Posted by: athike2011 | July 24, 2011

Day 12–Arches/Colorado

Last night I ended up finding what looked like an abandoned middle school which had a large dark parking lot. It served quite well as my camp spot for the night. I woke up early, did my usual routine and headed out to Arches National Park. We were in the park by 8am, I already had a hike picked out, it was the only one that seemed to have any distance to it at all, and at 5 miles, it was hardly far. After winding through the fairly unimpressive park for 20 miles, we came to the trail head. By this time it was 8:30 and there were over 50 cars in the parking area for the trailhead. No thank you. I didn’t even bother stopping. I started to drive back until I found a random pull out near Skyline arch, and simply hiked off that way for about 20 minutes. In the end the park was a total bust. next to no hiking at all, mostly just cheesy tourist stuff. Oh well lesson learned.

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From there I headed to Colorado. I had to stop in Grand Junction to swap out my trekking poles and Sierra’s food bowl. While there I spoke with someone regarding the fourteeners I was planning on doing the next day. As it was going to be a Sunday I inquired about ideas for a less crowded hike so I could do them on a Monday. He suggested Mount of The Holy Cross, which is a little harder, but not quite as high. I had read about it in a few different books in the past. I decided this would be a fun idea. I looked up the trial head info and headed out.

We got to the forest service road the guide described, but it was gated shut. There were a couple guys with big packs getting ready to head out from their car. I asked what the deal was. Apparently the road is closed for tree removal for the rest of the summer, so unless you REALLY want that fourteener under your belt and want to hike the 7 miles up the forest service road to the trail head, it wasn’t happening. We cut our losses and headed to the Grays Peak trail head. Knowing we had to get up early, after dinner, once the sun went down, we packed it in for the evening.

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