Chicago Basin Solo Adventures- Day 3

It rained all night, and all the next morning. I spent that time holed up in my tent, reading Abbey’s “Desert Solitaire, and napping.

I spent most of my day looking at this.

I spent most of my day looking at this.

All of my food was hangingĀ in a tree 40′ away from my tent, I was already cold and damp, so I waited to eat until the rain broke for a while around noon.

I decided to set up my tarp as a camp kitchen, keep me dry while I eat/ cook. I was able to finish breakfast then pump more water before it started to pour for the next four hours. It finally ceased around 4, and I decided to spend sometime outside on a rock, snacking, writing, and taking photos of the crazy clouds.

Looking down the valley.

Looking down the valley.

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Finally the sun peaked out, and it stopped raining.

Finally the sun peaked out, and it stopped raining.

I decided to take a walk up the trail some before dinner, and orient myself with theĀ map. It was beautiful, I’m glad I left camp.

Not an exciting day, but what can you do? I made the best of it.

Posted in (30 by 30)^2+13.1, Backpacking, Centennials, Fourteeners, Hiking, Mountaineering, Trip Reports | Leave a comment

Solo Adventures to Chicago Basin Day 1-2

I left work on Tuesday the 12th, and began my 6.5 Hr. drive down to Silverton- most of the time was spent listening to “Denali Howl’s”- by Andy Hall. It was a fantastic book, and kept me occupied for the entire drive!

When I got to the town of Montrose, I’d been in the car for around five hours, so it was time to take a quick break. I stopped at a small liquor store, and picked out my last beer before my trip….an interesting brew by Rogue made with Beard Yeast. Yes. Beard Yeast.

Beard Beer- ingredients:  Water, Hops, Barley, Beard Yeast.

Beard Beer- ingredients:
Water, Hops, Barley, Beard Yeast.

Surprisingly good– an interested twang from the yeast- tasty golden-ish ale.

I continued my drive towards the town of Ouray- and around Ridgeway- got monstrously exhausted. I took a side road that said “National Forest Access”– expecting it to be not too far….however after about 45 mins of driving I saw a pull off. I had no idea where I was, but I had to sleep.

I climbed into the bed of my truck, and hoped that one of the valley farmers would not be banging on my truck with a loaded shotgun pointed at me– yelling to get off their property. Luckily that didn’t happen and I was able to wake up to a beautiful scene….on private property.

10456764_608485465931109_4578815902110031286_n10347222_608485495931106_7315442817444807053_nI climbed into the cab of the truck, and took off down the country road, back to the center of Ridgeway- then made my way up Red Mountain Pass. I’ve heard horror stories about this pass, there are no guard rails, and long drops. It really wasn’t that bad, though I could see it being awful in winter.

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Not a good sign.

Not a good sign.

I arrived in Silverton around 8:00AM, and immediately sought out coffee and breakfast– I didn’t have to catch the train until 2:30PM.

Silverton!

Silverton!

The Avalanche Cafe- which also happens to be Avalanche Brewing Company- a coffee, food, and beer establishment.

Great place to get some local flavor- and that includes the people!

Great place to get some local flavor- and that includes the people!

I spent the better part of my morning chatting with an interesting elderly local, and another transient traveler who was mountain biking the Colorado Trail.

The old guy that I met when I first arrived, told me stories about when he used to drive for a rafting company in Utah(very Edward Abbey sort of stories), his stint as a trucker going over mountain passes, and stories from his teen drug use years. He was truly a fascinating character, we were joined by another character- about 35- from Grand Junction- who was telling us about mountain biking the Colorado Trail.

I ended up sitting with them until around noon, then went to my truck to organize the rest of my gear and charge my phone(which was used as a camera/alarm clock for most of the trip).

My goal was to compete this trip with a pack under 30 lbs, which I succeeded in doing 26.2 lbs, when I got on the trail at 2:30.

Me and the 26.2 lb pack.

Me and the 26.2 lb pack.

It was a dreary afternoon, and by the time I had exited the train, it was pouring, and it finally stopped around 6 or 7 PM.

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Foggy! Damp!

Foggy! Damp!

Trail-- all the way to treeline.

Trail– all the way to treeline.

I made it to treeline around 7, and began searching for a place to set camp- a half an hour later, I was setting up my tent, and making dinner. I chose a location across the river, quiet, sheltered, and secluded. I was looking for a quiet reflective trip, needed time to think, put things back into perspective. It’s been a rough year, I had a lot to think about.

It began to rain again, so I crawled into my tent, hoping it’d clear over night so I could climb the next day.

 

 

Posted in (30 by 30)^2+13.1, Backpacking, Centennials, Fourteeners, Hiking, Mountaineering, Trip Reports | Leave a comment

Pre-trip jitters.

Solo backpacking. I’ve done solo trips, a few days here and a few days there- but 6 days solo in the backcountry is an entirely different animal. On top of the fact that it is solo, I’m also going Ultralight/lightweight- which by basic definition- is a base weight of about 10-20 lbs, sans food/water.

My pack’s base weight was about 15 lbs, before I added food and water- I ended up with a total- including a few luxuries( Flipflops, and a book) of 26.2lbs. Which is awesome for six days!

This will be a good testing ground for all my gear! The big pieces I’m testing are my Golite Jam 50, my new La Sportiva FC Eco 2.0 gtx boots, and an OR Centrifuge Jacket. Hopefully this new system will work better than my previous methods….of using whatever backpack is available-usually a much heavier mountaineering pack.

All of this being said- I’m a bit nervous- this is my first solo trip of this length- and I’ll be attempting 5 peaks around the Chicago Basin– a very remote area of Colorado- home to the most removed 14ers/centennials in the state. These peaks are not exactly easy, but not really hard- they range from Class 2+ to Class 4- which is doable.

I’m more worried that the weather will not cooperate, and either I’ll be stuck in my tent the entire time, or everything will get wet– which is no fun to try to dry everything. At this moment I have heavy rain forecasted though Thursday…. I’m hoping the mornings are at least somewhat dry!

I will no way of contacting the outside world, unless I’m on the summit of a peak– which I hear has spotty cell reception.

Despite these, and many other fears- I’m very excited to take the train from Silverton tomorrow and unplug myself for almost a week. It is rejuvenating for the mind, I plan on reading “Desert Solitaire” by Edward Abbey and actually writing in a small notebook…with a PEN!

I’ll make sure to update when I get back- with lots of photos, and stories!

Hopefully it all goes smoothly.

Posted in (30 by 30)^2+13.1, Backpacking, Centennials, Fourteeners, Musings | Tagged , | Leave a comment