Thursday, July 7, 2016

Blue Lakes Hike 6/24/2016

"The land of the great woods, lakes, mountains and rushing rivers is still mysterious enough to please anyone who has eyes to see and can understand."  Norman Collie

Blue Lakes is on my hiking list every year - often more than once.  It's a place like few others...a place of unrivaled beauty and grandeur.  It's hard to believe that people can go there and still say there is no God.  Only open eyes and a blind heart could come to that conclusion.  On this day there were myriads of people up there.  Two school buses of kids were there from Indiana.  They were good kids and seemed respectful of the place and other hikers.  Would I rather have had the place to myself - sure?  But, such beauty is seldom overlooked or ignored.  It belongs to all and I'm thankful I can still go there regardless of how many I have to share it with.  Usually, I go on up to the upper lakes, which few others do.  But, this year the snow is still so deep and the stream so strong that I decided to not attempt that.  This is the most snow I've seen there at this time of year.  Another hiker I met had been there four times already this year.  He stated that the lower lake was completely frozen over just two weeks before.  I also took my Tenkara fishing rod but did not see any fish rising or cruising the lake shallows.  That's really unusual and I hope there was not a winter kill.

What a magnificent morning!  The full moon was about to set.  The hermit thrushes were singing non-stop.....who can fault them!

Trees come and go...but, not as quickly as we do!

This is like a pathway to heaven.

Marsh marigolds were still in bloom.

It's one amazing vista after another.

Wow - what a God! What a creator!

This trail section just speaks "peace".

Calypso Orchid

Blue Lakes - aptly named!

Thank you Lord for such beautiful places!  Thank you for the strength and ability to hike to places such as this.  Thank you for the eyes to physically behold such wonder and the heart to know where it came from.  I am blessed!

Twin Peaks Hike 6/10/2016

"If it's blessings you're a countin', try a morning in the mountains" Jim Stoltz 

This is a hike I've usually done every spring.  Last year the snow was too deep at the end of May.  In October, it was snow that again stopped me.  There was no stopping me this time.  Armed with micro-spikes I was determined to make it.  Fortunately, I was late enough in the spring that I didn't need them.  The mosquitoes and biting flies were the worst I've seen anywhere and I forgot my bug spray.  So, it was the fastest hike up and down Twin Peaks that I've ever done.  Keeping in motion was the only deterrent - so rest stops were non-existent on this day.

A bee was enjoying a wild rose.

I'm not big on this selfie craze now days.  But, here's one anyway at the miner memorial part way up the trail.

The views from Twin Peaks are phenomenal.  Ouray is far below.

Whitehouse Mountain from Twin Peaks

It was the first time I've been on Twin Peaks when there was no threat of thunderstorms and virtually no wind.  It was a great day - despite the bugs!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Out & About 11/6/2015

"Come to the woods, for here is rest.  There is no repose like that of the green deep woods.  Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains."  John Muir

This day was simply an out and about kind of day.  Soaking in nature and enjoying the mountains.  First stop was the trail along the Uncompahgre River near Ridgway.  A couple photos of ducks, birds and deer and high places began to call.

Then it was on up to the escarpment overlooking the Sneffels Range.  The chipmunks were very entertaining.

Mt. Sneffels was shrouded in clouds and as beautiful as ever!

Then I decided to head up to Ouray and see what all that white up there was about.  What a difference 10 miles makes.  It was winter up there.  I decided to see how far up the Horsethief Trail I could get.  Unfortunately, I couldn't go far due to slippery, soggy conditions.  I made it to the blowout and decided the ground was way too soft to try to go along the steep side hill.

Not far up the trail things were all in upheaval and trees knocked down.  It didn't take long to find the reason, a hunk of the mountain above had broken away.  I'm sure glad it did it before I got there. 

The trail was a mess of mowed down trees and rocks.

Past the slide it was a winter wonderland.

I heard several rocks rumble down the mountain as I reached the blowout.  That was enough for me to turn around and head back down.  This was the turn-around spot.

