooler out. After leaving the paved highway and driving across the bottom of Spring Valley, I followed the steep switchbacks of a narrow dirt road into the Humboldt National Forest in the dark and then stopped at the first decent campsite I found along the way. It was about 9:30pm when I finally stopped for the night and I was pretty tired since it had been a long day, so I quickly got into my sleeping bag and went to bed.

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