Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New York Photos

Images From New York

Christmas Morning Sunrise

Morris Canal Sunset

Memorial Day Rockefeller Center


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Fall Aspens in the Holy Cross Wilderness

Fall Aspens in the Holy Cross Wilderness.

Was overdue for a run to the hills to see the fall colors and in the process decompress and unwind the  mind.  Decided to do a short hike around the Tennessee Pass area and all of the wonderful network of trails that make up the Holy Cross Wilderness.

The final choice was Fancy Creek Trail.  To get there you turn off of Tennesee Pass on the road towards Homesatke Reservoir.  Drive 8 miles in to a turn off onto Forest Service Road 704.  From there the road brings you to two trailheads.This nice trail climbs to Fancy Lake which sits right at treeline.  If one was so inclined they could continue up and over Fancy Pass at 13,000 and drop down to where Missouri Lake and the Missouri Lake pass trail meet up.

Fancy Lake trail up to the lake and back was approx 6.5 miles round trip with roughly 1,350 elevation gain.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Fun with Friends in the High Country or Missouri Mountain from the West Ridge

So the dogs and I rolled into Buena Vista with the intent of having a nice dinner with family and friends then heading out to the spot on the map otherwise known as Rockdale.  The intent was also to pick up some first-hand local knowledge of the current flows in the creeks.  Reason being you need to be able to ford Clear Creek in two places with your vehicle to take almost 7 miles off the round trip journey to the top of Missouri Mountain and back that was our intended goal for the following day.

After much discussion and various points of beer induced wisdom, caution, and hot air it was decided that we would volunteer Fred’s old Nissan pickup as the official river crosser and SAG vehicle for the mornings journey. Plans and meeting times were laid out and we dispersed for the night.

Morning came and it was by no means an alpine start.  We loaded up on a solid breakfast cooked by Chef Bob and headed out to our first rondavous with Fred and Jeff at the CR390 turn off from Hwy 24.  Fred was there waiting and Jeff pulled in just as we did.  Quick review of the vehicle discussions from last night, condensed into two vehicles and headed towards our next turn off at Rockdale.

Found our turn off and wandered around the multiple dirt track splits until we came to Clear Creek and the inevitable water crossing.  Due to the lack of rain this summer the creek was flowing well below its normal levels for that time of year.  Even with that being said it was still something to be thought about before wetting the tires.  We piled all the gear, dogs, and people into Fred’s lil’ Nissan truck and plunged in.  Water came up to just above the hubs.  With a slow and steady push we crossed the first section and the second with no issues.  Only to be confronted by the steep muddy push up the bank and onto the very rough road to the trailhead.  Eventually we came to the gate across the road and the end of motorized travel.

Quick check of the topo to get oriented and mark our bearings and we were off.  A short ways up the trail we came to Clohesy Lake.  Beautiful high mountain lake tucked into the valley between Huron Peak and Missouri Mountain.  There used to be a nice one room cabin that had been built many years ago right on the lake that would be a wonderful shelter from the storm.  That is until the Forest Service decided that this cabin was being used for too many other things than shelter.

Up through the trees we went in a steady incline following the contours of the mountain.  Couple of small steep pitches and we suddenly broke out above tree line and got our first full glimpse of what truly laid before us.  A wonderful basin with a consistent pitch for most of the way up to the ridgeline that we would hug all the way to the summit and back.

Just enough time to shed a layer as we were now standing in the sun and up we went.  For most of this pitch it was a wonderful grassy hike that slowly worked its way ever upward to the first patches of scree and parts of the mountain that would make you earn the climb.  Just below where the trail meets up with the ridgeline the scree fields start.  Just above that the knuckle of the ridge sticks out and creates a more vertical challenge to work around.
Trail finding is always more of a challenge when all you can do is look up for that next gap in the boulders or that small pile of rocks that could be considered a trail marker. We zigzagged and meandered but eventually broke over the steepest section of the hump to find a clear path laid out before us and approx. a mile of ridge running with a small summit rise to Point 13,930 and onward to the summit.
At this point in the ridge is where the main trail coming up from the Missouri Gulch Trailhead merges with ours and the steady stream of hikers marching up from the valley below become visible.  A quick glance to the ridgeline also shows the humanity either ascending or descending our path to the summit.  Even with all the people the run along the ridge is wonderful.  Mt Belford stands to the east with Oxford tucked just below its own ridgeline.  Huron Peak stands to the west were the dogs and I had stood just two weeks prior to this climb.
Huron Peak to the west

Mt Belford to the east and the Missouri Creek Basin
The last crux of the run to the top is a small down climb of approx. 25 feet thru a narrow chute.  Dogs were not too sure about this section until Annie got below and showed them exactly where we wanted them to go.  Once that hurdle was cleared we were onward to the top.

Quick break for food, photos, and to tighten the shoelaces and we were on our way back down the ridge.  Up the chute, over Point 13,930 and down to the knuckle on the ridgeline.  Looking down on this section that had so flummoxed on our ascent was humbling. From a higher point of view the trail winding through the talus was plain as day.  Once we cleared the knuckle it was smooth sailing the whole way down the grassy covered ridge and back into the tree line below.
From the top of the knuckle looking down to the ridgeline and trail below

A detour off the main trail and down to the shores of Clohesy Lake took us a little further off trail than expected.  A short wander through the brush reminded us all too always be conscious of where exactly you are in the bigger context of things if you decide to step off that well beaten path at your feet.  We met up with Fred’s Nissan just in time for a light rain shower to start and keep us cool on the drive back down to Clear Creek and Rockdale.

When it was all said and done.  We covered roughly 5.5 miles with an elevation gain of 3,100 feet.  More importantly it was another great day shared with friends and family in the high country.