Saturday, July 04, 2009

Hiking in the Wilderness

Wednesday we went hiking in the Spanish Peaks Wilderness off the Cordova Pass Road with Nan and Norm, one of the campground host couples here at Lathrop State Park. We will be leaving Lathrop on Tuesday, so this will be our last hike here. We hiked the West Peak Trail, which goes up the west Spanish Peak, which tops out over 12,000 ft. We started at about 11,300 ft altitude and ended at timberline, at close to 12,000 ft.

The Sange de Cristo (meaning blood of Christ, referring to the red color in certain lights) Mountains to the west were beautiful Wednesday.

The wildflowers at that altitude were absolutely stunning. We had such a good time looking at first one flower, then another. In many places they carpeted the ground.

This is the peak we were on. We didn't go up onto the loose rock above tree line.

One of the trees growing on the mountain side was this one--possibly a Bristle Cone Pine. These trees can live for many years, sometimes hundreds of years. This one isn't that old, however.

Some of the dead trees were so interesting to look at. They were as interesting as the living trees.

This is another interesting-looking tree.

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We ate lunch next to this very large rock cairn. It was right at the tree line. Above this point there is a 1,600 ft climb to the summit, which we didn't make. We decided that each person who reached this point must have added a stone to the pile. So, of course, each of us did that, too. It was a lovely place for lunch. But just as we finished eating clouds filled the sky and the wind began to blow. We made a hasty retreat back down the mountain. We only enountered a little rain.

We really felt good about ourselves. Our ages are 65, 66, 66 and 72. We were all proud that we were able to make a 6 1/2 to 7 mile hike at this altitude.

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