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  1. #1
    trailryder42's Avatar
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    Indian Peaks Wilderness North Loop

    Well, we got 'er done. The North Loop in the Indian Peaks Wilderness is in the resume'. It's planning didn't illicit the response expected but it went off without a hitch, none-the-less.

    I drove up to Kelly Dahl campground Wens. the 25th. Had been there a few hours when ****(food) showed up. He got set up and then we went into Nederland for a meal, The Stage Stop I believe it was called.

    Thursday morning, **** and I are having coffee and up drives Ed(slowanderer) and his long time hiking buddy Ken, which Ed has named Minuteman. I think that annoys Ken, which means it's a good name, a keeper.lol

    So it's just the 4 of us. **** and I break camp and we all go to breakfast at the Sundance Cafe, walking in just after the doors opened. **** is considering opting out of the hike, as his stomach is bothering him.

    After leaving my truck at the park-n-ride in Nederland, I load up in Eds truck and we drive to Brainard Lake. There are NO parking spots to be had. So Ed drops us off at the trailhead while he searches for and parks the truck. The Ranger checks to make sure we have a back-country permit and all it well, good to go. At this time, **** makes the call that he's bowing out.

    So now we're 3. **** gets a picture of us at our starting trailhead, Beaver Creek. We're hiking the loop counter clockwise. The itinerary is Beaver Creek to the Coney Flats TH, from there we take Buchanan Creek west to Red Deer Lake and make that camp for night 1. It's about 10:15am when we depart.



    http://youtu.be/YJaOcHzcMh8





    http://youtu.be/ehRUDTRR2Io





    http://youtu.be/Ozxdfc1YSFM






    It's not long before we come upon the Mt. Audubon trail junction and we take our first packs-off break.




    Staying on the Beaver Creek trail, we continue on to the Coney Flats area where Beaver Creek and Buchanan Creek trails intersect.











    http://youtu.be/1HmwS00hLF4














    The amount of flora in bloom sure added to the picturesque views of the landscape. Huge mushrooms. Lots of these spotted type, pretty, but deadly I'm sure.












    I forget the times we made it to each junction and camp, but I bet Ken could tell you, that's why Ed calls him Minuteman.

    We make it to the trailhead for Red Deer lake, our first nights camp, 10,300 feet, it takes an hour to get there. **** had told us that there's a joggle in the trail that we could cut out by bushwhacking cross country. It was probably only 50 yards across to pick up the trail again, but the terrain didn't make it an easy trek to find. I took a compass bearing beforehand to where it should be but the terrain forced me off track so much, we stumbled around, getting separated from each other, each searching for the trail on their own. Ken finally found it and called out to us so we could zero in on him. We were tired for sure, but it would have been faster and simpler to just follow that short section of trail.

    I asked the guys "You think Dicks ears are burning right about now"?.....As we were all saying, "Sure, just take this short little bushwhack across....NOT! Todays mileage, 7.8.



    http://youtu.be/UPTTBkhcCIE




    After making camp and eating some supper, we all went down and tried some fishing. There were risers all over the lake, should have been some good fishing, but we didn't do any good. It was a clear night, lots of stars.

    http://youtu.be/0aHzBayyhWg

    I don't know why the youtube links aren't imbedding. If anyone can figure it out I'm all ears.
    Last edited by trailryder42; 08-02-2012 at 17:41.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mustardman's Avatar
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    Great trip report! Wish we could have made it, but glad ya'll had a good trip.

  3. #3
    trailryder42's Avatar
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    Day 2

    I think we were on the trail by 8:30am, heading back to the Buchanan intersection. We are to go over Buchanan Pass today, 11,800 feet, and camp near the Gourd Lake trail junction.

    The trail slowly climbs out of the trees and then it starts getting steep. I seem to do better on steep climbs like this if I can keep my heart rate and breathing at a consistent pace/level, rather than stopping every so often to rest. I may not be going very fast, but I'm moving forward. I found myself quite a ways ahead of Ken and Ed. Ed said he was having a bad day, a knee problem I think I heard him say.



    http://youtu.be/cIzCp8RWmhQ







    http://youtu.be/zmodDuZulMU



    http://youtu.be/ybI_FKnz3Nk


    I'm just almost to the saddle and I start hearing voices. Being fairly sure that it's not from being oxygen deprived, I look up and see bodies on the switchbacks above me. As we meet, I see that it's a group of about 9 girls, the oldest looking no more than about 17. I step to the side of the trail as they go by. I think to myself "Are you kidding me?" Here I am sucking the oxygen out of the air and these gals have just come up the other side, looking like fresh spring daisies. And look at those packs!

