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Topic: Best Hikes Ever: The Needles Traverse, From BP'r magazine< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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Ron. Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 23 2013, 10:55 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Any thoughts about this route being done this early July?

In doing a search here it looks like the narrow gauge RR runs from Silverton to Durango. Would that be an option rather than shuttling a car?

I have a map and book of the area on the way so we are in the beginning stages of planning here.

http://www.backpacker.com/needles....04


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 23 2013, 2:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Still too much of a !@##y for Grizzly Country? Heeh. Heeh.

Although there are MANY choices I'd make before this one this is a great albeit extremely crowded hike. The rule is normally July 4 for begining any backocuntry high routes, and barring a Spring deluge and cooler than expected temps it should be fine this year. But keep track of snotel, we still have two months that could produce heavy snow.I have a college buddy that lives outside of Bayfield that probably has just as much experience in the Juans as anyone now. Let me know closer to departure and he can give you the best intel you're gonna get.

Don't forget to wear your John Birch Society Pin into Steamworks. I hear you get half off a serious posterior kicking if you do.

Have an awesome time my friend.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 23 2013, 2:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There seems to be lots of holes in that route, such as how to get from Sunlight Lake to Verde Lake. The terrain doesn't lend itself to just making decisions on the fly.

Let me know how it goes. After climbing up and around the Oso massif last year, I've wanted to explore that region on the west side of Vallecito Creek.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 23 2013, 2:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As I get more info from the guy who chose the route I'll check back with ya's.

The latter part of the route seemed a little sketchy to me so I'm waiting on the map and book to come, as well as doing some more online research.

Thanks guys!

DC, heh, heh, heh, truth be told I'm not really in any hurry to hike in grizzly country :) I'll be in touch with you here or on fb as I get a better feel for this trip as far as how many days/nights we'll be on the trail. Intel from the ground would be mucho appreciated.

Right now I'm not sure our group has enough days allotted to even do this trip.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 23 2013, 3:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You can definitely do that hike...
Crowds will only be an issue in Chicago Basin.
If you are starting at the Endlich Mesa Trail you will need to shuttle a car at both ends (you may be able to hitch a ride at the north end into Silverton).  The scenery will be the best you have seen anywhere.

If you are looking to ride the train you would just enter Chicago Basin via Needles Creek instead of Trimble and Columbine passes.  The rest of the route would be the same.

As the author states, this route is a lung buster in spots, but by avoiding Needles creek and Elk creek you will avoid some crowds.  There is a trail that takes you right up to Vallecito Lake and then on up the the CDT, which goes right by Verde and Highland Mary Lakes.

Ben


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 23 2013, 3:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Oh... I just clicked on the Trip ID. That looks like a fantastic hike!

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 23 2013, 8:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Besides leaving a car down in Vallecito and hiking up, I've come up from Purgatory Canyon (there's a small TH to leave a vehicle).  There should still be a suspension bridge crossing the Animas where Purgatory meets it.   Then there's a trail paralleling the railroad and Animas (no stream crossing iirc). The only problem is those taking the RR are a little more rested coming off the train; thus I'd just take the train unless you want to see Purgatory for some reason..

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 23 2013, 10:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Best hike evar in the history of the universe.

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trail? I don't need no stinkin trail!
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 23 2013, 11:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Reminiscence @ Apr. 23 2013, 8:57 pm)
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Best hike evar in the history of the universe.

Epic?
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 24 2013, 12:26 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

RIDE THE TRAIN!

Backpackers are like the rock stars of the train...although we're assigned to the open gondola, (the "cattle" car,) we are right next to the "bar" car, and all kinds of people, (women) drift by to ask questions about our hike while running their hands over the straps of our packs.

When you get dropped off at Needleton, remember that you are in a race with the other backpackers from the train for 11 miles and a 4000 ft. altitude gain, to claim that last remaining campsites at Chicago Basin. So get off the train running.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 24 2013, 2:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I guess everything is relative Frihauf and I respectfully disagree that the Basin will be the only concern for crowds. After the Sierras, some smaller parts of the Winds, and Northern Front Range I would guess the Colorado Juans are the most penetrated Range in the American West.

You may think the dozens of people you come across on the trails are insignifcant Ron, again everything is relative. Personally I prefer the solitude found amidst arguably equal if not superior splendor you'll find beyond the Juans. Rem doesn't like the Sangres as much, we're all different.

So Ron, you're afraid of Grizzlies but have no qualms about those Colorado roads full of stoners? I've heard that in La Plata County they will not give you a Drivers License unless you can roll with one hand, go blind with the other, and drive with your thigh or teeth.

