My Colorado Travelings

TripLeader

Explorer
Sept. 2017

Part Two [Home for the Week]

We planned to camp along Chaffee County Rd. 390, which ran west from US Highway 24 from a junction near Clear Creek Reservoir.
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With it being Labor Day weekend, most of the primitive camping spots were taken. We continued down the road past the Missouri Gulch Trailhead. We finally found a couple of vacant spots, but they weren't that great. We continued on and found a prime site.
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We set up camp.
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The beaver pond in our backyard.
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TripLeader

Explorer
Sept. 2017

Part Three [Hope Pass]

My friends, MD & OD, wanted to get some hiking in that very first afternoon. We went to the Sheep Gulch Trailhead and hiked up the trail toward Hope Pass.
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Gray clouds moved in around the time we were near tree line. It started sprinkling. We played it safe and headed back down. I have to admit I did not mind calling it a day due to my lack of acclimatization.
 
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TripLeader

Explorer
Sept. 2017

Part Four [Inter-Laken]

We had an easy hike planned for the second day of our trip.
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We got up and had a warm breakfast of eggs, sausage, and tea.

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We loaded up and drove to Twin Lakes, near the intersection of Highway 24 and Highway 82. After a nice, relatively flat trail, we came up Inter-Laken.
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I'd been there before (as documented in this thread), but it had been years.
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TripLeader

Explorer
Sept. 2017

Part Six [Mt. Belford]

Our third day in Colorado was to be our first summit attempt. We planned to hike up Missouri Gulch to Mt. Belford. From there, we would follow a saddle to Mt. Oxford.
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Missouri Gulch is not an easy hike. We started from the trailhead just after 5:00 a.m. We continued hiking up the ridge to Belford, including this steep section.
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The final stretch to the 14,197 foot summit.
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Belford's benchmark.
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TripLeader

Explorer
Sept. 2017

Part Seven [Mt. Oxford]

We followed the saddle trail from Belford to Oxford. It was about 1.5 miles and a drop of about 700 vertical feet. A helicopter flew over the saddle as we approached it.
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After getting to the bottom of the saddle and starting to ascend, I was drained of energy. We still had to re-climb Belford. I called it off for me and went back to Belford without summiting Oxford. MD & OD were moving faster than me and made it up Oxford. I regrouped with them on top of Belford.
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MD & OD returning to Belford from Oxford.
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Heading back down toward Missouri Gulch from Belford.
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A stream crossing below tree line.
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Getting closer to the trailhead.
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We made it back. It was over 11 hours and 11 miles of hiking. It was very exhausting, especially as we had not come close to being acclimatized to the altitude.
 
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TripLeader

Explorer
Sept. 2017

Part Eight [The Ghost Town of Winfield]

We rested on the day after Belford & Oxford. We visited Winfield.
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TripLeader

Explorer
Sept. 2017

Part Nine [Clear Creek]

We stopped at an old mine site with some cabins along the road on the way back to camp from Winfield. We went down to the creek. We decided to take a dip in the creek. I could not get in past my ankles. MD took the plunge and spent about three minutes in the water. I estimate the water was 31 degrees F.
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I don't know how he stayed in the water so long.
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OD spotted something while we were there. Trout were trying to swim up a small waterfall.
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We watched the fish jump for about an hour. It was fantastic.
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The sky became hazy that evening. We later learned it was due to wildfires in states further west. It made a dramatic sunset over Clear Creek Reservoir.
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TripLeader

Explorer
Sept. 2017

Part Ten [Mt. Huron]

We made another 5:00 a.m. start to begin our attempt on Mt. Huron.
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We saw the moon set over a far off ridge.
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Dawn light on the nearby peaks.
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The trail was mostly a series of switchbacks.
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OD on the summit ridge, about 50 vertical feet from the top.
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My friends looking out toward Belford, Oxford, Missouri, & Harvard, while debating over which peak is which.
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We headed back down.
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We made it back down. We were more acclimatized and felt much better later that evening than we had after Belford & Oxford.
 
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TripLeader

Explorer
Sept. 2017

Part Eleven [Banker Mine]

Banker Mine was near the Huron trailhead. We stopped by on our way back to the truck after hiking Huron.
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TripLeader

Explorer
Sept. 2017

Part Twelve [Gone Fishin' Again]

We took the next day off to go back to the section of creek where we had seen the fish jumping. MD got back into the water. I got in with him for a short time, making it up to my waist that time.
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We watched the fish again.
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One of the falls upstream. The clouds darkened the sky a few times and I was able to try for this photo.
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I know it's too many photos of the fishes, but it was a great time being there and seeing it in person.
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Cooking dinner at camp later that day.
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"Organization."
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TripLeader

Explorer
Sept. 2017

Part Thirteen [La Plata Peak]

The last day of adventure came. We again were awake and getting ready by 4:30 a.m. for another 5:00 a.m. start. We were set to climb La Plata Peak via the Winfield Trailhead.
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We broke through tree line near dawn. It was the most scenic hike of the week, which is saying something.
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Pushing toward a false summit.
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Looking back at the trail.
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We were on top just after 10:00 a.m. We ate a snack, spoke with a few other hikers, and noticed big white clouds were building in the west. We had wanted to spend more time on the summit, but headed down due to possible incoming weather.
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The storm moved in while we were still above tree line.
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We got hit with small hail, but it was the thunder that scared me the most. We ran across the relatively flat portion of the saddle and dropped down over a ridge. It took us an hour beyond that to get to the cover of tree line.
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