Hikers’ Blog

John enjoying the panorama of Snowmass Canyon and the Elk Range

Happy New Year!

Here it is…our first blog of the new year. And it’s still 102 days ‘til your first hike of the new year. I say “your” rather than “our” because I expect to be in transit somewhere between Croatia and Boulder, Utah. Actually, I will definitely be in Boulder, about to embark upon another llama trek into the Wolverine Canyon/Little Death Hollow area. Been there…haven’t done that…yet. I just threw in Croatia to show off. But Croatia will prevent me from participating in our spring cleanup of Hwy 82. Some people will do anything just to avoid a little work. And I’m one of them. I expect I’ll be home little more than a day between trips. It will be a busy spring, since the Fugahwee will take off for our first overnight trip, Green River, just one week after I return from Boulder.

The Green River trip will be May 13-17. It’s been 7 years since we last visited the area. Some say that’s not nearly long enough. I disagree. No, Green River is no Las Vegas…not even Las Vegas, New Mexico. But it does share one thing in common with that Mecca of casino gambling and 99₵ breakfasts…lots of slots. Unlike Vegas, though, these slots are not “loose”. Some of them are tighter than others. That’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. And I know icebergs. Remind me to bore you with de tales of Antarctica…if I haven’t done so already.

Meanwhile, back in Green River, the local attraction there is the San Rafael Swell, a 75-mile-long ridge of uplifted and folded sedimentary strata dating back to the Paleocene (60-40 MYA). At least that’s what Wikipedia says. Bisected by I-70 and dissected by numerous canyons and washes, if this remarkable area were a National Park…or even a National Monument…Green River would have taken on the persona of a Moab or an Estes Park. That “The Swell” is neither is both a blessing and a curse. No, you won’t find many of the amenities of those gateway cities. Nor will you find the crowds. Little Wild Horse Canyon and nearby Goblin Valley see the greatest use…and deservedly so. In 2012, we visited them both, as well as Swazey Cabin/Eagle Canyon. Those old standards are on this year’s schedule, too. But the more I research the area, the more untapped opportunities I find…narrow slots, deep canyons, rock art, caves, arches, and streams. In fact, there may be opportunities to float a couple of those streams through the “Little Grand Canyon” of the San Rafael River and “The Chute” of Muddy Creek, subject to the whims of water and weather, BYOB (bring your own boat). And if that doesn’t float your boat, then 4-wheeling through this spectacular slickrock playland just might be your ticket to paradise. It’s a virtual smorgasbord of outdoor activities. That’s better than a pair-o-dice in Vegas.

You newbies may have heard my motto, “The pun is mightier than the sword”. Both can slay…but both also can cause great pain. So, as soon as you’re done groaning, pick up the phone and call the Green River Super 8 Wyndham at 435-564-8888 for your reservations. Be sure to mention itinerary number 5136B79268896. Whether the “Wyndham” name classes up the joint remains to be seen. But it has all the amenities we’ve come to expect: pool, jacuzzi, in-room wifi, coffee maker, microwave & mini-fridge, plus a complimentary hot breakfast (take that Vegas). Eleven single kings and 14 double queens are available on a first-come basis at the same price, $76.50/night plus tax.

In August we’ll be heading to Steamboat Springs…our first visit there since 2010. I planned that trip, and I’m afraid I was a bit of an overachiever on that one, as my performance is largely responsible for my current situation…cat herder in chief for life. You know what they say, ”Don’t be irreplaceable in your current job, or you can never be promoted.”

I shouldn’t have to “sell” Steamboat Springs…it should speak for itself. It’s not just famous for its champagne powder ™. There are wonderful trails in the (Mount) Zirkel Wilderness, not the least of which is the “Zirkel Circle”, an 11-mile loop we hiked back in 2010…before I knew it was called the Zirkel Circle. It’s home to a rare population of white monkshood and one of the best hikes in Colorado…certainly worth doing again. We’ll also revisit Fish Creek Falls (Lower and Upper), with an option to loop back to Steamboat via Mount Werner and the Thunderhead Gondola.

But first we’ll be taking a stroll across the Devils Causeway on our way to Steamboat. Acrophobes may choose to view it from the security of its eastern approach. It was on last year’s schedule as a day hike, but I opted to postpone it one year to avoid the 200-mile round-trip drive. It’s only a short detour enroute to Steamboat. There are several hikes there, so we will revisit it on our way home. For details on Steamboat lodging options, check out the “2019 Overnight Trips” document. You remember how to use these bold blue hypertext links, don’t you?

Our final overnighter of the year, Salida (pronounced Sal-EYE-duh by Coloradoans), will be September 16-20. It should be a good trip, with lots of new terrain to visit. For you peak baggers, there are 4-5 possible 14ers to climb in the area, including Shavano/Tabeguache, Antero, Yale & Princeton. You may choose to spent Sunday night (9/15) in Buena Vista (pronounced B-you-nuh Vista aka B-you-nee by Coloradoans…don’t get me started), so you can get an early start on one of the Collegiate Peaks on Monday. But I have my eyes on an area in the Sangre de Cristos, Rito Alto, that’s intrigued me for many years.

The rest of 2019 Hiking Schedule can be found by clicking the link to the left or by visiting the Hikers’ Corner page on this website. In addition, you can find the Explanatory Notes, and Hiking Protocols in the same location.

CHiC