Blue Lake Trail (North Spur)

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NOAA point forecast.

Android Stats:
Total Time: 6 hr 32 min
Total Distance: 13.3 miles
Minimum Elevation: 8,563 ft
Maximum Elevation: 11,037 ft
Elevation Gain: 3,262 ft
Difficulty: Very long class I trail with possible water obstacles and vicious mosquitoes.

Date of Hike: July 18th, 2009

I had to wait until the wife got home at 3:00pm before departure. At the time it didn’t seem like a big deal. But after working our way through Fort Collins and west on HWY 14, the clog of touristy trailer haulers set the pace for the next 40 miles. Some people were absolutely insane on that road. The most memorable instance happened when a diesel pickup came rushing up alongside everyone from four cars back hauling a trailer at what must have been 75-80MPH. He went TWO whole blind turns in the oncoming lane trying to get around all the cars. After which he proceeded to stop (yes stop), holding everyone up so his buddy behind us could pull the same dumb$#!+ maneuver.

Once that drama was over with we continued on somewhat jealous that those guys got around the rock gawkers. Nearly ninety friggin’ minutes later we finally found a campsite and unloaded. Since the entire region around Chambers Lake was choc full of campers, I had to drive about six miles back to the highway to meet my friend who was joining us. Night fell quickly after about three beers and it was off to bed early for another 4:00am alarm.

Waking up the next morning was difficult. The dogs were placed perfectly around me and my bed felt so comfortable. But the mountains were calling and I groggily stumbled around bent over trying to get dressed. The trailhead was about 1/2 mile down the road and by the end of the day I would be grateful we didn’t just walk there.

The beginning of the trail system starts on an old road that winds it’s way around the base of the mountains at 8400 feet. One thing making me a little nervous was the horses. There were trailers at the parking lot and lots of scrumptious droppings on the trail…

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Quail Mountain (13,461 ft)

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NOAA point forecast.

Android Stats:
Total Time:
Total Distance:
Minimum Elevation:
Maximum Elevation:
Elevation Gain:

Date of Hike: Saturday July 2, 2011

Having done Hoosier Ridge, an attempt at Signal Mountain thwarted by tree snow, Sniktau & company, Mount Elbert and Pikes since Memorial Day I knew Mount Hope was a long shot. Still we forged ahead with the plans and started a nice 10 day work break on a rather stormy Thursday afternoon. Once the system had moved through the Sawatch around 7:00pm-ish the skies remained clear east of Independence Pass throughout Sunday…

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Trelease, Mt (12,477 ft)

Google Maps to trailhead.
NOAA point forecast.

Android Stats:
Total Time: 4 hrs 36 min
Total Distance: 4.8 miles
Minimum Elevation: 10,580 ft
Maximum Elevation: 12,477 ft
Elevation Gain: 2,057 ft
Difficulty: Easy barely class II if you get off line

Date of Hike: September 10, 2011

With a younger dog accompanying us on most hikes I began choosing routes shorter in distance and forgiving in terrain. Every time I sit on a summit I take careful note of peaks surrounding the area and the multitude of ways a person can summit. Having stared at Mt. Trelease from every angel for years, I knew this would be a relatively easy hike for Limbaugh.

Starting from the side of I-70 at the usual Dry Gulch spot we followed the road up towards the storage yard. Just before crossing the creek there is a steep 4×4 looking trail on the south side of the road. Every time I’ve been up there there has been a different marker pointing up that way.

In 1970 a plane carrying Wichita State football players crashed into the east side of this mountain and that’s where this trail ends up. Being a crash site I knew going in that we would avoid the area out of respect and leave the road straight to the summit as easily as possible.

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