Thursday, May 25, 2017

Wednesday DN hike

Wednesday was an interesting Pronghorn hike, with Eve leading us on a new connector in the land South of Del Norte and Hospital.  Lots of scenery, pleasant hiking, some up and some down and a few stretches almost level. Our small group was very interesting.  The Leader once from England, a second hiker from Ft. Collins and Australia, 2 recent residents of Del Norte (one will lead an informative geology tour on June 17at the County museum at about 9:30--all are welcome).  Then there were the four of us from South Fork, but each with other wide-spread origins.

Cactus beginning to bloom

The Wed. Group on  Pronghorn Trail.  That's Hilary on the right; we're glad she has joined our company.

Trail decorations



verdant Del Norte


Scarlet Paintbrush

It's a Daisy but you are welcome to tell me which species.

Closest I could come is Tansey Mustard but I'm needing help here.  Looks like gold-on-a-rock
Hikes next Monday and Wednesday.  Depart town by 9 a.m. each day.   Doug Knudson 719-873-5239

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

our Monday Hike

Nice trip today.  
Beautiful pictures by Sherry, again.  Thank you, m'am!

Next hike Wednesday will get us on the recently completed (after several years and some more to go) Del Norte Trail System.  A well-informed English guide will keep us on the right track.  Meet before 9 a.m. departure from the South Fork Visitor Center.  

We enjoy the company of a couple of relatively new hikers.  If you find more, we'll welcome them.  This hike is hilly so wear boots and maybe a rain-coat.  No bears on this trail, as far as we know.
—Doug Knudson  719-873-5239

We walked on the East side of the Agua Ramon ridge.  The cloud sits on the Agua Ramon rough rough road

Clearly, this trail "belongs" to some young bear. Our hikers were a little late for shaking hands.

Aspens can be majestic

The wisdom group found a long lunch chair

This leaning tree has intrigued us for several years.  When? is the question

A feathered friend left evidence--turkey evidence, we think

The Creek by the parking lot with a rock face watching us.

Beautiful country on a wide road made easy hiking

Friday, May 19, 2017

A few iPhotos in Crestone's scenery

Our Wednesday Trip to Crestone involved 5 carloads of our intellectuals  Most hiked, then ate at the Cafe/Grocery Store, then visited 3 locations of oriental living and (some) religion.  We had different responses among our group this "community" of Crestone and the Baca Reserve.  A couple of them were that the town didn't seem as weird as they had expected.  At the Ashrams, etc., we noticed the distinct differences and interesting similarities of the three places we visited.  Each one had wonderful views of the San Luis Valley--all the way to South Fork.  This produced questions such as "why haven't we been here earlier?"
and "Next time, I'll wear slip-on shoes when I go to the meeting halls" and "how many of these facilities are there?"   A couple of the hard core hikers also mentioned their urge to hike 5-10 miles into the Sangre de Cristo mountains and perhaps come out on the Westcliffe side.  This mountain range is said to be the longest in the lower 48 states (from near Salida south to Santa Fe, NM),  some of the highest peaks, and the narrowest at 10-12 miles through at ground level. The Utes and other tribes considered these mountains as sacred, along with Jicarilla Apaches, Navajos, and many other tribes.  When they came here, they respected the "special place" and sought peace.  It seems that people from many parts of the world have found this peaceful place, some moving in for the  calm and relative simplicity, others for restoring balance in lives, and others for short visits to sense the special serenity of this place.

[There is a lot of discussion of this place on the intermet.  It is worth dialing up "Crestone, Colorado" and reading for several days.  The mayor's comments are inspiring but realistic.  She says not everyone comes here to stay, but all are affected.  
I'm one of the latter and glad that I can return to these mountains where I spent several short periods on the East side of those high peaks.  Judy and I spent one of our 4 honeymoon weekends on the other side of the Sangres (same peaks but east-facing) at a private ranch, where she rolled off one of the gentle horses.  Fortunately, she promptly got back on and enjoyed the ride (she may have another version).  Then, last summer we enjoyed them again as we drove to another ranch for a wonderful lunch and a chance to commune with some other horses and good cooks.]

North Crestone Trail  (R.Grande National Forest)--not a log
fit for crossing.

Beautiful fast, pounding stream of spring snow melt

Lovely trail for hiking, both up and down, about 1.5 miles
from the interesting town of Crestone

Rip-roaring creek beside us.

Peak from the trail--one of the many from 11,000 to 14,000 plus

We visited three attractive oriental ashrams (or other names)

Penny admires the carpet

Site #2

WAter fall at site #3, where we got interesting assistance


Our Student Japanese Student guide

Marilyn revives her Japanese with a student worker.

If you want to see "the other side", there are two lovely routes to take. 
1) Go to and North through the city of Walsenberg to the motels  and George's Restaurant, North of town and swing left onto State highway 69.  Take it NW into the Wet Mountain Valley (it is paved), which aims where the pioneers traveled (along the Huerfano River). Go into the valley where the peaks rise up and your scenery quotient rises.  Aim for Westcliffe.  There, turn left on State Rd 96, drive on lovely winding roads to Pueblo.  

