Bucket List Gold Camp Road

Gold Camp Road Scenery

Well I finally did it… I drove the length of Gold Camp Road from Victor to Colorado Springs, something I have always wanted to do but never quite worked up the nerve to actually do! I wasn’t planning on it… The plan was to test out the GPS on the phone by driving in a couple of miles to Almagre Mountain and hike a couple miles to the summit for some exercise. The GPS worked splendidly, taking me not a couple of miles, but five miles to a turn off and then three more on a rugged forest road to an unmarked turnout, at which time it told me I had “arrived at my destination”. There were no trail markings, no real hiking trail, just an ugly jeep road heading right up the side of the mountain 😦

Rugged Gold Camp Road Colorado

Pretty soon another four wheeler pulled up and saw me looking up the mountain and asked me skeptically I might add, if my truck had 4wd. No, I replied… my plan was to hike the short route on foot to the summit. Looking relieved he responded, well it’s about two miles up this jeep road to another jeep road at which time you turn left to another jeep road and it will take you to the summit. Apparently there is another trailhead up yet another jeep road a couple of miles up Gold Camp that is supposed to be shorter but I wasn’t able to locate that route. Having already climbed Grouse Mountain earlier in the day I decided to abandon that plan and head for home…

Gold Camp Road

However once I got back to Gold Camp Road I got to thinking it might be fun to check off that bucket list item and complete the drive down to Colorado Springs. So I turned the old Dodge left and went for broke. Lol… now for my description of Gold Camp Road… It is a stupendously bad washboard riddled, pothole filled, rocky, curvy narrow road traveling through numerous single lane sections between rocky walls that don’t always stay in place and some allegedly haunted tunnels. Several times I had to maneuver around minor cave ins, large rocks in the road and huge holes. My truck was rattling, my teeth were rattling and everything passing by in the other direction was rattling! And that was the good part… when I got closer to the Springs the ride got steeper, rockier, and even more filled with holes!

Gold Camp Road Scenery

That being said though, the scenery was spectacular, especially the steep part near the Springs. There were a few places where it was possible to look back on the rugged mountains of the Pike National Forest and even though it was mid day by then some of my pictures are kind of nice, at least I think so anyway πŸ™‚ Also the road is lined with aspen groves from end to end so I would highly recommend this route to autumn leaf seekers! I think the colors will be spectacular in late September and early October this year!

Finally I arrived at the end of the dirt road and wound the rest of my way down to the city on the paved portion of Old Stage Road, which I think is what Gold Camp used to be called. According to Westside Pioneer Online, the road has a rich old west history with it’s beginnings as a railway to transport gold ore between Cripple Creek and Midland. Now it popular with four wheelers and ATV enthusiasts and I also saw a few mountain bikers negotiating the steep ascent from Colorado Springs.

Don’t think I’ll need to make that trip again, unless maybe I finally get the jeep that I have been wanting my entire life… but that’s a whole ‘nuther story! As always a couple of these images are available for purchase as wall art and gift items on my website! The traffic and the heat down in the city were horrendous so I think I’ll just sit out the rest of the holiday weekend and wait for the tourists to go home. Next week when the mountains aren’t so crowded I may visit Waterton Canyon again and I have hopes of hiking to Continental Falls near Breck πŸ™‚ Stay tuned!

 

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My Go To Move

One go to move has served me well throughout my entire life, when I am down and can’t think of anything I want to do I can always find the motivation to “get in shape”. Since my best buddy crossed Rainbow Bridge last week I haven’t felt like doing anything, nothing sounds good, nothing sounds fun and I have been just laying around the house watching stupid shows on TV.

Bucks in Grouse MeadowBut today the old message finally came through, “You can’t get all out of shape now.”. So even though I didn’t want to and I knew I was going to feel nothing but sadness on top of the mountain that I have never climbed without my Big Dog, I packed up my gear and drove to the trailhead.Β  It took a lot less timeΒ  to reach the summit without having to stop and dig up every prairie dog hole along the way and I got a lot more out of breath with the more steady pace that I can set without so many distractions.

But without the unbridled enthusiasm of my big four legged buddy to light the way, most of the joy has been removed from the experience. However there is still the idea in the back of my head that I am training for something greater, perhaps there will be a 14er in my future, or maybe a long hike into the wilderness to see a waterfall. I have been looking at Mount Quandary on my 14ers.com account… Maybe it will be my first peak in my sixth decade of life on this earth. Time will tell.

I didn’t see any animals at the summit, but on my way down I encountered my three buck mule deer friends who were on their way in a hurry, probably to some favorite location in the high meadows πŸ™‚

Bucks in Grouse Meadow

Summer Doe

Cute Doe Mule DeerNot finding much wildlife these days, the sun comes up so early and it is already hot by 8:00 a.m. By this time most of the wildlife has retreated to the cool of the dense forest… and out of view for this photographer! There was one doe today, pausing to enjoy the lush mountain grass which has grown tall and green from all of the rain and snow we’ve had this year. She cast a wary eye in our direction but continued to feed between furtive glances. Each time I waited for her to look up before snapping a picture… pictures of an animal with it’s head in the grass make for a pretty boring subject. I was hoping a few more of the beautiful wildflowers would show brightly, but it is what it is.

