Last Saturday on my way down to the Sangres on a stop for lunch, I sat under a tree, and a magpie in the branches above was talking in squeaks and soft clucks, as if it were talking to itself.
Just found it interesting. It was kind of fluffy, maybe a young bird practicing for all the crazy noises adult magpies make. So we sat there together, it warbling, and me gnoshing.
Rest stop on the open plains north of Pueblo:
A short distance outside the tiny town of Rye, CO was the trailhead where I met the Mayor of Green Horn, who seemed starved for a scratch behind the ears:
The ridge I was aiming for, in the gathering gloom, was the bald point to the left of center, which as it turned out was a damned long way away:
As the rain began to fall, I confirmed that the Wet Mountains were indeed wet. Between the showers and the water on the bushes, I got pretty much soaked for about an hour. Thank goodness for my rain shell.
After about 2 miles the trail turned right and then up along some cliffs. The trail is on the right side of the photo:
I actually found a stick and hit the bushes before passing through them to remove the water. Worked OK and they were dry for the return trip (since I was the only human on this 16-mile trek through the mountains).
The top is still a long way away, to the left of center:
After the canyon, there was still some trekking through denser overgrowth, which had obviously gotten more rain than the drier pine forest above. This included more deciduous forest and plants on the forest floor.
Quite the avalanche path:
After about 5,000 feet and 7 miles of running, I was almost to the top. The trailhead was in the first brown patch in the middle:
Since it was a pack trail and thoughtfully graded for the walking pleasure of pack animals, it was also runnable for most of the way up. For me, that came at the price of a lot of gasping, occasional pauses, and push-through-it attitude.
Once on top, the summit of Greenhorn was still about 1.25 miles away along a lumpy tundra-covered ridge, and with a several-hundred foot drop in between, all for only about 200 feet of gain. I was out of time and turned around. A long trail.
Distance was 16.32 miles, time 5:02 (moving 3:43), elevation gain/loss 5,627 feet, avg. pace 18:33 (moving 13:42), and best pace 6:13.
I cut it a bit close this time, finishing just before sunset, and not seeing another soul for 5 hours except a few hikers and two teens with a bottle of vodka right at the trailhead. Nobody was on the trail. It felt good to be back, and The Mayor seemed to remember me, and greeted my return with a jump and a furtive lick on the face. Hey buddy!
The ridge I ascended is the highest point in the Wet Mountains, so now I can drive by on US 25 and look up and think... I ran up there.