Who: Chris B. and myself
Length: 12 miles (6 out + 6 back)
Time: about 8.5 hours
Weather: 55-70 degrees, cloudy
This was a great hike to start the Summer hiking season, and I’m glad that my friend Chris suggested it. We started early at about 4 AM from the 4-way parking lot in N. Cheyenne Canyon park. At the parking lot we encountered some young people who were apparently wrapping up their partying from the night before. I’m glad to say that their idea of fun did not include any vandalism of our Jeeps (Chris drives a Jeep Wrangler, too).
We hiked steadily up to St. Mary’s falls and onward up to Mt. Rosa summit (11,499′ elev.). The last 500 feet or so of elevation included route-finding challenges due to snow drifts blocking the trail. But, we made it through with some minor delay and wet feet. At the summit, we hung out for about an hour enjoying the views to the West. Views East were mostly blocked by clouds. A chipmunk harassed us a bit and tried to steal food.
Chris near St. Mary’s Falls
Approach to Rosa Summit
Chris B on Rosa Summit
The hike down was harder on me than the hike up. My knees and feet were hurting the last 3 miles. Today, 3 days later, I’m still sore but not injured. Stretching and staying hydrated is key to recovery.
Afterwards, we had a nice lunch at Colorado Mountain Brewery at the Roundhouse on 21st street–recommended! A refreshing Hefeweizen was just the thing, after that long hike.
This was my first outing with a new camera (Sony DSC-RX100). I wanted a new camera to replace the one that got waterlogged and ruined in New Mexico. This seems like a nice camera, but I still have a learning curve to get better video and photo results.
Looking forward to my next hike with Chris B. We’ve got a couple more in mind for this Summer.
This hike followed the BLUE line to St. Mary’s Falls, then to Mt. Rosa, and back: View Colorado Chris Hikes in a larger map
This was a beautiful Fall hike and my 9th fourteener summit. I left Colorado Springs early in the morning, drove 2 1/2 hours to the trailhead near Salida, hiked 7 1/2 hours, and drove home that evening. It made for a long day. I’m not sure what got into me, in order to do that trip all in one day. Driving home in the dark was unpleasant, due to the bug-splattered windshield and stress of watching for wildlife along the road.
One advantage of a Fall mountain hike is the weather: not a cloud in the sky all day, and no threat of afternoon thunderstorms, as is usual in the Summer. The temperatures were mild. Disadvantages of Fall hiking include fewer hours of daylight, no water in the streams, and very few wildflowers. Aspen leaves were still at about 25% color.
Jeep at Trailhead
My goal was to reach the summits of both Mt. Shavano and nearby Tabeguache Peak. However, my legs tired out sooner than expected so I only did the one summit.
Tabeguache From Shavano Summit
A highlight was encountering a group of female and juvenile bighorn sheep at the saddle below the Mt. Shavano summit.
Length: 7.5 miles
Time: about 4 hours
Weather: about 70 degrees, sunny
Cheyenne Mountain State Park is a relatively new park, opened to the public only since 2006. This was my first visit. The trails seem popular with mountain bikers. No dogs are allowed. It was interesting to view Cheyenne Mountain from a different perspective.
Cheyenne Mountain from N. Talon trail
Fort Carson dominates the views to the East. Sounds from the Fort Carson public address system and Highway 115 traffic echo off the mountain and are audible in the park.
View East from Cheyenne Mtn. State Park
I encountered 2 rattlesnakes and some wild turkeys. And, here’s my first attempt at an animated gif:
My route included Talon, S. Talon, N. Talon, and Sundance trails, following the BLUE line: View Colorado Chris Hikes in a larger map
This article in the Gazette states that a new Dixon Trail is being built largely by volunteers from the top of N. Talon trail in Cheyenne Mountain State Park to the summit of Cheyenne Mountain. The latest estimate for summit trail completion is 2019.