I’ve been wanting to hike Montrose County’s high point, Castle Rock, for quite awhile. Castle Rock doesn’t appear much higher than its neighbor Storm King from Highway 550 and Log Hill Mesa but the whole ridge is very prominent. I set off to follow the directions on Summit Post but on the ground things didn’t appear quite as described. Instead, I found myself at the base of these cliffs to the south of where I was supposed to ascend the ridge.
I poked around a bit and found this gully that looked like it would “go” to the top of Storm King. Although it was really steep, it was an extremely direct way to attain the ridge. I think I totally preferred it to the wooded ridge recommended on Summit Post.
The gully attained the ridge just south of Storm King and I ambled south towards Castle Rock first, stopping a couple times to enjoy the views to the west and to get the lay of the land.
The ridge is fairly flat and it took me very little time at all to get to the summit of Castle Rock. Although things that I’d read seemed to insinuate that Castle Rock wasn’t all that impressive, I found the view amazing. I could look out to the east and the Cimarron valley, southeast to the West Fork Cimarron basin, southwest to the Sneffles Range and Ridgway, and west towards the Uncompahgre Plateau and beyond to Utah’s La Sal Mountains.
Ridgway and the Sneffles Range:
Castle Rock panorama:
I ambled over to the summit of Storm King before heading back to the Jeep definitely please with this hike!
It took me almost a year and a half to finish the first phase of my quilting project and now just a scant three months after finishing that, I’m on to the next part! I’ve almost completed sewing the hexagons into groups of seven and now they’re all laid out on the floor awaiting assembly!
Just like when I was making the individual hexagons, I aimed for about 250 hexagons to a quart size bag; this amounted to 36 pieces made up of 7 hexagons. This meant each gallon zie bag contained 1008 hexagons.
I think I can start to visualize a finished product!
Sprocket and I camped just down the hill from Strawberry Peak. In the morning, we meandered along Reservation Ridge Road and tried to descend a road through a canyon. Just before we reached the flats before US 6, the road was gated and locked. We turned around and headed back for Reservation Ridge Road and were treated to the happy sounds of a flock of grazing sheep.
We finally left Reservation Ridge Road onto US 191 and descended towards Price, Utah. From Price, we headed for Bruin Point, another Utah 2,000′ prominence peak. The views just got better and better after we passed through Sunnydale and the road wound up to the summit at 10,184′.
A pretty sweet aerial mining tram hung above the road most of the way up the mountain. I can’t find too much specific information but it looks like the mine was for natural asphalt. According to Carbon County’s US GenWeb site, the mine was established in the 1890s and closed in 1898. Between 1903 and the mid-1930s the mine operated occasionally, sometimes selling its product for 50% of its value to try and bolster the market. Today, you can still spot some tram cars on the cables as you drive up the valley.
After hitting the summit of Bruin point, we headed back to the highway and turned for home.
From Strawberry Reservoir, we headed to our next objective, Strawberry Peak. Strawberry Peak is one of Utah’s 80+ peaks with 2,000′ of prominence. Sprocket hasn’t been up for much hiking lately so we were on a Jeep based peakbagging adventure!
After quite a bit of meandering around, we approached Strawberry Peak just as the sun was turning everything gold.
We drove right the summit of the 10,335′ peak. What amazing views all around!
From Salt Lake City, F headed north to Idaho on his way to Oregon for his brother’s wedding—unfortunately, with my new job I wasn’t able to join him. Instead, Sprocket and I headed back to Ridgway exploring along the way.
Our first adventure was driving up Big Cottonwood Canyon to cross over Guardsman Pass. We were delayed a little bit at the top by the Tour of Utah coming through but it was fun to take a different route anyway!
We wound our way down to Heber, picked up some groceries and then headed east on US40 bound for Strawberry Reservoir.
While I was at the Outdoor Retailer Show, I received a last minute invitation to join in on a sunset #hikerchat adventure to Lake Blanche. Never one to turn down a hike, I heartily accepted the invitation.
This was not a hike I was super prepared for. I didn’t have a warm layer for after dark, my headlamp was in a different pack, and I certainly hadn’t prepared for a late-late dinner. (I also didn’t have a camera so all my photos are courtesy my hiking buddies.) Really, it didn’t matter all that much. It was a gorgeous hike and I was happy to have met a bunch of great people.
With a group our size, we didn’t make amazing time up the trail but we did arrive at the lake just in time to take in the last bits of sun through the SLC smog. Along the way, I chatted with Jordan about an epic traverse of the basin rim he’d done recently—I can definitely see more adventure with him in the 3Up future!
As we left the lake, I jumped into the lead. The moon was bright and I had a sneaking suspicion I could make it quite awhile before I had to accept one of the flash lights being offered to me as long as I didn’t get blinded by the artificial lights of others. Eventually it became a challenge to make it down the whole way—I totally succeeded! It was late before we were all back at the trailhead and headed back to town. I wrapped up the evening with a midnight diner dinner with Josh, Jordan, Adam N., and ThatOutdoorGuy Adam. This pretty much sums up our dinner:
F, SP, and I took a short break from the Outdoor Retailer Show on Friday morning to do a short hike with an old friend of F’s. (Hi Jen!) We wanted to keep the hike short and Sprocket friendly since he’d been cooped up a bit during the show.* We wondered around the lower part of Millcreek Canyon a bit and enjoyed the sunshine.
*We owe tons of thanks to Josh for letting him hang out at his house, to Josh’s roommate and Aleya for letting him outside during the day, and to Katie, Laurie, Adam, and Kristie for all the loves.
Obviously, I knew exactly where Katie should come in the San Juans: Ridgway!
When she and her friend Heather arrived, we were all set on hiking but it was 2pm and there were a few threatening storm clouds hovering over the Cimarrons ruling out Courthouse Mountain and any high peaks in the Sneffels range so we decided to go up to Ouray and hike the Perimeter Trail.
As we passed the Old Twin Peaks trailhead, we abandoned all plans of the Perimeter trail instead deciding to head up. We didn’t go to the summit, instead heading down the Twin Peaks trail enjoying the views the whole way. The rain held off until the very end of our hike. It was so lovely to be outdoors with a couple of ladies who love the outdoors as much as I do. (Katie teased me just a little bit about always taking longer hikes than we planned…)
Now, who’s going to come hike to the summit with me?