Monday, October 17, 2016
The club meeting for October will be Tuesday, October 18th, at the Community Building in South Fork. Pot Luck Meal at 6:30 pm, with club meeting to follow. We hope to see you on Tuesday. Thanks, Elizabeth
Four of us were the "big hiking group" on Monday. The weather was wonderful, with wind on the road but not on the Rocks. We said hello to the Bishop then followed a switchback trail up up to the top of the cliffs (from the gentle North side). We discovered a few culturally modified trees, several bike trails among the rocky top stones, eased our way down the E end to walk back between a wide-walled valley, with immense cliffs rising on either side of us.
Picturesque is a word too small for this place. My wife joined us after several years of strengthening her broken ankle—she surprised me in going with us, walking the top of the cliffs, and declaring them beautiful.
Then she treated Marty, Dennis, and me to some Dairy Queen treats.
We hope you can join us on Wednesday for a pleasant hike: 9 a.m. we leave the Visitor Center in South Fork. By the way, we encountered no active hunters--just a few groups out looking over the landscape and waiting for elk season to start next week.
Doug Knudson 719-873-5239
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Thanks to four stalwarts who joined me for a pleasant, awesome, inspiring valley walk. This lovely and interesting area is one of the most pleasant, expansive, gentle, and eye-catching valleys in our National Forest. A 3-4-hour walk through this unusual place stimulates a feeling of peace and calm.
We missed the group of antelope—they were in a neighboring valley.
Next hike: Monday we'll go to another very special place that I explored a few weeks ago. It is Bishop's Rock on BLM land south-west of Monte Vista. The hike is about 3-4 miles but may be easily pruned to less for those who wish to stroll slowly. No walks on/in water are required.
Monday will be the second or third hunting day with rifles. I don't think there will be many hunters on this site, but I suggest that you wear a couple of bright orange or red pieces on the outside layer. I will bring along several extras. If, perchance, we encounter numerous hunters on the BLM land, we'll move to USF&W land a few miles away.
Meet at the South Fork Visitor Center for 9 a.m. departure.
If you live in Monte Vista or nearby spots, meet us near the Outdoor Theaters W of Monte Vista. (please let me know so we are sure to look for you there (719-873-5239 or firstname.lastname@example.org)).
Even in a dramatic place, trees thrive and die. Narrow rock dikes surrounded us at times.
Piñon pines dominate
One of 15 volcanic fins towers over the valley floor
Forest Service is recuperating some of the trail damage.
More of the vast volcanic rocks on the W side of the SLV.
a dramatic tower
#1 fin climber
#2 fin topper
Yet another peak
Bigger rock peaks to the North
Monday, October 10, 2016
Monday's hike took 14 of us us beside and through Middle Alder Creek on a long valley. Some wished that going up the creek was flatter or even down hill, but all made it most of the way. Three of us made it to the roofless cabin in a beautiful meadow, about 1/2 mile after the resters said they were doing a "rest and return" maneuver.
Ready to go
Still green, with yellow mixed in.
The evergreen terrain
Rich autumn leaves
Cabin sans roof + front door
Down-hill looks so flat!
So--Join the group again on Wednesday. We'll have a nice leisurely downhill hike through English Valley. We usually see (at a distance) some elegant animals (bring binoculars). This is a wide open valley of great beauty and gentle topography on BLM property. We can hike for 1-3 miles down hill, then find gentle ways back to the vehicles. To those who have never been there, you will be pleasantly surprised—something different.
Next Monday— We're planning a unique and interesting hike around Bishop Rock. Here a stone bishop stands at the W end of a long cliff. This place is becoming a popular climbing and biking area.
A few weeks ago, my granddaughter and I studied the area documenting areas that rope climbers were using, in collaboration with the BLM and a climbing study group. We found and mapped several interesting faces in the South cliffs. We went around the North face and found easy trails up to the top, where interesting campsites can be used (if no rain), and bike trails are being started. We were accompanied by an Adams State climbing instructor who also said we should look at another cliff nearby. We'll do about 3 miles total, unless you get excited and want more.
Although it is unlikely that we will encounter hunters here, please wear garish colors (orange/yellow/red) just in case. I will have some extras with me.
Starting time: Leave the S.Fork Visitor Center at 9 a.m. These are a pleasant walks on gentle slopes, but boots are still your best bet.
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
As Autumn enlightened our trees and skies, we strode up the incline we call Alder Bench. These well-conditioned hikers made steady movement both up the trail and back down. Some were just back from other travels. One said adios, until January skiing draws him back.
Trail condition report: The bike route ruts are becoming dominant and making the trail surface pretty ragged. Pedestrians can manage it safely, but bikes are in some danger of wrecking and twisting. It suggests a good trail expert should give it a serious look.
FRIDAY HIKE: Dennis will lead youths and adults on an interesting hike this Friday. Meet at the visitor center in South Fork before 10:00 a.m. He will have more details on a Thursday e-mail.
Future hikes: We continue to hike all year. When the snow gets over our shoes, we generally get out the snowshoes on Monday mornings. Sometimes we will encounter nearly bare slopes and get back into our hiking shoes. We also do some cross-country skiing, when conditions are right.
Snow has fallen up on Wolf Creek Pass, but thawing temperatures have kept it from building up. So— within a few weeks or months, we may announce different ways of going up and down hill. So--get up in your garage attic and "tune up" your winter equipment. Believe it or not, we have had enjoyed as many as 25-30 snow hikers during some of our winter vacation periods. Local outfitters (3 or more of them) can get you into proper equipment if you need it.
Monday, October 3, 2016
Wayne led us up a new trail, the Pronghorn Trail. The trailhead is
located across the road from the Del Norte cemetery (how convenient!)
and is a project of the Greater Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) which is
funded by the Colorado lottery-the losers that is......so the next
time you have a losing lottery ticket, think of it as helping to
build us a trail!
We went up dozens of switchbacks, following the side hill until
ascending up to the ridge for a our lunch. The breeze picked up,
enough to keep any flies, gnats or mosquitoes away and to take ones
headgear away if you weren't careful........
The trailer load of trash was picked up off the trail and the
surrounding area, what a bunch of litterbugs!!!! The BLM is the
managing agent for this area and we thank them for their public
Wayne will lead the hike on Wednesday, 9AM at the VCPL.
I am resuming the KIDS HIKES for Fridays, meet at the Chapel of the
South Fork at 10 AM, pets are welcome.......