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Lost Creek Wilderness - Windy Peak 23 Mile Loop
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Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Lost Creek Wilderness - Windy Peak 23 Mile Loop on 06/06/2014 21:45:22 MDT Print View

I have been desperate to get out if even for a short loop and was finally able break away from work to take some time yesterday and today. The link below is to the picture album. This has been an exceptional snow pack year for Lost Creek Wilderness and water was abundant. The last photo in the album gives a picture of the route on USGS 7.5 minute map. The route starts at Rolling Creek TH and goes clockwise, Rolling Creek --> Wigwam Trail --> Brookside McCurdy --> Colorado Trail Segment4. No gear surprises or failures. The biggest thing I came away from this short trip appreciating was,

1] Aqua Mira will probably be my water treatment of choice going forward
2] For the relatively short trips I take (under 40 mile loops) I think I may switch to the Jetboil Sol Ti for it's speed, convenience and performance in colder weather I often encounter in the Colorado high country.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10201842046155428.1073741833.1310985357&type=1&l=4cd78d7f2e

ADDITION: An added comment on the Rolling Creek section of trail. There were a few spots where the trail was hard to follow due to some dead fall obscuring things. This was on the North side where you steeply ascend. However, we were able to locate without much effort.

Edited by randalmartin on 06/07/2014 12:18:18 MDT.

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - M

Locale: Colorado Foothills
Re: Lost Creek Wilderness - Windy Peak 23 Mile Loop on 06/06/2014 22:01:52 MDT Print View

You seemed to have timed it perfectly, Randy. The last TR I read on 14ers.com from a week ago indicated there was still a lot of post-holing. I didn't see any evidence of that in your photos. Did you come across any challenging stretches? I'm heading up there in 2 weeks, determined to make better progress than last November.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Lost Creek Wilderness - Windy Peak 23 Mile Loop on 06/07/2014 07:59:16 MDT Print View

"The biggest thing I came away from this short trip appreciating was, ... Aqua Mira will probably be my water treatment of choice going forward ..."


Just curious....
30 minutes, 4 hours, or somewhere in between for snow melt creek water?

Thanks

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Lost Creek Wilderness - Windy Peak 23 Mile Loop on 06/07/2014 08:42:24 MDT Print View

@Stuart - no snow challenges at all. Lots of water/mud on the trail but no big deal. Will be better for you in two weeks.

@Greg - I didn't wait 4 hours, just waited for about an hour. Between Sawyer, Steripen and chemicals I have now run through the full spectrum of choices. On this trip I brought the Steripen and AM as backup. I could appreciate there are situations where the immediacy of Steripen/Sawyer are very desireable.

Edited by randalmartin on 06/07/2014 08:43:37 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Lost Creek Wilderness - Windy Peak 23 Mile Loop on 06/07/2014 08:56:50 MDT Print View

Thanks Randy.

It Is a tough nut to crack, and depends a Lot of the situation.

Very much a HYOH kind of thing.

Edited by greg23 on 06/07/2014 10:17:49 MDT.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
LCW on 06/07/2014 10:59:53 MDT Print View

Looks like a fun trip Randy. I did that loop the first time I ever went to LCW but I went counter clockwise. That rock formation in the early photo is "The Castle". Did you need the nest or would the tarp have sufficed? I was planning on going there for 2 nights starting yesterday but we have had some nasty weather (which it looks like you got a taste of) and the forecast for more scared me off. I was kicking myself yesterday in the evening as it never materialized and would have been a perfect evening in the backcountry.

I'm just the opposite on the Steripen/AM thing. When I know there will be plenty of water sources, I'll use the Steripen (with AM backup)and carry little or no water. When I'm not sure, I'll be more cautious and just bring AM.

Stuart, I think I told you that I'd only had 2 times when the SPOT failed to get a message through. Both times were from the lower parking area at this trailhead. No idea why because it's not heavily treed.

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - M

Locale: Colorado Foothills
Re: LCW on 06/07/2014 11:13:40 MDT Print View

Thanks for confirming snow conditions, Randy M. Looking forward to a return visit with some very different scenery. Last time everything was snow covered which highlighted the mountain lion tracks on the Hankins Pass trail.

Good feedback on SPOT coverage, Randy N. I will be activating your old one ahead of this trip, not that I expect to need it - but then again who does?

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: LCW on 06/07/2014 12:07:25 MDT Print View

@Randy - My typical camp approach is setup nest only or nest and Tarp if rain anticipated. The nest provides some decent splash protection with a solid SilNylon panel on the end and a half solid panel on the front as you see in the picture. The splash protection proved useful in this case with pea sized hail bouncing all over the place :)

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: Gore Range
Re: Lost Creek Wilderness - Windy Peak 23 Mile Loop on 06/07/2014 13:40:02 MDT Print View

Nice work Randy M.

