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Peak Bagging & Highpointing Trip Reports

Beyond the Clay Hills: The Annular Solar Eclipse

Watching the Great Western Ring of Fire Eclipse from Nokai Dome
Friday – Sunday, October 13-15, 2023

After spending an amazing Thursday on Chapin Mesa in Mesa Verde National Park and then briefly stopping to visit Yucca House National Monument early on Friday morning, it was time to drive across the Great Sage Plain into Utah and then head even further west until we crossed Beyond the Clay Hills where we found a great camping spot atop Nokai Dome, which would be a perfect place to sit and watch the Great Western Ring of Fire Eclipse on Saturday morning. I ...

The Rico Mountains & Lizard Head Trail

Friday – Sunday, September 22-24, 2023

Earlier this summer I had planned on spending another weekend hiking and exploring around the Rico Mountains and Lizard Head Wilderness, which are located at the western end of the San Juan Mountains. I’ve enjoyed heading down to this area over the past couple of years and was looking forward to returning again, but unfortunately on that trip I had started feeling ill and ended up coming home early on the first night. This weekend I wanted to give that trip another shot before the summer season comes to an end and I start ...

The Book Cliffs: Coal Gulch to Ross Ridge

After Work Adventures | Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Today after work I hopped into my Jeep so I could spend a couple hours in the Book Cliffs on a little After Work Adventure before heading home for the rest of the evening. After leaving work I drove over to Fruita and then followed 16 Road north to the foot of the Book Cliffs where I headed up the road through Coal Gulch and onto Garfield Mesa and Ross Ridge. While I was up there I hiked over to the highpoints of each of them. It’s been over 15 years since ...

Red Table Mountain: Crooked Creek to Mount Thomas

Around the Red Table: Crooked Creek Pass & Cottonwood Pass
Friday – Sunday, September 15-17, 2023

This weekend I headed out to the very northern end of the Sawatch Range so I could drive around and explore Red Table Mountain, which is located just west of the Holy Cross Wilderness between Gypsum, Eagle and Thomasville. I left from work on Friday afternoon, stopped in Rifle for gas and a bite to eat, and then continued on through the Roaring Fork Valley to Basalt where I turned off and followed the Fryingpan River to Lime Creek. Although I had driven through ...

The High Plateaus of Utah: Proper Edge of the Sky

The Plateau Provence: Peaks & Plateaus of the Colorado Plateau
Wednesday – Friday, August 30 – September 1, 2023

The High Plateaus of Utah are a group of elevated tablelands that form the boundary between the Colorado Plateau and the Great Basin in Central Utah and are what Wallace Stegner once described as “those remarkable mountains that are not mountains at all but greatly elevated rolling plains.” Although I have driven around and between the High Plateaus many times over the years, I have not spent very much time up on top of any of them and I wanted to ...

Stinking Desert National Monument

After Work Adventures | Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Even though it was a little bit warmer out today than yesterday, I thought it would be a good time to head out after work so I could drive and hike to the top of a couple easy highpoints and overlooks located in the desert between Grand Junction, Delta, the Grand Mesa and the Gunnison River, and maybe even catch the sunset before heading home. This is an area that longtime locals affectionately (or maybe it’s not so affectionate) call the Stinking Desert. I’ve heard stories from long before my time living ...

Fruita Dugway to Historic Trails View & Dinosaur Hill

Colorado National Monument | Saturday, August 12, 2023

Since Diane and I are getting onto the Colorado River tomorrow morning for three days and then leaving to spend the rest of the week in the Wind Rivers of Wyoming right afterwards, I needed to stay close to home today so we could finish preparing and packing for both trips. I still wanted to get out for a short local hike on Saturday morning, so I was up before sunrise and drove over to the edge of the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area to spend a couple hours hiking partway up ...

South San Juan Mountains from Elwood Pass

Friday – Monday, July 28 – 31, 2023

After spending the last two days around the Animas River Valley between Coal Bank Pass and Durango, I decided to spend the next couple of days further south and east in a distant part of the San Juan Mountains that I don’t get around to visiting very often. I’ve definitely been long overdue for another visit to the South San Juan Mountains between Wolf Creek Pass and the New Mexico state line and figured that this would be a good opportunity to get back since it wasn’t too much further away. After ...

West Elk Loop: Last of the Curecanti Trails

Curecanti National Recreation Area | Saturday & Sunday, June 24-25, 2023

After hiking through the Dark Canyon of Anthracite Creek on Saturday morning I returned to Hotchkiss and grabbed a burger from 133 BRGR for an early lunch and then continued following the West Elk Loop Scenic Byway into the Curecanti National Recreation Area so that I could finish what I started last month and complete hiking all of the official trails within the park. I planned to start with the Neversink Trail, which is located just a few miles outside of Gunnison at the very eastern edge of the ...

Triangle Mesa from Cactus Park

Dominguez Canyon Wilderness | Sunday, June 18, 2023

After spending Saturday floating through The Chute of Muddy Creek, I was originally planning to spend Sunday morning hiking in the Raggeds Wilderness of the Elk Mountains. However, once I realized that Colorado Highway 133 was still closed before Somerset and didn’t feel like driving the long way around, I cancelled those plans. Instead, I decided to stay closer to home and went for a morning hike to the summit of Triangle Mesa in the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness.

...
Return to the High Trail & Opal Hill

Canyons of the Black Ridge Wilderness | Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Well, just like last year it appears that I’ve been slacking on my After Work Adventures again this spring, but part of the reason for that is the wet weather we had been having around here for a while. To remedy this situation I decided to head out after work this afternoon for a repeat hike of the High Trail in the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness since it’s one I’ve been wanting to get back to for a while now. During the day I almost cancelled the hike since ...

Moab Meanderings: Arches on Amasa Back

Sunday, March 12, 2023

I was originally planning to go hiking on Saturday this weekend, but the rain in the forecast made me change those plans late in the week. So instead, I opted to stayed home on Saturday to work on my Jeep a little and start getting prepared for an upcoming backpacking trip. The weather forecast was looking better on Sunday, so after moving the clocks up an hour for Daylight Savings Time I got up early and drove down to Moab for a day hike on Amasa Back. I had hiked onto Amasa Back with Diane over ...

Back on the Sandstone Spine: Comb Ridge

Friday – Sunday, February 24-26, 2023

After unsuccessfully trying to get on the Comb Ridge twice this year already, I almost gave up a third time this weekend as yet another winter storm system moved through the area during the week. However, later in the week I decided to take my chances and head down that way anyway. I had some alternate plans, just in case. I’m glad I ended up going since conditions on Saturday were very nice with dry roads and the high temperature reaching sixty degrees. It was lovely spring-like weather and I was glad to be ...

Tucson Mountains: King Canyon to Wasson Peak

Return to Saguaro National Park & Petroglyphs of the Tucson Area
Arizona Winter Loop | Wednesday – Thursday, February 1-2, 2023

After leaving the Sky Islands late on Wednesday afternoon we headed northwest into the Sonoran Desert near Tucson so we could spend the next day hiking in the Tucson Mountain District of Saguaro National Park, which we had not been back to since our Honeymoon Adventure in 2017. During that previous visit we really only had time to tour the park roads and go on a short hike to the petroglyphs of Signal Hill, so I was looking forward ...

The Sky Islands of the Chihuahuan Desert

Chiricahua National Monument to the Pedregosa Mountains and Dragoon Mountains
Arizona Winter Loop | Monday – Wednesday, January 30 – February 1, 2023

After a brief stopover in Petrified Forest National Park we continued south through Arizona on our way to the Sky Islands of the Chihuahuan Desert in the southeast corner of the state. A Sky Island is a mountain range that is separated from other mountain ranges by distance and by surrounding lowlands of a dramatically different environment. The result is a habitat island- such as a forest surrounded by desert. After leaving Holbrook we would cross the ...

Cane Spring Desert & Ticaboo Mesa

Hiking Smith Fork and a South Fork of Ticaboo Creek
Friday – Sunday, November 18-20, 2022

Last week I was having some rare troubles deciding where to go this weekend. I was going back and forth between heading over to the San Rafael Swell or the Labyrinth Rims, but when I couldn’t make up my mind I decided it was time to go somewhere completely new to me and see what I could find. Although I have driven through the small community of Ticaboo only a handful of times, including once earlier this year, I have never actually stopped to ...

Three Badly 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 ...

