August 20, 2022 § Leave a comment
This is going to be a very short post. I promise.
If you follow my writings then you know that I just finished writing up my adventure from 2021 a few weeks ago. These long multi-day trips become a chore to sit down and compose sometimes, and I don’t want it to seem like I drone on and on about the same old drivel. So I got distracted and didn’t finish documenting last years trip, and then time kept marching forward, as it always does (tick tock), and before I knew it, other adventures had come and gone, and been written up as well. It wasn’t until I rode the Rockies again in June, that I came to realize I needed to finish the 2021 write-up before I began 2022!
So, what is going on in 2022? Well, let’s begin with who is going. There were four people who wanted to go last year, two of whom actually had monies invested in the trip when shit happened. The other two, father and son, had family obligations that kept them away, and so on the second day of our trip last year, amidst the beauty of the San Juans, I decided then and there to come back this year. I wasn’t going to do the exact same trip, but I would plan a new trip and anyone who wanted to join was welcome.
For a while, I had the interest of a couple of campers who came last year, but other things got in the way, and they backed out. So, it is five of us. A pretty nice compact little group. We have Larry and his son Drew, myself and my daughter Alyson, and my friend Mike. Everyone has spent time with me in the back country before, though this is the first time that my daughter has been able to join us again since the Grand Canyon in 2012.
That is the base. I have been in contact with some others that could join us, but as of this writing, I am not sure we will have anyone else just yet. You might be thinking “If they were going to join you why wouldn’t you know that, and since you are in Durango, wouldn’t they have had to make arrangements already?” and you would be right for most people, but the extras I refer to all live in Durango. We shall see what we shall see.
What are we doing? Last year we took the Durango Silverton Diesel to Elk Creek and then backpacked an inverted “C” from West to East to South To West and eventually came out at the “other” stop on the train. So train in, train out. This year we are going to start at Pine River Trail Head, further East and South of our adventure last year, and hike North East for a couple of day, then turning North West to intersect the Continental Divide Trail, which we follow to the Vallecito. If you read last years trip details, then the Vallecito will be familiar, and we will basically then follow the route from last year. The only difference from last year will be instead of a two day Columbine effort, we will do it in one day.
Now, again, if you read last years account, it should be obvious by now that decisions are made on the trail, and last year we made more than a few. I am sure the same will happen here as well. It all depends on how people feel, however we have distance that has to be covered, so there isn’t a lot of room to do less in a day while there is a lot of room to do more. So let’s leave it at that.
We depart into the wilderness next Friday. I am going out tomorrow, and people are joining starting Sunday. There are things to do still to prep, and I will be working still as well. I am not sure at this point if I will post anything more until I return, but …
Weminuche Wilderness 2021 – Day 8 Goodbye Weminuche Wilderness
July 30, 2022 § Leave a comment
Let’s see if this can be a short write-up. Ha!
We awoke with maybe a half a mile to walk to get to the train. The ETA for said train was somewhere around 10:30 in the am, so with all that in consideration, we didn’t feel any sense of urgency, and that showed in just how slow we were moving that morning. There wasn’t really all that much to do. Breaking down camp doesn’t take long. I recall we had enough left over wood that we had a morning fire. Just enough of a blaze to take the chill out of the air when you needed it. Our seats were all right where we left them the night before, so why not simply light it up, turn up the seats, and chill around the fire drinking coffee drinks and eating our last bits of oatmeal?« Read the rest of this entry »
Weminuche Wilderness 2021 – Day 7 Goodbye Chicago Basin
July 29, 2022 § Leave a comment
Once the decision to NOT hike another 14er was made, that made today and easy choice. If you have read any of these posts, for example this, or this, then you know that the conductor on the Durango Silverton Historic Train told us that even though our purchased ticket was a one-way ticket from Needleton to Durango, “IF” we were out there when the train was headed north, we could in fact simply board the train and proceed North to Silverton where the train lays over for two entire hours, and then re-board for the trip back to Durango. So, we had a few options on the table. We could simply remain high in the Chicago Basin, and simply have relaxed all day long, doing nothing, except maybe some local exploring. Door #1. We could pack everything up and hike all the way to the train and get out 1 day early. Door #2. We could pack everything up and hike most of the way out, and find a beautiful site along the Animas River leaving only a half mile to take full advantage of the conductor’s offer. Door #3.« Read the rest of this entry »
Weminuche Wilderness 2021 – Day 6 Wyndom
July 26, 2022 § Leave a comment
When I started planning out this adventure, I allocated two full days in the Chicago Basin for two days of 14er attempts. Even more ambitious was the thought that in those two days, we would bag 4 peaks over 14K! Ha! So naive!