Thinking about a trip to LCW in about a week. I'm looking at a 2-3 day trip, but have yet to make definitive plans where I'll be. I've only been in the area when I came through on the CT. My Nat Geo topo should arrive by early next week, but I already have a few ideas just by looking at the quads online. McCurdy looks fun. Anyone have an idea what the snow levels could be like that high? Brookside McCurdy Trail...

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
re: LCW on 06/07/2014 14:39:38 MDT Print View

Thanks for posting the photos, Randy M., as it shows what the current conditions are like. Looks pretty lush right now. Did you encounter any ticks? My friend had one on her forehead last weekend when we were truck camping near the Peak-to-Peak Hwy. (Forehead--what was it doing up there?)

So Stuart, I think that this is the best option for you and Stephen, vs. all the other trails that we've bantered about via e-mail recently. Sure beats carrying a bear canister in RMNP, and dealing with beetle kill on the west side.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: re: LCW on 06/07/2014 15:02:50 MDT Print View

@Tim - I think McCurdy is definitely doable. We met another party that was doing McCurdy but turned back up high due to weather.

@Gary - No ticks encountered thankfully.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
LCW on 06/07/2014 15:06:12 MDT Print View

Hey Tim, You won't have any real snow, if any, on Brookside-McCurdy when you go. Which part are you thinking about? It's something like 30 miles long and ties in to multiple trails. I'll be out there somewhere next weekend. I haven't decided where yet but I'll let you know what I saw when I get back.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
LCW on 06/07/2014 15:31:24 MDT Print View

Actually I think I know where I might go and it will be along Brookside-McCurdy. 2 summers ago a friend and I camped on Bison Peak when there was a full moon. Thought it would make for interesting pictures. Unfortunately a storm came in and ruined the photo ops. My friend did get up at 1 AM to snap this long exposure shot of the rock formation I call the Big Kahuna. With a full moon on Friday, that sounds like a good plan.


Big Kahuna

Edited by rlnunix on 06/07/2014 15:32:27 MDT.

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - M

Locale: Colorado Foothills
Re: LCW on 06/07/2014 17:28:37 MDT Print View

Yes, Gary, thanks to Randy M's trip report, LCW is looking like our preferred option when Stephen flies in from MI. Always good to have a plan B, so your counsel is much appreciated. It's a crying shame that an otherwise perfect loop in RMNP has been blighted by pine beetle kill. And from Dave Chenault's recent post about BMWO, it looks like the problem is widespread throughout the Rockies. But if conditions look lousy in LCW for Stephen's trip, then a different part of IPW makes for a good backup plan. It's very postholy right now on some of my usual trails in Summit County.

Shane Stewart
(anacrime) - F
Mapping Program? on 06/07/2014 22:01:55 MDT Print View

Awesome pictures and report! What mapping program do you use? Cheers!

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Mapping Program? on 06/07/2014 23:08:09 MDT Print View

I have the NatGeo Topo series for the State of Colorado. Not sure what the equivalent is now since they discontinued.

http://mshop.nationalgeographic.com/ngs/product/maps/mapping-software/topo!-colorado?mobile&_requestid=313264

Basically has all of the 7.5 minute quads for the state with the ability to plot routes/waypoints etc and print maps. Though printing large areas like this requires printing multiple separate pieces that I tape together for my trips. You can alternatively print to PDF and send to Fedex or other print centers that can print large formats. Useful for researching/creating routes.

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: Gore Range
Re: Re: Mapping Program? / LCW on 06/08/2014 06:21:02 MDT Print View

Go to Google and type in 'Colorado Hunting Atlas'. Topo and satellite views of the entire state for free along with mapping tools.

Randy,

I still haven't figured out the logistics yet, but it sounds as though we could be in the area around the same time. I'll let you know where I decide on going.

There's still a very healthy amount of snow left to be melted in the central mountains. The rivers are (for now) on the downhill side of their maximums. I expect to be getting to a relatively dry, high alpine by the end of the month. Next best option is to drive a little further for the time being. LCW it is.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: Re: LCW on 06/08/2014 08:50:09 MDT Print View

Gents,

I am like a child at Christmas eve waiting for Santa to come. I am so looking forward to the LCW trip with Stuart.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
LCW on 06/08/2014 09:37:08 MDT Print View

I'm sure you guys will have a great time Stephen. Enjoy your trip to Colorado and LCW.

I'd like to put in a plug for the local economy while we're talking about LCW. If you're going to have breakfast along the way there, the Cuthroat Cafe in Bailey is a great place to do so. It's on the way if you starting at the Rolling Creek/CT TH like Randy did. And about 7 minutes past 126 if you are heading to the other southeast THs. Well worth a little extra drive. And they open at 5 AM which is great for those early starts.

And Zoka's in Pine is an excellent place for good for or a cold beverage (or both) after a trip. It's right on the way back from the Goose Creek loop of the Wigwam TH. They have a really nice deck that is perfect for smelly hikers (and dogs too).

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: LCW on 06/08/2014 10:06:11 MDT Print View

Hi Randy,

We will definitley check them out.

I was out on LCW before xmas on the trip Stuart mentioned and loved it.