Sunday, February 26, 2017

Big Adventure 2016 - Part 2

Big Adventure 2016 - Part 2
State Forest State Park
Clark Peak 12,951'

Clark Peak is the highest mountain in the Medicine Bow Range- a range that stretches nearly 100 miles from Colorado into Wyoming. There is no higher mountain in Colorado this far north. Not to be confused with the other, higher Clark Peak in the Elk Mountains, Clark Peak is also the high point of Jackson County.

We drove into State Forest State Park and navigated a series of paved and dirt roads. As soon as the dirt road turned to "4WD only" it got pretty rough, and we camped for the night.

The initial road hiking was pretty easy. That's Clark Peak straight ahead.

A tumbling stream soon after the start of the trail

Coming into the upper basin

In the upper basin

Jewel Lake. As far as glassy-smooth alpine lakes go, it was kind of plain

Looking back, Southwest, from the lake area

Scott and Kerry enjoying the lake view

And soon afterwards we began climbing to the summit sans trail

About halfway up the slope above Jewel Lake

It was very windy and cold at the summit.

Looking South. Way way in the background to the left appears to be Longs Peak.

Looking down into the expansive North Park area. It was surreal looking at this park some 7,000 feet above them.

Looking North we spied this picturesque area. That is South Rawah Peak and North Rawah Peak

We descended as quickly as we were able to, eager to pack up and leave. It took us 2.5 hours to ascend and 1.5 hours to get all the way down. We were ready to face the long drive home with a stop for some refreshments.

Here's the basic route from just after the 2WD trailhead

Basic stats: 6.7 miles RT (possibly more)*
                   3100' elevation gain/ loss

A great beer at Funkwerks

Another great beer from Funkwerks
Overall this was a great trip, but it was a lot of driving. Luckily we had a great vehicle to take us all over the north part of the state. From State Forest State Park we went up over Cameron Pass and down the long, winding Poudre Canyon to Fort Collins. We knocked out 2 northern county high points, getting us just a little closer to our goal.

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