My mountain playground

I’ve had two GREAT weekends in the mountains.  Maybe there could be more to life than bikes.

I started off with a solo trip in the Roosevelt Wilderness, with a long trek more-or-less in the direction back to Boulder (walking home, since I can’t drive!).  I invite you to relive it with me, in my photo-essay herein.  My route:

The route.

The route. Four days, three camps marked by red dots.

My great friends Alex and Liz (after an awesome lunch at Katmandu all-you-can-eat lunch buffet), dropped me off at Caribou park and I embarked on Caribou Road, a closed 4-WD road still mostly covered in snow.  It was periodically clear of snow, and I had to take my snowshoes off an put them back on at least a dozen times.

Caribou Road

Caribou Road

There had certainly been a lot of snowmelt recently, because this creek crossing was raging!

That was dicey.  Glad to be in one piece!

That was dicey. Glad to be in one piece!

It was a short first day (starting after lunch), but boy, I was glad reach Rainbow Lakes and get in the tent!

Tent sweet tent.

Tent sweet tent.

I awoke to some fresh fluffy.  In June, not bad!

Snow!

Snow!

It was beautiful.

Peaceful morning

Peaceful morning

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot — my bear bag rope got tangled in the tree last night, and I was too tired to deal with it.  Nothing like a little tree climbing first thing in the morning.

Rudy in a tree

Rudy in a tree

I was a little chilly and not very comfortable sleeping. The reason quickly became clear: my brand new thermarest had a big cut!  I think the pad actually came that way, and I didn’t think to check before I went out.

Bummer!

Bummer!

“No problem,” I thought. “I brought the patch kit with me!”  Not so much.  Turns out the little foil tube of glue was filled with air and not glue.  I think my brain is working better and better all the time, though, because I found a solution!

Trusty ol'...

Trusty ol'...

I’ve actually been amazed at how well the duct tape has held!  After a nice easy walk down the (plowed) Rainbow Lakes Road, I headed north on the Sourdough Trail.  And came upon this interesting sight:

Snail!

Snail!

A pile of rocks, a small stake in the ground, and a plastic snail perched on the top of the stake.  I…don’t…understand…  But it made me smile nonetheless!  Easy going, patchy snow cover turned to deep snow as I climbed higher, and the travel grew steadily more difficult as I went.

Peace memorial bridge.  Under eight feet of snowpack.

Peace memorial bridge. Under eight feet of snowpack.

Crossing Peace Memorial Bridge, I could see the creek breaking through the snow.  With the extra eight feet from the snow pack, the creek was more than twenty feet below!  After crossing the bridge, I couldn’t figure out where the trail went.  There were no tracks to follow, and no trail markers in sight.  I walked in circles, looking for a marker, for at least an hour.  Finally, I decided to just bushwhack with map and compass in the rough direction of the trail.  I was certainly nervous, in unfamiliar mountain territory.  But it was easy going, and the snow-cover was patchy.

The trail!

The trail!

And voila!  Before I could get into any real trouble, I spied a trail marker on a distant tree.  Tree wells, snow-drifts, off-camber, and slippery mash-potato snow made for tough going.  After a few miles, I decided to seek an alternate route, and bushwhacked downhill along a creek, with the intention of meeting up with an old abandoned logging grade.  Once again, bushwhacking proved not just easier than the trail, but downright pleasant.

More idyllic bushwhacking

More idyllic bushwhacking

And soon, I found the abandoned road, in great condition.

Quite pleased with myself indeed.

Quite pleased with myself indeed.

I came out on the Peak to Peak highway, and continued east on the California Gulch road.  After being chased by a few dogs, I came to Lefthand Canyon, and a perfect spot to camp, complete with bubbling creek.  Bed before sundown.  The next morning, I started out on the Switzerland Trail.

Switzerland trail, smooth sailing.

Switzerland trail, smooth sailing.

After bagging the Sugarloaf summit, and some searching for water, I made camp next to another stream.  Sleepytime before sunset again!  I could get used to this.

Day four: an easier start, some meditation by a gorgeous pond (where I watched a gnat stretch its wings while sitting on the tip of a blade of grass — I’m so freakin’ zen), and some maverick map and compass reading on a network of abandoned mining roads, brought me to Boulder Canyon Drive.

Good morning!

Good morning!

Abandoned mine

Abandoned mine

It didn’t take much thumbing to land a ride back to Boulder with Travis, an ex-musician who was working in solar panel installation.  A great four days!

And congratulations if you’ve made it all the way to the end! At 806 words, this may be my longest entry yet!

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~ by awerbuch on June 11, 2011.

2 Responses to “My mountain playground”

  1. Awesome, Jon! We should hike when you get back to CT.

  2. […] adventures, and…challenges…to put it euphemistically. I wrote a bit about my recovery, hiking, etc. on the blog, and then I signed off and “closed the blog”. Or so I […]

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