24 Oct 2010

Boreas Pass

A great weekend. Saturday we headed down to Salida and Buena Vista in Chaffee County, home to 12 of Colorado's 14ers. Salida in particular was a very cool town with plenty of artists and fun stores. It was a beautiful drive and - being a few thousand feet lower than Blue River / Breckenridge - it was still autumn

Oh yeah...Maureen is pretty excited about Halloween...

Sunday was Day 16 not smoking. It was also possibly our final chance to run Boreas Pass as there may be a big storm coming. The storm warning is for 12-22 inches with gusts of up to 70mph. We have no idea what we should expect

Boreas Pass was a narrow gauge railway line from Como to Breckenridge, maybe about 17 miles (the line itself actually went to Leadville). The pass is 11,480' and has several ghost towns. Our run was 2.9 miles out with a 1,050' elevtation gain (from ~9,625 to ~ 10,675') to a water tank and then back. I think it was the most beautiful run I've done

View of Breckenridge ski runs

HAHA! You're not so tough, Quandary Peak. We own you!

17 Oct 2010

Wheeler Trail - Blue Lakes Hike with Hudson

Hudson ran over 17 miles (his PR) with me last week, so after a few days off he was all set to explore on Sunday morning

We started at the Quandary Peak trail head and followed the bright green line as if we were heading to the summit - but turned left on Wheeler Trail. We then took a right on the first road and goofed around on both sides of the first lake and then ran to the dam (second lake). Round trip was maybe 5.1-miles with 1,250' of elevation gain, and a top elevation of 11,750'

On another section of this area a few miles away on McCullough Gulch Road was the other "portal". I can't find anything on what this is - one person thought it was "part of a water diversion project from the Pacific side to the Atlantic side" (the Continental Divide is about a mile away)

Not sure if this mining history or just an old house in disrepair

I can find no record of a Corona Placer - and this was not at 11,775 (maybe 300'-400' lower)

Random sights

Hud in the snow with a great stick

Looking at the dam (up high)

Hud possibly impressed with the views

The dam. I tried to find why this is for Colorado Springs. No luck. Actually not much luck researching this Blue Lake area (other than it was a mining area)

Heading back

Back on Wheeler Trail. An old mining shack?

??? - in the middle of the woods

Hud was equally puzzled

The Blue Lakes area was such a cool area I took Maureen there (in the car) on the way to Alma & Fairplay

I hadn't noticed all the mining ruins and remnants

16 Oct 2010

Quandary Peak

We got snow this week - fun!

It more or less melted in a few days, but we decided to try and hike Quandary Peak before any more snow

Quandary Peak is one of Colorado's 54 "14ers". We would take the "easy" way up, the East Ridge. The trail head is at 10,850', the summit is at 14,265' and the round trip hike would be 6.75 miles

This sign is true - there are no easy Fourteeners!

It is an easy start

Nice views even while in the wooded sections

After maybe 1.5 miles it became more challenging. Not sure who built/placed these rock steps here and elsewhere along the trails - but it was appreciated

Blue Lakes. Hudson and I explored down there Sunday (next blog). The top lake is dammed and somehow is drinking water for Colorado Springs 100 miles away

Maureen continuing to head up before more or less calling it a day - I went for another 5 minutes before also calling it a day once I realized how much longer it would be...

We were maybe 1 mile and 1,300' short. We hadn't eaten enough, we were in running shoes and it would be late by the time we were done or died (HaHa)

We headed back, went into Breckenridge, had food and then bought hiking shoes. For additional motivation I bought an $8 t-shirt that said I Made It To The Top / Quandary Peak / Colorado / Elevation 14,265'

We got a good sleep, had breakfast, packed some PB&J sandwiches and were all set for Attempt #2. We also got a much earlier start and were on the trail by 7:45am

We didn't bother taking photos until we hit new terrain - terrain inhabited by mountain goats. Right on the trail

So...being scared of heights...we pretty much focused on the climb as it was rather terrifying - steep and snowy. But...that $8 t-shirt was waiting...

We did make the summit! Good for us!! Here we are at 14,265'

We met this guy and hiked with him the last mile (which took over an hour)

These two were also near us over the last mile (met them at the mountain goats)

This "stick" was the summit marker. I spent most of my 6 minutes on the summit lying down next to it. I did manage to take a few other pics below

We were freaked about the descent - going down a very steep incline covered in snow that was now becoming slippery in the sun. Surprisingly, it wasn't as bad as expected. It wasn't good - but we were in no hurry. We also didn't take any pics the first hour or so on the way down. This shot is looking back up the 2-hour (round-trip) trail of fear

We ran into the mountain goats again

And then another mountain goat family

The last section of trail through the scree - the treeline is less than a mile away

And after 6 hours and 29 minutes we were done