Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Rawahs Part 6.

Before I even really get into it, I am writing about this day and hike a year after it was done, so please forgive my possibly faulty memory.  One thing I do remember and can definitely see now looking back through the photos was the moody weather.  The prediction for the day wasn't great, I suppose I generally got lucky, yet still got quite precipitated on.
I started dark and early from my home in Longmont, for the drive to get to the northwest part of Larimer County is not short.  I first found my way north to CO-14, and headed up the Poudre Canyon.  I went most of the way to Cameron Pass, but turned north on Road 103/Laramie River Road (seasonally closed) a few miles before the pass.  I continued north on 103 until I reached 90/McIntyre Road, where I took a left.
The goal for the day was a handful of summits, three that I'd visit from different parking areas in the valley between the Rawahs to the west and Deadman Lookout area to the east, and two I'd be able to do from the same place more to the south, between this valley and that of the Poudre Canyon.  With days like this, I'll either do the farthest out thing first and work my way back, or do the biggest/most pressing goal first and then do the others.
My first goal was the farthest away, peak 8775.  This summit lies on private property, and I attempted to gain permission but never heard back.  The land is unsigned and unfenced, with a large area next to the road to park on.  Forgive me my trespasses...
Early morning, looking north.
I was up and down in a short time.
Back at the car, I continued west/south on 90 to get to a small pull out to the south west of North Middle Mountain.  It looks like there is an old road that went to the summit.  Now you have to hike it, but it's short and easy. 
At the summit, foreboding clouds a sign of times to come!
Early morning sun shadow.
Looking south down the valley,
I got back to the car and started south, back on 103 once again.  Middle Mountain was my next goal for the day.  Appropriately named, this summit is in the middle of the valley.  Interestingly, most of it is public, however it is ringed by private property on the western side.  There is a small trailhead with a restroom almost directly south of the summit, but there isn't a trail to the top from there.  There is a trail from the summit that goes south, but I am not sure where it goes or what if anything it connects to...
There is an old road on the USGS and USFS maps to the east- perhaps this trail is an offshoot of that?  Who knows.
I parked at a substantial pull out on the west side of the road northwest of the summit.  It looks like this may be on private property, however it is not signed/fenced/etc., so I felt ok parking there.  I simply took the path of least resistance to the top from there.
It was slightly bushwhacky, but the main source of difficulty was a brief rain storm that left everything wet and slippery. 
Though below treeline, the summit was devoid of trees to the south, which again provided some marvelous views. 
The summit cairn.
Can't remember if there was a register here on not at this point.
I headed back the way I came to get to the car, and once again drove south.
My next and final leg of the day would link up peaks 10020 and 10060 starting and ending from the Lost Lake trailhead.  Funny how every "lost" lake I've been to in Colorado thus far has a trail right to it and/or is easily accessible.  The trailhead is off of 103 pretty close to highway 14.  With 4wd and high clearance, you could drive quite a bit in on jeep road 177, but I had neither and didn't mind the hike!
There are a number of off shoots from the road at first, remember to stay right.  I continued along the road until I was south of the eastern Twin Lake, and then picked a route to the summit of 10020.  The bushwhacking was a big rough at first but cleared up nicely, however the weather rolled in.  It was raining, then snowing, then I finally got to experience the most badass and metal of weather phenomena-thunder snow.
I got to the top, and then quickly continued on.  The next section was tricky, again quite slick with the precipitation, and quite rocky.  There were several times I either had to go back or go around to be able to descend to the northwest.  I decided that looked like the best route-drawing a straight line between the summits would give too much loss and gain in that difficult terrain, and going all the way back west to the road seemed unnecessary.  It was still nearly 900 feet of loss and subsequent gain to the summit of 10060.
It was still precipitating and I was cold, so I tagged the summit and headed west for road 177.  The bushwhacking here was quite easy through an open forest.  I hit the road and hoofed it back.
It was generally ok, though as you head farther south and get to some more open areas, you can clearly see people are driving off the road and where ever they want.  There are a few places where the road is braided, with alternate routes winding over each other.  It looks like some of these avoid big muddy areas, but remember, no matter your mode of transportation, you should always go through, not around mud to stop this from happening in the first place!
Past the storm, back to the car.
I got back to the car at a decent time, and made the long drive home with five more Larimer County peaks under my belt.  If it wasn't so close to the potential end of the season (this was in early October), I likely wouldn't have gone with the weather as it was.  However, I was determined to get the long drives over, and finish up a goal for the year.
Despite the weather, and maybe because of it, the day was pretty nice.  While not a fan of getting rained on, the swirling clouds and differing conditions definitely made the views all that more dramatic and enchanting.  These summits were fun to string together, and worthy destinations to visit for some unique views.
Link to hike map/GPX on caltopo (in black).
The Rawahs Part 6:
8775: .75 miles round trip, 667 foot gain.  Second class.  Easy+, but on private property.
North Middle Mountain, 8864 feet: 1.5 miles round trip, 530 foot gain.  Second class.  Easy+.
Middle Mountain, 9344 feet: 2.55 miles round trip, 1107 foot gain.  Second class.  Moderate-.
10020: 4.05 miles, 674 foot gain.  Second class.  Moderate.
10060: 6.9 miles, 714 foot gain.  Second class.  Moderate.
I linked the last two together in a loop which was 12.21 miles long with 2187 feet of elevation gain.  Moderate+.

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