Before going to bed we all agreed that we would NOT be targeting a 4:30am wake-up, but we did agree that we would arise at first light and make a go of it, conceding before we even started, that if we made the summit of 1 14er, then that was accomplishment enough for the day. We also decided that based on the descriptions of all the climbs that were possible, that Wyndom would be our goal.« Read the rest of this entry »
Weminuche 2021 – Day 5 Over Columbine
December 22, 2021 § Leave a comment
It rained most of the night, but when I awoke it had abated long enough for us to break camp and grab some breakfast. Though the rain had abated it wasn’t done for the day, and we’d be lucky to see the sun at all on this day. We didn’t really have all that far to go with the pass at maybe 2-2.5 and then another 1.5 down the other side. Remember from an earlier post that we were advised to take a site in the upper Chicago Basin where few, if any, of the Needleton access 14er-seekers will bother to hike up to. With a sense of urgency we broke camp while our water heated, and with no sun to dry anything, packed all our wet gear as it was. Sure it would be heavier, but we didn’t have to go far. With the main gear packed we took in our morning breakfasts and coffee drinks; we took care of our morning business and then we were off for Columbine Pass.« Read the rest of this entry »
A Return To Michaux
December 15, 2021 § Leave a comment
The plans for a late Fall adventure began to take shape during the 3 day Indigenous Peoples Day weekend in October when I accepted an invitation (I invited myself) to spend some time with my longtime friends Larry and Melanie Butler at their cabin in the woods behind Woodward, Pa. As it so happened, this was also the weekend of Pennsylvania’s tremendously successful gravel bike ride UnPaved, which Larry and I planned to “Bandit Ride” a shorter segment. I brought all my Pennsylvania Lizard maps with me so we could take some time to glance at “possibilities”.« Read the rest of this entry »
Weminuche 2021- Day 4 Up, Up and Away
December 11, 2021 § Leave a comment
If you recall, we broke two long days into three shorter days, and today was the second of those days, and this day would be nothing but regaining most, if not all of the elevation we lost yesterday. Distance-wise it was a little shorter, but terrain-wise we would hit some big gains in two sets of switchbacks, where I believe each set was 20-30 turns. The feeling was that we would find something between the second and third set where we could pitch our tents, but until we got there, we wouldn’t know. We hadn’t seen anyone we could ask.
The morning was another fine morning where the mountains to our East shielded us from direct sunlight until long after we hit the trail. Our fourth morning, and everything is very routine by now. Before I even leave my shelter, I have dressed, re-stuffed my sleeping bag, deflated the air mattress and returned it to its carry sack, deflated my pillow, and broken down and rolled up my tarp. Then it is time for hot water and a little relaxation while I watch everyone else do their thing. Of course Kevin is already up, as is Jim, and by the time I sit down, everyone is up and moving.« Read the rest of this entry »
Weminuche Wilderness 2021 – Day 3 Easy Peasy
December 9, 2021 § Leave a comment
We met a lot of people on this adventure. Way more than in past adventures excepting Banff. The least number we ever saw was in the High Uintas where we met a Ranger, and then a guide with two charges, all on horseback. After that, nothing. This day would not be a high volume people day, but the two characters we did meet (Father/Son) were a real eye opener.
Our second morning was a little different than our first. For one, we weren’t in a hurry to get over two passes as all we had on the agenda for the day was mostly all downhill, or perhaps it is better to say our net elevation gain today would be a loss. About 1000 feet (304.8 meters) loss. No need to hurry for that. We would probably be done by 1 or 2 and then have the rest of the afternoon to relax, and maybe even cleanup a little in Vallecito river/creek. Another difference was our tree cover was greater, so the view of the surrounding mountains was obscured. That wouldn’t last long once we started to hike, but until that began, we were in the shade of mountains we couldn’t really see, and it was a cool night. I had my usual 3 times up for personal business, and my usual sleep issues, but that doesn’t keep me in bed.« Read the rest of this entry »
Weminuche Wilderness 2021 – Day 2 A Two Pass Day
December 7, 2021 § Leave a comment
It’s been awhile since I last climbed the Continental Divide under my own power. I crossed it as a bus passenger in June, but that doesn’t count in my book. We were in the Pacific drainage when we both started and ended this day, but we hiked in the Atlantic drainage for a short while, which meant that we had two passes ahead of us. I can’t find a name for the first pass, and maybe there is a definition of “Pass” that I am unaware of that this first “Pass” doesn’t meet, but I feel like if I cross from one side to the other, say from one valley to another, that is a pass. The second for our day would be Hunchback Pass. A real name.« Read the rest of this entry »
Mid Fall Long Weekend New Jersey AT Hike
November 30, 2021 § 3 Comments
I was preparing a Purple Carrot dinner when the first group text came in.« Read the rest of this entry »