Adam's Colorado and Wyoming Trip
by The Backpackers Shop on October 11, 2012
My trip to Denver and Laramie started with an early flight out of Cleveland Hopkins to Denver International. After an eventful drive and a scramble through security I was happily asleep on my way out west. I landed in Denver around noon, met my brother and drove to Buena Vista to camp for a few hours of sleep. We woke up at 3:00 AM for a light breakfast and were on the Missouri Gulch Trail by 4:00. A couple miles into the trail it began to slope upwards quickly cleared treeline. At this point the sun was coming up and Missouri Mountain was visible to the west. We summited Mt. Belford (14,153') around 10:00 AM and began to descend into the saddle to get out of the wind for lunch. After a quick lunch of PB & J tortillas we continued across the saddle up Mt. Oxford (14,153').
From the summit of Mt. Oxford we could see Mt. Huron in the distance and some weather beginning to roll in. The dark clouds encouraged us to get down quickly so we hightailed it back up Belford and down the Elkhead pass trail into the valley. We got camp set up and it promptly began to storm, thunder is a lot louder at 13,000'. We waited out the storm, cooked dinner and got to bed early.
The next day we repeated our 3:00 AM wake up for Missouri Mountain but thankfully left our tents, sleeping bags, etc. at camp and carried much lighter packs for this leg. We hiked at a modest grade until the turnoff and then switchbacked up to 14,000'. The trail topped out onto a narrow ridgeline and followed this for an easy mile to the summit.
We reached the apex early and the weather allowed us to hangout on top for a minute. Instead of retracing our route back to camp, we continued on the ridgeline which quickly turned into scrambling and we were appreciative of our lighter packs. After a short section of downclimbing we descended to a scree field and glissaded back to our trail. We arrived back at camp around noon, packed up and headed back to the car and got on the road to Laramie.
Laramie is about a 30 minute drive to Vedauwoo for some of the best climbing in Wyoming. After consulting the bouldering guidebook we grabbed our crashpad and wandered in. It only took me one problem to learn that a couple rolls of tape are a necessity for the rock here.
We bouldered for a while but the soreness was setting in from the day before so we called it quits. My brother had class the next day and a mess of work to catch up on so I took his car and headed down to Brooklyn Lake in Medicine Bow National forest for some solo nights. This section of Med Bow is wide open for large parts of the park and the wind never stops blowing so I hiked comfortably in a shell and long pants for the entire day. The high winds also tend to blow the trail signs down so I had a little trouble navigating (a trail map printout from 1993 doesn't help either). I camped near the car at brooklyn lake the first night and got up before sunrise to start. After hiking through a dense pine forest I emerged onto the plains and caught the sunrise for coffee next to a lake.
I skirted the perimeter of the park for the majority of the first day and then traveled towards the interior to get out of the wind and camp for the night. It got below freezing that night so I was thankful for my western mountaineering bag. The next morning I hiked through the valley next to medicine bow peak and back to the car.
All in all it was a high mileage couple of days but the dry air and cool temps helped my endurance. My last day was a long one, my brother and I woke up early for some sport climbing at Vedauwoo before catching my shuttle back to Denver and flying home. I got in around midnight and was very grateful that my wonderful girlfriend was willing to pick me up, considering that I forgot to tell her I needed a ride home.