    http://youtu.be/cUPeZMIZKhY


    I get to the top, shed my pack and wait on Ken and Ed. The weather is definitely looking ominous but I don't think it's going to affect us. We take the time up there to take a much needed break. Doing these passes early in the day is definitely the way to go. The rest of the day would be all downhill.



    http://youtu.be/vwXV6rW1IaA




    After the break, it's down the other side we go. Man, you can't beat the scenery and lushness of the forest. We were encountering lots of deadfall tho. Most we could go around, some not.



    http://youtu.be/CirHR2skBVU







    Somewhere along in here we meet a family from Boston with 2 kids, ages of about 9 and 11 or so. They said this was thier first backpacking trip. Man, talking about throwing those kids into the deep end right off the bat. They told us of how one of the kids was out front that morning, leading the hike, when he looked up from the trail and 10 feet in front of him, standing in the trail, was a bull moose. Dad said they all just froze, watching as it wandered off.

    The jist I got was that the kids might not have been having a good time up until then. We talked about how rare it is to see one, let alone that close and how the sighting just made their whole trip worth while, the stories they'd have to tell and such. Mom thanked us for being encouraging and I'm sure, backing up everything the parents themselves had been telling them about an
    adventure in the wilderness. We saw them along the way a few more times and the kids definitely seemed a little more enthusiastic about being out there.

    http://youtu.be/5IpyTJDyZXo







    http://youtu.be/OllROJfsIFU




    We get to the Gourd Lake junction where we originally were going to camp tonite, but there was very little there. I looked around for prospects but wasn't impressed with what I found, so the decision was made to push on to the Cascade Creek intersection, another 1.5 miles. We'd come 6.6 miles so far. Doesn't sound like much but we were beat none-the-less after coming over the pass. At first, another 1.5 miles was a little deflating, until we got there and found the fantastic campsite. It had started to drizzle on us about a 1/2 mile from the camp but had stopped by the time we got there. Mileage for the day was 8.1. As big as the campsite was, we were the only ones there. We had a buck and doe circling the camp fairly close, probably looking for handouts. Fires were allowed here so scrounged up some dry wood and enjoyed one for about an hour before we were driven to our hammocks by 8:30pm, as the rain started again.



    http://youtu.be/3AmiJGidZa8

  4. #4
    trailryder42's Avatar
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    Day 3

    "Wow" is all I can say about Cascade Creek. Because we hiked an extra 1.5 miles the night before, that made the days trek to Pawnee Lake, our next nights campsite, only 4.1 miles. But don't let that decieve you, it was still to be a tiring day.

    I quite counting all the water falls and crossings along here. We'd come across long drainages of falls that you could see to the top of, up the mountain, only to find ourselves there eventually as we climbed up the drainage, looking down falls that we'd been looking up earlier.

    http://youtu.be/cQodAn0t0OA







    http://youtu.be/eEVJSf48mPM






    There's only so much oogling you can do before you have to take a break. We found a good spot by some roaring water and shed our packs.

    http://youtu.be/p6_GoDn8fYc




    We gradually see less big water as the trail routes us away from the creek. I wrongly keep referring to a feature on the ridge as Pawnee Pass, but later we run into some people that know for sure that what I'm referring to is indeed NOT it. Can't be seen from our present location.



    http://youtu.be/UBj1pcroTjU






    2.7 miles into the hike we come upon the Crater Lake trail junction. We meet a couple of guys there that I guess came over Pawnee Pass from the other direction that morning and were headed up to Crater Lake for the night.

    http://youtu.be/avEx5XwweCE




    A few more big water areas here and there.

    http://youtu.be/G7byBQYXoWQ














    As we get higher and closer to the lake, we hike thru meadows with huge boulders and rocks. We come upon some hikers that are able to point out Pawnee Pass to us.

    http://youtu.be/NX_VZH0EKYA


    We arrive at the lake and the campsites at the point where the trail runs by it the closest are taken. The trail works its way away from and uphill from the lake very quickly, so you don't want to hike on very far. We found a small trail going down into some trees, but still high above the lake. The best we could do. We found 3 trees suitable for hanging and Ed and I were going to have to share one. Ken hasn't been having any trouble with sites for his tent so far. This night, options are limited enough that we're very close to one another.







    http://youtu.be/Ne2gSoZCREs


    Right above my finger when I point to where our campsite in the trees is, is Pawnee Pass, just to the right of a spire called Lone Eagle. The pictures show it better.

    http://youtu.be/PASjeyj38EI




    We get camp set up and then hike down to try some fishing. Ken and I make our way around to the other side of the lake. There is no indication of fish in the lake. Water is kinda murky. There's an area hidden off behind the lake that we take a look at. Ken throws in a line with no results. It's looking rainy so we head back to camp, get supper made and ate before hitting the sack early. The guys want to get an early start in the morning.




