Showing posts from August, 2012

Independence Lake

Distance: 2.5 mi (4 km) one-way
Elevation gain: 1300 ft (396 m) to pass
Location: east of Aspen, Colorado Date: August 19, 2012

The route to Independence Lake follows the Lost Man Trail and begins at the same trailhead west of Independence Pass as the route to Linkins Lake. The Lost Man Trail follows the Roaring Fork River, which begins at Independence Lake. This trail can actually be done as a much longer loop hike to a trailhead closer to Aspen if a car shuttle is used or you walk to road.

The trail begins at an elevation of 11,500 feet, and much of the trail follows the valley bottom or at least close to the bottom before passing Independence Lake. But soon after the trailhead the trail forks with a half mile cutoff going to Linkins Lake. There are some fairly steep sections, but none as long or as steep as many of the surrounding mountains. All of the trail is above the treeline and passes through either shrub-sized willows or alpine tundra.

After about two miles, the trail reache…

Linkins Lake

Distance: 0.6 mi (1 km) on-trail one-way; 1.1 mi (1.8 km) overall one-way Elevation gain: 480 ft (146 m) to lake; 940 ft (287 m) to peak Location: east of Aspen, Colorado Date: August 18, 2012

West of the 12,095 foot high Independence Pass on Colorado Route 82 is a trailhead for two trails in the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness of White River National Forest. Both trails follow the same path for about 0.2 miles until the Linkins Lake Trail turns up the side of the valley while the Lost Man Trail continues through the valley towards Independence Lake.

I began my hike at 11:00 am under clear skies, and the trail begins alongside the Roaring Fork River, but soon turns away. The trail is fairly steep for most of its length but becomes steeper after the trails split. The trail soon reaches the lake basin where it levels off before reaching the lake itself after a few hundred feet. Much of the trail is above tree line or out of the way of the sparse trees that are present.

Because the trail …

Mount Elbert

Elevation: 14440 ft ( m) Elevation gain: ~4400 ft ( m) Distance: 4.5 mi ( km) one way Class: 1 Location: near Leadville, Colorado Date: August 17, 2012

After hiking Wheeler Peak, I drove up to Leadville, Colorado and arrived at the Elbert Creek Campground at 5:30 on August 16. At 6:00 the next morning I began hiking up Mount Elbert, the highest point in Colorado and the second highest in the United States outside of Alaska (Mount Whitney in California is slightly higher).

Although the sun was not yet up, there was enough light to hike without a headlamp, and right from the start I encountered seven other hikers in two groups. Once I past these people there were only a few other small groups that I ran into on the way up. The first mile of the hike follows the Colorado Trail/Continental Divide Trail. The first two-thirds of this is fairly steep and is a series of switchbacks, while the rest is quite flat to the junction with the North Mount Elbert Trail.

The North Mount Elbert Trail…

Wheeler Peak, NM

Elevation: 13,161 ft (4011 m) Elevation gain: 2961 ft (903 m) Distance: 4.1 mi (6.6 km) one way Class: 1 Location: near Taos, New Mexico Date: August 16, 2012

Following last October’s failed attempt to climb Wheeler Peak after an early season snowstorm, I again travelled to Taos, New Mexico to try again to reach the state’s highest point. This time the weather looked much more cooperative, and I pulled into an open campsite along the road between Taos and the ski valley at 4:30 on August 15.

The following morning I woke up at 6:00, ate breakfast, packed up my car, and drove up the road to the ski valley. I passed the Bull of the Woods trailhead where I was forced to begin my attempt ten months prior (its 7.1 miles one way from there to the summit) and continued up the steep but well-maintained dirt road to the Williams Lake trailhead. A sign at this trailhead said that there was parking available about 0.25 miles up the road, so I continued on to park near a restaurant at the ski ar…

Turkey Ridge Trail, Rockwoods Reservation

Distance: 2.0 mi (3.2 km)
Location: Wildwood, Missouri
Date: August 6, 2012

After hiking the Rock Quarry Trail, I hiked the Turkey Ridge Trail, a two mile loop in Rockwoods Reservation (see map here). This was the last of the trails in Rockwoods Reservation that I hiked, but it is the easiest to access with a trailhead just off of Missouri Route 109 on Woods Avenue.

The trail begins by passing through a grove of tall, planted pines and then briefly entering an area of early successional forest. If you hike the trail clockwise, the trail steadily gains about 250 feet in elevation over the course of nearly a mile. This first part of the trail wasn't the greatest because it was constantly within earshot of the busy road.

But once on top of the hill, the trail passes through oak forests with several benches along the trail. The trail then descends 150 feet into a hollow with fairly large trees before again ascending 150 feet up a hill and then back down to the trailhead. Along the fin…

Rock Quarry Trail, Rockwoods Reservation

Distance: 2.2 mi (3.5 km)
Location: Wildwood, Missouri
Date: August 6, 2012

The Rock Quarry Trail is one of the five major trails in Rockwoods Reservation (see map here). This trail can be hiked as either a short 1.0 mile long loop or a longer 2.2 mile loop.

There are two trialheads, both along Glencoe Road. The first is near the park's offices and is the trailhead for those who wish to hike the short loop only. This trailhead is near the trailheads for the Green Rock Trail and Trail Among the Trees, and a brochure about the area's trees is available at this trailhead. The second is a short distance up the road from the office and is located near the namesake rock quarry. Either trailhead works for someone hiking the long loop.

I began my hike at the second trailhead, and after walking up a valley for a short distance I soon reached the rock quarry. While this area is now completely forested, cliffs, rock piles, and a small artificial cave are evidence that there was once a qu…