It's a great area Ron. Certainly not the one I'd personally choose over others however limited my time might be, but for some it is indeed Nirvana. I'm just pretty surpirsed because the Eastern Winds aren't a whole lot farther from Cheecago if at all.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 24 2013, 3:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As I said before.  If you take the route in the article, Chicago Basin will be the only place with crowds.  You will likely see folks along the Vallecito Creek trail, but no crowds.

Ben


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 24 2013, 3:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(highpeakdrifter @ Apr. 23 2013, 10:26 pm)
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RIDE THE TRAIN!

Yeah, leaving a car at the trailhead alongside busy US 550 just made me worry about it.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 24 2013, 4:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(double cabin @ Apr. 24 2013, 1:32 pm)
QUOTE
It's a great area Ron. Certainly not the one I'd personally choose over others however limited my time might be, but for some it is indeed Nirvana. I'm just pretty surpirsed because the Eastern Winds aren't a whole lot farther from Cheecago if at all.

A good friend of mine who now lives in Longmont chose this route and asked a few of us to join him.

You know me, normally I would choose a path a little less traveled.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 24 2013, 9:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ben,

That's kewl, like I said, everything is relative.

Ron,

I'm just a biased/opinionated SOB. Longmont is closer to Dubois than Durango though. Heeh. Heeh.

You guys have a great trip.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 24 2013, 11:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I solo hiked this route a few years ago. I enjoyed getting off the trails, and would rate it as one of my favorite trips for scenery and challenge.

The WEM026 "best route" is do-able class two and some three. The talus is loose and it is steep, so don't climb right behind somebody. The worst part of the route for me was at WEM035. I found no trail and just "hiked" straight up in the heat of the day. I guess I was used to the cool breeze above timberline!

My only reservation is that you are off trail at times and the snow may be an issue in July depending on how soon it gets and stays hot enough to melt this year.

While much of the route is class one and two, I would not recommend the route unless you are comfortable on class three terrain. I would not take a dog, as an example.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 27 2013, 3:11 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I certainly don't dislike the Sangres. But I should be spending most of my summer in a remote, crowd-free corner of the mighty San Juans. By my choosing, naturally.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 27 2013, 11:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

QUOTE
So Ron, you're afraid of Grizzlies but have no qualms about those Colorado roads full of stoners? I've heard that in La Plata County they will not give you a Drivers License unless you can roll with one hand, go blind with the other, and drive with your thigh or teeth


You know, DC, if I could figure out what you meant by this statement, I think I would be offended.

Just because we voted to legalize marijuana doesn't mean that all Colorado hikers are stoners!

In my own case, for example,...uh...well I forgot my point.

NOW i remember! How do you drive with your thigh and teeth?

Did you learn that from John Candy?
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 28 2013, 2:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I learned the thigh from a one armed relative as a 7 year old. The teet from a very pr....well, never mind.

I was being sarcastic. I support pot legalization for adults. I'd much rather find my way home down there then in a town up here that's more than half alcohoic.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 28 2013, 7:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Plus he is just trying to bust my ba!!s  :)

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PostIcon Posted on: May 30 2013, 10:05 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Just an update, I won't be doing this trip this summer. I do appreciate the feedback though.

First I had some work related issues imperil the trip then I took a spill on my mountainbike separating my right shoulder. (grade three ac sprain)

I'm still hopeful for a late summer or fall backpacking trip.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 30 2013, 11:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ron. @ May 30 2013, 10:05 am)
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ch I took a spill on my mountainbike separating my right shoulder. (grade three ac sprain)

I'm still hopeful for a late summer or fall backpacking trip.

Ouch.  Sorry to hear that.  I did that once in college in a soccer game and still remember the pain.  Hope you heal quickly and completely.  Good thing you're still young.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 30 2013, 1:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I just flat stay out of Colo for hiking/backpacking, for reasons and too many neat places elsewhere to visit.

I am glad that what I think are the best hikes ever don't make it onto BP lists.  Probably cause most have a lot of off trail....
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 03 2013, 2:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Oh come on, cowgirl up Ron!

Hope you heal well man. If you can't backpack come oujt and do my favorite thing, remote car camping and spectacular dayhikes.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 03 2013, 11:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

For once DC is right on.

We've all played through painful injuries, man, and the answer is remote 4x4 camping and spectacular day hikes as soon as you can ride in a truck.

For pain mitigation, you might try some of our legal Colorado homegrown...
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