Trip dates: May 30-31, 2020
Caltopo map here: caltopo.com/m/UGR0
This is the final installment in the "COVID-19 Boulder Foothills Trifecta".
This was a two day, off-trail backpacking trip in Hell Canyon is between Estes Park and Lyons on the North Side of US36. It turned out to be one of the more rugged and exhausting trips of the year. I suspect this was primarily due to the very rough off-trail terrain, but some of it can surely be attributed to not eating enough peanut M&Ms.
This trip will surely make the 2020 top ten favorite trips list.
It's stunning how many mylar balloons you find once you start leaving the trails. I find about one per week and this is basically picking locations at random. There must be thousands and thousands of them in Boulder County and Larimer County forests alone.
Storms were fairly exciting that night. I collected rain water coming off the corner of my tarp in my pot. Got in two good drinks overnight.
From the Flatirons, the origin of the name "Blue Mountain" is more clear. The picture below is from my a trip up Fumbledeedum in May 2017.
After a fairly tough descent into Hell Canyon from Pincher Park, I'd finally reached the bottom. This is what zapped my energy. Constant scrambling over boulders and thick bushwhacking.
My last views of Hell Canyon before climbing up the SPECTACULAR ridge to the west of Devil's Gulch.
A bit later I'd take an where I took an extended break.
I'd found myself in a moderately nasty thunderstorm for the last hour so I was ready to leave the extremely rugged, rocky and ridge. Fortunately, the western terminus of the ridge transitioned to Nixon Park which was absolutely beautiful and pastoral Nixon Park.