Congratulations to all the new students who arrived at Adams State over the last few days. Adventure Programs was busy over the weekend taking students climbing and hiking around some of our more popular areas near the San Luis Valley. I hope that it has sparked some interests for our college community to set out on some awesome adventures around the valley for the Fall. One of the great things but also not so great is that is often fairly hard to find out about the cool places that are must see while you are here in college. Most of these places are spread via word of mouth over time and passed through to students down through the generations. Manyof these places have been lost with time, and it will take some new folks to go out and explore to rediscover these new places. I will suggest a few here if you are looking for away to spend these beautiful fall weekends.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Forest Service/ BLM Campgrounds:
Big Meadows, just beyond South Fork on the way to Wolf Creek Pass.
Multiple campsites up Alamosa Canyon.
Penitente Canyon, outside of La Garita Colorado. The La Garita Store has the best hamburger in the Valley incidently.
Hiking/ Backpacking: Either of these two trails can be used for day hiking as well
Middle Frisco Creek — (http://tinyurl.com/middlefrisco ) Leaves out of Del Norte. This is actually an Adventure Programs trip this weekend August 29th and 30th (Free for Rental Shop Members). The group will hike up the Middle Friso trail and camp near the high alpine lake. This is some beautiful high country with Bennett Peak looming respectfully overhead. Adventure Programs will be helping out on a service project up there later in September.
South Zapata Trail — Leaves from the Zapata Falls trail head and is one of the most often hiked trails by students. The South Zapata lakes are deep in the Wilderness and the 5 mile one way hike can seem much longer, because of the steepness of the trail. This is a full day hike for most, so if you are set on making the lakes leave early, like 8 am.
Mosca Pass — Leaves out of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. A more gentle hike for the Sangres and can quickly you get you up into the high alpine meadows. Tends to be windy, but is well worth the effort.
Penitente Canyon — (http://tinyurl.com/Penitente) Near La Garita , Colorado. Penitente Canyon is one of the premier mountain bike areas in the San Luis Valley and provides some nice freeride type opportunities. There are multiple loops that leave several parking areas and it takes a little bit of exploring to find the great riding that exists here above the canyon walls. Within the canyon walls lies a great climbing area with hundreds of sport routes. If you aren’t a climber and don’t know anything about climbing be sure to check out our climbing programs with Adventure Programs this fall. We can help get you started.
Limekilns — (http://www.singletracks.com/bike-trails/limekiln-monte-vista.html) Monte Vista, Colorado. Swing by Kristi Mountain Sports before leaving town and pick up one of their maps for the area. Ask to speak with Eric, Mark, Lisa, Randy, or Matt, they will all be able to tell you about the riding. Most of the riding is on two track and climbs and descends through the various canyons in the area. The area gets its name for the existence of many 100 year old kilns that were used to make lime for concrete. Be careful around the kilns as they are a protected part of the valley’s history.
If you don’t have a bike, remember that once you purchase the Adventure Programs Rental Shop membership for $20 you can rent a mountain bike from the Adventure Programs Rental Shop. Be sure to come by and check them out and get your friends out this weekend.
4 wheel Drive Trips:
Two come to mind immediately, Medano Pass (Great Sand Dunes National Park) and Wheeler Geologic Area (Creede, CO). These roads are to be taken seriously and need a high clearance 4 wheel drive. I believe you can find plenty of info about these drives online via a Google search, but be sure to pick up a Colorado Gazetter at Kristi Mountain Sports before heading out. Have the appropriate rescue equipment to get your vehicle unstuck and out of the backcountry if it has problems.
The Blanca Massiff looms over the valley. Adventure Programs will be taking a two day trip in the middle of September to climb the peak. If you have not done a Fourteener before, I would recommend this trip to get acquantied with the gear and equipment as well as some of the safety considertions. The Fourteener climbs from the valley are big endeavors usually involving 6000 to 7000 feet of elevation gain which differs greatly from many of the other ascents around Colorado. These are generally two day trips, but can be done in a day by those in really good shape.
Please remember to purchase your CORSAR card if you are going to be active outdoors! You never know when you may need someones help and the purchase of the card ensures that the volunteer search and rescue teams will be able to cover their expenses if you need their help. You can purchase the card at Kristi Mountain Sports for $3 dollars or online at http://www.dola.state.co.us/dlg/fa/sar/sar_purchase.html .
Please take great care with our public land too, it is a limited resource and one of the many reasons I love living in the Valley. If you aren’t familiar with Leave No Trace, take a minute to check out their website. http://www.lnt.org/