Southern Sawatch: Antora Meadows & Windy Point

Friday, September 2, 2022

After spending the night next to the rushing waters of Willow Creek, I actually slept in past sunrise for a change since I had already climbed Parkview Mountain the evening before and had no other plans for first thing in the morning. Today I was going to be driving a couple hours to the very southern tip of the Sawatch Range where I had originally planned to spend the rest of the weekend. However, after driving south through Silverthorne, Leadville, Buena Vista and then over Poncha Pass to Bonanza, I just wasn’t feeling like I was ...

Rabbit Ears Range: Parkview Mountain Fire Lookout

Fire Lookouts Extravaganza | Thursday, September 1, 2022

After visiting a couple Fire Lookouts in the morning, I made my way back to North Park in the afternoon via the Cache La Poudre River and Cameron Pass and then headed south over Willow Creek Pass. Just on the other side of the pass I drove up the switchbacks of an old mining road that joined up with the Continental Divide Trail on the southern flank of Parkview Mountain, which at 12,296 feet is the highest point in the Rabbit Ears Range. On top of Parkview Mountain is the final Fire ...

Fire Lookouts Extravaganza in the Rocky Mountains

Tuesday – Thursday, August 30 – September 1, 2022

Since I was going to be hiking in the Snowy Range while staying for two nights at the Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout Tower in the Medicine Bow Mountains of Wyoming, I thought it would be fun to spend some of my time visiting other Fire Lookouts and Towers that are still standing in the surrounding area. Below are a couple photos from each of the four other lookouts that I visited which include Jay’s Roost, Kennaday Peak Lookout, Blackhall Mountain Lookout and the Deadman Lookout Tower in Colorado. I haven’t really ...

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 ...

Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout Tower

Fire Lookouts Extravaganza | Tuesday – Thursday, August 30 – September 1, 2022

After hiking to the Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout in the morning, it was time for me to head further north through North Park and into the Medicine Bow Mountains of Wyoming so I could spend the next two nights at the Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout Tower while exploring the surrounding area. Over the past couple of years I’ve been trying to visit more Fire Lookouts and Towers in the Rocky Mountains and have already spent a night in the Jersey Jim and Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain Lookout, so it ...

Weminuche Wanderings: Lime Mesa to Overlook Point

Mountain View Crest of the Weminuche Wilderness
Friday – Saturday, August 26-27, 2022

Since I was going to be leaving after work on Monday afternoon for a weeklong trip into northern Colorado and southern Wyoming, I wanted to be home on Sunday to make sure that I was prepped and packed for the trip, so that left me with only one day this weekend to get out hiking. My plans for last weekend had been thwarted by stormy weather in the high country, so I decided to retry part of those plans with a short hike into the Weminuche Wilderness ...

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, ...

Telescope Peak: Towering Above Death Valley

Highpoint of the Panamint Range & Death Valley National Park
Friday & Saturday, July 15-16, 2022

For the past couple of years I have been trying to make plans to hike Telescope Peak, the highest peak in Death Valley National Park, but so far all of those plans had fallen through for one reason or another. However, now that I was in California for the past week, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity for me to finally make it there, although I was a little worried about hiking the peak after spending five days at sea level because ...

Griffith Peak in the Spring Mountains

Saturday & Sunday, July 9-10, 2022

After spending Saturday morning hiking in the Tushar Mountains it was time to continue on the next leg of my journey to San Diego with a hike in the Spring Mountains just west of Las Vegas. I grabbed an early dinner in town and then drove up Kyle Canyon to the small mountain town of Mount Charleston to get a feel for the area and figure out the camping situation. I checked out the trailheads in the area so I knew where I’d be going early on Sunday morning in the dark and then ...

Delano Peak: Top of the Tushar Mountains

Friday & Saturday, July 8-9, 2022

This weekend I was going to be travelling all the way to San Diego to spend the following week at the ESRI User Conference for work, and figured this would be a great opportunity for me to hike some peaks along the way if I drove instead of flying, so that’s what I made plans to do. I left from work on Friday afternoon and started my long drive west into Utah, though I wouldn’t be going too far this first day. It was very windy out this afternoon which killed my fuel mileage ...

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 ...

High Mesas and Plateaus of Western Colorado

Flat Top Mountain, Blair Mountain and the Roan Plateau
Friday – Sunday, June 24-26, 2022

This weekend I planned to spend my time hiking and driving to a couple highpoints of the high mesas and plateaus of Western Colorado, starting with a hike I’ve been looking forward to for a while into the Flat Tops Wilderness on Saturday morning. I left after work on Friday afternoon, grabbed a quick dinner in Glenwood Springs and then followed the Colorado River to Dotsero and McCoy and then took Highway 131 north to Yampa. There were storms in the area this afternoon and ...

The Crest of the Henry Mountains: Mount Ellen

Henry Mountains Peak Bagging | Friday – Sunday, June 17-19, 2022

After spending the last two weekends on the river, it was time for me to start off my summer season up in the mountains since it’s been getting pretty warm down in the desert. For the past couple of years I have started my mountain season in the La Sal Mountains, but this time I decided to change things up and spend the weekend in the Henry Mountains instead since I haven’t spent any real time in that range for quite some time and I’ve been wanting to get ...

The Canyons of Trachyte Creek III

The North Fork of Trachyte Creek to the Witch’s Cauldron & Maidenwater Canyon
Friday – Sunday, March 11-13, 2022

For the past two years I have spent a weekend in early March exploring the Canyons of Trachyte Creek and thought it would be fun to head back down there again this weekend to make it three years in a row. The last two years I went on overnight backpacking trips into the canyon, first with Diane and then with Jackson, but this year I was on my own an decided to just do some day-hikes from the road instead. I ...

Mestaa’Ėhehe Mountain Fire Lookout

Formerly the Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout | Saturday & Sunday, January 29-30, 2022

Over the past couple of years I have been trying to visit at least one new Fire Lookout each year, so I thought I would get an early start this year when I booked a night in the Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout near Idaho Springs this past October. This unique structure was constructed of native granite by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1940’s and is situated on top of Squaw Mountain at about 11,500 feet. The cab measures 14 X 14 feet, is completely lined by ...

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 ...

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 ...

Sangre de Cristo Mountains: Hermit Pass Peaks

Rito Alto Peak & Hermit Peak | Saturday & Sunday, September 4-5, 2021

After spending the last couple days hiking high points in Arizona and New Mexico, it was now time to start heading back home through Colorado, but of course I planned to hike at least a couple more peaks on the way back! As I followed the Sangre de Cristo Mountains north out of New Mexico and into Colorado I thought it would be a good time to hike some peaks in that range since it’s been quite a while since I’ve spent any time there. Originally, I ...

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 ...

San Mateo Mountain: Mount Taylor & La Mosca

The Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo | La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs
Thursday & Friday, September 2-3, 2021

After climbing Humphreys Peak on Thursday morning and then leaving Arizona, I made my way into New Mexico so I could climb the highest peak in the state to complete the Four Corners state high points. But Wheeler Peak would have to wait one more day so I could take a short detour near Grants to hike to the summit of Mount Taylor, which is the Sacred Mountain of the South to the Navajo people (Diné). I’ve actually wanted to hike Mount Taylor ...

The Highest Peak in Arizona: Humphreys Peak

Finishing the Four Corners State High Points | The Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo
Thursday, September 2, 2021

Last year I took a couple days off from work the week before Labor Day to go on a solo road trip Across the Great Basin and Back and climbed a couple of high peaks in Nevada and California along the way. This year I thought it would be fun to go on another road trip before the Labor Day weekend, but this time my goal was to finish off the high points of the Four Corner states and to begin ...

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 ...

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 ...

The Edge of the Elks: Marble In the Middle

Friday – Sunday, August 6-8, 2021

I spent most of Friday in Redstone, Colorado attending the GIS Colorado Summer Meeting at the Redstone Inn along the Crystal River, so I figured this would be the perfect opportunity for me to stick around the area for the rest of the weekend. I haven’t spent any time in the Elk Mountains since our visit to the Conundrum Hot Springs last summer so I was looking forward to hiking among these rugged peaks again, even if the smoke was predicted to be bad over the weekend. When the meeting ended in the early ...

