| San Luis Peak - Stewart Creek
San Luis Peak - Northeast Ridge from Stewart Creek
Elevation Gain: 3,600 feet
Start Time: 5 a.m. End Time: 11:30 a.m. (hike time: 6 hours, 30 min summit)
Round Trip: 13 miles
Hiked by: Jen and Rick Kane, Anna and Cee-Cee (our dogs)
After our accomplished hike up Wetterhorn we just weren't ready to go home and had one more hike in us. As we had tentatively planned we chose to hit San Luis on our way back home. We took a back way from Lake City, driving the FS Rd 788. The dirt road is smooth and any vehicle can access it. We passed Deer Lakes and a few campsites along the dusty road. More importantly, we saw a moose chowing down on some weeds in a marshy pond.
This was our first sighting of a moose in the wild! We took some video coverage until our dog Anna blusteringly barked, so we decided to continue on. The Powderhorn Wilderness Area is truly desolate but distinctively gorgeous. We also spotted a deer tucked in lush green.
We were happy to reach Stewart Creek by mid day and set up camp about a ˝ mile down from TH. Once again, the rain held us captive for a good ˝ hour before we could pitch the tent and get some grub. We sacked out pretty early and hit the trail by our standard 5 a.m. start time. We decided to bring our two dogs on this hike since they were so good all week. As usual they tugged with intensity, eager to reach the mountain's peak (or just wake us up). This very gradual climb starts in a meadow that for us soaked our boots and pant bottoms. Because this was our 4th climb of 5 days we both lugged a bit to begin. Once we reached the dense wooded portion of the trail it was fun to stop a few times and observe beavers slapping their tails around and swimming in the early dawn light. For miles the trail is a walk in the park. Once we reached the edge of the forest there were a few hills and some river crossings through the meadow, but it still continued to be an easy hike (thank God!).
We spotted about 10 deer to the west.
Initially we thought we were facing San Luis Peak, but as we climbed the steepest part of the hike (short switchbacks up the slope to the saddle) we realized the peak mischievously tucked its head behind the hill and revealed itself only once we hit saddle.
We also saw big horn sheep from a distance on Oregon Mt.
The trail to summit is across small and larger slate-like rock but it goes much more quickly than perceived. We reached summit in 3 hours! Hallelujah. There aren't quite the views that we encountered on our earlier hikes of the week, but the close by 13ers surround the peak and the valley below is remarkable.
Anna and Cee-Cee soak up the sun.
We enjoyed the long, cool hike back with wind behind us. We only passed one other man, making this the most remote hike of the San Juan Part Two extravaganza. The flowers, butterflies, ducks, and chipmunks were all out to say their farewells though.
This would make it our18th CO 14er; Anna's 9th and Cee-Cee's 7th. Who's counting, well I guess we are for our own personal satisfaction. Even still, no numbers can quantify the experience of each and every mountain. The San Juan's are by far our favorite destination in Colorado to date!!!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):