TR-Indian Peaks Wilderness August 24-25, 2000

traillog of backpack from Rainbow Lakes TH to 4th of July TH
Track of backpack from Rainbow Lakes to 4th of July trailhead.

Flickr album for this trip is here:

This was a little backpacking trip in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area of Colorado. I’d already hiked much of the same area the previous year, that is the area up to and including the summit of South Arapaho Peak from the 4th of July trailhead. I would leave my truck at the 4th of July trailhead previous to my trip, then make a loop from Rainbow Lakes trailhead up to Arapaho glacier, then down to the 4th of July trailhead. Basically up one side of a mountain range and down the other. I assumed this would be rather easy since the hike looked fairly short on the map, and not too much elevation gain/loss. I planned to overnight above timberline for a change, just to do it, and hike around and photograph from the summits of Arapaho Peaks North and South.

Most of these photos were scanned years ago and are in low resolution

On Wednesday afternoon, I drove the long unpaved road to 4th of July trailhead, parked my truck, got my bike out of the back and rode it all the way back through Hessie, then to the cabin near Nederland.

The ride was a beautiful one, about five miles or so mostly down hill. At the cabin, I checked my pack and equipment. I was going relatively light this time; a small pack, and no tent. Also, I had not gotten around to purchasing the dehydrated dinner as I had intended in Austin, and then to my surprise had not been able to in Nederland, either. (Nederland has a surprisingly good backpacking store at the Ace hardware.) Long story short-ended up with a full-sized can of Chef Boy-ar-Dee Ravioli for dinner. This is not the way I do things, and I was apalled at the idea of lugging a full can of food, and the mess it would make. But it seemed the simplest at the time barring alternatives, and that was that.

So, the next morning (early) my dad gives me a ride from our cabin up to the Rainbow Lakes trailhead over on the East side of the mountains. The forest road to that campground is fairly rough, but Dad’s a trooper and doesn’t complain. I pull out my Swiss Army knife (Super Tinker model) once during the trip to point out how important it is now that I need a can opener for my yucky dinner.

Dad let me out and I hefted my pack onto my shoulders and started up the trail. It begins in a wooded area, but then rises up and out of the timberline and follows an east-west ridge which is the southern wall of the drainage below the Arapaho glacier. Everything within the drainage is technically part of the Boulder municipal water system, and numerous signs warn of dire consequences to trespassers.

Along the way, glacier and Boulder water source to the right. Arapaho peaks behind.
Looking back.
Continue reading TR-Indian Peaks Wilderness August 24-25, 2000

Phield Notes

“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.” — “Cactus” Ed Abbey

TR-Guadalupe Peak April 23, 1985

It’s been quite a while since my first climb up Texas’ highest point, Guadalupe Peak (8,751′ now, was listed at 8,749′ then). I don’t have any notes from that hike; just fuzzy memories and some fuzzier photos from an old point & shoot Nikon I used to borrow from my dad.

me, approaching summit in '85.
me, approaching summit in ’85.

I was twenty-six years old, still in the middle of my offshore oilfield career. I had read the old “Trails of the Guadalupes” guide, published by the Carlsbad Caverns Natural History Association, backwards and forwards while working on out in the Gulf of Mexico and had decided I needed to go see Guadalupe Mountains National Park (GUMO) and climb the highest mountain in Texas.

Continue reading TR-Guadalupe Peak April 23, 1985

It’s been quite a while since my first climb up Texas’ highest point, Guadalupe Peak (8,751′ now, was listed at 8,749′ then). I don’t have any notes from that hike; just fuzzy memories and some fuzzier photos from an old point & shoot Nikon I used to borrow from my dad.

me, approaching summit in '85.
me, approaching summit in ’85.

I was twenty-six years old, still in the middle of my offshore oilfield career. I had read the old “Trails of the Guadalupes” guide, published by the Carlsbad Caverns Natural History Association, backwards and forwards while working on out in the Gulf of Mexico and had decided I needed to go see Guadalupe Mountains National Park (GUMO) and climb the highest mountain in Texas.

Continue reading TR-Guadalupe Peak April 23, 1985

TR-Guadalupe Peak 1997

A very brief trip report.
I climbed Mt Wheeler, highpoint of New Mexico, in summer 1997. Along the way, to get some altitude and conditioning in, I summited Guadalupe Peak again.

I’d started out from Austin and stopped in Davis Mountains State Park. I got up early in the morning and drove to GUMO. I have some notes from this trip:

On to Guad Park–(Note: Dawn (light) not until ~7:00 a.m. CDT here.)

Arrived GMNP ~9:00 CDT. Wx excellent ~50s, -60; light breeze, clear sky. Park almost deserted. Asked young woman behind counter about old Pine Spring Cafe-she didn’t know-was before my time.)

Began ascent ~ 9:50 a.m. CDT-one break past (that place*) (at 1:08 of hike.) in the first extensive forest. Felt good-last 1/4 mile was hell, through several false summits. Summit at 12:45 CDT (2:57 hatse??less 18 minutes in breaks is 2:39 hike. Dead calm at summit. [at summit 35:07; 1:48 for descent-5:20 less 18 less 35:07 = 4:55 total hike – sign at trailhead suggests 6-8 hours.]

“That place” mentioned above, I now remember, is the spot after you finish the first part of the climb. You hike up a steep limestone wall, basically, with some of the trail literally blasted out of the side of solid stone; depending on the wind that day, you may be buffeted by 40-50 mph winds. I was, the first time I’d done that hike in the 80s. But you come around a bend, and almost magically the wind goes to nothing and you’re in a forest. And not far ahead are convenient boulders to sit on and rest a spell.

Ken Sleight-Seldom Seen Smith

Ken Sleight was an old river runner/desert rat who was the inspiration for Ed Abbey’s character “Seldom Seen Smith” in The Monkey Wrench Gang.”

I like that he calls Lake Powell “Lake Foul.”

“It was probably foolish and masochistic of me to have hung around and watched it happen. But I just had to. At first it would rise a foot overnight, and you saw things you loved go under. First it was Music Temple. Then it was Gregory Natural Bridge. Then Cathedral in the Desert. I’d think of those fools that said this was a good thing, that we needed this dam. Then I’d see Hidden Passage or some other lovely spot with no name go under…it was unbearable.

“And I’ll always remember the sign at Rainbow Bridge. There was a Park Service sign along the trail and it read: ‘God’s Work. Tread Lightly.’ The next week, the lake came up and buried the sign and the trail.” By late 1964, the reservoir had reached Hite and Glen Canyon was gone…for now.”

https://www.canyoncountryzephyr.com/oldzephyr/archives/ken-sleight.html

http://continuum.utah.edu/features/fighting-for-the-wild

Here are historical data on the levels at “Lake Foul,” among other things…U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Martin Litton

Martin Litton was an uncompromising conservationist of the West, and another legendary foe of the Glen Canyon dam.

He was the movement’s Jeremiah — the crier in the wilderness who spotted the threats, condemned the desecraters and rallied the leadership to the defining preservation conflicts of the early 1950s through the ’80s.

David Brower, who as the Sierra Club’s seminal leader in the last half of the 20th century was compelled to make some of the compromises Mr. Litton fought, was known to call him “our conscience.”

–New York Times

NY Times obit

About Martin Litton

Go outside! Go!