Trip Date: Nov 10-12, 2017
I took advantage of the Veteran's Day holiday Friday and went to the Lost Creek Wilderness for a 3 day backpacking trip. I'd read about a 37 mile loop on Paul Magnanti's website (https://pmags.com/).
It took me half a day to finally decide to go for it and I started on the three hour drive to the area. I stopped at an ice cream/burger place in Deckers (only slightly out of the way) to get dinner. I got a large milkshake which I put in what would become my dirty water bottle (i.e.: for collecting from streams/ponds etc). It was chilly enough that it stayed a milkshake consistency for several hours. The cheese burger and milkshake calorie bomb was an excellent start to what was sure to be an intense trip.
I didn't get to the trailhead till about 4:30 so most of the first days hike would be in the dark. Wigwam park was a bit of a swamp and I was glad it was below freezing and it wasn't too wet. On the way back on day 3 I realized that I was basically walked over the trailings of an active beaver dam!
Once I passed Wigwam park I found many nice campsites with fire rings just off the trail. I don't really like established campsites so I passed these up. I saw on my map that there was a small flat area about a 1/4 mile off trail next to a small peak at 10,400 ft. I was a bit worried about running into snow fairly far along this 38 mile adventure which could make things more challenging. I was hoping that from the top of the small peak I could see far enough to know if I should plan for a shorter trip.
I set my alarm clock for just before dawn---and actually woke up this time. The rock formations and aspen trees looked more like Africa than Colorado. Once I climbed up on the small unnamed peak it was pretty clear that if I did encounter snow it would be pretty minimal. I was ready to go.
I packed up pretty quickly and bushwhacked my way (my favorite) down a gulch running between refrigerator gulch and goose creek, just down from my campsite.
About mid-day I made the turn up the McCurdy Park. This would be the only significant elevation gain of the day.
I've never been to a place that looked like this. The winter's must be sufficiently mild that trees get pretty large (for this elevation, 11.5k feet) but the air is so dry that once they die they don't rot and the sun bleaches them completely white like bone.
Looks like there are still some active Beaver Dams in Wigwam Park