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Pikes Peak, Ruxton Park Questions

Information on peaks other than the CO 14ers and 13ers.
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Pikes Peak, Ruxton Park Questions

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:39 pm

Read an article from 2008, stating that Ruxton Park would no longer house caretakers (as they had for 78 years) and would replace that need with a more automated system. Anyone know if that did, indeed happen and does Ruxton Park have a population of zero now? :(

Also wondering if I can legally hike past Big Tooth reservoir, through Ruxton Park, and across the cog tracks on (what appears to be) a well established trail? It's on the topo maps and you can clearly see the trail on satellite images. The road that goes past the reservoir is a FS Rd, but I know hiking is not permitted at Lake Moraine...so...?

Also, anyone know how bad the bushwhack is on the ridge between Cameron's Cone and Mt Arthur? Aside from the bushwhack, what is the terrain like?
"If you're flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit."
- Mitch Hedberg

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Re: Pikes Peak, Ruxton Park Questions

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:17 pm

Like you, I'm waiting for a reply from someone more knowledgeable. (Jim Davies??)
Will share some Springs lore in the interim...

They used to have a pretty half-cocked caretaker up there. This goes back to the 80's. It was not uncommon to hear that he had marched someone off at gunpoint. I recall a mountain bike racer, probably in 1990, that told me the story of him fishing at one of the south slope lakes, when he dozed off, and woke to something pushing into the back of his head and the sound of a revolver cocking. I don't know if his story was true, but given the plethora of similar stories, it was believable.

This caretaker was, as lore has it, survived by his son, who was reputed to also be aggressive, but much more gentlemanly about it.

Then there's the relatively modern day story of a dear low-profile, highly prolific peak-bagger, camped back there and working on peaks, getting buzzed (and I mean practically to the ground) by Ft. Carson choppers, every time she tried to get out of the snow in the trees and hike on the road.

( :-k Yes, I know... when am I moving to Boulder, right?)


Edit: OMG, I wonder what their "more automated system" is going to be??

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Re: Pikes Peak, Ruxton Park Questions

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:03 pm

Hadn't heard about the dude from the 1980s and 1990. I'm sure some people who opt to live 5-6 months of the year in isolation, with 1 day off every 2 weeks (to either hike 6 mi RT to Manitou or drive 120+ mi RT to Colorado Springs to get groceries/supplies) may have some interesting personality quirks. :)

That being said, the caretakers from 1993-2007 were a semi-retired couple from Oregon who seemed to be kindly and enjoy the position and the beautiful setting. And the last caretaker that I'd heard of, seemed quite friendly as well.

But yes, the stories you relayed, somewhat fell into the realm of my concerns.

1. Didn't want to surprise the current caretaker (if one still existed) and his/her dog.

2. If no caretaker, didn't want to surprise a possible squatter (not being paranoid, I've encountered a few in some rather small enclosures) all kindly, but still unnerving.

3. Just wanted to know if I could be fined or would encounter any fenced off sections.

The trail I was going to take looks like it goes right through the yard of the caretakers house. Will try to give the structures a wide berth though.
"If you're flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit."
- Mitch Hedberg

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Re: Pikes Peak, Ruxton Park Questions

Postby KentonB » Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:41 am

Since I hiked "almost" right through Ruxton Park in April 2011, I figured I'd chime in.

Myself and a couple hiking partners also had concerns about this area and weren't sure what to expect. We hiked up the Barr Trail, then headed SW on Trail 706 straight for Ruxton Park. Near the park is a trestle bridge. There were "Danger. No Trespassing" signs on the bridge, but they seemed more for safety than anything else.

Anyway, after the bridge, we crossed Ruxton Creek as soon as we could just before we got to the park and headed up Sheep Mountain (also called "Palsgrove" on some maps). We then crossed directly over to Marys Mountain which sits due south of Ruxton Park. Since we wanted to climb Grandview Rock (due north of Ruxton Park) we headed right past the park on its east side... crossed the creek and cog railway, and went up the slope to the rock formation. Along the way, we never saw a sole... human or dog. I've attached a few pics below and would be happy to respond to any other questions. We figured either there was no caretaker, or if there was, he was out for the day!

