Wednesday, March 1, 2000

More Spring/Summer Calendar 2000

June 2000
No meetings/outings.

July 2000
No meetings/outings. However, if you or anyone you know might be interested in going on a backpack trip into the South San Juan Wilderness just southwest of Alamosa, Colorado, contact Dick Worm.

The idea is as follows: Since Dick MAY be helping with a national Sierra Club outing in that same wilderness from July 23-29 because of his past experience in that wilderness in 1991 and 1997, he is planning to lead a trip for local Sierra Society youth and adults into the same area, backpacking from July 16-21. Jim Fahrion, White Pine Group past Chair, who helped lead the 1997 youth outing there; Mike Marty, Hempstead Science Dept. Chair, who has helped lead many previous youth outings the last being in 1996; and 2 or 3 other adults and one college-age youth are interested, if dates and such work out. DIck is willing to take anyone interested in such an adventure.

Plan is to leave Dubuque on July 14, camp in Kansas, and get to Alamosa on the 15th, camping at the local KOA. Dick's vans and Sierra Society's trailer could be used, or other private vehicles. Dick might take his car so he could stay there with it while others return to Iowa after the backpacking.

Backpacking would begin on July 16th from a trailhead just north of the Conejos Campground on the Conejos River on a Forest Service Road south of Platoro Reservoir. (This is straight west of La Jara on U.S. 285. Conejos Peak, 13,172 ft., which is also shown on my Rand McNally and State Farm Road Atlases, would be one of our day-hike objectives.)

At the trailhead, we may have to wade across a spring run-off overflow channel in order to get to the bridge that crosses the main channel of the Conejos River. We would then backpack westward, upstream along the south fork of the Conejos less than 5 miles wading a couple of tributary streams to camp at the mouth of Canon Verde. Elevation gain is only from 8960 ft. to 9600 ft. A good little hike to help with the acclimatization to altitude. There is a little swimming hole upstream in Canon Verde and a nice ridge to scramble up at this campsite.

On July 17th we would continue 5 mi. upstream along the south fork, past the mouth of Canon Rincon (which we backpacked down in 1997), and on up on new trail to me within about one mile of Blue Lake which sits right on the continental divide. We would camp at about 11,200 ft. still on the s. fork. The last part of this trail seems to be the steepest and ascends through forested terrain. We could take a hike over to Blue Lake that evening or the next morning. (Blue Lake is a prime objective on this trip as Dick has not been to it before.)

July 18th, we would backpack on up along the S. Fork northeastward about 3.5 miles to its source, the 12,000 ft. Glacier Lake. Here, we could leave our packs, and day-hike on up to the summit of Conejos Peak. It is a pretty gentle climb of another 1172 ft. stretched out over about 3 miles. Afternoon storms are common so we'd want an early start that day. We would return to Glacier Lake, descend a fairly steep slope (maybe do dome snow sliding) to the upper end of Canon Rincon and camp near Twin Lakes at about 11,680 ft. Camp here two nights.

July 19th, a day of rest; or hike up Conejos Peak if not done due to weather or whatever yesterday; or dayhike down slope about 2 miles south to the 11,335 ft., Timber Lake which sits on the edge of a narrow ridge between Canon Rincon and Hansen Creek. It is a really neat scene with the west end of the lake very near a 880 ft. almost vertical drop to Hansen Creek. A windswept desert-like landscape of volcanic rock and pinnacles on the edge of the ridge add to the unique setting. Continuing past the lake another mile could provide a look down into the S. Fork Canyon we had come in on about 1200 ft. below. Another interesting scramble from the west end of the western-most Twin Lake is up to a camel-shaped rock pinnacle eroded out of volcanic breccia (boulders fused together). Lots of other weirdly shaped pinnacles also dot that slope.

July 20th, backpack eastward past the south face of Conejos Peak on nearly level terrain looping northward around the heads of Hansen Creek and Canon Bonito to the Conejos Trail for about 4.5 miles. Usually see elk in this region. Maybe drop packs and ramble up a slope to a 12,555 ft. vista down onto Bear Lake about 1000 ft. below. The trail begins to descend now towards Roaring Gulch. Camp at the base of a steep section of trail at about 11,600 ft. after another 1-2 miles. Could hike from camp over to a 12,105 foot vista down onto Bear Lake again to watch the sun set.

July 21, backpack 5 mi. southeast down to trailhead. Camp at Alamosa KOA, again.

July 22-23: Drive back to Iowa.

August 19, Saturday
Group Potluck Picnic at Dick and Jane Worm's Faraway Farm, noon.

Grills will be provided. Bring your own meat to grill, a dish to share, utensils, etc. Jane may provide a cake as it is Dick's birthday on the 19th. Bring lawn chairs. Picnic tables are in the shelters.

Come early to fish, swim, and/or canoe in the pond and/or hike to the Mississippi River or on the numerous trails through forest and fields, to the Big Bluestream Prairie Grass site; along the Mississippi Bluffs, and to the high ridge. Find sink holes, fossils, fern covered rock faces, etc. And/or all are welcome to do the same after the picnic, also.

A Group EXCOM meeting to plan Fall calendar will be held after lunch. Stay for an evening campfire. Gate will open at 8 AM and stay open until whenever. Camp for the night, if you'd like.

There is a small shelter close to the parking area and a large shelter at the pond. Four canoes, paddles, life jackets, and a flat bottom boat will be available. A variety of tents can also be made available for anyone wanting to camp out but has no tent.

Insect repellant may be a wise accessory but Deep Woods Off will be available. Off trail wanderers may encounter poison ivy.

Campers may camp on the dam at the pond near the shelter, outhouse, and fire ring; at at a couple of bluff top locations (one with a nearby outhouse and fire ring), or at a remote location by the gully at the far southeast corner of the property. All these sites are on mowed grass. There is also a mowed site by the old stone foundation on the high ridge top. It is on the same level as the Echo Hills Lane and can be easily hiked to from Dick and Jane's house.

Faraway Farm is located 2 miles east on St. Catherine Road from US 52, 6 miles south of Dubuque city limits. Turn left at the Echo Hills sign and take the center lane down onto gravel, over a cattle guard, straight through a gate, and down to the parking areas above the pond.

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