Day 16, 8/1, 12mi (M-357): Lake City

Today was a short day to Spring Creek Pass and then a hitch into the town of Lake City.

There was a short steep climb to get the day started then we rolled along Snow Mesa at 12,300’

Snow Mesa is quite impressive.

This would have been a terribly exposed place to be hiking if bad weather was coming through…instead it was bluebird morning.

More incredible views of this giant bench at 12,000’ +

I’m sure these trail markers come in very useful earlier in June or July when the snow is still melting…when the weather turns ugly.

The descent off the mesa was through this giant scree field.

It took about 45 minutes to get a hitch from the top of the pass for the 20 mile drive down the winding mountain road…at least we had some furry company.

Downtown Lake City in all its glory.

Albert and I shared this little cabin just off Main Street at the local RV park. Showers, laundry, wifi, and beds…perfect!

Tons of side by sides parked all over town…mostly from Texas.

Well earned food and drink with Albert and Sylvia (from Italy).

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Day 15, 7/31, 23mi (M-347+3): Mineral Creek

This morning was the coldest morning of the trip…probably just below freezing. After a couple miles of hiking we arrived at a trailhead parking area where hikers did their best marmot impressions warming themselves in the sun on the rocks.

The trail continued through open range as we dodged cow pies with each step.

We steadily gained elevation following the Cochetopa Creek up the valley.

Yeh trail crested a saddle around 12,600’ where there was junction to San Luis Peak (14,040’). Albert convinced me to go on the 3 mile round trip detour.

San Luis Peak…we followed the right ridge line to the top.

Just before the summit.

It was a little hazy from wildfires but the views were still fantastic. It took about 1hr to the summit and 40mins to get down.

The rest of the afternoon we were above treeline with several steep short climbs.

We arrived at camp around 6:45 and it was by far the busiest campsite I’ve seen so far (not sure why?).

The last half of the day was a grind with all the steep climbs. All-in we climbed over 6500’ and my legs were feeling it on the final descent into camp.

Day 14, 7/30, 29mi (M-327): Cochetopa Creek

It was a beautiful blue sky day.

An hour into the morning the 300 mile mark was celebrated 🙂

There weren’t many water sources today and the few there were looked like this…plus lots of cow poop in the vicinity! Luckily, the creek was still running and I was able to fill up just before the mud puddle.

The rest of the day (15+ miles) followed dirt roads through ranch land. Mild temps and a breeze made this section bearable.

Followed this fence line for a while too.

Lots of cows to keep hikers company.

Albert is having a standoff with one of the braver ones..he thought it was a black moose.

Just before the end of the day we forded Cochetopa Creek on some sketchy logs. It would not have been a big deal to just walk through the ankle deep water.

We found a beautiful campsite on a bluff just above the creek…only spoiled by the fact we were surrounded by cow pies.