Cute Doe Mule Deer

The Fawns

Mama Deer and Fawns

Today’s trek turned out to be extra special due to a rare fawn sighting πŸ™‚ As I neared the turnaround point in the out and back part of the trail I saw movement in the mountain grass. At first I thought it was going to be a fox or maybe a coyote but as I looked through my long glass I discovered that it was a little fawn mule deer. Soon a second baby appeared followed by the mama who immediately spotted me and stopped for a long suspicious stare. The babies soon gatheredΒ  close to their mother for protection and joined the vigil. Eventually they decided that I was not threatΒ  and continued along their way as I hid behind a tree using a branch to steady the camera. I stayed until they were out of sight, capturing this cute scene of the two little ones in tow πŸ™‚

Mama Deer and Fawns

I love springtime in the mountains with all the new life and it is my sincere hope that through my pictures others will come to appreciate life in all it’s precious beauty and fragility and gain an understanding of the importance of preserving it for future generations to enjoy.

 

Eleven Mile Canyon Fiasco V2

Go to Eleven Mile Canyon they say… “It will be fun!” 😦 So I’ve been thinking about Eleven Mile Canyon for six years now. Tried to go one other time on a whim, went past a sign near Florissant that said Eleven Mile Reservoir. After a few miles of horrendous washboard dirt road and ugly Pike National Forest desert wilderness I finally gave up. Came to a sign pointing back to Florissant so I just took that turn for a few more miles of teeth rattling, shock absorber busting washboard road 😦

Today’s plan was much better. Using Google Maps I located the correct turn off of highway 24, which was actually in Lake George. Sure enough, Forest Service signs pointing to Eleven Mile Canyon on CR 96 and the promise of miles of pristine flowing water of the South Platte Headwaters. Unfortunately if you stay on CR 96 it just becomes CR 244 which leads to the same butt busting washboard roads that the one from Florissant leads to with no pristine flowing river in sight anywhere 😦

Herd of Mule Deer Bucks

Eventually I did see a sign at a turnoff that said “Eleven Mile Canyon” 5 miles. Took the turn and saw another sign with little pictures of a dirt bike, an ATV and a Jeep. Stopped short and looked over the single lane Jeep road and decided to call it a day. I knew I had to be getting close to Guffy though so I just kept going on the road I was on hoping for imminent delivery onto the paved 112.

A couple of miles later I came to a T in the road, one way to the reservoir and the other to Guffy.  I did actually drive the two miles west to make it to the reservoir this time and managed to get this picture without having to pay to get into the state park, which by this time I was in no mood for 😐

Eleven Mile Reservoir in Summer

As a bonus I saw the above nice looking buck mule deer hanging out in the wilderness of the Pike National Forest. He had a couple buddies but they quickly talked it over and decided I wasn’t a welcome addition to their little club and took off. I got a few shots of them running away but nothing worth bothering to process in Photoshop.

Now that I’m home looking at the map more closely I can see the error of my ways and may give it another shot some day.

One Deer and Wildflowers

Deer in the Rockies

Pretty quiet morning on the trail… Saw one lone deer peering back at me from a field of wildflowers and rocks. We were far enough away so as to not cause any alarm and were able to get this nice shot πŸ™‚ No more wildlife was seen on the trek, but there are a lot of nice wildflowers blooming. Don’t know what these yellow ones actually are, I’m no flora and fauna expert for sure… but they look nice and make for some nice pictures πŸ™‚

Also got to try out my AllTrails.com hike logger on my new Verizon phone. It’s only a

Mountain Wildflowers

Samsung J3 but I like it OK. Was extremely disappointed with my previous phone that didn’t work at all in the mountains. So I successfully recorded today’s hike and was rewarded with a cool map and elevation profile. Haven’t figured out how to share it yet though… maybe the information will only be for myself. But still pretty cool even though I’m not sure what it is going to be good for πŸ™‚

As always these images and more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas or traditional framing and matting. Tons of cool gift, tech, apparel and household items are also available with a #swkrullimaging picture!

Mountain Wildflowers

 

Happy Herd

It has been a long time coming but we finally have leaves on the aspen trees in the high country. Of course it was only last week that I was still scraping snow and ice off of my windshield before the trip to the trailhead! Well, it was a beautiful sunny morning on the trail today and the wildlife certainly seemed to be enjoying it. The deer have been living off of the parched dry mountain grass all winter and now they have aspen leaves and dandelions to make life a little better for them.Β  I wasn’t able to get very close today but this distant shot of them at the edge of the wilderness should give you the idea of the joy that summer’s annual sojourn is delivering πŸ™‚

Deer on the Rocky Mountain HillsideAs always this picture and more are available on my website as wall art and cool gift items! Click the link if you like!