Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Less than two weeks already!

Unreal, we have less than two weeks left in Durango, and we are trying to make the best of it.  We even made a list to be sure we do all the things we absolutely want to do before we leave.  That list includes several hikes, two of which we have done the last few days, both were on the famous Colorado Trail, and very different I might add.  I mentioned when we went up to Kennebec Pass, there was another longer hike to Taylor Lake that we wanted to do, but the fact we had just finished a 1/1/2 mile hike and the fact we were at 11,700', we decided to do that 2.8 mile hike another time.  We also wanted to try a portion of the trail near the town of Durango up Junction Creek.  These are actually two hikes on the same portion of the trail that goes from Durango, up over Kennebec Pass, and then on to Taylor Lake, a full 22+ miles and the highest elevation gain on the whole Colorado Trail, somewhere about 5000'.

The first day we went up the Junction Creek part of the trail.  It was nice and easy along the crystal clear creek.  It was pleasant, in and out of the trees with the constant sounds of moving water.  It was fairly level for the first mile, then it began to steadily climb as you went higher and higher above the water.
Jan starting out

A real nice wooded trail

The crystal clear water

Interesting erosion on the rocks
We climbed higher and higher and decided to turn around at about the 1 1/2 mile point and come back later to a different spot on the trail and do it again.  A nice easy hike.

Then we went back up La Plata Canyon to do the Taylor Lake hike.  We did this on Sunday and were a little apprehensive as we expected lots of people around.  Actually we lucked out, we passed only two couples hiking and 4 really serious mountain bikers fly by us!  We climbed the mountain and only met a few jeeps, then set out on our hike after a bit of uncertainty about which trail was correct.  It was a gorgeous day and the temp was perfect about 60 degrees.
The beginning of the trail

Our views were pretty awesome!

Looking across to Columbus Basin
It was about 1.4 miles to Taylor Lake, and the path was super, and mostly level with a few ups and downs to make it interesting, as if the views weren't enough.  We have hiked quite a bit over the years, and this hike was superb, it was if you were on the top of the world!  I am enclosing a short video that might make more clear what we were experiencing.             

We worked our way around the slope and out popped Taylor Lake!

I tried to do a panorama to show the magnificence of the place.

After poking around there for awhile we headed back for our picnic lunch, and what a spot sitting there on the back of the pickup munching away:)
Our lunch view
Since it was now afternoon on a beautiful clear Sunday, the people started to arrive, in Jeeps, trucks, 4-wheelers, RZRs, dirt bikes, you get the idea, so it was clear to us it was time to go....  So down the mountain we went, and on the way we decided to detour up into Columbus Basin, one of the pictures above.  Well, that road got seriously rough very quickly, but we pushed on a couple miles until we broke out in the middle of that incredible bowl or basin.
Mine remnants

Looking back across to the Colorado Trail

Quite a spot
And another experiment with a panorama to give you an idea of the "bowl".

While we were there, we heard an engine sound getting closer and closer, and although the pictures don't show it very well, it is so steep, it is difficult to see up and down the road.  It got closer and closer and this popped out.
Interesting rig
So after our incredible day we headed back down the mountain and back to the campground with two more items checked off our list.

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