Wednesday, August 28, 2013

San Luis Peak

One of my goals for the summer is to hike a bunch of 14,000-foot mountains ("fourteeners").  I hiked Handies Peak with Kyle and Allison, but that's a mountain I had already hiked countless times before.  Today I ventured out to bag a new peak--San Luis Peak.

Sunrise over Cebolla Creek on my way to San Luis Peak

I startled a moose on top of Los Pinos Pass; she ran in front of my car for at least one hundred yards before she broke for the woods.

Check out her high-speed tracks

A ptarmigan or grouse strutting across the road

Can you find the grouse/ptarmigan in this picture?

View from the trailhead

Snowshoe hare

Snowshoe hare with a long piece of grass hanging out of his mouth


The peak is now in view (it is barely showing above the ridge)

Looking back down the valley (and Stewart Creek) toward the trailhead

View from the peak

Trail cutting across a scree field

The aptly named "Big Meadow"

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hummingbird Alarm Clock

After getting back from Durango and doing a little fishing, I took a nap in a hammock-type chair on the front porch.  I woke up to find a humming bird buzzing around my ear.  I guess my bright fishing shirt and orange hat had him thinking I might be food.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Twilight Peak

I worked at Gardenswartz Sporting Goods in Durango the summer between graduating from college and starting law school.  That summer I made probably 10 trips up to Silverton and then over Engineer Pass or Cinnamon Pass to Lake City and back, and each time I would admire some imposing mountains just off the highway: the Twilight Peaks.  I planned on hiking them that summer but just never got around to it.

While I was in Durango, I convinced my uncle (who once had to spend a cold night on the side of North Twilight after getting cliffed out) to attempt the Twilight Peaks with me.  We got up before first light and were at the trailhead and hiking by around 7 a.m.  In a little less than three hours, we had covered the 5.5 miles to Crater Lake at the base of North Twilight Peak.  From there we started bushwhacking up the mountainside until we reconnected with a light trail to the peak.  We made it to the peak--or what we thought was the peak--when we realized we needed to walk along the ridge another couple hundred feet to a point that looked to be slightly higher than we were.  While we were discussing how long it would take to do that and whether or not it was worth it in light of some incoming storms, we were jolted by a sudden crack of thunder.  Down!  We scurried off the summit/false summit as quickly as we could without plummeting off the face of the mountain .  In our haste, we hurried past a herd of bighorn sheep without even noticing them.

By the time we reached Crater Lake, the rain had subsided some, so we spent a little time fishing and eating lunch before heading home.  Maybe next time I quit my job I'll have enough time to hike all three of the Twilight Peaks.

Durango sunrise

Andrews Lake

Sunrise at the Andrews Lake Trailhead

Engineer Mountain

Entering the Weminuche Wilderness

Potato Mountain with Durango Mountain Resort (Purgatory) in the distance

Durango Mountain Resort in the distance

Twilight Peak rising above Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Twilight Peak

My uncle picks his way up toward Twilight Peak

Looking north toward Silverton

Crater Lake from the east ridge going up Twilight

Storms approaching Twilight Peak

Engineer Mountain beyond Twilight Peak

Chicago Basin from Twilight Peak.  I am hoping to take the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to the base of Chicago Basin later this summer.  The train will let you off and pick you up a few days later.

Crater Lake between two lines of storms

Engineer Mountain