Sunday, August 12, 2012

A trip to 14000' and Mosquito Pass

I took some much needed time off from work this past week and headed over to the Leadville/Fairplay area of Colorado to hike my first 14er. The trail or trails that would take me up to 14k were Mt Democrat, Cameron and Lincoln. Mt. Bross would've been the 4th but the BLM/Forest Service and the 14er clubs are trying to work with the land owner to get the trail opened back up.

Being midweek (Thursday) when I made the hike I was surprised at how many people/families were actually on the trail (There was probable a good 20 to 30 vehicles at the trail head) which I didn't mind at all. Alot of the hikers that I meet were all pretty nice and a couple of us struck up some short conversations along the way as we stop to catch our breaths. Some of these folks came from as far away as Maryland while others were from Texas and Arizona. Then there were some folks that left me scratching my head due to the fact that some of the ladies where wearing 'daisy dukes' while some of the guys were wearing 'wife beaters' all while the temperatures were in the 40's. I think what surprised me most though was finding a cigarette but at 14000 feet, I would think at that altitude you'd want the ability to breath without choking your lungs.

The view from the trail head at 'Kite Lake'

The Trail up.

Pika, this little probable would've eaten out of my hand. It was not camera shy.

Zoomed in on the hikers heading up to Mt. Democrat.

The view at the junction between the trail systems.

The view from up top on Mt. Democrat, Mt. Lincoln is in the distance on the right-hand side of the photo.


Looking back at the valley below and the road up to 'Kite Lake'.

The trail that would lead up to Mt Cameron and Lincoln.

Somewhere along the trail as I stop to catch my breath.


A couple of alpine lakes.

Gotta love these trails.

Mt. Lincoln/Cameron on the left and Mt Bross on the right.

Plant life near the 14k mark.

Heading on to the summit of Mt. Lincoln

I will admit that at this point I was starting to feel a little light headed probable the first time while out hiking. When I went to sit down to take a break is when I got light headed and needless to say it was quite a novel experience.

The view from approximately 14300'.

The trail back.
The dork behind the camera.

Mt. Bross in the distance. I could've hiked to the bypass which would've been my 4th 14er but as I mentioned before I was a little light headed and decided to go back down the way I came.

The bypass trail.

The remains of the old 'Pair Mill' and the structure across the valley that once fed the mill. It still surpises to see strutures like this still standing especially when they are built on a cliff side.

 Mount Sherman an attempt.

After lunch and taking a short break I headed back out to my next stop Mt. Sherman - the 47th highest peak in Colorado. On the way to trailhead the clouds had started to roll and in the distance you could tell that it was raining in a few locations. I ws hoping that I would miss the storm and be able make it to the summit of Mt. Sherman.

The road out to the trailhead

Old Mining building part of the Dauntless Mine area.

On the trail.

This is probable one of few times that I've seen one of the old trolley/tram systems.

The trail-up.

At about this point I had to make a decision if I wanted to attempt the rest of the ascent up to the summit or head on back (the wind had picked up considerably and it was starting to rain/snow off and on). At one point at I had a hard time standing due to the wind gust (probable because I'm a smallfry)and I fiqured it would probable have gotten worse the further I went up. So I called it good and decided to hike back down only to try this trail another time. Not before taking a few photos.

When I got back down to the trailhead I noticed a group of guys standing around their Chevy Trailblazer with the hood and thought to myself I wonder if they need any help. Sure enough they did. The owner asked if I had a set of jumper cables and if I could give them a jump since the Chevy was dead. Which I did and didn't mind helping them out one bit since it's 12 miles back into town and trying to catch someone at one of the cabins along the way would be hit or miss. They were grateful for the help and the owner offered to buy my cables off of me but I declined since I didn't know if I would need them again. I may end up to looking into one of those portable battery chargers in the future in case I don't have any cables.

Despite the crappie weather the hike was good overall. At camp that night that storm I had hiked in had made it's way over and lightly rained off and on for about half and hour then stop. The rest of the night at camp was pretty peaceful around the campfire.
Mosquito Pass
Morning came all to shown and truth be told I wasn't feeling all that great amybe it was because of my allergies for because of the hikes the previous day. Needless, to say though that it wouldn't keep me from hitting up Mosquito Pass.

Snap a few photo's on my way out towards Fairplay from my campsite.

On the trail towards Mosquito Pass.

Orphan Boy Mine - I didn't explore these structures and I'm kind of kicking myself now after seeing some more photo's of them.

Views from the road up to the North London Mine.

North London Mine.

The road up to the pass.


Mosquito Pass

The view looking towards Leadville, Colorado.

I missed the South London Mine - had to zoom in on this one.

Heading on down the trail.

Looking back.

Once I got closer to Leadville I made a slight detour to a mining area that I saw when descending down from the pass and couldn't help but look. I believe this area is off of county road 13 and 38 or something like that.

After getting my fill of checking this area out it was on to Leadville to grab some gas, air up the old tires and a drink. I had originally planned to head over to Schofiled Pass/Devil Punch bowel in the afternoon but the weather had turned kind of nasty and from the reading I did before the trip suggested not to take pass when wet. I heeded the warning and decied to head on back to Colorado Springs and relax for the rest of the weekend.

Overall, it was a great trip and one that was very much needed (though on this trip I got a bit lonely for the lack of company).

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