OR:  2) Go a little farther north on I-25 for 22 miles; turn left onto paved 165, and wind up the Wet Mountains, passing Rye, a YMCA camp where most kids in Pueblo go, and Lake Isabel and beyond (if you don't want to stay in your tent).  Don't miss Cinderella's Castle up in the mountains on 165There you're headed through  lovely mountains This road runs into State Rd. 96 (where it dead-ends). Choose left or right:  Left takes you to Westcliffe and right takes you via Wetmore and into Pueblo. This is one of Colorado's Scenic Byways.  
These are well worth the extra hour or two with: photos galore! 

Monday, May 15, 2017

May Club Meeting

The May club meeting will be Tuesday, May 16th, at the Community Building in South Fork.  Pot Luck at 6:30 pm, with meeting to follow.  Hope you can be there.  Thanks, Elizabeth

ATV Club Ride

Scheduled ATV Club ride for Tuesday, May 16th.  Ride will be to Old Woman's Creek and around.  This is 50" and side by side friendly.  Meet at the Visitor's Center and be ready to leave at 9:00 am.  Hope to see you then,

Palisades morning hike

9 of us took  quick walk up above the first tier of palisades near the Rio Grande and Highway 149.  We walked about 1.75 miles or so, then down to the highway.  It seems we were in a hurry (social obligations) and we went a little too high to play our normal view games on the top of the cliffs.  We got to meet Hilary, newly arrived in town and looking for shelter and work here in South Fork.  She's a good hiker, too.  

Next Monday and Wednesday, we'll have two hikes, one of them (Wed) with several cultural events. 
    Next Wednesday we honor the request of several to drive, walk, and enjoy some culture in the interesting community of Crestone. 
We expect to drive to Crestone, hike a while on their beautiful, dramatic trail, then see some of the features of that interesting town and surroundings.  Some will want to indulge in the interesting lunches that are available.  Others may prefer to eat what they bring in their lunch bags.  A few may want to visit the grocery store.  
The close-up Sangre de Cristo Mountain scenery is breath-taking as we approach the village. Most people who live here call it a unique, treasured place.  It was considered very special by the Ute people and their predecessors.  Various religious groups keep this alive today.  Many report that their time here changed their lives.  Religious people from the Far East have recognized the special character of the place and have several institutions.  Likewise, Colorado College of Colo. Springs has a field campus here, as does a Catholic nunnery.
This will be a long day trip, so come prepared. We can still carpool.  Individuals may prefer to drive their own cars for post-shopping, etc.  We'll leave the South Fork Visitor Center at 9 a.m. (or earlier if you request it).  

Nine of us hiked up the slope

Jan scoping out the route

Walking among the grasses

Rio Grande

The same river, flowing as it should.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Photos Hike near the 2002 burn Trail 933

Aspen in early morning sunshine

Striding down hill

Barb: how do I get across that

Lloyd—still uphill

Our newest and fastest hiker

Snow melt

Little stream + snow

Boulder Field Hike

On a frosty morning, we altered our destination to avoid icy cliff tops.  Nevertheless, a couple of hikers got up on some boulders in the Boulder Field.  We kept walking at the end of it, going up a cattle drive path on the back side (South) of Beaver Mountain.  The chilly morning turned into a warming sunny day.  We'll get back to the planned hike next week, providing it doesn't snow or turn into ice.

In case you missed it, we're now hiking on Monday and Wednesday, departing the Visitor Center at 9 a.m.  Adults and older teens are welcome, without pets.  Short term
visitors are welcome (no charge).  Boots, a jacket, and a little water and snacks are recommended--we're not hiking smooth trails all the time.  Monday hikes usually aim  at 5 miles round trip.  Wednesday hikes are shorter or longer (the leader is old and operates without modern gadgets  — we aim for scenic destinations and adjust to suggestions by the hikers as we go). 
Doug Knudson

The start above Million Pond by 14 or 15 

Our Forest Service buddy returns!

That's not a climbing ant ...

it's Tim atop the big boulder

And this lady (Sherry) found another, with a booster

And Tim strode over another.

Mountain Holly or Oregon Grape (Mahonia repens)

West of Bear Creek Hike

May 1st Monday hike took us to a big valley stopped by cliffs and steep hills.  Only a few traces of snow remained on the hills, shaded by big trees.  We were 16 (some said 17) hikers.  This "dead-end valley" is near South Fork, just west of Bear Creek.  It looks like a nice close-in place for tenting.  No water however.  

Our May 3rd hike will also be close in.  It will have you following deer trails above COLO 149, just a few miles up the road.  You'll enjoy your skill as we climb a bit, then walk along a series of the palisades we usually see from a car.  We'll be on top of the lowest of these, with very little stress.  I hope you'll enjoy the wonderful views of our fine scenery.  Start on Wednesday at 9 a.m. from the Visitor Center.  No need for ropes.  Please wear good boots, not tennis shoes.  
— Doug Knudson

Most of the 16 hikers

Startup of PiƱon cones

Juniper flowers turning to soft cones

Cliffs block the trail

Springtime in the Rockies

Lunch spot ahead