Family outing in a less traveled Colorado wilderness
Jul 4, 2023 at 8:57 am #3784627
Companion forum thread to: Family outing in a less traveled Colorado wilderness
East of Pagosa Springs and stretching south nearly to the New Mexico border, the SSJ wilderness is quite large but fortunately for those of us who enjJul 4, 2023 at 12:47 pm #3784640jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
What a wonderful trip! I was skeptical, but you had me at the first photo. Just gorgeous country. Strange, for me, for you to be at such altitude and not surrounded by towering granite peaks or glaciers. And what a great time for your dogs!
I tend to prefer greenery and the wildlife that comes with it–elk, here–to days in high altitude moonscapes with only marmots and your wife as companions. (ha!).
p.s. I see it is a bit rocky underfoot in some places. yes, that makes for slower going. for me, just slowing down and relaxing and taking things as they come is hard. I want to GO. I’d need a month in the wilds to really learn this.Jul 4, 2023 at 2:32 pm #3784651
Many thanks for your comment, @jscott, I totally agree. The wilderness areas with massive granite peaks, talus fields, etc. are amazing and I like to visit them, but they can indeed be stark and harsh places. I definitely find that I enjoy spending time in wilderness areas with rolling green terrain straddling timberline, and there is something special about alpine tundra. It gives a lot of variety and provides opportunities to easily explore the large parts of the wilderness that are off-trail. The dogs love it, of course.
When hiking on the tundra off-trail, I find it to be slow going not only because of rocks and marshy areas, but also because the tundra itself is sometimes deceptively uneven. At first glance it looks like a grassy field, but as I step on it, my ankles are constantly rolled one direction or another by lumps and tufts, and it forces me to walk slowly and carefully.Jul 4, 2023 at 3:00 pm #3784654George WBPL Member
Looks great, thank you.Jul 5, 2023 at 7:36 am #3784678Kevin BabioneBPL Member
Thanks for posting – the photos were great! May I ask the “big” question? Would your wife go back?Jul 5, 2023 at 9:25 am #3784682
Haha. great question, Kevin! In fact, she was looking at the Trails Illustrated map the other night and asking about some other parts of the wilderness, so I think she would definitely go back. Probably not this year though, because she wants to go with me to the Weminuche in August, and that will probably be her only other trip this summer.Jul 5, 2023 at 11:46 am #3784695Kevin BabioneBPL Member
That’s great – I’m always envious of people who can take their life partner on trips. For medical reasons I can’t, but she would like to. She generally supports my trips, but, when I ask about a weekend to go backpacking, part of her hears me ask: “I’d like a weekend away from you – is November xx-xx okay?”Jul 5, 2023 at 1:55 pm #3784699Terran TerranBPL Member
Thanks for the article. Pagosa Springs is a very nice place. It’s hard to think of a drive more beautiful then Pueblo to Pagosa unless it’s in that same area. I like the forest, but I prefer the open meadows where I can see and pick my own path. Even with the ruts.
It looks like you’re down around Elk Creek. Is there boondocking around there or campsites that aren’t booked up?
Can I bring my pole and live off of trout?
Nice write up. Very much appreciated!Jul 5, 2023 at 2:13 pm #3784701
We did start at the Elk Creek campground/TH for this trip because we couldn’t cross the Conejos yet. I’m sure that will change rapidly over the coming weeks. Normally I would start at Cow Camp or Notch TH. These east-side THs are accessed via Antonito, which is south of Alamosa. I think you would need reservations to camp at the Elk Creek Campground, but if you’re parking elsewhere, or hiking in at all, reservations aren’t needed for dispersed camping. From Elk Creek TH, the first meadow is only a couple of miles, but you would run into a lot of day hikers. The second meadow starts at about 4 miles, and very few day hikers go that far. The fishing in Elk Creek is apparently very good according to the people we spoke with. The Conejos is still running very high.Jul 5, 2023 at 4:07 pm #3784705Terran TerranBPL Member
I’d just seen another report from Elk Creek. Probably a day hiker. He had some nice trout. I’ve driven by there a lot. Go through Walsenburg.
Thank you.Jul 5, 2023 at 4:20 pm #3784706Alex WallaceBPL Member
@feetfirstLocale: Sierra Nevada North
Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Our Community Posts are Moderated
Backpacking Light community posts are moderated and here to foster helpful and positive discussions about lightweight backpacking. Please be mindful of our values and boundaries and review our Community Guidelines prior to posting.