Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Mosca Pass hike

Seven hikers strolled through the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve; one explored the lower parts; six retraced up and back of Mosca Pass.
Even though we walked away from the dunes, a great number of photographs were taken of the sands on the way back.  We wandered among steep cliffs and fine pines--PiƱon, Ponderosa, Limber, and Bristlecone--plus Douglas-fir, roses, and many other plants prepared for winter.
We imagined Antoine Robidoux bringing wagons or mules through this pass in the 1830s, loaded down with supplies from Bent's Old Fort and/or Pueblo, heading around the  dunes, across the SLValley, over Cochetopa Pass and on down hill all the way to Fort Uncompahgre (Delta, CO), where he offered rest, food, and trade goods (plus some "bads") to Utes, trappers, preachers, and Old Spanish Trail travelers.
The colors indicate that it was hunting season.  We saw but three at the top (playing horseshoes at their camp) and heard a loud couple more, perhaps directing the movements of each other or of the quarry. 
It was a peaceful, calm, sunny day--perfect for hiking in the smallest of our five nearby wilderness areas (what a privilege!).
We will do it again next week.  Monday--close to home; Wednesday--9 a.m. in a safe location.  Heavy snow isn't predicted, yet. 
--Doug Knudson    873-5239 for updates
Mosca Pass starters


Wilderness trail of 3.5? miles


Tim holds up rocks


David takes in nutrition

Trees of several ages


Signs of November--for a few hundred yards at the 9,750' level


November colors


aspen surrounded by 3 kinds of pines


The big valley and the waves upon its eastern shore


Sandy waves


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