  5. #5
    Acer's Avatar
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    Very nice trip and really enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Glad you posted this,,

  6. #6
    trailryder42's Avatar
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    Day 4

    It rained a little last night, not too bad. We're up about 6am, had breakfast and on the trail by 7:30am. It's a little cool out. I take a picture of the lake as we head up away from it.



    http://youtu.be/4Re1tSXMBEU


    I just now filled my cameras first 8gb SD card, so while I'm switching that out, the guys get ahead of me a little. They pretty much stay ahead of me, as I'm busy ooing and ahhing over the landscape, trying to get pictures and movies.

    Now is the first time we can actually see the pass. It's that feature that looks like a cone-headed man with a pointy nose.



    http://youtu.be/xN0RcRKJRg4


























    We're now on the other side of that cone-headed man with the pointy nose, very close to the saddle now. Wind is picking up big time and it's getting colder. I've been hiking in only my T shirt.

    http://youtu.be/v3TsXPud7tY






    We reach the saddle and I throw on another shirt, Brrrrrrr...Then the victory dance picture comes.




    We take a packs-off break, hunker down behind a boulder to get out of the wind.
    From here on, as we make our way down toward the Brainard lake area, we'll encounter tons of day-hikers.







    http://youtu.be/ShS6_wv_EXc





    http://youtu.be/u_QScdoLg5g







    http://youtu.be/ztysq8iXs_I


    We take a packs-off break just after the Isabelle Glacier Trail junction near the head of the lake there. It's not but 500 yards or so to the parking lot, but we still have a hike down the blacktop from there to get to the truck.










    So that was the hike. What an adventure.

    We drove back to Nederland to pick up my truck and then head over to that Wild Mountain restaraunt, but it was an hour wait, so we drove to the Sundance and on the way there the skies opened up on us like they did coming back from the Mitchel Lake hike during the summer hang. They were full up too, or so it looked. We didn't bother getting out of the vehicles, it was coming down so hard. So we called it a-wash and headed home.

    I hope Ed fills in any blanks I forgot.

  7. #7
    OutandBack's Avatar
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    Looks great Derek, the video's really are wonderful. Thanks so much for uploading them.

    How did you like the Aarn pack?
    O&B
    May your mileage in the backcountry exceed your post count.

  8. #8
    trailryder42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OutandBack View Post

    How did you like the Aarn pack?
    It's great. My back and shoulders didn't bother me all week. Had a couple of interested hikers ask me about it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Mustardman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailryder42 View Post
    It's great. My back and shoulders didn't bother me all week. Had a couple of interested hikers ask me about it.
    Another convert!

    I'm telling you, either AARN or Ribz - once you've gotten a taste of putting some weight on the front of your body for a more balanced load, you will never want to go back.

  10. #10
    waddy's Avatar
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    TR, you are becoming the Trail Report Guru! I am amazed at your camera work, really showing the essence of the trails and keeping your subject in frame. There is none of the jerking the camera from place to place and jerkiness so common with YouTube videos. It must have been quite a chore to upload all the pictures and videos. I kind of like the format. Rather than one super long video, it is a nice change to have a still photo narrative and then a video of the same. I was interrupted in the middle of the report and had to wait until now to finish. It was very easy to get to where I left off and continue with this format. Some of the video clips are a little short, but definitely of value. I had studied the trail pretty thoroughly through maps and Google Earth when I still though I was going. Your videos were able to convey a sense of direction and I was able to verify nearly all of the trail as I had envisioned it. I felt like you were packing me along on the end of your hiking pole. Very nice of you to do that and I hope I didn't weigh you down too much. Thanks again for another truly great and enjoyable trail report.
    Love your enemies, but keep your gun oiled!

    I am a CONCENTRATED vegetarian. I let the cows eat all the grass, and then I eat the cows!

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