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"Baldy no es Cinco", Cinco Baldy, Pt 13,162 A, Pt 13,510 A
Route: Colorado Trail, with ridge run (no trail)
Elevation Gain: 4,541'
When hiking in the San Juans to the west of Lake City, it can be hard to pick out San Luis. So I figured it would be nice to do a couple 13ers in between the two areas. I was also interested in upping the mileage and elevation gain for a bit of training. More to see what I am capable of now that I have changed my diet, and was able to be more active this winter because of this change.
So I checked out the 2 TR's for this group (both from winter), and they seemed like it would be nice easy terrain to do some speed hiking. Also nice to put up some photos from what the area looks like in summer.
I car camped at the Spring Creek Pass trail head, which I learned then was also for the Colorado Trail. Hmm so the "pack trail" on the map would be a real trail! Nice. I would be able to ridge walk the 4 13ers, then waltz back on a nice groomed trail.
The day started off pretty cool, and the walk up to the Mesa went pretty quickly by the light of the quarter moon. Though once I got on top of the mesa and saw how far away the Baldy's were, I knew I had to get moving! I thought it would be a good idea to start trying to estimate when I thought I would get to another destination. Just so that I could try to get a visual guage on my pace, so that I could avoid storms by pushing for that 'one last summit'. I also was a complete idiot for not downloading the area maps onto my GPS, so I only had visual clues, no actual distance markers. Oh, I had maps galore, but I didn't want to take the extra time to measure. Good practice either way and probably a good habit to get into. I didn't have my time keeper Darrin with me this trip.
So 7am on the summit of Baldy no es Cinco.... go!
I got to the summit right around the time I thought I would. The low sun was still casting long shadows as I looked to the west at the rest of the San Juans. Short break, and I turned for Baldy Cinco.
The trek over went pretty quickly, as I only got distracted by some pretty yellow flowers. Another short break, eat, re-tie boots, start walking again. This time as I head down to the next saddle, I hear a bunch of weird sounds coming from down the ridge. It wasn't until halfway up 13,162 that I saw the herd of grazing sheep. Approaching the summit of 13,162 I saw the very tops of a couple of antlers, but by the time I got any closer, they were gone.
On 13,162 I look over to 13,510. It a bit of a distance to go, and some elevation loss and regain. Some very small puffy clouds have started, but based on my current pace, I should have no trouble summitting and getting down to the CT in time.
Only one problem, I have to backtrack a bit to the south, as there is a steep drop off (ie cliff) on the east side of the ridge between 13,162 and 13,510.
For a short section, I am able to walk the Colorado Trail before I turn up 13,510. Here is where I run into my first group of CT hikers, a father & son team. After a short talk, we both head in our different directions. Short distance later, I realize that I lost one of my sandals. I'm usually very good about strapping everything down, or lanyarding gear into place. Not today, so somewhere off trail is a lonely purple sandal. I would make an emergency trip into Lake city to find the only pair of flip-flops in my size...
Ahhh Peak #4 of the day. Glad to be here finally. The clouds have started getting puffier, and it's about 10:30am. I sign the summit register, and note some familiar names. Even a register from Gerry Roach from 2006.
On the descent of 13,510 I stray a bit more to the east to avoid rock hopping, as walking on tundra is so much faster!
Once back on the Colorado Trail, it's an easy, but long trek back to the pass. A group of two guys hiking the CT and I leap-frog all along the Snow Mesa trail back to the trail head. Since other than those two guys, the only other living beings are the herd of sheep and the dude on the horse herding them with his dogs.
Another part of my strategy for the trip, is to experiment how I feel eating a pure paleo diet (grass fed/wild caught meat and veggies). With the back-to-back big days of high mileage and elevation gain, I wanted to give my body every chance at recovery in between hikes. Considering I felt great every morning I woke up after eating such a meal, I think my experiment worked! The two guys I met on the trail were definitely jealous of my pound of bison burger!
On a strange note. As I was relaxing eating my awesome grilled meal, I heard the sounds of a cat's meow coming from the hood of a car parked near-by. As most of the cars were through hikers on the CT, I wondered what it may be. After awhile the lady with 2 dogs came back, and I told her about the cats sounds from the hood. Apparently the sounds have been there since the day before. Her dogs have been trying to claw their way into the engine compartment. She opened the hood, and we tried to look inside to find the source of the sound (that moved around). But no luck. I've heard of a frog that sounds like a cat, but never seen one. Let's hope that there isn't a cat/kitten in the engine compartment of the car!
Great pics, and TR! Thanks for sharing, looks like an amazing day! I'll have to add this to the list!
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