Peak(s):  Mt. Lindsey  -  14,042 feet
Date Posted:  07/23/2012
Modified:  09/26/2012
Date Climbed:   07/23/2012
Author:  scrambling
 My First Sangre  

This was my first trip to the Sangre de Cristo Range.

About the time I turned off of the paved road and began the 22-mile drive on county and forest roads up into the mountains it began to rain.

The higher I drove, the more it rained. And there was lightening.

Finally, based on my odometer readings and the route description, I knew I was getting close to the parking lot at the trailhead. However, it was getting darker by the second and raining harder by the minute.

In the tumult, I mistook a pullout for a camping spot for the road and turned in.

I quickly realized the mistake, and I could have backed up and gotten back on the road and continued on to the trailhead.

Instead I said to myself; "This looks like a nice spot to camp."

So I turned off the engine, rotated the seat back and slept right there in the cab of the truck; not even bothering to climb into the bed of the truck and my sleeping bag.

About the time I was starting to doze off headlights flashed in the dark and a vehicle drove past me on the road.

Soon the car stopped and it became apparent that they were stopping to camp not too far away from me. I also noticed that, in the hour or so that had passed, the rain had stopped and the stars had begun to shine.

I awoke in the wee hours of the morning. After some breakfast I got back on the road and quickly realized that my "camping" spot was less than 200 yard from the trailhead. The people that drove up in the night after me were camped at the trailhead.

While I did not have much trouble with the Class 3 climbs of the gullies I did get lost a couple of times on the hiking portion of the approach trail and had to use my GPS to get back on track.

It is an interesting trail because at times it is very pronounced and easy to follow and then suddenly it peters out in one of the several wet, marshy areas that are thick with willows. During the ascent I was in such a place, searching for signs of the trail in the early dawn light. When I stopped to look for the trail a willow branch must have caught my leg because, when I started to walk forward again, I immediately tripped and did a face plant into the marsh.

At another point the trail passes through a high basin surrounded by the mountains and I stopped and marveled at how still it was, and how pretty. I was the only person in that entire vast basin and I looked up on the ridge high above me and there was a deer standing there in a notch, silhouetted by the sun. It was very nice scene. Perhaps it was God's way of making up for the ignominy of the earlier face plant.

Basin 1

Basin 2

The gully was loose but not as bad as I thought it might be.Image

The views from the summit of Mt. Lindsey are fantastic. Looking down on the valley below gives you the sense of being in an airplane and the views of Blanca and Little Bear Peaks are great.



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