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 along the road with a few short hikes. It was a good way to get acquainted with the park so that next time I can plan a little better.
Never Summer Mountains
After driving up the Old Fall River Road to the Alpine Visitor Center I met up with Amanda and her family again. After taking in the views from the Visitor Center we continued on to the Gore Range Overlook with this nice view of the Never Summer Mountains.
Forest Canyon View
Next we traveled over Iceberg Pass on the Trail Ridge Road and stopped at the Forest Canyon viewpoint.
After stopping at a few more viewpoints along the way, we eventually made it to Bear Lake…..we even managed to find parking when we arrived!
Bear Lake B&W
We took the easy stroll around the lake…this photo is from the opposite side. We stopped at a few more places along the way and then left the park to head back to the hotel. We took part of the Peak to Peak Highway back.
On Tuesday morning I left early and parted ways with Amanda and her family so that I could do some exploring on my own as I slowly headed back towards Grand Junction. My first stop of the day was driving to the top of Mount Evans so that I could bag my third 14er (and the second one in a week!). After completing that goal, I stopped to take a few photos of the many mountain goats just below the summit.
Cute Baby Goat
There were even a few baby goats around.
On Sunday we headed south to Telluride so we could ride the Gondola and check out Mountain Village. After that we stopped at the Union Cafe in Ridgway for some delicious burgers, and then we headed up to Coal Creek to check out some more fall colors. Here’s a few photos I took along the way with my S90….
Boarding the Gondola to Mountain Village
We did a little hiking at the middle stop on the way back….St. Sophia Station.
Telluride down below
August 29, 2010
After a good night’s sleep along the Jersey Jim Lookout Loop trail, I continued northeast towards the Jersey Jim Lookout.
From the 1930′s through the 1970′s fire lookout towers were at the heart of the Forest Service fire detection system. By the 1980′s these towers became obsolete as individual lightning strikes are now recorded by satellite and most forest fires are detected by airplanes. This tower is available to the public for nightly rental.
Next I took a quick detour from the Jersey Jim Lookout Loop onto the Gold Run Loop.
Hesperus Mountain…the Navajo Sacred Mountain of the North
After finishing up both loops, I decided it was time to start heading back home. I headed northwest on CO 145 to Telluride and then made my way over Imogene Pass to Ouray so I could finish my drive home. I’ve been over Imogene Pass a number of times and the scenery never gets old
La Plata Mountains
August 28, 2010
From my camp on Devil Mountain, my goal was to reach and start exploring the La Plata Mountains. I didn’t have anything planned, so I checked out a few trails along the way. When I reached US 160 again, I traveled further west for a few miles before turning off on the First Notch Trail.
I guess a stock Jeep is not a standard 4×4
The trail was a bit rock and muddy, but nothing I would consider difficult. It stayed in the trees most of the time.
One of the sections where it passed through a clearing
When I was almost to the end of the trail, I came across this large fallen aspen…
The trail beyond the fallen tree was nice and smooth
I wasn’t sure if my winch would be able to move the tree, but I figured I would give it a try before turning around…..since I didn’t want to head all the way back to the beginning again….
Lucky me, it started to move.
August 27, 2010
Gold was discovered in the Summitville area in 1870. The town at one time had a population of more than 1,500 and 2,500 mining claims were staked. At 11,200 feet on South Mountain, Summitville was once the highest major gold camp in Colorado. By 1889 there were only about 25 residents left in town. This would be my main destination for the day….but first I would have to get there.
Since I was camped just off of the Clover Creek trail, I finished up that trail and made my way back through Bonanza before heading up and over Ute Pass (9,944 feet).
Coming down from Ute Pass, overlooking the Cochetopa Hills
I reached CO 114 again just outside of Saguache and then headed east, where I picked up the Carnero Pass Road.
Headed south from Carnero Pass
Once I reached La Garita, I followed another dirt road further south to Del Norte. I fueled up and then headed towards Summitville along Pinos Creek.
I took a short spur trail to the summit of Grayback Mountain along the way