Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Penitente Canyon hike

It was nice to have 9 hikers appreciating the beautiful day on the rim of Penitente Canyon. We followed the heavily used bike trails, for the most part, but encountered no bikers.  Likewise, we stayed out of the lower part of the canyon, where the climbers were dangling.

This is one of the perennial favorites of our hikes, with plenty of diversity in this area full of big rocks and low elevation trees and shrubs.  In about two months, the flowers will be blooming.  The historical story of this area also attracts visitors, along-side the ancient rock art near the parking area.

Our Monday morning hikes will continue for the rest of the year.  Until sometime in early May, we'll meet at 10 a.m.  at the visitor center.  In mid-april (?) we may start adding Wednesday hikes as well.  Stay tuned.
If you've been hiking or lifting or running, you'll be ready.  If you've been appreciating the flatlands from a car seat, get on your bike or walk up hills so you can enjoy our up and down country here at 8,000-13,000 feet here.

Ready to hike

Twisted pinion pine.

Viewing Sangres  across the SLValley floor.

South to Greenie Mtn and San Antonio Mtn.

On the trail

Someone's art

Stone Faces

End of hike but not of hiking.  See you next week!

Monday, March 13, 2017


Monday's hike:

Unless it snows hard, we will aim at a nice hike at one of two places:

1. Penitente Canyon or

2. The "Elephant Rocks" area south of Penitente.

Start at the South Fork Visitor Center leaving at 10 a.m. Advisable to bring along a lunch or snack.

5 Hike iPhotos

Monday was breezy.  Some said chilly.  But not two kids who ran this hike--almost all the way.
The big and small and medium size birds rose in flight wherever we went.  The birds are gathering by the thousands at the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge.  

If you've not been there, the big event is this weekend.  You'll never see so many birds in one place in Colorado, hanging out until the weather gets sunny and almost warm.  Then they head for Yellowstone National Park and other northerly summering spots.  

Its one of the great migrations of our continent and we are close to this spectacular event--just 30 miles down the river and then turn right.  You will also see hundreds big cameras at work if you get there about sunrise.  It is worth it and it's free.  

Next Monday's hike is still in limbo due to almost unpredictible weather.  10 a.m. is starting time at the South Fork Visitor Center.

A few birds at MVNWR


Banking Left

Sandhill Crane in Colo.

Another Crane

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

8 snowy Photos

A beautiful, gentle snowfall only a few inches deep.
No need for snow shoes--just snowy boots.
A beautiful historic stream flowed in and out of the snow--
somewhat like that encountered by Fremont & company.
That was back in 1848 with dozens of mules and men.
This creek led them to the top of Pool Table Mountain
where we climbed one day this summer.
Today, three survivors made it to the trail's gate
and we did it at an impressive but snow gait.
We turned around and came down with bounds,
heading for homes that weren't here in '48.

The Club house, coming back

The creek followed by Fremont's explorers

Fremont never saw this mansion

But he found some water like this in Alder Creek

He found some alders, too, but no bridge

No house in the snow, but plenty of snow

No gate was there, so they pushed on.  We pushed back.

Down the hill and along the modern trail along the creek.

It was worth the walk.  We'll remember it and hope others will join us next Monday at 10 a.m.  We may need snowshoes.

Meeting Postponed

The floor is being replaced at the Community Building, so, we will not be able to meet there tonight(2/21).  I hope to book the library for next Tuesday.  Will let you know.  Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause our members.  Thanks, Elizabeth

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Fwd: This Hike is over

Did I do some wrong?  I thought I sent this but I am now told by my computer that it went into draft mode.  Why?  Well here we are, waiting by the highway.

This Hike is over

6 great iPhotos

On Monday, six hikers put on big shoes and trudged around some of the most beautiful forest and snow country in our area.  We jumped out of cars and put on big "shoes" and walked around the hilly area that, in summer, flows into Wolf Creek.  We followed snowmobile tracks all over this hilly country very near the Continental Divide.  The almost warm morning turned to gently pelting snow.

We walked up hills (and down)—young athletes out improving their physical  condition.

We rested now and then

Then climbed a little more.

and it started snowing, which signaled we were ready to turn around with a mile and a half back to the highway.

