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Tag: white river national forest

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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Soaking in the Conundrum Hot Springs

Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness
Sunday & Monday, August 16-17, 2020

This weekend Diane and I finally got our chance to visit the Conundrum Hot Springs in the Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness, which is something that has been on my to-do list for as long as I can remember. For the longest time I figured this was one trip that I probably would never actually do because of how popular it is and how busy it gets in the summer, and the last thing I wanted to do was hike all the way in to the hot springs only to find out that all the designated campsites were occupied. However, last year the Forest Service finally started to require permits that have to be reserved online in advance to camp near the hot springs, and I knew that this was finally my chance to go! I wanted to try to go last year, but I was out of town the weekend when the permits became available, and by the time I returned back home all of the dates I could go were already booked, so I figured I’d try again this year. This year I was around when the permits became available in the middle of June, and after a frustrating morning trying to secure one on the Recreation.gov website, I did finally manage to get one for this Sunday night.

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Flat Tops for the Fourth: Wall Lake & Trappers Peak

Headwaters of the White River | The Flat Tops Wilderness of the White River Plateau
Independence Day Weekend | Friday – Saturday, July 3-4, 2020

After spending the last couple of weekends on the river it was finally time to start heading up into Colorado’s high country for the short summer season! This weekend Diane and I decided to head up to visit the headwaters of the White River in the Flat Tops Wilderness, where I hoped we could find a little solitude over this popular and busy holiday weekend. Although I’ve gone on a few day hikes into the Flat Tops Wilderness before, this would actually be our first backpacking trip into Colorado’s third largest wilderness area and I was looking forward to it!

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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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