The Crest of the Grand Mesa: Crag Crest Trail

Sunday, August 1, 2021

This was one of those rare weekends when my plans just didn’t work out at all. I was originally planning to spend most of the weekend trying to hike around the strong monsoon weather in the San Juan Mountains around Silverton, but after leaving work on Friday afternoon and almost making it to Red Mountain Pass, I was stopped by a mudslide that wasn’t going to be cleaned up for a while. I ended up driving back to Ouray figure out my next move, but with mudslides and road closures already common throughout the mountains and ...

Spencer Basin to Sugarloaf

Friday & Saturday, July 23-24, 2021

This weekend I needed to stay closer to home since Diane and I had another concert to go to on Saturday night and I wanted to be home early enough in the afternoon so I could rest for a little bit first. I was originally trying to find an easier summit close to Ouray since I was a little worried about all the mudslides we’ve been having in the mountains lately, and I really didn’t want to get stuck anywhere and miss out on the concert, but in the end I decided to head ...

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 ...

La Sal Mountains: Horse Mountain & Grand View

La Sal Mountains Peak Bagging | Friday & Saturday, July 9-10, 2021

This weekend I was finally going to my first concert in over a year on Saturday evening so I needed to stay close to home, but I still hoped to squeeze in a hike to the summit of a peak or two on Saturday morning. Since the Pack Creek Fire near Moab was finally contained and the La Sal Mountains were opening back up, I thought this would be a good time for me to head that direction for a quick overnight trip. When I left from work ...

Riches of the Rico Mountains

Independence Day Weekend | Friday – Monday, July 2-5, 2021

I knew the mountains of Colorado were going to be a very busy place over the Independence Day weekend, so I thought it might be a good idea for me head back into the Rico Mountains this year. Located at the western edge of the San Juan Mountains, the Rico Mountains are a small subrange of peaks that surround the old mining town of Rico and the Dolores River valley. I had a very nice time exploring the Rico Mountains last summer and I figured that this area might not ...

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, ...

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 ...

Little Giant Basin Peaks

Fall Colors 2020 | King Solomon Mountain & Little Giant Peak
Friday & Saturday, September 25-26, 2020

After spending a few days last week on a relaxing river trip through Meander Canyon in Canyonlands National Park, it was time for me to squeeze in one last visit to the mountains before I start heading back into the desert until next summer. Earlier this year I had set a personal goal to try to hike at least 30 summits this summer and I was at 29 as of Friday, so I needed to get in at least one more peak to ...

Little Cone: The Other Cone

Friday & Saturday, September 11-12, 2020

After spending the end of last week on a road trip driving Across the Great Basin and Back, this weekend it was time to get back to hiking in the mountains of Colorado since the season will be ending for me very soon. After climbing Lone Cone a couple years back and Groundhog Mountain earlier this summer, I thought it was time to tackle Little Cone which is another isolated mountain that is located at the western edge of the western San Juan Mountains and sits just to the north of Middle and Dolores ...

The Highest Point in Nevada: Boundary Peak

Across the Great Basin and Back | The Loneliest Road (Trip) in America
Thursday & Friday, September 3-4, 2020

After hiking to the top of White Mountain Peak in the morning and then stopping in Bishop for food and gas in the afternoon, it was time for me to head back into Nevada on US Route 6 so I could climb Boundary Peak located at the very northern end of the White Mountains. Since I had hiked Wheeler Peak on Wednesday which is considered the ‘highest peak’ in Nevada, I figured that I might as well climb the ‘highest point’ ...

The White Mountains: White Mountain Peak

Across the Great Basin and Back | The Loneliest Road (Trip) in America
Wednesday & Thursday, September 2-3, 2020

After hiking to the summit of Wheeler Peak in Great Basin National Park on Wednesday morning, I continued my ‘Loneliest Road Trip in America‘ across the Great Basin as I drove to the west end of Nevada. My next destination would be in the White Mountains located along the eastern edge of California so that I could hike to the summit of White Mountain Peak on Thursday morning, which is the third highest mountain in California at 14,252 feet. Since it ...

Great Basin National Park: Wheeler Peak

Across the Great Basin and Back | The Loneliest Road (Trip) in America
Tuesday & Wednesday, September 1-2, 2020

Last summer I got the idea in my head that I wanted to hike a couple of high peaks in Nevada and California over the Labor Day weekend and started putting together rough plans for a road trip that would take me Across the Great Basin and Back. Although many of my spring trips got cancelled because of COVID-19, I decided I was still going to go on this one since I would be alone and visiting more remote places during ...

Edge of the Weminuche: Whitehead Peak Loop

Weminuche Wanderings | Thirteeners Around the Deer Park Cirque
Saturday & Sunday, August 29-30, 2020

This weekend I was originally planning to leave right after work on Friday like I usually do, so I could climb three thirteeners along the edge of the Weminuche Wilderness near Silverton on Saturday morning and then head back home in the afternoon so I could prepare for an upcoming trip later in the week. However, after looking at the weather forecast for Saturday and seeing that it was supposed to rain and storm for most of the day, I shuffled my plans around a ...

Along the Continental Divide: Stony Pass Peaks

Saturday & Sunday, August 22-23, 2020

After spending the morning hiking to a couple peaks along the Colorado Trail near Kennebec Pass in the La Plata Mountains, I thought it was time to visit a couple of 13ers that I had missed on a previous visit to Stony Pass a few years ago since I got sidetracked that day helping a mountain biker get to the airport in Durango. After grabbing a quick lunch in Durango I headed back to the heart of the San Juan Mountains near Silverton and drove up to the Continental Divide at Stony Pass in ...

La Plata Mountains: Kennebec Pass Peaks

Friday & Saturday, August 21-22, 2020

This weekend I knew that the entire state of Colorado was going to be completely covered with smoke from wildfires since it seems like the entire West is currently on fire. After looking at smoke and weather forecasts for the weekend it looked like my best bet to escape the worst of the smoke might be to head down to the southwest portion of the San Juan Mountains, so I thought another visit to the La Plata Mountains would be a good idea. In order to continue my Summer of 12ers I decided to ...

Among Giants of the Uncompahgre: Matterhorn Peak

Uncompahgre Wilderness: Between Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn Peaks
Friday & Saturday, August 14-15, 2020

This Sunday Diane and I have a camping permit secured for an overnight backpacking trip to the popular Conundrum Hot Springs near Aspen, but I didn’t want to skip out on hiking at least one new peak this weekend, so I thought I’d try to find something quick and easy to hike on Saturday morning before I returned home to pack for the overnighter. Since I haven’t made it back to the Uncompahgre Wilderness yet this year, and it’s probably my favorite wilderness area close to home, ...

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 ...

Western Edge of the San Juans: Groundhog Mountain

Saturday & Sunday, August 1-2, 2020

After spending Saturday morning hiking along the Calico Trail in the Rico Mountains I wanted to hike one more quick and easy 12er on Sunday morning before I headed back home. Since I’ve been avoiding the busy high peaks in Colorado this summer, I thought I’d make this the Summer of 12ers! After watching Groundhog Mountain on the horizon over the past couple of weeks, I thought it would be a fun to climb Lone Cone’s closest neighboring peak, especially since I figured it probably doesn’t see too many visitors. So after visiting Colorado’s ...

Rico Mountains: The Calico Trail

National Summit Day: Calico National Recreation Trail Peak Bagging
Friday & Saturday, July 31 – August 1, 2020

Last weekend I was supposed to go backpacking in the Weminuche Wilderness with Jackson, but those plans got rained out by the wet weather we had, so this weekend I really needed to get back into the mountains and since Saturday is National Summit Day, I figured some peak-bagging was in order. I had considered heading down to my favorite area of the San Juan Mountains between Ouray and Silverton, but things have been pretty busy over that way this summer, and ...

Comet Watching from Bolam Pass

The Headwaters of the Dolores River & Colorado Trail Segment 26
Saturday & Sunday, July 18-19, 2020

This weekend Diane and I headed into the San Juan Mountains to escape the heat of the Grand Valley and spend a relaxing weekend along the Colorado Trail near Bolam Pass. It has been over ten years since the last time I drove over Bolam Pass and I was looking forward to getting back into the area for a little camping and hiking. Plus, with the New Moon this weekend I was hoping for dark skies so I could finally see Comet NEOWISE ...

Middle La Sal Peak: Mount Mellenthin

La Sal Mountains Peak Bagging | South Mountain from Medicine Lakes
Friday – Sunday, July 10-12, 2020

This weekend I continued my annual tradition of spending an early summer weekend peak-bagging in the La Sal Mountains near Moab. Usually I try to make this my first peak-bagging trip of the season, but this year that honor goes to Trappers Peak in the Flat Tops. Since I have now hiked all of the popular peaks in the La Sal Mountains, it is time to get started on the more obscure ones, and this trip I thought it was finally time I ...

