Saturday, July 5, 2014

conundrum 2014

I recently returned from a weeklong retreat at Conundrum hot springs. This will be my fourth summer in a row that I have spent some time here. It has become a very popular backpacking destination so probably not an ideal spot for a meditation retreat. Nonetheless Conundrum remains a special place and I had a great week. Due to the amount of snow I was unable to explore much higher than the hot springs, was hoping to climb some peaks and go for long day hikes higher in the basin. Without the gear this was not really possible so spent most of the time around my campsite and the Springs,  I also hiked down to Aspen for a night and saw Steve Winwood play at the Aspen Jazz Fest on Summer Solstice.
If you plan a trip to Conundrum please dispose of your waste responsibly, don't bring your dog or make camp fires. Let us respect this sacred place for all to enjoy :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Living in the South West - Mountains and Desert

It has been a good winter here in the San Juan's. Have been able to take some small adventures to New Mexico and Utah, here are some photos from the past few months. 

Ridgway, CO

Valley View hot springs - San Luis Valley, CO

Shivaratri, Taos NM 

Ouray Ice Fest
Valley View Hot Springs

Dead Horse Point, Utah


Moab, Utah


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

San Luis Peak trip report

San Luis Peak (14,014 feet)
Northeast Ridge from Stewart Creek
Monday, August 28, 2013
Elevation gain: 3,600 feet
13.0 miles

on the road to nowhere
San Luis Peak is said to be the least climbed 14er in Colorado due to it's isolated location. I first drove to Lake City and then made my way to the Stewart Creek trail head which is about a two hour drive from the nearest paved road. The mountain resides in the Eastern section of the San Juan mountain range in the La Garita Wilderness. I left after work on Sunday afternoon and arrived at the trail head just as it got dark and woke up the next morning to mostly blue skies with some lingering clouds. The climb was very straight forward, just followed a trail next to Stewart Creek while passing several beaver dams. Once reaching treeline a steep climbers trail traversed towards a rounded saddle leading to the peak. My knee began bothering me again on the climb up so was eager to make it back to my car without inflicting too much pain on myself. Then made the long haul back to Ridgway. It was a worthwhile adventure into a beautiful and vast wilderness.

false summit, San Luis is behind this
approaching the saddle

San Luis Peak on left

looking southwest from the Peak

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chicago Basin Trip Report

Chicago basin has been on my short list for a while and I was finally able to take a backpacking trip there last week. I met Jilly, Scott and Dan from near the trail head on Sunday morning and we began the 15 mile hike in from the Purgatory flats trail head. It seems like most people take the Durango-Silverton train to Needleton and hike in from there but we opted to take the longer approach. 
Unfortunately just as we arrived at the basin I began to feel some intense pain in my right knee, which I was quite concerned about. The following morning our group got up at 4:30am to start the climb up Eolus and N.Eolus, I was still experiencing pain in my knee so decided to have a rest day at our camp. It ended up being a very nice day hanging out with the mountain goats, doing yoga and relaxing in the high country.
The next day after feeling rested we got up early again and headed out at around 5:30am to climb Sunlight and Windom. We cruised up to twin lakes and could see some rain clouds lingering in the distance so swiftly continued up to the summit of Sunlight peak. It was cold and misty on the summit and I waited for the others for about 20 minutes, by the time they arrived I was ready to start going down. While descending Sunlight we found the route for Windom Peak and followed the ridge to the final scramble to the summit. As we headed down rain clouds moved in and we were able to arrive back at our campsite before getting too wet.
The following day Jilly and Scott woke up early to climb Jupiter (a 13er) despite more rain and I packed up and hiked out solo. Overall it was a great trip other than my knee problem and the rainy conditions did not effect out trip too much. Chicago basin is a special place, located in a relatively isolated part of the Weminuche wilderness. Hope to make it back here again and spend more time exploring these mountains.

summit of Sunlight peak 14,059

mountain goats at twin lakes

leaving twin lakes on the approach up Sunlight


Sunlight peak

the ridge to Windom Peak is to the right and approach to Sunlight is up the gully on left.

our tent village in the basin