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Tag: graupel

Southern Sawatch Saweekend

Friday – Sunday, September 10-12, 2021

This weekend was going to be the last opportunity for me to hike a 14er this summer, and since I have climbed at least one 14er each summer since 2010 I was originally planning to. However, as I started figuring out my weekend plans I just wasn’t feeling like hiking on a busy trail and was looking for a little more solitude, so I decided to skip the 14ers this year and headed to the southern Sawatch Range to hike a few peaks along the Continental Divide instead. I left from work on Friday afternoon and headed to Gunnison, taking the route through Hotchkiss and Crawford since Highway 50 is still closed until 5:30pm on weekdays and I wasn’t sure how quickly I would get to that point. I topped off my fuel tank in Gunnison and then made my way over to Pitkin and started up the road to Hancock Pass. Unfortunately, the road near the top of the pass was much rougher than I remember it being and I wasn’t comfortable driving a section of it in the dark, so I returned all the way back to Highway 50 and drove over Monarch Pass to the Middle Fork of the South Arkansas River and found a place to spend the night shortly before the end of that road. It was pretty late by the time I arrived, so I went right to bed.

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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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Fossil Ridge Wilderness: Lamphier Lake

Gunsight Pass Peaks: Broncho Mountain & Square Top Mountain
Friday – Sunday, July 16-18, 2021

Last year when Diane and I were hiking to the Highest Fire Lookout in North America, located on the summit of Fairview Peak in the Sawatch Range, I consistently found myself glancing across the Gold Creek Valley to Fossil Ridge and immediately knew that I would need to come back in 2021 to start exploring that area. After poring over maps of the Fossil Creek Wilderness it looked like the short trail to Lamphier Lake and Gunsight Pass would be a good place for me to start with, so that’s where I decided to go this weekend. As an added bonus, there are a couple of 12ers surrounding the cirque that contains Lamphier Lake, so I knew I would have plenty of options to keep me busy. With Diane being busy in school this year, it’s been a little while since I went on my last backpacking trip, so I thought this hike would be the perfect opportunity for me to go on my first solo overnight backpacking trip since I climbed Humboldt Peak in 2016, and I was really looking forward to it!

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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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