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Tag: wildlife

Medicine Bow Peak in the Snowy Range

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

After spending my first night at the Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout Tower I got up extra early on Wednesday morning so I could drive to the nearby Snowy Range and hike to the summit of Medicine Bow Peak, which at 12,013 feet is the highest peak in this small but spectacular subrange of the Medicine Bow Mountains. After leaving the Fire Tower, I dropped down into the Centennial Valley and then followed the Snowy Range Highway, which is also known as the Great Skyroad, up to the Lewis Lake Trailhead near Libby Flats. As I passed through the small town of Albany, I swear I saw a Ringtail Cat cross the road in front of my Jeep, but it was too dark out for me to be 100% certain. I arrived at Lewis Lake just in time to catch the pre-dawn alpenglow and then a beautiful sunrise, but as I was making my way to the shore of the lake I had to give wide berth to a couple of moose that were grazing right near the trailhead.

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Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout

The Only Remaining Fire Lookout in Rocky Mountain National Park
Fire Lookouts Extravaganza | Monday & Tuesday, August 29-30, 2022

Earlier this year I managed to reserve two nights this week at the Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout in the Medicine Bow Mountains of Wyoming and thought it would be fun to make a longer trip out if it by trying to visit as many other Fire Lookouts in the same general area that I could. Since my first night at the Spruce Mountain Tower wasn’t until Tuesday, I thought it would make sense to stop and visit the Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout on the way there. Located near the small town of Grand Lake, the Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout was built in the 1930’s and is the only remaining Fire Lookout left within the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park. I left from work on Monday afternoon and followed the upper Colorado River to Grand Lake with a stop for gas in Kremmling.

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The Summertime Blues: Hiking the Abajo Mountains

Three Directions in the Blue Mountains | Friday – Sunday, August 5-7, 2022

This past week I had been struggling to decide where I wanted to go this weekend as I continually watched the weather forecasts for the mountains since all of them were calling for a large monsoonal surge to enter Colorado which was supposed to create a lot of rain and thunderstorms throughout the high country of the state. On Thursday I decided to look outside of Colorado to the Abajo Mountains, locally known as the Blue Mountains, which had a much milder weather outlook for the weekend, so that’s where I decided to go. As luck would have it, on Friday all the weather forecasters changed their tune about the stormy weather in Colorado for the weekend, but by then I had already set my mind on heading up into the Abajos, plus it has been a while since I did any hiking in this small laccolithic range, so now I was looking forward to getting back!

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The Rico Mountains & Lizard Head Wilderness

Independence Day Weekend | Friday – Sunday, July 1-3, 2022

This year for the extended Fourth of July holiday weekend I decided to head back to the same area I did last year and returned to the Rico Mountains so I could hike to a couple more twelve-thousand foot peaks along the Calico Trail. I left from work on Friday afternoon and made my way south to the San Juan Mountains via the Dallas Divide and Lizard Head Pass. I drove through a bit of rain on and off from Ridgeway until I reached Lizard Head Pass, where I found the mountain-tops hidden in the clouds. After following the headwaters of the Dolores River for a bit, I turned off onto the Taylor Creek Road and drove up onto Taylor Mesa in search of campsite for the night. I found a pretty nice campsite on the ridge between Stoner Creek and Priest Gulch with a great view of the nearby Rico Mountains and the distant La Plata Mountains, but the mosquitoes were pretty terrible! After a colorful sunset I went to bed early so I could get an early start on Saturday morning.

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The Green River: High Water in Labyrinth Canyon

Ruby Ranch to Mineral Bottom | Average CFS: 17,300
Thursday – Sunday, June 2-5, 2022

After spending a full week circling around the Colorado Plateau with Diane, then having two days at home to rest and two more days back at work, it was finally time to get back on the river! Although my friends and I had entered a couple river permit lotteries earlier in the year, none of us were successful at getting any, so instead we decided to do another float through Labyrinth Canyon of the Green River from Ruby Ranch to Mineral Bottom. While I typically prefer to float the Green River and Colorado River through the canyonlands region in the late summer when there are plenty of sandbars for camping on, which are some of my absolute favorite places to camp, I figured it would be interesting to see what the river was like at high water, even though I knew that it was going to be a busy place with limited campsites at this time of the year. I knew from the start that I wasn’t going to be doing much hiking and exploring on this trip, so I just planned on a relaxing float down the river with plenty of time spent in camp.

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