Exploring the Lost Creek Wilderness

Sunday after the Beaver Creek race, Nick and I loaded up the car and headed for Wellington Lake. (After we watched the tour, ate lunch.... It was a very late start) The plan was to go for a nice, relaxed overnight hike and get away for a bit. Nick also wanted to see what the Colorado Trail through the Lost Creek Wilderness was like. When he did the CTR last year, it was one of the stretches he was not allowed to ride - bikes are not allowed in the wilderness areas.We parked at the Rolling Creek trail head for the Colorado Trail and headed west. The first two miles were outside the wilderness area and were a gentle rolling to steeper climb. Just before the start of the wilderness, the trail turned into an old logging road. It was pretty easy hiking and we were making pretty good time. The idea was to get to the trail head on the west side of the wilderness area, turn around and find a good campsite, make camp, then get up and have a easy hike home. We passed a few other hikers. One group of guys asked if we were thru-hiking, and when they found out that we weren't started making snide comments about the size of our backpacks. Nick was wearing the same one he'd used for the CTR on the bike, so we just laughed and kept going.

At the west trail head, we stopped to look at the map Nick had. There was a really nice campsite back in the wilderness area, but we weren't sure we could make it back before dark. That's when Nick had his brilliant idea. Instead of just doing an out and back, we could do a loop! It would be fun! We'd see different things! It really did sound like a good idea, so off we went to find the new trail. We hiked through the campsites of two familes hanging out, waiting for thru hikers. They offered food and some fire, but we declined and kept going. We'd find our own campsite. Down the trail a little, Nick started smelling something bad. Then we saw a large, brown blob in the woods. Our first thought was "Bear!" Nick got the bear spray out and we started talking really loudly. Turned out to be a dead cow - still not good. We were not going to stop anywhere near that! After getting poured on and walking for another hour, we finally found a nice campsite. Got set up and then tried to start a fire. With the wet wood, it wasn't easy. We did learn the feminine products work really great as kindling!

The next morning, we were on the trail around nine. We followed a creek for the first two hours, then turned up and started climbing. Nick kept looking at the map and was starting to get worried that we'd missed the trail we needed to get back to the car. I asked hime how long we'd been hiking - he was a little off. Crisis solved, we kept going. We kept passing the landmarks on the map at a good pace. When we stopped to eat lunch, Nick was starting to look a little miserable. It was turning into a long weekend. And it was going to get longer. We made the left turn onto Rolling Creek trail and started up. Straight up. And the trail was barely there. I was navigating by cairns and logs. After nearly an hour of climbing, we topped out and started heading down. Almost straight down. There were a few switchbacks, but more as a token appearance. At this point, Nick was beyond miserable. He was starting to look pathetic and was swearing at the trail. In his defence, he doesn't run and doesn't hike. Five hours one day and six hours the next were a little (a whole lot more) then what he was ready for. By the time we got back to the car, we'd hiked nearly 27 miles. I don't think Nick will ever want to go hiking again! Why waste time with hiking, when you have a bike?


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