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 ...

Over the Edge: Island in the Sky

Grand View Point Trails: Murphy Trail Loop, Murphy Point & Gooseberry Trail
Saturday & Sunday, November 2-3, 2019

After finishing up hiking all of the official trails in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park last year I figured that it was time for me to get started working on my remaining trails on the Island in the Sky. While I have already hiked most of the official trails on the top of the mesa, I had not hiked any that descended down to the White Rim, so I wanted to change that this weekend. I figured a good starting ...

Towering Over Telluride: Ajax Peak

Friday – Saturday, September 13-14, 2019

This weekend Diane and I had another concert to go to on Saturday evening, so just like when I climbed Red Mountain #2 a few weeks ago, I decided to climb another easier peak in the San Juan Mountains on Saturday morning so that I could return home in the early afternoon. I’ve had Ajax Peak (12,785) near Telluride on my to-do list for a while, and that looked like it would be the perfect quick and easy mountain to summit this weekend. Ajax Peak may not be a very high peak by Colorado ...

Destined To Fail: A Failed Attempt at Longs Peak

Friday – Monday, September 6-9, 2019

I took a day off from work to climb Longs Peak, but all I climbed this weekend was Cupid (13,117). Earlier this year when I was making plans that required permits in advance, climbing Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park with an overnight stay in the Boulderfield was near the top of my list. While I know that many people climb Longs Peak in a long day, that is not the experience I was looking for and I was looking forward to spending a night in the Boulderfield before the climb. I was ...

Mount Columbia via Frenchman Creek

Saturday & Sunday, August 10-11, 2019

I had such a nice time in the Sawatch Range a couple of weeks ago when I climbed Mount Yale that I decided to return again this weekend with Diane so we could go on an overnight backpacking trip along Frenchman Creek and climb Mount Columbia (14,073) on Sunday morning. Since we didn’t have a long hike ahead of us, we slept in later on Saturday morning before heading out on our way to the Arkansas River Valley. We stopped at K’s in Buena Vista for lunch and then from there it was a ...

Three Out of Three: Red Mountain No. 2

National Summit Day | Final Peak on the Abrams – Anvil Ridge
Friday – Saturday, August 2-3, 2019

Over the years I’ve viewed the summit of Red Mountain No. 2 from many different vantage points; reflected in Crystal Lake from Ironton Park, along the Jeep road to Corkscrew Pass, while exploring the old mining buildings of the Red Mountain Mining District below, and from the top of many of the surrounding peaks in the area. This weekend I had a concert to go to on Saturday evening so I was looking for a peak to climb that was pretty short ...

Collegiate Peaks in the Clouds: Mount Yale

Sunday, July 28, 2019

After spending Saturday hiking along the Continental Divide near Lake City, it was time for my main objective this weekend to hike my first 14er of the year! I had decided that I was going to give Mount Yale (14,196) in the Sawatch Range a try and found a spot to camp just up the road from the Denny Creek Trailhead on Saturday evening. I was pretty tired when I arrived and was planning on an alpine start, so I fell asleep before the sun even set for the day. Surprising, I actually slept very well ...

Snow Mesa: Baldy Cinco & Baldy no es Cinco

Baldy Cinco Group | Friday – Saturday, July 26-27, 2019

Since Diane was working all weekend, I figured that this would be a good time to attempt my first 14er of the year and had settled on trying to climb Mount Yale in the Sawatch Range. The weather forecast for Saturday wasn’t looking too good, but Sunday was, so I decided to push the Mount Yale hike off until Sunday and find something shorter and easier to do on Saturday morning. Last year I had planned to hike Baldy Cinco and Baldy no es Cinco from Spring Creek Pass in ...

La Plata Mountains: Centennial Peak

Plus A Failed Attempt at Hesperus Mountain
Friday – Sunday, July 19-21, 2019

I have been looking forward to this weekend since early March when I was able to secure an overnight reservation for the Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower on Sunday night, and since I was going to be in the area I decided to spend the weekend peak-bagging in the La Plata Mountains. As usual, I left right after work on Friday and headed south into the San Juan Mountains with a quick stop in Delta for dinner. I drove over Red Mountain Pass to Durango and then ...

The Highest Point in Grand County: Mount Waas

La Sal Mountains Peak Bagging | Pilot Mountain, Green Mountain & Mineral Mountain
Friday – Saturday, July 5-6, 2019

After spending the last month on the river it was finally time for me to start getting back into the mountains again! Like last year around this same time, I decided that this would be a good weekend to continue my peak-bagging pursuit in the La Sal Mountains near Moab. Since I’d already climbed the San Juan County High Point a couple years ago, I thought it was about time that I finally got to the summit of the Grand County ...

North Fork of the Gunnison River

Paonia River Park to the Gunnison Forks Recreation Site
Independence Day | Thursday, July 4, 2019

This year for the Fourth of July I was looking to go on one last river trip before I started heading into the mountains for the summer season. Since I only had one day off from work for the holiday I wanted to go somewhere close to home and on a river that was still not running too high, which was hard to find this year! On Wednesday afternoon Jackson, Chris and I decided that we would give the North Fork of the Gunnison ...

Another Birthday in Capitol Reef

Saturday & Sunday, February 9-10, 2019

I don’t spend as much time in Capitol Reef National Park as I would like, but for some reason it seems like I frequently end up here around my birthday in February. Two years ago Diane and I spent the weekend closest to my birthday in Capitol Reef (I did that in 2010, too), and I decided earlier this year that I wanted to go back and do it again! We left home early on Saturday morning and spent the rest of the weekend hiking trails around the Fruita Historic District that are typically ...

A Taste of Autumn in the West Elks

Fall Colors 2018 | Friday & Saturday, September 28-29, 2018

Aside from a quick unplanned evening on the Grand Mesa almost two weeks ago, my schedule at the end of September and early October didn’t really leave me much time for a proper Fall Colors weekend photography trip since I had a must-attend concert in Salt Lake City on Sunday evening and a river trip through Labyrinth Canyon the weekend before. Even with all the preparations for an upcoming week-long adventure into Utah I did manage to get out for a quick overnight trip to the West Elk Mountains after ...

Imogene Pass Peaks

Friday & Saturday, September 14-15, 2018

This weekend I decided to stay close to home and only go out for one night since I needed to spend some time getting prepared for an upcoming river trip that I’m leaving for in a few days. I ended up going on an quick overnighter into the San Juan Mountains between Ouray and Telluride so I could hike to the summit of a few peaks near Imogene Pass. It’s actually been a few years since the last time I drove up to Imogene Pass, so I was looking forward to checking it out ...

Cinnamon Pass Peaks & Anvil Mountain

Friday – Sunday, September 7-9, 2018

After visiting the High Uintas Wilderness for the first time last weekend, I figured I’d stay a little closer to home this weekend to spend some quality time back in the San Juan Mountains. The summer season in the mountains is coming to an end soon and I’ll be heading off to explore the Colorado Plateau on my weekends in just a few short weeks. Midddle to late September is actually my favorite time to hike in the mountains since they are less crowded after Labor Day, the alpine tundra is already changing color, ...

Top of Utah: Kings Peak via Henrys Fork

Labor Day Weekend | Thursday – Sunday, August 30 – September 2, 2018

Last August when Diane and I were driving home through the eastern edge of the Uinta Mountains from our first backpacking trip in the Wind River Range in Wyoming, I mentioned that we needed to go on a backpacking trip into the High Uintas Wilderness in 2018, so I put it on our calendar for Labor Day weekend when I got back home. Fast forward a few months and it was time to start figuring out more specific plans for the trip. After looking at maps and ...

Stewart Peak from the Cebolla Trail

Saturday & Sunday, August 25-26, 2018

Since our plans for last weekend changed at the last minute we decided to try and hike Stewart Peak in the La Garita Mountains again this weekend. Stewart Peak is actually the highest thirteener in the San Juan Mountains at 13,983 feet and is the second tallest thirteener in Colorado. I believe it was even mistaken as a fourteener at one point in history before a more accurate survey proved that wrong. The weather forecast for the weekend was looking wet and stormy when I checked on Saturday morning, but it also looked like ...

