Blue Gulch

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Spring dry-ground hike on a sunny day.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

I was exhausted from my long drive from Colorado, including forced detours, but with one sunny day before rain predicted, I had to get out. Craig agreed, so we rolled for the 1:15 drive down to Rapid River. A few cars in the parking lot. We had a friendly conversation with a group of ladies who were self-described as "Walker Talkers", although it might have been Talker Walkers. Either way, they wisely offered to let us fast fellas go first.

NOAA said 65°F and 25MPH gusts.

Dakota thought it looked like a pretty good day.

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Despite feeling tired, the legs were happy to be moving and we were soon well up the trail. In the bigger version, you should be able to see it on the hillside below us, across the way.

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Our yard still has a couple feet of snow, but down here things are greening up.

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It seemed pretty warm to denizens of snow country. But still a little snow on the trail here and there.

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It's a fairly steep hillside. Trailhead

After that sorta brisk 1400' pull, Craig was excited to be looking into Blue Gulch. I was disappointed to not yet see any big critters.

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Down in the shade of the gulch, we did a little light post-holing. And some dancing on angled ice. Trailhead

The end of the road for us...the other side of the gulch was solid snow, which didn't seem like the thing to do.

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We had missed the turn for the other trail.... if it really exists. So we did a short bushwack up through the brush and snow to this sunny hillside. GPS says there is a trail in here somewhere, but we couldn't find it. Trailhead

No problem; it's pretty easy to find Up.

The GPS did show a mine, which piqued my interest. The light-colored hump between the trees here is a substantial tailings pile.

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The location of the buried/collapsed hole was obvious to the eye but not to the camera. But here's another look from above, with the tailings a little more prominent. Trailhead
The GPS showed a second mine nearer to the ridgetop. We couldn't find that, possibly due to the snow. Dakota didn't seem to mind. Trailhead
Craig loves these big ponderosas. Trailhead

The ridgetop had lots.

We found a suitable spot to enjoy our lunch, despite the occasional howling winds. I think some of the gusts up here might have exceeded NOAA's predictions.

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Signs of Spring. I have already forgotten what Julie told me the name is, so we'll just go with LYF. Trailhead

Instead of reversing our tracks, we followed the wonderful, open ridge back down, maintaining constant views of the highlands.

When we got to the truck, the thermometer said 70. No wonder the pups were thirsty!

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Map (Thanks, Craig!) Trailhead

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And it is worth your while to check out my trip report from an extended version of this hike done last year with Dave, aka "Craig's Elk Porn.". Link at the top of the page. And from there, check out the links to Dave's photos of that hike.

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