On Walkabout On: The Traverse to Punta Serpiente

Basic Information

  • Name: Punta Serpiente
  • Range: Sangre de Cristo Mountains
  • Where: San Luis, Colorado
  • Max Elevation: 13,436 feet
  • Distance:  2 miles one-way
  • Elevation Gain: -611 feet from Culebra Peak
  • Time: 1 hour one-way
  • Difficulty: EasyModerateHardDifficult
  • More Information: 13ers.com

Route Down to Punta Serpiente

Punta Serpiente Route

Narrative

After finishing the traverse from the 13,908 foot Red Mountain back over to the 14,047 foot Culebra Peak I decided to go ahead and hike up to another peak since the weather was so good.  The peak I decided to check out is the point at the end of the long serpent like tail of a ridgeline that leads to Culebra Peak that is called Punta Serpiente.  In the picture below Punta Serpiente can be seen below the false summit of Culebra Peak on the bottom right:

Picture from Culebra Peak, Colorado

The descent down from Culebra Peak was an easy hike where I enjoyed the views looking down into the beautiful Coneros Basin:

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On Walkabout On: Red Mountain, Colorado

Basic Information

  • Name: Red Mountain
  • Range: Sangre de Cristo
  • Where: San Luis, Colorado
  • Max Elevation: 13,908 feet
  • Distance:  1 mile one-way
  • Elevation Gain: 500 feet one-way
  • Time: 1 hour one-way
  • Difficulty: EasyModerateHardDifficult
  • More Information: 13ers.com

Route Up Red Mountain

Red Mountain Route

Narrative

After completing my climb up to the summit of the 14,047 foot Culebra Peak I left to do the traverse to the neighboring 13,908 foot Red Mountain.  This peak is the 70th highest in Colorado which makes it one of the 100 highest mountains in the state which are known as Centennial Peaks.  The hardest part of the traverse is the descent from Culebra Peak.  The descent is some what steep and requires some careful rock scrambling.  Here is a photo looking back at Culebra Peak after I reached the saddle between the two mountains:

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On Walkabout On: Culebra Peak, Colorado

Basic Information

  • Name: Culebra Peak
  • Range: Sangre de Cristo
  • Where: San Luis, Colorado
  • Max Elevation: 14,047 feet
  • Distance:  4 miles one-way
  • Elevation Gain: 3,200 feet
  • Time: 2-4 hours one-way
  • Difficulty: EasyModerateHardDifficult
  • More Information: 14ers.com

Route Up Culebra Peak

Culebra Peak Route

Topographic Map of Culebra Peak Trail

Culebra Peak Topo Map

Elevation Map of Culebra Peak

Culebra Peak Elevation Map

Narrative

This summer I have been highly focused on hiking up 14ers in the Sawatch Range.  I have now decided to move on and try to complete some 14ers in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains this summer as well just to change things up a bit.  The Sangre de Cristos are not unfamiliar to me considering I have hiked in portions of the range in Northern New Mexico as well as in the Culebra Range section of these great mountains.  Being familiar with the Culebra Range I decided to climb my first 14er in the Sangre de Cristos by climbing the lone 14er in this section of the Sangre de Cristos, Culebra Peak:

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On Walkabout On: Mt. Columbia via the Mt. Harvard Traverse

Basic Information

  • Name: Mt. Columbia
  • Range: Sawatch
  • Where: Buena Vista, Colorado
  • Max Elevation: 14,073 feet
  • Distance:  15 miles round-trip via Mt. Harvard
  • Elevation Gain: 6,100 feet
  • Time: 10-14 hours round-trip
  • Difficulty: EasyModerateHardDifficult
  • More Information: 14ers.com

The Traverse to Mt. Columbia

Mt. Columbia Route1

Topographic Map of the Route

Elevation Map of Mt. Harvard and Mt. Columbia

Narrative

After hiking up the 14,420 foot Mt. Harvard I decided to go ahead and try to complete the traverse over to the 14,073 foot Mt. Columbia.  It was now 9:30 AM and the weather reports I saw before departing for the hike forecasted possible rainstorms beginning around 2:00 PM.  Though clouds were beginning to form around Mt. Columbia I decided to trust the weather reports and attempt the traverse:

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On Walkabout On: Mt. Harvard via the Horn Creek Basin Trailhead

Basic Information

  • Name: Mt. Harvard
  • Range: Sawatch
  • Where: Buena Vista, Colorado
  • Max Elevation: 14,420 feet
  • Distance:  7 miles one-way
  • Elevation Gain: 4,600 feet
  • Time: 4-6 hours one-way
  • Difficulty: EasyModerateHardDifficult
  • More Information: 14ers.com

Route Up Mt. Harvard

Mt. Harvard Route
The route through Horn Creek Basin up Mt. Harvard as seen from the summit of Mt. Yale.