Sultan Mountain & Grand Turk

Saturday & Sunday, August 18-19, 2018

Originally, Diane and I were planning to climb Stewart Peak in the La Garita Mountains together this weekend, but she wasn’t feeling well when we got up on Saturday morning, so I changed plans and headed down toward Silverton by myself instead. When we woke up on Saturday it was actually raining pretty good in Grand Junction which is something we haven’t seen much of in quite a while! I checked the weather in the mountains and found out that it was storming there as well, but the storms were expected to wind down ...

Mount Shavano & Tabeguache Peak

Colorado Adventure 2018 | Thursday & Friday, August 9-10, 2018

After spending the morning hiking around Hancock Pass, I headed down to Pitkin and then made my way over to US 50. My original plans were to head off into the San Juan Mountains for a couple of days before returning home, but I decided to stick around the Sawatch Range for one more day so I could hike to the summit of Mount Shavano and Tabeguache Peak on Friday morning before the weekend crowds arrived. Since I had been hiking in the mountains all week and I was pretty ...

Hancock Pass Peaks

Colorado Adventure 2018 | Wednesday & Thursday, August 8-9, 2018

After climbing a few 13ers in the Mosquito Range on Wednesday morning and then stopping for lunch in Buena Vista I headed up the road along Chalk Creek toward St. Elmo into the Sawatch Range again. My plan for Thursday morning was to climb a pair of 12ers from Hancock Pass, but since it was still early in the afternoon I had some time to explore for a little bit before finding a campsite for the night near the pass. I started out by driving up to the Pomeroy Lakes ...

Mosquito Pass Peaks

Colorado Adventure 2018 | Tuesday & Wednesday, August 7-8, 2018

After climbing a pair of 14ers in the Sawatch Range on Tuesday, I headed over to Leadville for dinner and then drove up to Mosquito Pass afterwards, which at 13,185 feet is the highest drivable pass in Colorado. Since I was planning on hiking to the summit of a few 13ers from the pass on Wednesday morning, I thought it would be a good idea to drive up there this evening to see how long it would take me and also to find out what condition the road was in ...

Mount Belford & Mount Oxford Loop

Colorado Adventure 2018 | Tuesday, August 7, 2018

After going to bed early on Monday evening I actually slept very well overnight and was wide awake when my alarm went off at 3:30am so I could get an alpine start this morning. I had a quick breakfast and then drove a short distance to the Missouri Gulch Trailhead and was on the trail by 4:00am by the light of my headlamp. The stars above were bright and there was a sliver of the moon just barely visible through the canopy of trees above as I climbed the trail up Missouri ...

Montezuma Peaks

Colorado Adventure | Sunday – Monday, August 5-6, 2018

After spending the weekend backpacking in the Gore Range with Diane, we parted ways on Sunday afternoon and I headed over to the Front Range near Montezuma to climb a few mountains as I continued my Colorado Adventure. After an early dinner in Dillon I drove up to Loveland Pass on the Continental Divide so I could hike to the summit of Mount Sniktau (13,234). Even though there had been storms earlier in the day and there were still plenty of clouds moving around, the weather was looking favorable for the ...

Oh-Be-Joyful Creek to Blue Lake

Saturday & Sunday, July 14-15, 2018

So far, this seems to be the summer of hiking to places that have been on my to-do list for a very long time (Highland Mary Lakes & The Devils Causeway), so I figured it was finally time to check out Oh-Be-Joyful Creek in the Raggeds Wilderness near Crested Butte. While part of this hike is commonly done as a day trip, we decided to go for a quick and easy overnight backpacking trip up the valley so we could camp near Blue Lake, which is located in the Ruby Range on a ledge ...

Coming In Second: Mount Massive

Friday – Saturday, July 6-7, 2018

This weekend I felt it was time for me to attempt my first 14er of the year since the snow had melted of early and the monsoon season hasn’t really picked up yet. After looking at my options I decided to go all out and try to hike to the summit of Mount Massive (14,421) on Saturday morning, which is the second highest peak in Colorado after Mount Elbert which I had already climbed two years ago. I spend Independence Day hiking in the La Sal Mountains to help prepare for the hike by ...

Burro Pass Peaks

La Sal Mountains Peak Bagging | Manns Peak, Mount Tomasaki & Haystack Mountain
Independence Day | Wednesday, July 4, 2018

This year the Fourth of July fell right in the middle of the week and since Diane had to work one holiday this year she chose this one since we wouldn’t be able to plan a big weekend trip around it. I had the day off from work, so I decided to spend the holiday continuing my quest to climb all of the main peaks in the La Sal Mountains near Moab. Not only is the mountain range pretty close ...

Sleepy Cat Peak & The Devils Causeway

A Long Overdue Return to The Flat Tops
Friday – Sunday, June 22-24, 2018

Earlier this year while planning our Memorial Day weekend trip to Dinosaur National Monument, I was scrolling around a map online and it took off on me in the wrong direction and stopped near a mountain called Sleepy Cat Peak (10,853) in the Flat Tops of Colorado. I had never heard of this peak before, but with a name like that I knew we would have to climb it this summer! After looking online for a little bit more information about the peak I found out ...

Sids Mountain

Friday – Sunday, March 23-25, 2018

This weekend I decided to take a break from exploring Canyonlands National Park and Bears Ears National Monument, so I headed over to the San Rafael Swell instead. This allowed me to avoid driving through the area surrounding Moab during the popular and very busy Easter Jeep Safari. I had decided earlier this year as I was making my plans for the spring that it was finally time to hike to the Kofford Cabin on Sids Mountain since it had been on my to-do list for a pretty long time. Originally, I was planning ...

America’s Mountain: Pikes Peak

Sunday, October 9, 2017

While Diane and I were in Colorado Springs for the very first time this past weekend to attend a concert, we made a little time to drive up to the summit of Pikes Peak (14,110) before heading back home on Sunday morning. Here are a few photos I took with my iPhone while we were up there…

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The Bears Ears II

Southern Utah Wanderings | Cedar Mesa
Tuesday – Thursday, October 3-5, 2017

After spending Monday in the Abajo Mountains and the previous weekend in the northern section of The Bears Ears, it was time to head over to Cedar Mesa so we could spend then next couple of days exploring some new areas of this part of The Bears Ears searching for new ruins and rock art sites. Here are a few photos from the remainder of our trip…

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The Abajo Mountains

Southern Utah Wanderings | Fall Colors 2017
Monday, October 2, 2017

After spending the weekend in the northern section of Bears Ears National Monument and Canyonlands National Park, we moved a little further south into the Abajo Mountains (Blue Mountains) so we could get a little peak-bagging in on our trip. Since I’ve hiked the highest peaks in the La Sal Mountains and Henry Mountains, I thought it would be nice to complete the trifecta by reaching the summit of Abajo Peak (11,360), the highest point in the Abajo Mountains. This one is a little easier than the others though, ...

Corcoran Peak

Friday & Sunday, September 15 & 17, 2017

After hiking to the summit of Corcoran Point from the Tellerico Trail in the Book Cliffs two years ago, I got a nice view of Corcoran Peak (8,076) and thought it would be a good peak close to home to try climbing another time. Since we were staying around home this weekend to go to a concert on Saturday, I thought it would be a good idea to head out to the Little Book Cliffs after work on Friday, catch the sunset, spend the night and then climb Corcoran Peak on Saturday ...

American Flats Peaks

Darley Mountain & Dolly Varden Mountain
Friday – Saturday, September 8-9, 2017

This weekend I wanted to climb a peak or two in the mountains since it would probably be my last opportunity this summer before I would begin spending most of my free time back in the desert of the Colorado Plateau. However, since I’ve been doing a lot of driving lately I didn’t want to travel too far from home either. After a little thought I decided to head back down to the San Juan Mountains near Engineer Pass so I could climb Darley Mountain and Dolly Varden ...

Mount Ouray & Old Chipeta Mountain

Friday & Saturday, August 25-26, 2017

After climbing my first two 13ers of the year last month and realizing that I really haven’t climbed any high Colorado 13ers yet, I thought it would be a good idea to get one in this summer. Since Mount Ouray (13,971) has been high on my list of peaks to hike for a while, I thought it would be a good one to go for this weekend. Mount Ouray is located at the very southern end of the Sawatch Range just off the Continental Divide and is the 5th highest 13er in the state, ...