Fortunately I did not encounter any difficulties heading down.  It was another beautiful day rambling the woods!  Thank you Lord!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Twin Peaks Hike - 10/31/2015

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and places to pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul."  John Muir

It had rained 2 3/4 " over the last two weeks here at my home.  That's almost unheard of for this country.  So, unlike my fellow hardy northwest hikers, I am not used to going out hiking in the rain.  I'll do it though as a last resort.  But, this day was not rainy.  However, it had snowed much more than I thought in the mountains.  I decided to take a jaunt up Twin Peaks, just to keep the juices flowing and scratch my hiking itch.  The view across the valley was a winter wonderland.

Things were looking good.  Only a few inches on the lower part of the trail.

Unfortunately, the higher I went the deeper it got.  Since this trail is fairly steep, I was beginning to wonder if this was going to work.  Oh well, if not it would still be better than sitting at home.

It didn't take long to recognize that things were getting too slippery to go on.  I'd been going to get a pair of microspikes for just such occasions but unfortunately had not done so yet.  Though I was hanging onto trees and trying to stay upright, it just wasn't working.  After several falls, I decided it wasn't worth injuring myself and possibly ruining future outings.  So, I turned around shortly after this.

It was much nicer on back down the trail and I completely enjoyed myself!

Just before the switchbacks back down, I couldn't resist a shot of my pickup parked below.  It's white and is dead center in the photo.  I had a great time in God's outdoors! PTL

Weehawken Basin to Mt. Ridgway September 8, 2012

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop like autumn leaves."  John Muir

The last post on Sneffels Overlook reminded me of a fantastic hike I made up Weehawken Basin to the summit of Mt. Ridgway.  Mt. Ridgway is a 13'er (over 13,000 feet high).  It's just above Blaine Basin and just east of Mt. Sneffels.  It's about a 12 mile hike round trip with around 4,600 feet of elevation gain.  So, it's a "puffer" for sure.  I did not realize that I was doing this hike on the same day as the annual Imogene Pass Run from Ouray to Telluride.  I noticed lots of barricades, etc but didn't know for sure what was happening.  They closed the road for most of the day after I had gone on up the basin.  Fortunately, it was all over and the road reopened by the time I got back to my pickup.

Trail head.

There were still quite a few wild flowers.

The trail gains altitude fairly quickly and then opens up a bit for some nice views.  Mt. Ridgway is way up there at the end of the valley.

There are lots of cool hoodoos along this trail.  There are also many cuts from streams that come into the main creek.  Though most were dry, they were often tricky to cross due to washing out during heavy rain storms.

More hoodoos!

Wow, it's getting really cool now.  The valley narrows just before entering Weehawken Basin.

The view back down the valley at the beginning of Weehawken Basin.  There is no trail here that I could find.  There was very little evidence that this area is used much at all.  I was the only one on the trail this whole day.

Weehawken Basin.  Potosi Peak is top center and a very nice rock glacier at its feet.

Mt. Ridgway front and center.  Whew, still a long ways to go.

Mt. Ridgway is high on the left.  Whitehouse Mountain on the right.  Just left of the knob in the center is the way up through the slide area.  I was on all 4 going up that.  But, I've been on worse.

Now we're talking!  This is on the ridge just left of the knob in the photo above.  The view off the other side to the north is fantastic.  Mt. Ridgway's shoulder is on the left in this photo.  Still a bunch of up to go.  But, when you get to this point the views are sooo good that sweat and work is well worth it.

Lots of loose talus from here on.  It was non-stop work.  Forward two steps slide back one.  Montrose, CO is upper left in this photo.

Yes, finally the summit.  That's Mt. Sneffels in the center.  Blaine Basin is below.

The summit cairn.  Whitehouse Mountain in the background.

These San Juan mountains are gnarly!  Potosi Peak is upper left, Teakettle Peak is upper right.

Sneffels (14,157') is a beauty!  I was up there years ago.  I feel the yearning to go back.

On the way back down, there was a light show in Weehawken Basin.  I don't care how many times you visit these mountains, there's always a new view and hope that tomorrow will be even better than today!  But, I wonder if it can get any better than this.

More incredible beauty!

One last view across Yankee Boy before dropping down to the trailhead.  More memories, and more reasons for thanksgiving to our awesome creator God!