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Staunton State Park, CO - 6.8.15

skiNEwhere

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Date(s) Hiked: June 8th, 2015

Trails(s) Hiked: Mason Creek, Old Mill, Scout Line, Marmot Passage, Lion's Back, Bulging Elk, Staunton Ranch,

Total Distance: 14.6 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Conditions: Sunny

Special Required Equipment: None

Trip Report:

My co-worker Bryan and I have been wanting to do a long hike over the summer. Last summer, Bryan did a 40 mile hike in Utah with a couple other co-workers and was thinking of organizing another one. Since the last thing I want is to be "that guy" that slows everyone else down, I told him that I needed to do a long hike with simulated gear first to test myself and the comfort of the pack.

I got a Osprey Aether a couple months ago during one of the garage sales at REI. I loaded it up with some bug spray, first aid kit, food, and about 45 lb's of water for simulated gear. I also brought my dog Asha along for the trip.

Our overall goal was to reach the top of the Elk Falls Overlook. Just south of that is the Lionshead, which doesn't actually have a trail to it but if we would try and attempt if we had time. We arrived at the trailhead around 8AM, and went up the Mason Creek (MC) trail. Most of the trails were graded or smoothed out and leveled with dirt a little bit so there was no scrambling required. It was a little cool as we were in the shade for the majority of the trail. We started around 8,400 feet elevation and peaked at 9,400, at which point we gradually dropped back down to about 8,600 by the time we reached the bottom of the next trail, Old Mill (OM).

Close to the bottom of Mason Creek (MC), top of Old Mill (OL).



The next trail, Scout Line (SL) was the most physically demanding of the day. This trail was the only trail that wasn't graded, and had a relatively steep angle which required many switchbacks to overcome this. We took this trail and gained about 600 vertical feet, at which point the trail flattened out a bit. Me in the middle of Scout Line with Lionshead in the background.



Marmot Passage (MP) had a couple of switchbacks but overall was pretty flat, until the end where we took many switchbacks to get to Elk Falls pond. The next trail was Lion's Back (LB), while it was actually a graded dirt road, but was a straight shot to the top at a relatively steep incline. At the top I think we got some pretty good pics, which I'll put in the next post below. I did need to get back home, so we didn't have time to bushwack to the top of the lionshead, maybe next time. Still think we got some good pics though.

Asha in front of the Elk Falls Pond


After we got to the bottom of the Lion's Back (LB) trail (there was only one way up and down), we started heading back. The rest of the hike was on a graded dirt road except for the last 2 miles. Except for the beginning of the Bugling Elk Trail, the rest was downhill as well.


On the home stretch, Straunton Ranch Trail (SR)



Trail Map

 

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skiNEwhere

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Just under the Lionshead, Elk Falls Overlook



Pano from Elk Falls Overlook





Asha



Overview



While I did want to test myself, and I did do more than I set out to, I gotta say,I was pretty sore for the next two days. If I'm going to do a longer hike than that over the summer I'm going to need lots of motrin :)

The Osprey pack FAR exceeded my expectations. It was very comfortable and distributed weight well between my hips and shoulders. I really liked the hip belt pocket it had to put stuff in too.




P.S.

I'm well aware that CO is not in New England, but this sub-forum is completely dead.
 

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