This vigorous hiker lady is taking her husband fishing in Texas.  No snow there.  Too bad!

This Hike is over--and oh! those trees are marking the Continental Divide and a few strides on the Continental Divide
National Scenic trail (3,150 miles long).

Next hike = Next Monday:  Snow or shine and hopefully more snow nearer home.  10 a.m. departure at the Visitor Center

By the way, thanks to several of you for communing with us at the tuesday pot luck dinner:  First Tuesday of the month, 
in the community building, at 6 p.m.  Mark that on your calendar for March.  No charge--just a plate of cookies or something
healthier.  This event is open for all residents and any temporary visitors.

— Doug Knudson   873-5239

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

10 Snowshoe Photos January 30, 2017

Snowshoeing up the road beside the South Fork of the Rio Grande  to its big lake gave us lots of beautiful scenery--close and high and some in the distance.  8 of us put on our snowshoes and found a nicely groomed path made that morning.

The snow, rocks, trees, and flowing water showed off in the shadows and the bright sunshine.

We couldn't ask for a more beautiful day or spectacular scenery.

We will try, however, starting next Monday at 10 a.m.  Bring your snowshoes to the S.F. Visitor Center and put on your "love of the outdoors" outfits.  Next Monday will somehow already be February.  That means that we have only 4 more months of winter and chilly spring.  You can help us enjoy the cool time by joining us for our short hikes, sometime on snowshoes, maybe a time or two on skinny skis, and some later Spring hikes with your boots and jackets.

Next Monday, I think we may have to go high for deep snow.  If so, I'm thinking of Wolf Creek Pass, down the Southwest side of the pass (which is the beginning of Wolf Creek—the one that flows into the San Juan River, not the East Side one that sometimes flows into the Rio Grande).

— Doug Knudson  873-5239

South Fork of the Rio Grande under that snow

S. Fork of Rio Grande

Making it.

2 lonely trees on rocks

Snow cools hot  hiker 

Outlet of S Fork at the Reservoir

Bridge over the Outlet of Big Meadows Reservoir


Walking among the giants

Big Meadows valley; scenery we see best when walking in winter.

Sun and Snow—Away we go

Hikers with big feet devices hiked for over 2 hours in beautiful snow.  We started with calm (no wind) at the start, then got a little breeze now and then.  It turned to almost sunny until our turn-around point.  Going down, the track was laid, the strides were longer, the breathing was inaudible.
Some of you will recognize this as "Myrna's Summer Hike" (part way).   We looked for moose. We saw a half-dozen deer.  We drove home in fairly gentle snow, which got kind of windblown at the Visitor Center.
This hike showed the mental mettle of these folks from the beginning:  When we met at the center of town, the wind and snow were blowing vigorously and creating some doubts, but no turn-backs.  We were fortunate to be on the north side of the storm, relaxed, but breathing.  You never know, but we had done a little field testing.

We welcome new or older hikers every Monday morning.  We depart the Visitor Center in the middle of South Fork at 10 a.m. and usually spend 2+ hours mushing.
Join us next Monday for more fun.
—Doug Knudson

Ready, set, wait a second

Uphill on a snowy road

These folks line up quite precisely

Our stopping point

5 poor Photos

Moon in the trees

A great day with light snow now and then and a beautiful little loop for thigh lifting exercise, along with a bit of huffing and puffing.
Thanks for the good company, the ladies who led about half the hike, leaving nice walking conditions for the guys.
Next week, I promise to photograph with more care and diversity.
Thanks for playing in the snow and enjoying it.

Snow in the trees

Empty trees on the hike


Back to the rubber tires.

5 January Photos

On the first Monday of the new year, we enjoyed beautiful snow, no lifts, just nice trudging along.  No one was sunburned because the clouds were shielding us. No one got dirty clothes because light rain washed us now. The five of us were compatible and jovial.  Apparently the distance was about right, since no one fell asleep.

We'll do it again, somewhere else, next Monday at 10:00 a.m. leaving from the South Fork Visitor Center.
It's a different winter; our mail carrier, who has worked here a long time said she has never seen rain falling in January.

Morning decorations on a blue spruce tree.

most of the "crowd"


It's easy--just follow the tracks

with both feet