After 7 weeks of field days, lectures and learning it was time for our Wilderness Trekking School Group Hike. The Group Hike was to be a culmination of everything we learned over the past few weeks — map and compass skills, teamwork, weather awareness, etc. This was our opportunity as a group to lead our instructors on a day hike and show competency in our newly learned skills.
The instructors selected the location of our final hike, but it was up to us to research and plan a route for our travels. Peak X, located in the Lost Creek Wilderness just south of Bailey, CO, was our destination for the day. At 12,429 feet, this would be the highest elevation gain we had traveled as a group. We left the trailhead around 7:30 am and headed up the trail. With a 50% chance of precipitation, it was our goal to reach the summit as soon as possible so we could “beat” the rain and/or storms. After more than 3 hours of travel, we were within sight of the summit, but the clouds were moving in quickly and the skies becoming darker. After much discussion, we decided it would be safer to not head to the Peak. With thick fog and the possibility of a storm, we did not want to take chances. So, instead we hiked back down to a safer area and enjoyed a backpacker’s lunch. After lunch, the dark skies were still hanging around….so we decided that Peak X would have to wait for another day.
The hike down involved a variety of weather from dark clouds, sleet, hail, thunder, and even some blue sky. This chaotic weather confirmed our decision to not ascend the peak. It was disappointing to not reach our goal, but it was an excellent learning opportunity in respecting the weather. With 7 miles of travel for the day and carrying a full pack, the end of the trail and view of our vehicles was a welcoming sight!
We plan a return trip to conquer Peak X…and also complete the Alphabetizer!