| Missouri & Belford from Missouri Gulch TH
I started at 4:30 AM. The trail is easy to see and follow as it switchbacks up the mountain. The trail gets steep and is tough starting out. Especially since I ran 25 miles the day before (I'm marathon training), left Broomfield around 2 AM, and drove 2 hours to get to the trailhead. Hiking uphill seemed steep and my pace was slower than normal.
When the sun started rising I was at timberline. The gulch is pretty with the stream running down the middle of it.
I found the turnoff for Elkhead Pass or Missouri Mt. the easy way. I took the easy way. The trail is good, so just stay on it if you choose this route. It goes up a grassy slope to the north of the summit. In this picture you can see the class four route. Elkhead pass is ahead and the summit is to the right. I went the other way.
I went up the grassy slope shown below which put me onto the ridge to the right of the picture. Then I traversed along the ridge to the summit. The summit is out of the picture to the left. The ridge was an easy hike with some good exposure. I probably would not take my dog on this route, but I'm sure most dogs would do fine. My wife just won't let me.
Once to the ridge I was overcome by spectacular views!
A short while later I reached the summit.
Belford and Oxford are visible from the top of Missouri Mt. Below Belford is the big one in front, and Oxford is barely poking out on the right.
I summited Missouri Mt. at 8:30. I was an hour off what I expected. I did move relatively slow. Slower than I normally hike. I descended the same way I ascended and started heading towards Elkhead Pass. This trail turns and ascends Belford gently when it gets to the pass. Well, Roach calls it "gentle." However, after running 25 miles the day before, and just summiting one mountain already, I was getting tired. Compared to other hikes, I guess it is gentle. See the gentle trail below.
The trail put me to the saddle between Belford and Oxford about 1.25 miles from Oxford, and 100 feet from Belford. It was 10:40 AM when I reached this point. An hour ago, there wasn't a cloud in sight. Now it looked like this below. This is Oxford from Belford.
I stood and watched the cloud activity for five minutes debating whether I wanted to race the storms or not. I probably would've been okay. In fact, a few hikers passed me deciding to go to Oxford and come back. As tired as I was, I did not want to be hustling from mountain to mountain, and then back. I decided to bag Belford and return another day for Oxford. I was moving slower than I normally hike, and I was already an hour off my anticipated time. Oh yeah, and I was tired.
This picture is from Belford's summit with Missouri Mt. behind me.
I started back down around 11:20 AM.
The view of the gulley on the descent.
Coming down the stream is beautiful in places. It was dark the first time I passed here so I stopped to take a picture.
Of course, then I had to take a picture of myself with the stream behind me.
I was back to the car by 1:30. When I got back, it was sunny. I wished I had gone to Oxford. Oh well, who knows, it could've been raining and hailing on the summit. I will never know. What I do know is I had fun, summitted two fourteeners, stayed dry, and was exhausted.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):