Monday, April 28, 2014

Alder Creek Hike: Fremont's rugged winter route

Nineteen hikers explored the squeezy parts of Alder Creek Canyon this morning.  A little snow, a little sun, a few wet boots, and a breeze or two created memories. 
We found a lot of willows, many alders, and a few cottonwoods.  We hopped across the creek several times. 
We could sense the squeeze of the narrowing canyon. It might have been a warning that this wasn't the best place to walk and sleep in the snow.  That warning was unheeded by a group that, long ago, made a trek from the Rio Grande up the Alder Creek, past today's golf course and guard station and the rock pillar seen in picture 3.  
In Dec. 1847, Capt. John C. Fremont with 20 men and 200 mules, headed up Alder Creek in search of a way across the Continental Divide. After a couple of miserable days and nights they broke out at Pool Table Park.  After that they went on and up with determination until the 4-8 foot snowfields stopped them. The lack of food killed most of their mules. So finally they retreated down the nasty terrain of Embargo Creek (to the East of Alder) and eventually took refuge at Kit Carson's house (he was home at the time) in Taos, NM.  You can read more of this in a lively book (Fremont's Fatal Fourth) written by local resident Stuart Bryan--Nancy sells it in the Visitor Center.
Welcome back to Marty, Dennis, Alison and David.
D. Knudson
Head of the trail


Looking South toward the Rio Grande


Landmark on Bryan's cover


Winding up


and more


...into the openness


Willows grow in Alder Creek, as well as alders.


'tis a twisty thing!


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