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:
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.
There had certainly been a lot of snowmelt recently, because this creek crossing was raging!
It was a short first day (starting after lunch), but boy, I was glad reach Rainbow Lakes and get in the tent!
I awoke to some fresh fluffy. In June, not bad!
It was beautiful.
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.
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.
“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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
And soon, I found the abandoned road, in great condition.
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.
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.
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!