Lone Cone

Saturday & Sunday, August 12-13, 2017

For years I’ve explored southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah and during that time I’ve seen Lone Cone (12,613) on the horizon from all different angles. It’s the westernmost peak in the San Juan Mountains and is easily identified from a hundred miles away. During that time I’ve always thought to myself that I really should make time to climb that peak one day. Well, that day has finally come…

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Mineral Point Peaks

Friday & Saturday, August 11-12, 2017

This weekend I headed down to the San Juan Mountains by myself to hike to the summit of a few mountains above the ghost town of Animas Forks near Mineral Point. I left after work on Friday afternoon and after a quick dinner in Montrose I drove over Red Mountain Pass to Silverton. From there I followed the Animas River to the base of Denver Hill (12,300) so I could go on a late evening hike to its summit. It was a short hike to the top, but it offered me some nice views ...

La Plata Peak

Southwest Ridge | Saturday & Sunday, August 5-6, 2017

Last fall during my drive to the trailhead for Mount Elbert (14,433), I got a nice view of La Plata Peak as I was descending Independence Pass shortly before sunset and thought to myself that I should make time to climb that peak soon. That thought has stuck around in the back of my mind for the last year and I finally decided to make it happen this weekend since I had good luck with Culebra Peak (14,047) last weekend.

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The Serpent of The Sangres

Culebra Peak | Friday – Saturday, July 28-29, 2017

Last year after hiking my first 14er in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains I thought it would be nice to come back again this year for another one. After looking at my options earlier in the year I decided to try and get two permits to hike Culebra Peak (14,047) at the southern end of the range within Colorado. Culebra, which translates to serpent or snake in Spanish, is most likely named for the long snake-like ridge that leads up to its summit which is visible from the west. For those ...

Carson Saddle Peaks

Bent Peak & Carson Peak
Saturday & Sunday, July 22-23, 2017

Next weekend Diane and I are scheduled to climb our first 14er of the year, so this weekend we decided to head down to the Continental Divide near Lake City so we could hike a couple of 13ers to help us prepare. The weather on Saturday was predicted to be wet and stormy early but Sunday morning was looking good, so we planned to hike the 13ers early Sunday and tried to find something a little lower and in the trees for Saturday.

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Rico - Silverton Trail

Saturday & Sunday, July 8-9, 2017

Diane and I spent the past weekend in the San Juan Mountains near Silverton getting in a little high elevation hiking. We left home early on Saturday morning and drove all the way to the end of the Bandora Mine Road in the South Fork of Mineral Creek and found a campsite shortly before arriving at the trailhead. We quickly setup camp and then started hiking up the Rico – Silverton Trail to it’s intersection with The Colorado Trail. There were a lot of wildflowers along the trail, especially in South Park along with ...

Last Dollar Peaks

Whipple Mountain & Last Dollar Mountain
Independence Day | Tuesday, July 4, 2017

This year for Independence Day Diane and I woke up early and drove down to the west end of the Sneffels Range near Telluride to climb a couple of mountains just off the Last Dollar Road. We started out by hiking up the Whipple Trail to the summit of Whipple Mountain (11,922) which was about 1.5 miles in length with 1,500 feet of elevation gain. It was mostly up an easy trail lined with wildflowers and then the last section from the saddle to the summit was ...

Dry Mountain

Friday – Sunday, June 30 – July 2, 2017

This weekend I was heading up to Salt Lake City to see Rise Against at the USANA Amphitheater on Saturday evening, but since I have a Colorado 14er scheduled to climb later this month I really need to make sure that I’m in shape for it by hiking in the mountains as much as I can this month. Before the trip I did a little research to see if there were any shorter hikes with a couple thousand feet of elevation gain in the Wasatch Mountains that I would be able ...

Rambling Around Robber's Roost

Maze Memorial Weekend IV | Memorial Day Weekend
Friday – Monday, May 26-29, 2017

After spending the last three Memorial Day Weekends in and around The Maze District of Canyonlands National Park, this year we decided to skip visiting The Maze proper and stayed on top of The Orange Cliffs in Robbers Roost country. As usual, we left home after work on Friday evening and headed west into Utah. We stopped for a quick dinner and to fuel up the Jeep in Green River and then made our way to the Hans Flat Ranger Station to pickup our permit for ...

Point 5750 (Eagle's Wing)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

After spending Saturday hiking in the backcountry of Arches National Park we spent most of Sunday at home getting stuff done around the house and resting after a couple of busy weeks. Throughout the day I noticed that the clouds in the sky were looking pretty nice so we decided to go out for a short evening hike for sunset. I figured we could visit Point 5750 which is a high point in Mesa County located just outside of the Colorado National Monument that I have wanted to visit for a while. It’s easy to access ...

Adobe Creek to PT 7412

North Soda Trail
Sunday, November 20, 2016

This afternoon I headed back into the Book Cliffs to hike to the summit of an unnamed peak above the Grand Valley. I’ve been trying to spend more time in the Book Cliffs this year (Mount Lincoln, Main Canyon, Tellerico Trail) and wanted to try and get back there one last time before the winter weather really sets in for the season. While the trail I hiked is most commonly referred to as the North Soda Trail (it eventually connects to the North Soda Road on top), I’m going to refer to it ...

Mount Peale

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Since Jared and I had cancelled our plans to hike to the summit of Mount Peale (12,721) at the end of the previous day, we didn’t bother waking up until the sun was up this morning. I asked him if he had any suggestions for hikes near Moab and after some thought he suggested that we give Mount Peale a chance since we were right near it. I was feeling better after a good night’s sleep so I figured it was worth a try, though I kind of had a feeling that we would probably bail ...

Canby Mountain & The La Plata Mountains

Sunday, October 2, 2016

I had set my alarm for 5:00am this morning, but when it went off I looked outside and didn’t see any clouds, so I went back to sleep since I was still pretty tired from the previous day. I ended up waking up again just after 6:00am and realized that I might have enough time to make it over to the Dallas Divide to catch the sunrise. I quickly got ready and was soon driving through Ridgway on my way to the divide. I reached the parking area just in time and found that it was ...

Mount Bierstadt to Owl Creek Pass

Friday & Saturday, September 30 – October 1, 2016

I left right after work on Friday afternoon to begin my annual week-long October trip. Typically, I spend the entire week on the Colorado Plateau in southern Utah or northern Arizona, but this year I decided to spend the first couple of days in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to try and make up for my lack of climbing mountains over the summer and maybe photograph some of the leftover fall colors. I wanted to try and get one more 14er in this year and Mount Bierstadt (14,060) in the Front ...

PT 5239 in Rabbit Valley

Saturday, September 24, 2016

I was originally planning this hike for Thursday after work, but the weather made me change my plans that day. Since we ended up staying close to home this weekend because of the weather, I decided to head back out to Rabbit Valley after the rain stopped late in the morning and hiked up to the summit of PT 5239. I’ve been trying to explore more of Rabbit Valley lately and this short summit away from the more popular trails looked like a good place to check out.

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Top of the Rocky Mountains

Mount Elbert & Missouri Mountain
Friday – Sunday, September 16-18, 2016

After only hiking one new fourteener this year, I knew I had to get out this weekend to at least try to get another one or two in before snow started sticking around in the high country. It’s been a couple of years since the last time I visited the Sawatch Range, so I thought it would be a good idea to head that way for a change. Then I figured that I might as well go for Mount Elbert (14,433), the highest peak in Colorado and the Rocky ...

Tellerico Trail to Corcoran Point

Labor Day | Monday, September 5, 2016

Since we ended up cutting our backpacking trip in the Uncompahgre Wilderness short by a day, I was free to go on an evening hike on the Tellerico Trail in the Book Cliffs for the Labor Day holiday. This trail has long been on my to-do list of local hikes and it was finally time to get out and do it. I figured that since the trail came very near to Corcoran Point (7,352) at the top, it would make a good destination to turn around at. Part of the reason I chose ...

Humboldt Peak

Saturday & Sunday, August 27-28, 2016

Since Diane enjoys going backpacking with me, it’s been a few years since I went on a solo trip. But since she was busy this weekend, I thought it would be a good time to go on an overnight trip by myself. I have been wanting to climb my first new 14er of the year and one of my goals for the summer was to get over to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, so I thought climbing Humboldt Peak (14,064) from the South Colony Lakes sounded like a perfect trip for the weekend. I’m ...