On the way back, we did come across another hiker on his way up. He was using Trail 706 to access Cameron Cone.

Here are a few pics for beta...

P1450086 (800x600) (640x480).jpg
Trestle Bridge
P1450086 (800x600) (640x480).jpg (275.5 KiB) Viewed 403 times
The bridge was well constructed and easy to walk across.

P1450171 (800x600) (640x480).jpg
This is where Trail 706 exits onto the cog railway.
P1450171 (800x600) (640x480).jpg (255.73 KiB) Viewed 403 times
This is looking east down the tracks.

P1450100 (800x600) (640x480).jpg
Ruxton Park from the top of Sheep/Palsgrove Mountain
P1450100 (800x600) (640x480).jpg (235.11 KiB) Viewed 403 times
We didn't see cars or caretakers!

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Re: Pikes Peak, Ruxton Park Questions

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Sat Apr 27, 2013 6:59 am

Thank you. Wish me luck! :)
"If you're flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit."
- Mitch Hedberg

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Re: Pikes Peak, Ruxton Park Questions

Postby KentonB » Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:14 am

Good Luck! :-D

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Re: Pikes Peak, Ruxton Park Questions

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:20 am

Good luck, and let us know how it goes! I'm sure everything will be just fine. :-D

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Re: Pikes Peak, Ruxton Park Questions

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Sat Apr 27, 2013 7:00 pm

Long story short, I didn't pass through Ruxton Park this time around.

Was planning to do Cameron's Cone via Englemann, then onto Sheep Mtn, and Marys Mtn. Unfortunately, there was too much snow on the ridge from Cameron to Sheep and I turned back after some frustrating postholing and falling through a few small boulders...so, I went back to the summit of Cameron and then descended the way I came up.

Will be venturing through Ruxton Park in about a month or so.
"If you're flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit."
- Mitch Hedberg

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Re: Pikes Peak, Ruxton Park Questions

Postby KentonB » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:27 pm

Let me know if you need any more details. I have GPS tracks as well! Both Sheep and Marys were fun mountains with spectacular views... I particularly liked Marys!

Oh, and don't pass up Grandview Rock while you're there! A lot of people do, but this was the best of the group in my opinion!

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Re: Pikes Peak, Ruxton Park Questions

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:19 pm

This trip sounds fun! If you would like a partner, I'd like to tag along.

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Re: Pikes Peak, Ruxton Park Questions

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:23 pm

Thanks, some GPS tracks are always useful. And thanks for the suggestion on Grandview Rock...will try to add that one in. Trying not to get over zealous, but I'd also considered: Rocky Mtn, Mt Manitou, Arthur and Garfield...so many peaks in that area and so little daylight!

I'll PM you my email address, would love to get tracks. Thanks again!

Dances - will let you know when I head that way again, but I think you'd be frustrated with my pace...we can discuss over PM. Maybe in 2 or 4 weeks, when the snow has melted down a little more. I wasn't expecting that much snow and didn't have the right gear.

Some young European gents had come up from the north side (after route finding issues) said they were wallowing in 2-3 ft of snow and having to scramble over boulders. When I told them I was headed that way towards Sheep, the Belgium guy said in his eloquent accent, "It was not good"...and I found that he was right....
"If you're flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit."
- Mitch Hedberg

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Re: Pikes Peak, Ruxton Park Questions

Postby susanjoypaul » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:33 am

IHikeLikeAGirl wrote:Trying not to get over zealous, but I'd also considered: Rocky Mtn, Mt Manitou, Arthur and Garfield...so many peaks in that area and so little daylight!

Cameron Cone? Sheep? Marys? Grandview, Manitou, Arthur & Garfield? Be careful Val, you are getting dangerously close to becoming an El Paso County Summits peak-bagger! :-D

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