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Segment 8 of the Colorado Trail

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Segment 8 of the Colorado Trail

Postby Vaca Russ » Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:09 am

“Sport”, Maverick and I were recently invited to join a group on a three day hike of part of the Colorado Trail.

The Colorado Trail is a 486-mile long trail running from the mouth of Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver to Durango, Colorado.

The Colorado Trail was built and is currently maintained by the non-profit Colorado Trail Foundation and the United States Forest Service.

The Colorado Trail is divided into 28 segments. We were invited to explore the 24 mile long segment 8 from Copper Mountain to Tennessee Pass.

This segment begins at the ski / golf resort of Copper Mountain.

1CM Resort.JPG


We followed the trail up Guller Creek. We noted several beaver ponds.

2Beaver Dam.JPG


Once again, I owe a debt of gratitude to my ace photographer and trail companion “Sport”.

3Sport1.JPG


We reached the tree line after several miles of climbing. At the top of the canyon we found Janet’s Cabin. “Located at timberline in the Guller Creek Drainage next to the Copper Mountain Ski Resort, Janet's Cabin is a fine hut that attracts both novice and expert skiers. The hut was completed in 1990 by Summit Huts Association (the hut owner). The lovingly crafted 3,000 square foot cabin is built with 10" Montana pine logs. Four bedrooms sleep a maximum of 20 guests. Janet's Cabin has a wood-burning sauna.”

The rain had begun to fall so we sought refuge on the porch of the cabin and ate lunch.

4Janet1.JPG
5Janet2.JPG


After lunch we continued our climb to the top of Searle Pass. We found a welcoming committee at the top of the pass.

6Searle Marmot.JPG


We continued our hike along Elk Ridge. This area is over 12,000 feet in elevation. Note the difference between the Rockies and the Sierra at this elevation. The Rockies have plenty of soil and lush vegetation.

7Elk Ridge.JPG


Another difference is the Cairns. Those people in the Rockies treat stacking rocks as a competitive sport.  I saw many cairns almost 6 feet tall.

8Colorado Cairn.JPG


One aspect of our Sierra is the almost solid wilderness. One does not experience wilderness on segment 8. This is a shot of Sport on top of Kokomo pass. Note the active molybdenite mine behind her left shoulder. We could also see highways and a reservoir from the top of this pass.

9Kokomo Pass.JPG


It began to rain shortly after we reached the top of Kokomo pass. Fortunately we were well prepared. We headed down to Avalanche Creek and set up camp for the night. The rain gave us no respite. We ended up cooking in the vestibule of our T3 quarter dome. This tent really kept us dry.

9laTent.JPG


To be continued...
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway



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Vaca Russ
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Segment 8 of the Colorado Trail

Postby Vaca Russ » Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:17 am

We woke the next morning to dry skies and resumed our journey down to the east fork of the Eagle River. This section of the trail is also called the continental divide trail and is well marked.

9lContinental Divide Tail.JPG


We reached the east fork of the Eagle River. This is the historic site of Camp Hale. Camp Hale was a U.S. Army training facility constructed in 1942 for what became the elite 10th Mountain Division. Soldiers were trained in mountain climbing, Alpine and Nordic skiing, cold-weather survival as well as various weapons and ordinance.

I had noted several old fox holes while hiking along Elk Ridge. They were probably dug by Bob Dole and his men. :)

Once again we experienced a non-wilderness environment with dirt roads and vehicular traffic. :(

9mCamp Hale Road.JPG


We encountered these peculiar concrete structures. I guess they were once ammunition bunkers.

9nMaverick Bunker.JPG
9oBunkers.JPG


We continued our hike and finally reach our day 2 destination of Mitchell Canyon.

9p Mitchell Valley Trail.JPG


We spent that night in this valley. Once again we experienced quite a bit of rain. The next morning we finished our hike on a section of trail that used to be an old railroad grade that summited Tennessee Pass. Today the rail line travels through a tunnel inside of the pass.

9qRail Grade Trail.JPG


We could see the ski slopes of the Copper Hill ski area.

9rCopper Hill Slopes.JPG


This structure is somewhat of a mystery. I guess that at one time these were kilns used to create charcoal to fuel the steam engines that passed over Tennessee Pass.

Kiln.JPG


We reached the end of our hike at Tennessee Pass. There we found a memorial to the 992 heroes of the 10th Mountain division who fell defending our freedom during the Italy campaign of WWII.

Memorial.JPG


One last group shot.

Trail End.JPG


I would summarize our trip to Colorado as interesting. I could have lived without the rain. We will probably return in the winter to check out the snow skiing. :) A trip like this really has a way of increasing our appreciation for the gem we have in our own backyard. Thank God for the Sierra! No offence to our Colorado James.

Thank you for reading my TR.

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Vaca Russ
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Posts: 661
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Location: 1060 West Addison Street, Chicago, Ill
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