Sunday, December 3, 2017

Pronghorn II

Ten hearty souls faced strong winds on an otherwise beautiful hike on the "other" loop of the Pronghorn trails south of Del Norte.  

We'll walk again tomorrow (WED. at 10 a.m.).  The weather may allow us to get to the top of our own mountain in our back yard.  That's a fairly tough but short hike.
(if the weather changes drastically, we'll have a bailout ready. The forecasts have been rather sketchy, but most say Wednesday will be "improving", whatever that means.)

Up the pronghorn

Rocks and Trees


Pronghorn trail

going down

Big Buck waiting at home after the hike

Fort from early 2017

Here's one thing that we saw today.  Barbara remembered seeing it last year.  This didn't take long, but it is another of the curiosities and beauties of our "town mountain."  I have taken several solo hikes this summer up the lower part of Sentinel Mountain; each is a unique experience.   As you know there are very steep places, Spring creeks, diverse flowers through the spring and summer,  about 8 species of  trees, open spaces, nice views all around the mountain, many kinds of birds,
and jumbles of rocks.  This former volcanic formation is a local "secret" known to a few hunters but we're pretty sure it was visited by Ute people from "way back when."
It's kind of nice to have such a mountain in our "back yard", yet visited by so few.  Thanks to you hikers who have the gumption to take steps upwards, usually when we're off  trail.  

Next Monday we'll hike at 10 a.m. Meet before 10 at the visitor center in South Fork.  Pay little attention to some of the printed or computer information if it has another time. (0ne new hiker missed our hike this morning because he saw something somewhere that said we hiked at 9:30.  I can't remember any time when that happened.)  
I don't know what to do on Wednesdays starting in November.  Few people show up on that day.  These are pleasant hikes and we try to make them informative as well as good for our physical well-being.  But low numbers may indicate a distaste for those mid-week treks.
Thanks to Barbara for the pics! 

Begin forwarded message:

From: Barbara Thiesfeld <>
Subject: Fort from early 2017
Date: November 1, 2017 7:30:51 PM MDT
To: Douglas Knudson <>

Sent from my iPad

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Today's hike

A nice bunch of hikers (about 8) tested out some of the new trail routes to the south of our County Seat.  Few if any of us had used all the switchbacks, ups and downs, of this rather complex trail.  Finally, we got to a point where our never-before-puzzled leader decided to turn back the way we came up and down.
 Where we stopped at about 3.5 miles or more, it dawned on the oldest person on the hike that he once brought a group over a hill behind us and down a deep gully to our southeast.  So he and Dennis decided to explore that trail-less route and hopefully find the cars (not too difficult since it was clear that the vehicles were to the East).  So, the main group followed the leader who followed the trail.  Dennis and I didn't see them at noon, when we arrived at the parking place with minimum difficulty (almost all downhill). We pasted a note on a windshield and hoped that their trek was pleasant.  Their up-hill treks probably were rested by the down-hill stretches.

On Wednesday at 9:30, you may join us in a much shorter, but also interesting site close to town.  The plan is to locate an historic Indian site (camping and hunting probably) from way back in our South Fork history. This is on the lower reaches of Sentinel Mountain, starting at the area behind Doc's ski store.  Most of you have been near this location, but only one case of actually seeing it is known, and that has not been relocated recently.  This is not a long hike, but requires alert eyes and location techniques.  As you know, the Ute people, who still visit here frequently, were the masters of the mountains of Colorado and Eastern Utah.  I believe that this campsite was one of the "vacation outposts" of a leading hunter.  Join us and let's see what you think.  
We'll be careful with the weather:  if it looks like snow, please dress appropriately.   Whether we locate the old site or not, we'll try to be back to the cars no later than noon.  Please join us if you have good eyes and strong legs.  We won't have more than about 2.5 miles of walking and looking.  This is a hike with a scattered search mission.

Coming Events:
Next week(November) we will go along with the national time change.  This will let us start a little later, by setting our watches one hour back.  In other words, we'll be hiking, snowshoeing or Norwegian skiing- X/C, depending on which covering appears on the ground.  That means than NEXT WEEK (not this Wednesday) we will depart the visitor center at 10 a.m., (unless you are informed otherwise).  If you want assurance, call me at 719-873-5239 before 9:25 a.m. on hike day or before.

Thanks to Dennis Shepherd, whose camera functioned when mine ran out of energy.

More photos by Barbara Thiesfeld


Monday, October 2, 2017

Yes, we did

Our Auto hike and several short strolls on Wednesday were glorious. Three made it all the way to Platoro's hospitality and good food. The scenery was spectacular.
a little snow was on the 13ers. None was on the leaves, but they had every color, from green to pink, to red, to orange, to gold, to rich yellow, on every hillside.

Deer were out and they posed for the photographers. The sun was sunny, then hid behind clouds, then popped out again. There was very little rain so we walked a couple of trails along the spectacular trails. We named the different fir trees, standing so stately amongst the suffering spruces .

