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The Highest Peak in New Mexico: Wheeler Peak

Finishing the Four Corners State High Points | Friday & Saturday, September 3-4, 2021

After climbing Humphreys Peak on Thursday, and then spending this morning on Mount Taylor near Grants, it was now finally time to finish off the Four Corner state high points with Wheeler Peak in New Mexico. Following my short visit to the La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs near Santa Fe this afternoon, I continued north to Taos and then headed up to the trailhead in the Taos Ski Valley. I was hoping to find a place to spend the night along the way, but the Taos Ski Valley was not really my kind of place to visit and camping options were very limited. Luckily, just before leaving home I had thrown my backpacking gear into the Jeep, just in case, so I thought it would probably be a better idea to just backpack up to Williams Lake in the late afternoon and then hike to the summit of Wheeler Peak first thing in the morning. The weather forecast for the rest of the evening was looking good, so that’s what I decided to do. The hike up to Williams Lake is not very long, just under 2 miles with about 1,000 feet of elevation gain, so it didn’t take me long to reach the lake, but like the other hikes I had done earlier in the day, it was still very humid out.

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The Wind Rivers: Green River Lakes & Slide Lake

Headwaters of the Green River | Tuesday – Saturday, August 17-21, 2021

After Diane and I visited the Wind Rivers for the Great American Eclipse in 2017 we decided that we should try to return every other summer to visit somewhere new in the range. Two years ago we came back and hiked to the Cirque of the Towers, so this year I thought it would be a good idea to check out the area around the Green River Lakes and planned a four day backpacking trip for us. Since Canyonlands is the heart of the world to me and I have spent a lot of time exploring along the Green River on the Colorado Plateau, I though it was finally time to visit its headwaters in the Wind Rivers. Lucky for Diane, she had a week off between semesters at school at the same time we try to go in late August, so the timing worked out perfect for us!

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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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