Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cimarron West Fork 9/6/2015

Yesterday we were up in the Wilson Peak area near Lizard Head pass.  Today we headed the opposite direction to venture up the Cimarron West fork.  I've got my sights on Redcliff Peak for a hiking foray in the near future.  It stymied me when I got off trail a few years ago, and I can't let it go.  So, it's good to return to the area just to get the adventure juices going again.  It was a rainy day, so we didn't do much roaming around outside of the 4Runner.

Redcliff Peak is shrouded in clouds on the left side of the photo and Coxcomb Peak is in the background center.  On my first try up Redcliff I had read a guide book that said to stay to the right of the cliff band.  So, I ended up on Coxcomb just below the highest patch of snow in this photo.  I thought I would then walk across to the pass and on up Redcliff.  But, the area was very steep and full of basketball sized rocks and they all moved.  It was way too dangerous to try on my own, so I gave it up.  I've been after that peak ever since and will conquer it one day.

A shot by the stream to the head of the valley.

There was just a hint of fall color beginning to show near some of the hoodoos.  The west fork road is a good road until about a mile from the end.  Then it turns into a rock pile with dips and drops and also steeply dips into and across the stream.  High clearance is a must.  Wouldn't you know it????...right before the stream crossing we saw a travel trailer tucked away in the trees.  It was about a 21 or 22 footer dual axle outfit.  How he got it over that road I'll never know. Once again, common sense seemed to be lacking.

A last view of Coxcomb and a story.  There is a pass on the west side of Coxcomb, just out of view on the upper right of this photo.  A few years ago I was hiking into Wetterhorn basin via this pass.  I was amazed to hear the rumble of a jet coming up the valley.  They are not supposed to fly in these areas, but I was glad this one did.  It was an Air Force fighter jet.  He was going so fast that I saw him before I heard the rumble.  It looked like he was going to slam into the face of Coxcomb.  I was actually above him and remember how cool it was looking right into the cockpit.  Just as he got to the head of the valley he pointed it to the sky and turned on the afterburners.  What a sight!  It was so close I almost felt the heat of the engines...I was definitely looking directly up into the engine ports.  The rumble shook the valley and the ground, and in seconds he was out of sight behind the clouds.  It all happened so quick, I couldn't even get a photo.  I remember thinking - I'm glad they're on our side!  If he ever happens to read this, I just want to say thanks for all you do to preserve my freedom....and thanks for the airshow - it was the best I've ever seen.  God bless America and our service men and women!