After a long and nasty bumpy drive up the road, I manage to find the campsite next to the Rainbow Reservoir in the dark. It's not well marked, so you may want to set a waypoint on your GPS. I quickly set up my truck for sleep, and hope the rain ends by early morning.
But then, the curse of the Misty Mountains happens - AGAIN! Last time I was in the northern Sangres, my alarm didn't go off, since my phone died. This morning, my phone alarm was muffled by the sleeping bag. So I woke up thinking, why is it light out? Look at the time - 5:18am - OH CRAP! I kicked it into high gear, and got ready and on trail asap. Followed the path down to the Reservoir and made my way up the steep treed slope to magically find a trail that took me up the ridge. The weather was forcasted for ~3pm, but I don't like taking my chances with long ridge runs!
Morning at the Reservoir
Slope up Eagle
Looking north towards Bushnell & Hunts
Once on Eagle I can take a short break to catch my breath. So far it's clear!
Pano west from Eagle
I had thought to possibly drive up the road farther, and just do an out and back on the ridge from Eagle to Thirsty. Looking at the ridge now, I'm glad I didn't do that. The first half of the ridge is easy, but the second half is more rocky and there is some minor route finding to do in the rougher sections.
Looking back at Eagle
Ridge to Thirsty gets rocky...
Rough ridge to Thirsty
You can bypass the unranked summit of Thirsty on the SE face easily. From there, it's a pretty easy ridge over to Lakes Peak.
Looking at the ridge to Lakes
Once on Lakes, I get a nice view to the south, and peaks for the future. Then I turn around and look north, at all the ridge to go over, on the way to Cottonwood. Better get started!
View south from Lakes
Pano north from Lakes
Only a short break on Thirsty to take a photo or two. Silly unranked but named peaks!
Looking at Eagle from Thirsty
Ridge to Pt 13,123 B and Cottonwood
By the time I get to 13,123 B there is some mist building up from the San Luis valley. The puffies around me are starting, but as yet, not threatening. Still, I'd rather be on the last peak heading down. I never trust a forecast in the Sangres...
Summit cairn on 13,123 B with Eagle behind
Cottonwood with some mist
Once on Cottonwood, the last peak of the day, I can take a much longer break. Ridge run done, weather looking misty to south, little puffies to north. I had looked for the trail between the saddle with 13,123 B, but it didn't stand out to me. Whereas the NE ridge looked far more pleasant than backtracking (into the mist), and there was a nice grassy slope that will take you down to the lake. I was sold.
View north from Cottonwood
Going down the NE ridge of Cottonwood
A white mushroom
Once at my descent saddle, all the mist had dissipated and my rushing seemed to be unwarranted. But again, I never trust the weather in the Sangres - it seems to turn quickly!
Looking back up the NE ridge from saddle
View of Thirsty and Pt 13,123 B from saddle
Cottonwood from upper lake
After the lake, I follow the old mining road back down to my truck. Along the way, I pass by the rotting mining town of Cloverdale. There is a sign by the upper most cabin talking about preserving history and don't take anything etc. Another sign talks about how the mine is responsible for preservation, while other cabins have the property of US government on them. So I go inside, or peak in.... Nasty nasty nasty!!! This is "preserving"? Everything is rotting, molding, weather and animal effected. After seeing a dead mouse, I turn around to leave asap. Then I see the dead moldy mouse - I run out! Bleh!
At the old mining town of Cloverdale
That vehicle couldn't make it up the road now...
Nasty "preserved" cabin
EEEEEEEEeeeeeeeewwwwWWWW - Note dead mouse...
This is "preserving history"?
After the mining town ruins, it's just a rough road descent back to my truck in the hot sun. Happy that I don't find a flat on my truck. The road looks even worse in daylight, and I'm still surprised I didn't blow at least one tire. There is no way to pick a line to avoid scraping your side walls. The road is a minefield. All you can do is try to avoid the pokiest ones!
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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