Thursday, June 7, 2018

Mt. Yale Traverse

Colorado Trail - Silver Creek TH to Mt. Yale East Ridge to Mt. Yale Southwest Slopes
Silver Creek Trailhead Elevation: 9,416 ft.
East Ridge Start Elevation: 11,919 ft.
Summit Elevation: 14,196 ft.
Denny Creek Trailhead Elevation: 9,924 ft.
Distance: 10.30 mi. (my Forerunner 230)
Elevation Gain: 4,870 ft. (my GPS)
Start Time: 6:07am
East Ridge Start: 7:41am
Summit Time: 9:39am (14mins)
End Time: 11:51am

Trip Report:
There is something elegant about a full traverse of a mountain. This may be one of those "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" sort of things, but I believe in it. For years now I have been intrigued with finding and exploring new routes in the mountains, particularly when you can ascend one route and descend another. Perhaps the origin of this desire could be traced to my love of Tom Hornbein's "Everest: West Ridge" where Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld incredibly completed the first traverse of Mt. Everest by ascending the deathly West Ridge and descending the more standard South Col route. It was death-defying.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Mt. Massive - SW Slopes

Mount Massive
Southwest Slopes route
Trailhead Elevation: 10,572 ft.
Distance: 8.27 mi. (my Forerunner 230)
Elevation Gain: 3,860 ft. (my GPS)
Start Time: 7:34am
SW Slope Route Junction: 8:28am
Summit Time: 11:56am (27 mins)
SW Slope Route Junction: 3:04pm
End Time: 3:56pm

Trip Report:
For a few years now Mt. Massive had been rising up my list of 14ers that I wished to return to. Most of the 14ers that we did in the 90's are in this growing time frame of 20+ years since we were there. They also fit the bill of hikes that, in my teens, I just didn't remember well due to teenage "lack of focus". I'd been looking for the right opportunity to return to Massive and had begun researching all the most enjoyable options. I'd read a few reports, even started researching a particular track of a full Mount Massive Traverse. This would be an epic long day. It would follow the east slopes route up to the summit ridge, would summit South Massive, then head to the main peak and then North Massive with a decent off the north side of the mountain. Maybe a trip for another day, but not this day.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Midland Hill - Buena Vista

Amazing Collegiate Peaks view
Trailhead Elevation: 7,923 ft.
Summit Elevation: 9,556 ft.
Distance: 5.12 mi. (my Forerunner 230)
Elevation Gain: 1627 ft. (my GPS)
Start Time: 9:12am
End Time: 12:22pm

Trip Report:
We had hiked the Barbara Whipple trails along the Arkansas River a few times now and enjoy them as a wonderful local Buena Vista hike. They instantly provide beautiful views of the Arkansas River Valley. Today, with time at our disposal we decided to up the ante and hike above the Whipple Trails and up to Midland Hill. It was all well-marked trail and so we just needed to follow along. Our main obstacle today would be the sun and rising temps. We were quickly at 80 degrees and sunny, dry terrain so sun protection was a must.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Oregon Trail - Windlass Hill - Ash Hollow

Ash Hollow State Historic Park / Oregon National Historic Trail
Windlass Hill Trail
Trailhead Elevation: 3,500 ft.
Distance: 0.63 mi. (round-trip)
Elevation Gain: 150 ft.
Start Time: 11:15am
End Time: 11:25am

Trip Report:
Not much of the old historic trails across the western states still exist in their original form but there is a place in western Nebraska where you can get fairly close. This morning I spent some time exploring the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa during my drive from Chicago to Colorado. I wanted an afternoon adventure to supplement that exploration. To be able to run/hike on a portion of the old Oregon Trail would be a great thing to do. I found Ash Hollow which was only a 25-30 minute drive off of I80 near Ogallala.

Western Historic Trails Center & Iowa Riverfront Trail

Western Historic Trails Center & Iowa Riverfront Trail
Trailhead Elevation: 969 ft.
Distance: 2.01 mi. (my Forerunner 230)
Elevation Gain: 31 ft. (my GPS)
Start Time: 6:29am
End Time: 6:49am

Trip Report:
I was on a cross-country road trip from Chicago to Colorado along I80 and was looking for a place to explore in the State of Iowa that would fit in with my itinerary. I had flown into Midway Airport around 4pm and was targeting Council Bluffs at the end of my first night of driving. Along the way the options near the interstate were limited. In the Quad Cities there were some State Parks within reasonable distance but nothing caught my eye. Finally, it was in Council Bluffs that the answer came.

I noticed the name of the Western Historic Trails Center on the map. That was enticing. I love trails. It turns out this was a Visitor Center, designed by the National Park Service, with all sorts of information on the Oregon, Lewis & Clark, Mormon, and California Trails. There were also a number of short trails to explore right next to the center. This would prove to be the perfect wakeup run for my morning in Council Bluffs.

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