Topographic Map of the Route

Mt. Harvard to Mt. Columbia Topo Map

Elevation Map of Mt. Harvard & Mt. Columbia

Mt. Harvard to Mt. Columbia Elev Map

Narrative

Having seen the 14,420 foot Mt. Harvard from so many different profiles after climbing all the 14ers that surround it; this caused this mountain to be on my short list to climb this summer.  So last weekend with the weather looking good I decided to finally hike up this great peak which is the 3rd highest in all the Rocky Mountains.  The hike to the summit of Mt. Harvard is a long one with it being 7 miles one-way.  This meant that I had to get a really early start to be able to summit the mountain before any potential storm blew in.  So I left my home in Colorado Springs at 2:00 AM in the morning and arrived at the North Cottonwood Creek Trailhead outside of Buena Vista by 4:30 AM:

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On Walkabout at: The Great Sand Dunes National Park

Basic Information

  • What: The Great Sand Dunes
  • Where: San Luis Valley, Colorado
  • Founded: September 13, 2004
  • Fee: $3 per adult
  • More Information: NPS website

Picture from the Great Sand Dunes

Narrative

My four year old daughter has been asking me to take here to the beach.  Unfortunately I do not have the time or money to take a family beach vacation to a place like Hawaii at the moment.  So I decided to take my family on the closest thing Colorado has to a beach vacation, the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  So we made the three hour drive over to the park from Colorado Springs via Highway 160 over La Veta Pass:

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Exploring “The Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” Exhibit

Basic Information

  • Name: Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed
  • Where: Denver Museum of Nature & Science
  • Cost: $22 adult non-member
  • More Information: Museum website

Picture from Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed

Narrative

My family and I are big fans of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.  We have renewed our membership annually and have checked out every special exhibit they have had over the past three years.  The current special exhibit they have on display is the Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed.  This exhibit provided a really interesting look into the history and culture of the ancient Mayans.  I watched a number of Mayan documentaries on Netflix just to prepare for this visit.  As the below map shows the Maya civilization (250-900 AD) came well before the Aztec civilization and never had any contact with Europeans despite what Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto claimed:

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On Walkabout On: La Plata Peak via the Northwest Ridge

Basic Information

  • Name: La Plata Peak
  • Range: Sawatch
  • Where: Leadville, Colorado
  • Max Elevation: 14,336 feet
  • Distance:  9.35 miles round-trip
  • Elevation Gain: 4,300 feet
  • Time: 6-8 hours round-trip
  • Difficulty: Easy - ModerateHardDifficult
  • More Information: 14ers.com

Route Up La Plata Peak

Picture from La Plata Peak, Colorado

Topographic Map of La Plata Peak Picture from La Plata Peak, Colorado

Elevation Map of La Plata Peak

Picture from La Plata Peak, Colorado

Narrative

During my hike up to the summit of the 14,433 foot Mt. Elbert via its Southeast Ridge I had some great views of the fellow 14er La Plata Peak which rises adjacent to Mt. Elbert.  La Plata is 14,336 feet in elevation which makes it the fifth highest mountain in the Rocky Mountains.  However, visually La Plata just looks so much more impressive than many other peaks in the Sawatch Range, especially because of its famed Ellingwood Ridge:

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On Walkabout at: The Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Basic Information

Picture from Denver Science & Nature Museum

Narrative

My family really loves stopping by the Denver Museum of Nature & Science which has become one of our most visited places in Colorado despite us living an hour and half away in Colorado Springs.  The museum is easily accessed off of I-25 at Colorado Boulevard and by following the road to the large City Park where the museum is located next to the Denver Zoo:

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On Walkabout On: Pikes Peak via Barr Trail (July 2014)

Basic Information

  • Name: Pikes Peak
  • Where: Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Max Elevation: 14,410 feet
  • Distance:  11 miles one-way
  • Elevation Gain: 7,500 feet
  • Time: 5-8 hours one-way
  • Difficulty: EasyModerateHardDifficult
  • More Information: 14ers.com

Route Up Pikes Peak

Topographic Map of Barr Trail

Barr Trail Map

Elevation Map of Barr Trail

Pikes Peak Elevation Map

Narrative

This week some of my co-workers and I did our annual team building activity which is our hike up Barr Trail to the summit of Pikes Peak.  This would be my third year straight hiking up to the summit of “America’s Mountain”:

We met at the trailhead at 4:30 AM in Manitou Springs with the plan to begin hiking up the mountain at 5:00 AM.  To our surprise the Barr Trail parking lot even at 4:30 in the morning was near full and about half of our group of 18 had to find parking below along Ruxton Avenue where they charge much more for parking than the $5 charge at the trailhead to park.  So we ended up hiking up in two groups with one being the group that found parking at the trailhead and other who left a few minutes later because they were still looking for parking.  As we hiked up the monotonous switchbacks at the start of Barr Trail at least we had a great view of the rising sun over the fog covering Colorado Springs down below:

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