Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Colorado Vacation- Hermosa Creek & Molas Pass

We awoke the next morning and were surprised to find that we had camped approximately across the road from a free campground, and Hermosa creek. You know that trail they told us about along with the brewery. There is always something you miss by not going around the next corner. Live & learn. We decided to hike the trail, since we didn't know the conditions and since it had been raining every day off and on. The trail was beautiful & perfect. We spoke to some riders, and it turns out there would be a race the next day. But by the time we had finished hiking it was time for lunch and a big rain storm. Since we couldn't try the trail on bikes now, we thought it would be a good time to drive to the Colorado Trail to go on our planned backpacking trip. The Colorado trail intersects with the road to Silverton. You can follow the continental divide trail or the Colorado trail from the mountain pass before Silverton called Molas Pass. We had a trail guide, which described a free camping area near the trail, but it was closed for construction. We continued down the road to a campground next to a little lake just below the pass. Molas Lake was a beautiful campground, with fishing and fantastic views. The campground itself was rustic and $16. It served us well for a staging area. We used the rest of the evening to cook dinner & pack our backpacks. We calculated logistics, tested the weight of the packs, and prepared the dog's saddle bags. The pass itself is almost 11,000 ft in elevation (10,910), gasp. The trail would be going down to the Animas river & back up again on the other side to the continental divide. We would have to prepare for rain and who knows what. We went through our things and jettisoned all but the essentials. We still felt heavy, since we packed regular food instead of backpacking food, but at least we would eat well. The bear canisters also added extra poundage, but, after all we didn't pack our the food up there for the bears. According to the trail guide there would few camping spots where we could have fires, or even fire wood. The logistics included having to plan where we could camp below tree line and still have a fire, in case we had to dry out from a rainstorm. We polished off the vegetables and other things that would perish in the three days on the trail then faded off to sleep anxious and curious about the wild unknown awaiting for us the next three days.

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