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Tag: sawatch range

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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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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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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Fairview Peak Fire Lookout: Highest in North America

Fossil Ridge Recreation Area & Cumberland Pass Peaks
Saturday & Sunday, August 8-9, 2020

This weekend Diane and I headed over to the Sawatch Range near Pitkin so we could visit the highest Fire Lookout in North America, which is located on the summit of Fairview Peak at 13,214 feet. Last summer I spent a night in the Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower and since then I’ve been interested in checking out more of the fire lookouts in Colorado. The highest one in North America sounded like the perfect place to start, especially since I could hike a new 13er at the same time! While we were in the area we also planned to hike to the summits of a couple other peaks near Cumberland Pass so I could continue my Summer of 12ers! It’s been a long time since I spent much time around Cumberland Pass, and to be honest, I don’t really remember being that impressed with the area when I drove through, but I was probably in a hurry to get elsewhere at the time, so I was looking forward to spending a little more time exploring this part of the Sawatch.

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Holy Cross Wilderness: Fancy Lake & Holy Cross City

Saturday & Sunday, September 21-22, 2019

Although I wanted to try to climb Mount of the Holy Cross (14,005) with Diane this summer, we just never found the time to squeeze it in. Still, I wanted to get in at least one short backpacking trip into the Holy Cross Wilderness this year since I really haven’t spent much time in the northern Sawatch Range before, so we decided to go on an easy overnighter to Fancy Lake this weekend. From Fancy Lake I would also be able to revisit the 1880’s ghost town of Holy Cross City which I first visited way back in 2005 by driving the rough 4×4 road in my Jeep. Now that it’s getting late in the season, this will probably be our last backpacking trip into the mountains for the year since it’s starting to cool down and it’s time to get back to exploring the Colorado Plateau!

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