I left the Denver area just before 4am yesterday with the goal of doing Belford, Oxford and depending on conditions, Missouri.
Brilliant view of Princeton heading into B.V. on 285
I got to the TH around 7 and the parking lot was completely full so I grabbed a spot on the road. Put on my boots, threw on my pack and hit the trail.
The trail climbs fairly steeply into the basin between Belford and Missouri but it's not difficult. I don't mind gaining elevation that quickly. Once you turn left and cross the stream, the trees start to break up and the views start coming out. It was nice and cool hiking up the trail, taking in the views and just generally cruising! This was my first climb this year that didn't include camping gear, climbing gear or skiing gear so I felt like I was flying without all of that weight! I passed quite a few tents right on the trail or by the stream so I'm wondering how tough those wilderness regulations are that say you can't camp within 100ft of either (not being a smartass, just generally curious).
Headed up the valley
This climb was the first one for me where a lot of nice flowers were out, too!
Great view where the trail turns left to the summit of Belford
The climb to the summit was pretty uneventful. It was beautiful, met a recent West Point graduate, and topped out around 9:15.
After just a few minutes I pushed on down to the trail to Oxford. This trail was fairly steep but with trekking poles for balance it wasn't bad at all.
The trail to Oxford
Got up to the summit of Oxford and met some real nice people up there. Had a snack and some water then decided to push on to Elkhead Pass where I would make the decision on whether to push up to the summit of Missouri.
Oxford summit with some good folks
I cruised back down between Belford and Oxford and back up to the cutoff to Elkhead. Stopped to take a few pics then pushed on down to Elkhead Pass.
Elhead Pass and Missouri behind me
The forecast for the day called for storms to come in a little earlier than normal. I had my eye on the skies, and not being super familier with the weather in Colorado (and having had a few scares this year), I'm being very cautious when I see clouds. When I got to Elkhead, it looked like it was going to be ok over Missouri but there was a thunderstorm building quickly behind me where I had come from. I could hear the thunder and didn't know which way it was moving so I bailed out and headed down back to the parking lot.
It was a nice hike, got rained on a bit, probably could have pulled off Missouri but I'll never have regrets about bailing out in the face of weather, especially involving electricity.
This was a solid day of hiking and I really enjoyed being up there. Not much in the form of beta but hope you all enjoy the pics! Also, it was great meeting everyone I met up there!