We ventured out on Memorial Day weekend to reconnoiter a new trail that leads to an interesting destination. The destination shall remain undisclosed at the moment since we were unable to complete the trip. The trail begins at the 12,000 ft level on the slopes of Pikes Peak.
At this level you are just entering what is called the “alpine zone”. Another way to look at is “the treeline”. The trail starts out through a wooded area and we soon encountered what would ultimately force us to turn around… deep snow on the trail. Most of the snow is gone but it is still drifted in many places up to 3 or 4 feet deep. Trying to walk over these places in your trail runners can get pretty dicey. We were able to walk over most of them but still sank through in a lot of spots. Abby fared some better as she is a lot lighter but even she had troubles. Needless to say, our feet were soaked by the time we got back to the Jeep.
The trail comes out of the woods and crosses a large scree field, shown in the picture above, and then passes through more snow drifted woods before descending down the back side of the ridge. Here the trail descends swiftly and comes out in a flat area between the two ridges. The trail forks here with one segment going around the opposite ridge and joins up with the Barr trail that many people use to climb Pikes Peak. The other segment (the one we wanted) was buried under lots of snow and we really could not quite pick out where it went. We saw some tracks made by someone with snowshoes but trying to follow those was hopeless. So we turned around.
On the way back up the trail we saw some abandoned mining gear (hint) laying beside the trail. We made our way back through the snow drifts and partway across the scree field and decided to explore an interesting rock outcrop for a good lunching spot. We were successful and had a nice bite to eat and rest while taking in the view down the valley. On the way back up and across to the Jeep a snow squall came along and pelted us with snow! It was short-lived but fun.