The big burgers seemed to be specially made for us, along with a big bowl of ice cream. On the way home, we encountered our first gentle snow (the road wasn't wet yet). When we got below 10,500 feet, we were in a bit of rain, but not for long.

I've visited the Platoro area every September for about 15 years. This was one of the most scenic and varied color shows ever. It was a pleasure to have new folks (Mr and Mrs Lick) with me. They were excited and expressive all the way. They repeatedly stated "we're going to love living in Colorado." I was pleased to help with the what I consider the most spectacular show in the state. We were glad to help bring the snow to our town this morning.

This completes my Wednesday hikes for October, as Judy and I are attending two meetings: one is the Old Spanish Trail Association national gathering in Barstow, California. The other is the wedding of our eldest grandson in West Des Moines, Iowa. Some of you know Jordan from a concert he offered at Penny's house. He hopes to be back later this fall with his classical guitar. We may do it with dinner at the Windsor Hotel in our county seat.

I think we will continue hikes, snowshoeing, and XC skiing through the winter, probably on Mondays, assuming interest. I'll see you in the snow.

--Doug Knudson

Color ride Thursday

Let's take a ride up East Bear trail, then up past Dyer Park, make a loop around Middle Park and come back on the Middle Alder trail.
If the weather isn't good, just up the Bear trail and back down the Middle Alder trail and back to the trucks. 

Meet at the parking lot on Bear Creek Road, 1/4 mile up from CR 15 at 9am. We should see lots of color in the Aspen groves. ..


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Dunes Photos

Wednesday hike with artistry by Linda and Margie (thanks, my camera ran out of energy).
We followed a trail to the pass in the Sangres.  This was more or less where lots of Indians of many tribes traveled (we think).  It was also the passage of
Zebulon Pike and his men in the winter (1806),  Antoine Robidoux (hauling trade goods from Bent's Old Fort on the prairie to his trading post at Fort Uncompahgre), and John Charles Fremont in 1848.

Welcome committee at the top

Aspen in the sky

The hikers

The sand piles

Hiking through the rocks

Almost autumn

Dunes and the SLV

Top of the Sangres

Trail companion

You are welcome to take our Monday hike all winter.  Our Wednesday "hike" will be a drive over the mountains to several short strolls among the aspen (often the best show in Coloradp) topped off with a lunch at
Platoro.  Both of these events will start at 9 a.m. departure from the South Fork Visitor Center.

Shady Creek Trail

We started down the Shady Cr. trail, which is very rough, from behind Del Norte peak.  We stopped several times to check the colors, it looks like I was about a week early, still a lot of green showing up.
We took the connector trail over to the Castle Rock trail, following it down to the Castle Rocks for lunch.  Tim climbed up to the top of the rocks and 2 of his pictures are really great, taken from the top.
After lunch we headed back to the trucks up the Castle Rock trail, encountering a few downed trees along the way..........

Thanks to all the riders today, I am sorry that I was a few days early; but better early than late, we can always go back later!


Photos from Middle San Francisco Creek

Half-way between Del Norte (our county seat) and Bennet Peak, we ascended the gentle but muddy trail to the part way point to the peak's timberline lakes.  Several people indicated that their mathematical skills were useful in counting 22 hikers on this sunny Monday.

We'll have another pedestrian gathering on Wednesday.  We'll be going for a long ride and a choice of walks in the Great Sand Dunes National Park, just across the valley.  This will take most of the day and several choices of options.  
There are dunes galore
   — Some of us will want to ascend and descend a few of the biggest, f finest dunes in the nation.
   — Some will want to hike along the flat base, parallel to the very interesting creek.
   —There's a steep hike (3.5 miles up and the same down); done last year in one hour up, a half-hour look-around, and about 55 minutes down. A lovely collection of canyon rock walls and an historic trail in the mid- 1800s. (It was used to supply goods for a trading post near Delta, CO.   The nearest supply store was on the prairie out beyond Rocky Ford. It was called Bent's Old Fort) The trading post is still called Fort Uncompahgre and is right on the edge of the city of Delta, by the river.

We will depart from the South Fork Visitor Center promptly at 9 a.m.  If you live east of South Fork, either meet us at the Dunes visitor center or let me know ahead of time (at least a day) where we can pick you up by calling D. Knudson 719-873-5239 by Tuesday afternoon.

We will probably not be home until sometime near supper.

If you have questions call by real-phone or send an e-mail to  If the computer  tells you that these methods are out of time and sight, just come along anyhow.  

Weather Prediction is no snow, no rain, maybe a little breeze.  If you have a park pass, we will need at least one for each car, unless you wish to pay the entry fee.

Shoulders Ready?

Into the deep, colorful forest

Striders from at least 6 states

Sticks help some, but this one leaned too far for the camera

Yesterday's rain-drops  on Aspen

More aspen and H2O

Lunch formation

An inexhaustible hiker headed to Portugal and Spain for a verylong walk

Flowers for you hair?

Cliffs along the Middle Fork of San Francisco Creek

Ripeness is almost ready for the deer