Trip date: May 25, 2020
Note: see Calwood Fire update at the end.
Caltopo mape here: caltopo.com/m/Q6FQ
This was the second hike of the "COVID-19 Foothills Trifecta". As much as I liked my hike the previous. week to Coffintop Mt, this one was definitely better. The scenery in St. Vrain Canyon is just too good to argue with.
The trip starts with a knee-deep ford of St. Vrain Creek. Going into this I was really worried about the water crossing at the start and at the end. I was going in early summer when snow-melt would still be high. Chest deep water crossings in fast flows are a great way to die. This is a serious problem in the early season in the High Sierra (see this or this), I haven't run into any unavoidable crossings in Colorado yet. I'm sure they exist. In general you definitely want to pick a wide part to cross in so the minimize the flow rate and depth. My experience was that both the good and bad places to cross were really obvious. I did however, have to drive around a bit to find it and was forced to deviate from my planned starting location. I would cross St. Vrain Creek again at the end of the day to start the long road walk back to the car (3.5mi total).
Apart from the roadwalk, the "hiking" was 100% off-trail.
The photo below shows the opposite vantage point of the opening photo my Coffintop Mt trip report from the previous week. I've marked the feature on the left as Pt. 6220 in the Caltopo map.
There were many, many massive piles of bear poop in scat in this area.
The hogback below is the same one that I often see from Fairview Peak. See pictures in this trip report.
Calwood Fire Update: Oct 20, 2020
Essentially all areas of this hike have been burned in the Calwood Fire. I'm glad I could get to see it beforehand. With climate change, the clock is ticking on the rest of the Boulder Foothills. Burn areas in massive fires may never grow back in Colorado due to a significantly warmer and drier climate.
I'm still shocked at how fast the Calwood fire and the pyrocumulonimbus cloud blew up, especially in an area that appeared essentially free of beetle kill. I'm genuinely concerned about the future of Colorado's wild areas over the next decade and beyond.