Snowshoeing: West Fork of the Cimarron

From Ridgway, the Cimarrons look like a single ridge but what is visible from town is really the two ridges that surround the West Fork of the Cimarron. This basin is astoundingly beautiful and isn’t that hard to get to, provided that in the winter you have access to a snowmobile. The basin is accessed from Owl Creek Pass which is groomed from the Forest Service boundary on the west side (Ridgway) down to Silver Jack Reservoir and parking on the east side.

When a plan was hatched to go snowshoeing in the basin a small problem was presented: there were three people and one snowmobile. Turns out, that if one person is willing to brave some bruises and an awkward ride (ahem, that person was…me), crazier things have happened.

As silly as the ride to the basin was, just being in the basin was the highlight of the day. Initially, we’d hoped to head up Courthouse Mountain but with an unsettled snowpack, we decided to spend our time in the shadow of Dunsinane, Precipice Peak, Redcliff, Coxcomb, and an unnamed 12er.

Snowshoeing, West Fork Basin

Not only were our views of the peaks immediately surrounding us awesome, but so were the views north towards the Elks and Mount Lamborn.

Views to the Elks and Lamborn

As we climbed higher into the basin the views just got better and better. The sky was an amazing amazing blue and the temperatures were perfect for ambling around the snow.

West Fork Basin

Cimarron Basin

Carefully, we made our way through the trees to the western rim of the basin between Courthouse and UN 12725. I always love getting up above Ridgway; while the Sneffels Range and the Cimarrons are very visible it’s really easy to forget that Utah’s La Sal and Abajo Mountains aren’t very far away. Even the Henry Mountains are visible south of Hanksville, Utah.

Beth

Ridgway

Ridgway

After enjoying the view, we descended back into the basin and headed back to the snowmobile. It’s been a long time since I’ve done almost five miles on snowshoes and my legs were feeling it! It didn’t help that my snowshoes are designed for snowshoe running and are a bit small for the task of tromping around in powdery stuff but the day was so glorious I didn’t care one bit.

Cimarrons

Colorado 13er: Precipice Peak

After spending so much of October immersed in my #damselNOTindistress project, I decided that it was finally time for me to get out and enjoy the last of the gorgeous fall weather that we’d been experiencing in the San Juans. Since I still wanted to have time to get back and keep working on the house, I chose Precipice Peak. It was highly appealing as a 13er that I can see from town and it’s a pretty short hike from the 4WD trailhead in the West Fork valley.

Precipice Peak

It felt so astoundingly good to be out with Sprocket after spending so much time going from work at school to work on the house.

Sprocket and Beth on the slopes of Precipice Peak

Cimarrons

I was reminded how small I feel in the outdoors and how alive that makes me feel:

Feeling small on Precipice

Sprocket on Precipice Peak

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The views from the top were some of the best that I’ve seen. I could see out into Utah spotting the La Sals and the Abajos. I could see a long ways south into the San Juans, enjoying views of mountains I’d climbed: Mt. Sneffels, Uncompahghre Peak, and Courthouse.

Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn, Matterhorn

View NW to Courthouse

We made great time heading back down the slopes. Sprocket entertained me by frolicking in the alpine meadows. ♥

Sprocket on Precipice