Sunday, October 30, 2016

South Side of the Sky

The following took place on October 8, 2016. It was 7 A.M. on a Saturday Morning. The air was cool but comfortable. I was by myself at Cordova Pass in southern Colorado. My destination this morning was West Spanish Peak at an elevation of 13,626 Feet. The Spanish Peaks have been on my list of places to explore since I moved to Colorado. I finally made it down here, and it did not disappoint. I used to think the Spanish Peaks were extinct volcanos; however, when I researched it I discovered that they are actually igneous stocks similar to Devils Tower. The first half of the hike was relatively easy. The trail basically followed a ridge for the first half of the hike.
West Spanish Peak
Looking north as I approach tree line
The rock cairn at tree line.  The lesser seen Sangre de Cristo Mountains of southern Colorado.
The second half of the trail starts at tree line. The trail essentially goes straight up the talus and scree filled slopes of a classic cone shaped mountain. The only thing keeping me company was the occasional pika chirps. The steepness of the trail ended when I crested the false summit. The view from the false summit was pretty amazing.
The way up
Getting closer to the false summit
The view from the false summit.  La Veta and the Great Dikes of the Spanish Peaks below.
From the false summit, it was an easy walk to the actual summit. I spent quite a bit of time on top. The weather was nice. It was windy enough that you had to wear a wind breaker, but it wasn’t blowing you off the mountain. Also I was not freezing like I was on my big hikes in the previous months.
View of the summit
East Spanish Peak
View north to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
Looking back at the summit from the east side.
Little Bear Peak, Blanca Peak, & Mt. Lindsey
The Crestones on the horizon
Me on top with the Blanca group behind me.
Me on top with East Spanish Peak behind me.
La Veta, a dike, Greenhorn Mountain, and the Great Plains
What goes up, must down. On my descent, I finally saw some people trying to hike the mountain. I’m not sure if they made it. They were struggling with the altitude big time. I arrived back at my car around 1 P.M. without issue. I thoroughly enjoyed this hike and area. With all the geological features, the Spanish Peaks should probably be in the National Park system, but there is too much private property surrounding the Peaks for that to happen. In some ways, it is nice that it isn’t in the system because it would be too popular if it was.
Igneous rock of West Spanish Peak
Interesting rocks and the rock cairn at tree line
Some Fall color