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Tag: gunnison national forest

Three Baldy Mountains in the West Elk Wilderness

Friday & Saturday, September 9-10, 2022

This weekend I needed to be home on Sunday to get prepared for an upcoming river trip, but I still wanted to make sure I got out into the mountains for a hike on Saturday morning. I was originally thinking about heading up into the San Juan Mountains somewhere, but the weather forecast for that part of the state wasn’t looking too good, so I had to look elsewhere for a more favorable forecast. After getting a little taste of the West Elk Wilderness on our failed backpacking trip last month, I decided to head back up into the West Elk Mountains this weekend to hike a couple ‘Baldy Mountains’ from the southern end the range. Since Diane and I had hiked though part of the very scenic Mill Creek valley last time, this time I wanted to stay high on the ridges above treeline for more expansive views of the area.

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West Elk Wilderness: Cut Short on the Mill-Castle Trail

Saturday, August 13, 2022

This weekend Diane was able to get away from her clinical rotations for a bit so she could go on an overnight backpacking trip with me into the West Elk Wilderness. We planned to take it easy by hiking up the Mill-Castle Trail along Mill Creek and thought that maybe we could make it up to the top of Storm Pass for an overlook of The Castles before returning the same way back to the trailhead. Unfortunately, this time we didn’t made it much further beyond the nice waterfall in Mill Creek and ended up turning this backpacking trip into a day hike. This was an amazingly scenic canyon and we both really enjoyed the shorter hike, so we will definitely need to return here again in the future!

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Highpoint of the Grand Mesa: Crater Peak

Goodenough Reservoir Peaks: Mount Darline & Mount Hatten
Friday & Saturday, September 24-25, 2021

After spending a few days on the Green River earlier in the week, I would be leaving for a full week of exploration on the Colorado Plateau this upcoming Friday, so this weekend would be my last opportunity to get into the high country for some peak-bagging to finish off the summer season. I needed this to be a quick trip near home so I could be back by Saturday afternoon to start preparing for the upcoming trip to southern Utah next week, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to hike to the highest point on the Grand Mesa. Although I have already hiked to the old fire lookout on Leon Peak (11,236), which is the highest point in Mesa County and located on the Grand Mesa, Crater Peak (11,327) in Delta County is actually the highest point on the Grand Mesa.

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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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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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