Mount Lincoln

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

I see Mount Lincoln (No, not that Mount Lincoln!) almost every day since it stands above the Little Book Cliffs at the east end of the Grand Valley between Mount Garfield (6,765) and the Grand Mesa. It’s not very far from home and I have wanted to climb it for years, but for some reason I never seemed to get around to it. Last week I finally decided to give it a shot from the Stagecoach Trail in Palisade, but ended up changing my plans based on the weather that evening.

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Uncompahgre Peak II

Saturday & Sunday, August 13-14, 2016

Earlier this year Diane told me that she wanted to climb Uncompahgre Peak (14,309) this summer, and even though I already climbed Uncompahgre a few years ago, I was up for doing it again this year since it’s a beautiful hike and the highest peak in the San Juan Mountains.

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Mount Tukuhnikivatz

La Sal Mountains Peak Bagging
Independence Day Weekend | Saturday – Monday, July 2-4, 2016

“All around the peaks of the Sierra La Sal lies the desert, a sea of burnt rock, arid tablelands, barren and desolate canyons. The canyon country is revealed from this magnificent height as on a map and I can image, if not read, the names on the land.” -Edward Abbey

This weekend Diane and I headed to the La Sal Mountains near Moab to spend the Fourth of July weekend hiking and camping. I had intended for this to be a peak-bagging trip, but unfortunately ...

Rim Rock Drive

Sunday, October 18, 2015

For most of the day we had an overcast sky with the occasional light rain shower here in the Grand Valley, but as it got later in the afternoon the clouds started to break up a bit and the chances of a nice sunset were looking good. I decided to head out with my camera and take a drive through the Colorado National Monument on Rim Rock Drive so I could take a few photos from the overlooks until sunset. The late afternoon light breaking through the clouds turned out to be pretty nice at times ...

Red Mountain Colors

Fall Colors 2015 | Saturday, September 26, 2015

As usual, I spent the last weekend in September on my annual fall colors trip to photograph the changing of the seasons in the high country of Colorado. Instead of going away for the whole weekend, this time I just headed out on a day trip to the San Juan Mountains. From reports I had seen online, plus my trip last weekend, it appeared that the Red Mountain Pass area was changing colors nicely at this time, so that’s where I decided to go. Unfortunately, Diane wasn’t feeling well this weekend, so ...

Cimarron Thirteeners

Saturday & Sunday, September 19-20, 2015

On my quest to hike and explore more of the Uncompahgre Wilderness I decided to climb a pair of thirteeners in The Cimarrons along the high ridge that towers between the West Fork and the Middle Fork of the Cimarron River. The peaks along this ridge are prominent landmarks on the horizon every time I drive south into the San Juan Mountains and it was time to finally get a closer look.

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San Luis Peak in the La Garita Mountains

Saturday & Sunday, September 12-13, 2015

Since Diane needed to stay home this weekend to get some school work done, I was on my own and decided to climb my sixth and final new fourteener of the year. After looking over my maps I settled on hiking to the summit of San Luis Peak (14,014) in the La Garita Mountains near Creede. Instead of taking the standard route up Stewart Creek from the northeast, I chose to follow the Continental Divide Trail north of Creede to the south ridge. Not only is this route a little shorter, I also thought ...

Big Blue Creek

Labor Day Weekend | Saturday – Monday, September 5-7, 2015

This year for the long Labor Day weekend I wanted to go on another backpacking trip into the Uncompahgre Wilderness of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, but I also wanted to go somewhere that was unlikely to be crowded since this is probably one of the busiest camping weekends of the year. After some research I selected the Big Blue Creek drainage as our destination. Not only was there very little information about this area online and in guides, which hopefully meant it wouldn’t be very crowded, but I was also ...

Mount Sopris

Saturday & Sunday, August 29-30, 2015

Even though it’s less than fifty feet shy of registering as one of Colorado’s 13,000 foot peaks, Mount Sopris (12,953) dominates the skyline over Carbondale and the lower Roaring Fork Valley and stands as the northern sentinel of the Elk Mountains. The surrounding Roaring Fork and Crystal River drainages give Mount Sopris vertical prominence that few other mountains in Colorado can match, rising over 6,000 feet in just a few miles. Mount Sopris is also notable for having two summits that are one-half mile apart and equal in elevation.

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Wetterhorn Peak

Saturday & Sunday, August 22-23, 2015

Over the years I have spent a lot of time in and around the Uncompahgre Wilderness of the San Juan Mountains, and every time I do I usually see the massive Uncompahgre Peak looming above all the other mountains along with it’s shorter but more rugged neighbor, Wetterhorn Peak. I have wanted to climb Wetterhorn Peak for a long time, but the class 3 route to it’s summit combined with exposure had stopped me from trying until I gained more experience. For years I have looked at photos and videos of the final climb ...

Castle & Conundrum

Friday & Saturday, August 14-15, 2015

I had originally planned to climb Castle and Conundrum Peaks last Sunday, but after getting a taste of altitude sickness for the first time on Saturday evening I had to cancel those plans and head home. Hoping that it was a one time thing, I decided to go back again this weekend and try again. I left after work on Friday afternoon and drove right to the trailhead with only one quick stop at Grind in Glenwood Springs for dinner. I wanted to camp lower on the Pearl Pass Road this time to try ...

Taylor Peak

Saturday, August 8, 2015

It’s not too often that one of my weekend adventures doesn’t go according to plan, but unfortunately this is one of those trips. I had planned to climb Castle and Conundrum Peaks in the Elk Mountains on Sunday morning but ended up cancelling those plans when I experienced altitude sickness for the very first time on Saturday night and decided to head home instead…

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The Dragon's Back

Saturday & Sunday, July 25-26, 2015

This weekend Diane and I went on an overnight backpacking trip into the Uncompahgre Wilderness of the San Juan Mountains to explore and photograph the area around Unnamed Peak 12968, which is unofficially known as the Dragon’s Back. I have wanted to visit this area for a few years and had planned to finally get there sometime this summer, so I’ve been waiting for the right weather forecast on a weekend when I was also free. With the wet and stormy weather we’ve been having around here lately, this proved to be a challenge ...

Redcloud & Sunshine

Friday & Saturday, July 17-18, 2015

This weekend Diane had to stay home so I set out on my own into the San Juan Mountains to finally climb my first 14ers of the year. I planned to hike to the top of Redcloud Peak and Sunshine Peak bright and early on Saturday morning. I left work early on Friday and after stopping for a late lunch at Handlebars in Silverton, I continued up the Animas River to the top of Cinnamon Pass. I parked at the pass and took a short warm-up hike to the top of Cinnamon Mountain, an ...

Crag Crest

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

After work on Wednesday, Diane and I drove up onto the Grand Mesa for an evening hike on the Crag Crest Trail. We started from the West Trailhead and hiked up to the highest point on the Crag Crest ridge (11,189), which is also the second highest point in Mesa County (after Leon Peak) and about 4 miles from the trailhead. It had rained earlier in the afternoon and much of the trail was wet and muddy, plus the mosquitoes were out in force when we started.

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Red Mountain Pass Peaks

Friday – Sunday, July 10-12, 2015

June was a busy month for me that prevented me from spending much time outside and then I got sick over the long Independence Day weekend, so it’s been quite a while since I’ve been out hiking and camping and I really needed to get back into the mountains this weekend! Since I’m a little out of shape, I thought it would be a good idea to start out the season hiking a few easier peaks near Red Mountain Pass this weekend that I’ve thought about climbing for years. Diane and I left after ...

Twin Peaks

Saturday, June 13, 2015

This morning I drove down to Ouray so I could try and climb my first mountain summit of the year. After this weekend I’m going to be pretty busy for the rest of June and I didn’t want to wait until July to get into the mountains for the first time this year. Since I’m not in the best shape right now and the weather forecast was predicting that storms would move into the area late in the morning, I decided to hike to the top of Twin Peaks (10,798 feet), a famous Ouray landmark. There ...

Courthouse Mountain

Fall Colors 2014
Saturday & Sunday, September 20-21, 2014

On Saturday, Diane and I headed back down to the San Juan Mountains again so we could climb to the top of Courthouse Mountain in the Cimarron’s . While this mountain is short compared to the surrounding peaks in the area at only 12,152 feet, it is uniquely shaped and has over 1,000 feet of vertical prominence. It’s also a very distinguishable peak near Owl Creek Pass that is often photographed, especially in the fall when the surrounding mountainsides are changing colors. I have seen this mountain in the skyline for ...

