Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mount Wuh

We decided to climb Mount Wuh just because it had a funny name. It turned out to be a great hike. (See our route.)

Starting at the Bierstadt Lake trailhead, we hiked up switchbacks to the top of the moraine, then west towards Bear Lake. The aspen along this stretch of trail were beautiful. Some were just starting to turn, others were completely yellow, and a few had bright orange leaves like I've never seen on an aspen.

After a mile and a half we headed off trail through thick forest towards Wuh's southeast ridge. In the swampy terrain on the other side of Mill Creek I found a single Hi-Tec hiking boot that looked brand new aside from being aged in the muck. How did someone lose one boot?

As we scrambled up the ridge, we stopped at a few places that we thought were the summit. Wuh was much bigger than we expected! At one of the false summits we were pretty sure the next peak to the west was Joe Mills Mountain, but after checking the map we realized it was probably the true summit of Wuh, and Joe Mills was the one even further in the distance.

The rock scrambling was tough because there was about a quarter inch of snow covering everything -- just enough snow to make that crunch sound under our boots. And more was coming as we hiked. We were in and out of the clouds all afternoon.

At 2pm we summited Wuh and began heading down the west side. It was getting too late to ascend Joe Mills Mountain, so we set our sights for Round Pond instead. This tiny lake is buried in the forest between the two mountains. We didn't have the GPS with us, so our hopes were not high of actually finding it, but somehow we did!

After stopping at the pond for a snack we headed south and reached the trail at around 4pm. In 5.5 hours of off-trail hiking, we probably only covered about 3 miles. Back on the trail we were able to pick up the pace. We hiked back to the Bierstadt lake trail system and decided to go around the lake before returning to the trailhead.

We probably covered over 9 miles with the zig-zagging we must have done while off-trail. Not bad for a 8.5 hour day! What came next is a whole other story that I will let Laurel tell...

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