Saturday, September 6, 2014

Lost Creek Wilderness

For our anniversary, Natalie and I decided to take a long weekend and go backpacking.  We originally planned to return to the Holy Cross wilderness, but with the forecast being a bit cold and needing to return on monday we changed plans and headed south a bit to the Lost Creek Wilderness.

One of Natalie's co-workers, who worked as the backcountry ranger for this area, suggested a ~27 mile loop from the Lost Park trailhead.

I took thursday and friday off and spent thursday hauling lumber for an upcoming shed project.

Friday morning we packed up the dogs and headed to the trailhead. This was Lady Bugs first backpacking trip with us and likely her first time backpacking/camping.

She got a pack of her own for kibble and treats.

We stopped for lunch in Lost Park before heading up and over a pass.

After 9-10 miles and getting rained on for a bit we found a decent camp site and got set up.

We had to haul water a ways, but the view from camp was worth it.

Lady Bug was tired and muddy, but loved every minute of it.

Morning came with clear skis and sun to get us dried out before we hit the trail for the day.

We started the day by descending from out campsite into Refrigerator gulch.

The rock formations in this area are intriguing and creek through it gives the area it's name.

Lost Creek is so named because it dives under and through various rocky ridges that bridge the valley.  It makes for an interesting map as the river shows up as discontinuous.

After one final creek crossing we slogged up a few miles of steep switchbacks into a beautiful valley. With one more steep climb before our intended camp we found a great site amongst the aspens and decided to call it a day.

Notice the very tired Lady Bug in the background.

Sunday we hiked across the ridge near a couple of the larger peaks in the area.  There was a large burn scar from quite some time ago which left the area open and resulted in some spectacular views.

We finally dropped back below treeline and found another lovely camp in a meadow.

Lady Bug was ready for camp.

Despite all of her fur she doesn't stay as warm as Wicket, so she got to curl up in dad's sleeping bag.

Soup and cheesecake with a view.

The next morning the girls were ready to go.

Lady Bug isn't as good as Wicket at walking right with us so we leashed them together.  This worked quite well and was pretty entertaining.

Dog train..

Back at the car we loaded up and headed home.

Adventure Biking - Williams Fork Loop

I've been looking at this loop for a couple years now and finally managed to talk someone into doing it with me and had good weather.

Ethan and I loaded up and headed over the divide to the Williams Fork campground.

After some final adjustments we hit the trail.

The west branch of the South Fork trail was nice riding with only a handful of downed trees.

There were a couple cold stream crossings to wake us up.

As we got higher we had some beautiful riding through aspens.

After about 9 miles we got to the climb that would take us above treeline. 1500 ft in just over a mile and half meant we had a good hour of hike-a-bike.

Once we got out of the trees the slope mellowed out a bit and we were able to ride some.

The "trail" above treeline was vague in places.

Some sections made for good riding..

..and others made better hiking.

After one last, brutal, hike-a-bike we crested the pass that let us into the eastern leg of the Williams Fork loop.

The trail was a bit easier to follow on this descent so we made good time.

This section brought us to the Denver Water facilities at the bottom of Jones pass where we jumped on the pipeline road.  There is singletrack down the valley, but by all reports there are way too many downed trees for it to be rideable.

After 8 miles on the pipeline road we descended the Darling creek trail.  That section had quite a few down trees, but it was at least only a couple miles.  We finally made it back to the car after 32 miles and 10.5 hours.