Thursday, June 18, 2009

Spanish Peaks Hike

Yesterday we hiked a great trail out of Cuchara, a small town maybe 20 miles from Lathrop State Park. We went with Norm and Nan, one of two campground host couples here at the park. The trail head was hard to find, so we did some driving and backtracking before we found it.

The Dike Trail is 3.5 miles long and goes along one of the dikes that radiate from the Spanish Peaks, west and south of where we are staying. These walls of rock radiate out from the Spanish Peaks like spokes of a wheel. They are from 1 to 100 feet wide and up to 100 feet high and as long as 14 miles.

This is a good view of one of the dikes, taken after we hiked to the top of the trail.

We hiked through heavy forest and lots of wildflowers. This was one of the prettiest. I don't know what it is called.

About 1/3 third of the way along the trail, we heard a crack in the forest to our right. John looked around, then signaled to me to come look. There, going up the hill, was the back side of a Black Bear. It couldn't have been more than 50 feet away. Thank goodness, it was headed away from us. We spent some time talking and thinking about the bear, then decided to keep hiking. We kept talking so the bear would know where we were and avoid us (we hoped). This is our second bear sighting this year.

We couldn't see the dike very well, but when we had hiked a little over 3 miles, we came to a place where we could cross the ridge and found great views behind the dike. It was a great place to eat a snack before starting back down the trail. We had gained nearly 1,000 ft elevation. Going back down was much easier.

On our way back to the park, we stopped in La Veta and bought ice cream at Charlie's Grocery. Benches line the sidewalk there for tourists and locals to sit on while they eat their ice cream. John had a single dip vanilla; I had a double dip of huckleberry and orange sherbet.


  1. of the best ways to wrap up a hike isn't it!

  2. It looks like a wonderful hike. What a treat to see a bear. You pictures show some lovely vistas.