Date: September 20, 2014
Trailhead: Meadow Creek
Distance: 16 miles
Elevation Gain: 5,850 ft.
Participants: Solo mission
Time: 9 Hours
Fall in the Gore. I like the sound of that. Fall in the Park. I like the sound of that too. On this day we’ll give the nod to the Gore. For a guy who still can’t ski, one who spends most of the winter behind a desk with his trusty calculator attached to his hip, the clock is ticking. However, with a couple of months to go, I’m trying to make the most of my time and spending as much of it in the great outdoors as possible. On most occasions these outings come with great company, but sometimes it’s just me and my own meandering thoughts. This past Saturday would be the latter.
With fall in the air I was looking to take advantage of the foliage in the high country while still managing to stay relatively close to home. The southern Gore seemed to fit the bill nicely. Hard to believe, but this would only be my 3rd trip all-time into this wonderland of a range (I have no idea why) and the 1st without snow. The maiden voyage came on a late October day in ’13 on Valhalla with an All-Star cast of 15 or so that included the Chalks, the Blyths, Sam and Marsters. The 2nd installment came in April on East Partner with Benny and Brian during my favorite episode of I Snowshoe with Skiers. Both trips are outings that I look back on fondly. Trip number 3 would be a slightly different kind of trip and it would have a lot to live up to :).
For many folks, let’s be serious… the three that I encountered along the way, Eccles Pass (approximately 5 miles from the Meadow Creek TH) is the end of the line. This journey, however, was just beginning.
Approaching the top of Red Buffalo Pass, the range begins to show some of its meat. The heart of the Gore is still many miles to the north and west, but you get a good feel and appreciation for what lies just over some of these jagged ridges. The views, in combination with the solitude, as I ascended Red’s southwest ridge literally make you forget that you’re still cranking out 1,300 feet of vert to reach the summit.
That’s all she wrote! All in all this was one of my favorite solo hikes to date. Thanks for the recommendations fellers. This was no doubt a perfect Indian Summer outing.
In conclusion and a little off topic, as I was drafting this 2 of our own lost a close friend to a short 2nd battle with cancer. It’s been a tough month for them and as you know my thoughts are with you guys. Without being a downer, I wanted to mention it, as it helps to reinforce in all of us what is really important in life, family and friends above all, and reminds us to be thankful that we are lucky enough to be able to wake up everyday in this great state of Colorado.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it, and cheers to fall (AND the 4-0 Nittany Lions)!