Leon Peak

Mesa County High Point
Thursday, September 4, 2014

Since I had the day off from work I decided to go on a short hike close to home today. While I doubt I’ll ever try to complete all the county high points in Colorado, I thought it might be nice to at least climb the highest peak in Mesa County where I reside (and maybe a few of the surrounding counties, eventually). After a little research I found that Leon Peak on the Grand Mesa is the highest point in Mesa County at 11,236 feet and that it was a pretty ...

A Drive Around the San Juan's

Labor Day Weekend | Sunday & Monday, August 31 – September 1, 2014

After our overnight backpacking trip into Wetterhorn Basin we decided to stick around the San Juan Mountains for one more day and drive a few of the high mountain passes and trails around Silverton. After lunch in Ouray, we drove over Red Mountain Pass and found a campsite up in Mineral Basin. While I was pretty sure we’d be able to find one of our usual campsites in this area open, I was surprised to find that there was no one else around considering it was Labor ...

Wetterhorn Basin

Labor Day Weekend | Saturday & Sunday, August 30 – 31, 2014

When I asked Diane what she wanted to do over Labor Day weekend she suggested that we go on another backpacking trip. I guess it’s safe to say that she enjoys backpacking since she only went on her very first trip back in June. After a little research we decided on an overnight backpacking trip into Wetterhorn Basin within the Uncompahgre Wilderness. We figured it probably wouldn’t be too busy in this area over the holiday weekend because most people climb Wetterhorn Peak from the other side.

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Mount Whitney

Friday – Tuesday, August 22-26, 2014

Mount Whitney- at 14,508 feet it is the highest mountain peak in the contiguous United States. While I have always thought about climbing to the summit of Mount Whitney at some point in my life, I really had never seriously planned a trip or time frame to do it. About two months ago my friend Geoff sent me a message and asked if I wanted to join him on a day hike of Mount Whitney. He had received a few permits in the lottery earlier in the year, but all of his hiking companions ...

Handies Peak II

Saturday & Sunday, August 16-17, 2014

Diane has been hiking in the mountains with me all summer and was finally ready to try climbing her first 14er. She left the decision of which 14er we would climb up to me, so I decided we would hike up Handies Peak in the San Juan Mountains. Handies Peak was my first 14er back in 2010, so I knew it would be a good one to start out on. It’s also one of the easier hikes at 2.9 miles in length (one way) with 2,500 feet of elevation gain. She has hiked longer ...

The Decalibron

Tuesday & Wednesday, July 29-30, 2014

The Decalibron is a name given to a route in the Mosquito Range that allows you to summit four of Colorado’s 58 named 14ers in one 7-mile loop; Mount Democrat (14,148 feet), Mount Cameron (14,238 feet), Mount Lincoln (14,286 feet) and Mount Bross (14,172 feet). Some people do not count Mount Cameron as an official 14er because it is not ranked (the saddle between Cameron and Lincoln does not drop below the 300 feet required), but I have decided that I am going to try and complete the list of named 14ers and am ...

Bear Creek & Bridge of Heaven

Saturday & Sunday, July 26-27, 2014

After staying up late on Friday night to catch a concert in Grand Junction, we slept in a little later on Saturday morning before driving down to Ouray to get some hiking in for the weekend. The plan was to hike two trails that have been on my list for a number of years. I have planned to hike both of these trails on previous occasions, but something has always come up and prevented me from doing so. We started out by hiking the Bear Creek Trail just outside of Ouray along the Million ...

Silverton Wildflowers

Friday – Sunday, July 18-20, 2014

Diane and I decided to spend a relaxing weekend in the San Juan Mountains around Silverton camping, hiking, peak-bagging, driving high mountain passes and looking for wildflowers. We left after work on Friday and headed over Red Mountain Pass to the South Fork of Mineral Creek to look for a campsite. This used to be my go-to camping area near Silverton, but I couldn’t believe how many people were camped along here this weekend. It was ridiculous! As we were driving back out to find somewhere else to camp, Diane spotted a nice secluded ...

Huron Peak

Saturday & Sunday, July 12-13, 2014

This weekend I set out to climb my first 14er of the season. I chose to try Huron Peak since it’s in an area of the Sawatch Range that I haven’t really spent much time in, plus it’s not supposed to be too difficult of a hike which would be a good warm-up for me since I haven’t hiked at this elevation since last summer. At 14,003 feet, Huron Peak is ranked 52 out of the 53 ranked peaks over 14,000 feet in Colorado. I had originally planned to climb Huron Peak over the ...

Ouray Solstice Hiking

Upper Cascade Falls & Baldy Peak
Saturday & Sunday, June 21-22, 2014

This weekend for the summer solstice, Diane and I headed down to Ouray to get in a little hiking in the San Juan Mountains. Since there’s still a lot of snow up high and it would be our first time really hiking in the mountains this year, we decided to start with some lower elevation hikes close to town between 8,000 and 10,000 feet. When we arrived, we setup camp just above town in the Amphitheater Campground and then got started on our first hike up to the ...

Mount Antero & Mount Princeton

Friday – Sunday, August 23-25, 2013

One of my goals this year was to summit four new 14ers, and after this trip (plus my weekend in early July) I have met it. I’ve currently completed ten 14ers and hope to summit five more next year. This trip started out on a sour note. After leaving work on Friday afternoon and heading east on I-70, I got stopped in traffic because of flooding near Parachute. After waiting for over an hour, the state patrol turned us around near De Beque and said that the highway would be closed for about six ...

Mount Sherman & Quandary Peak

Friday – Sunday, July 5-7, 2013

My plans this weekend were to drive over to the Tenmile – Mosquito Range so that I could climb at least one 14er and hopefully a second one, too. I left work on Friday and headed east. A few hours later I had my campsite setup along Fourmile Creek just outside of Fairplay. I had a little time before dark, so I decided to drive up to the trailhead for Mount Sherman and check it out. Mount Sherman was my planned hike on Saturday morning.

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Paradise Divide

Saturday & Sunday, July 28-29, 2012

On Saturday morning, Amanda and I took a leisurely drive over Kebler Pass to spend a nice and relaxed weekend in the Elk Mountains just outside of Crested Butte.

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Grays & Torreys Peaks

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I left work at 11:00am on Friday, finished loading up the Jeep and made my way east on I-70 to the Front Range. One of my personal goals for the year was to hike to the top of three 14ers, so I decided to try and hike the Grays Peak and Torreys Peak combo to knock two more off of my list. I made it to the Stevens Gulch trailhead around 3:00pm and found a nice campsite nearby. Had I arrived later in the evening, I doubt I would have been able to find a nice ...

Uncompahgre Peak

Saturday, June 30, 2012

At 14,309 feet, Uncompahgre Peak is the highest point in the San Juan Mountains and the 6th highest in Colorado. It was also our destination this morning. After work on Friday, Jackson and I loaded up my Jeep and headed south to the San Juan’s. We made a quick stop for dinner in Montrose and then we were soon passing through Ouray and turning off the highway on the rough road following the Uncompahgre River and Mineral Creek.

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Colorado Adventure 2011

Monday – Wednesday, August 8-10, 2011

Last Sunday I headed out to the Front Range area so I could do a little exploring. After getting caught in traffic on I-70 that turned the 4 hour drive into a 7 hour drive, I met up with Amanda and her family at the hotel they had reserved for a few days. We spent Monday at Rocky Mountain National Park, which was actually my first visit to that park. I started out with a drive up the Old Fall River Road and then just checked out a few of the main views ...

Mount Sneffels

Saturday, August 6, 2011

This morning I set out with my friend Jackson to climb my second 14er (after climbing Handies Peak last year). We got a very early start and drove to the upper trailhead in Yankee Boy Basin. Unfortunately, about halfway up, Jackson started not feeling so well and had to turn around. I continued on by myself to the summit (well, there were plenty of other people on the trail with me). There were a few sections that scared me a bit, but I was able to face my fears and continue to the top…and then ...

Handies Peak | My First 14er

Sunday, July 11, 2010

One of the goals I set for myself this year was to hike a 14er. Yesterday morning two friends and I hopped into my Jeep and headed down to the San Juan Mountains to try Handies Peak. Handies Peak is 14,048 feet high and ranked 40th out of the 53 14ers in Colorado. I chose this mountain because it’s relatively close to home, but mainly because it is one of the easier trails to the top of a 14er. From American Basin the trail is only 5.5 miles round trip with about 2500 feet of elevation ...