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Tag: alpenglow

Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain Fire Lookout

Formerly the Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout | Saturday & Sunday, January 29-30, 2022

Over the past couple of years I have been trying to visit at least one new Fire Lookout each year, so I thought I would get an early start this year when I booked a night in the Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout near Idaho Springs this past October. This unique structure was constructed of native granite by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1940’s and is situated on top of Squaw Mountain at about 11,500 feet. The cab measures 14 X 14 feet, is completely lined by windows on each side and is surrounded by a catwalk, which all sits on top of the one story stone base. Back in December Squaw Mountain was officially renamed to Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain (pronounced mess-taw-HAY) by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, so now the name of the lookout has also changed to match. I had actually wanted to book a night at this fire lookout for the past two years but it has been closed through the end of 2021 due to COVID, so when I noticed they had finally started accepting reservations again for 2022 I quickly booked a night over the last weekend in January!

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The Good Gallery & Bowknot Bend Overlook

Friday – Sunday, October 22-24, 2021

This weekend I decided to stay just a little bit closer to home than I have the past couple of weekends, and headed over to the west side of the Green River so I could spend some time in the Horseshoe Canyon and Labyrinth Canyon Wilderness areas. I was hoping to check out a large Barrier Canyon Style pictograph panel that I had not been to yet and then hike to an overlook of the Bowknot Bend Saddle from Keg Point. I left right after work on Friday afternoon and headed west into Utah. I stopped for gas in Green River and then followed the Hans Flat Road until it was dark out and found a spot to spend the night. There was a pretty nice sunset during the drive, but I didn’t stop to take any photos this time. I was anticipating it to get a bit cold overnight, but surprisingly it never got down below 50 degrees and was very comfortable. On Saturday morning I was up shortly before sunrise and then made my way over to the starting point for my first hike.

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Sangre de Cristo Mountains: Hermit Pass Peaks

Rito Alto Peak & Hermit Peak | Saturday & Sunday, September 4-5, 2021

After spending the last couple days hiking high points in Arizona and New Mexico, it was now time to start heading back home through Colorado, but of course I planned to hike at least a couple more peaks on the way back! As I followed the Sangre de Cristo Mountains north out of New Mexico and into Colorado I thought it would be a good time to hike some peaks in that range since it’s been quite a while since I’ve spent any time there. Originally, I was considering continuing my quest of the The Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo by hiking Blanca Peak, but didn’t think that would be a good place to find much solitude now, especially in the middle of a holiday weekend. I think I’ll save the last two Sacred Peaks for a little road trip next summer. Instead, I decided to head up the road to Hermit Pass near Westcliffe so I could not only hike some high 13ers, but also so I could drive up to a pass that I had never been to before. The road was not difficult or dangerous, but it was very bumpy, slow and annoying. I found a place to spend the night above Horseshoe Lake and then spent the rest of the evening relaxing at camp and watching the clouds move through the sky as sunset approached.

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The Highest Peak in Arizona: Humphreys Peak

Finishing the Four Corners State High Points | The Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo
Thursday, September 2, 2021

Last year I took a couple days off from work the week before Labor Day to go on a solo road trip Across the Great Basin and Back and climbed a couple of high peaks in Nevada and California along the way. This year I thought it would be fun to go on another road trip before the Labor Day weekend, but this time my goal was to finish off the high points of the Four Corner states and to begin climbing the Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo. Since I have already climbed the highest peaks in Colorado and Utah, this trip would be taking me down to Arizona and New Mexico. Although I’m not interested in climbing the highest point in every state, I do have the desire to climb the highest peaks in the states that I care about, which are primarily just the ones in the southwest. Arizona and New Mexico would be the last of the states I care about since I’ve already climbed the high points of Nevada and California. I suppose I might care about Gannett Peak in Wyoming, but since I know that mountain is out of my league it will most likely never happen. I decided to start my extended weekend road trip with Humphrey’s Peak (12,633) located just outside of Flagstaff, which is part of San Francisco Peaks and the remains of an eroded stratovolcano. Not only is it Arizona’s Highest Peak, but it’s also the Sacred Mountain of the West to the Navajo people (Diné), so I would be killing two birds with one stone on this hike.

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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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