This weekend we decided to explore Goose Creek Trail in the Lost Creek Wilderness. After our Chasm Lake hike we wanted something mellow: some exercise combined with the great outdoors. We also decided it would be a good chance to test our gear (ultra light back packing) our new sleeping pads (ultra light) and our food. We thought that one night would be a good test.
The Lost Creek Wilderness area is located in Pike National Forest.
Size:119,790 acres Elevation:8,000 to 12,400+ feet Miles of trails: 100 Year designated: 1980,1993. Hunting areas: 50, 501
See here for more information. Lost Creek Wilderness also happens to fall in the area of the Hayman fire (Colorado's largest fire.) The Hayman fire (named after the site of its origin near Tappan Gulch) burned 137,760 acres and cost (to date) $39,100,000. Here is the Hayman Fire website.
Goose Creek Trail is in the Lost Creek Wilderness. Here is the USDA Forest Service's official site. We decided to try a different route to the Goose Creek trailhead. This way is definitely longer, and slower but we enjoyed the scenary and marvelled at the devastation of the Hayman fire, and the remarkable regenerative powers of nature. We took the 285 to Bailey and then travelled county 68 to Wellington Lake. The road meanders past Wellington Lake and then we took the Stoney pass road (FR560) south. At the intersection with FR211 go West. We passed the Goose Creek Camp ground which was closed. Then at the next T Junction take FR558 to the trail head.
We left the trail head at about 5:30pm. While we were preparing our packs a group was preparing for their hike a little differently: they had llamas as pack animals. I was intrigued. I am sure that llamas are very friendly (etc) but I look at them and can't quite get passed the fact that they remind me of camels. I don't like camels (much) due to an incident with a camel in Egypt. (It spat at me- enough said.)
The start of the trail is a gentle well worn path passing through a burn area; a graveyard of trees and liquified, molten stumps. But after 3 years the forest is starting to restore itself. In the meantime, grasses, masses of wildflowers, wild rose bushes, and berries have taken advantage of the unexpected light to create a feast for the eyes.
We followed the trail through this garden. The trail quickly leaves the burn area and enters an area which surprisingly is absent of burn. Goose Creek Trail is very pretty. I loved this valley - green and lush at the bottom, and surrounded by large scraggy rock outcrops.
Since we were feeling especially lazy, we ambled along the trail and decided to make our campsite. We found one well away from the river, in a secluded spot surrounded by trees.
Here is our campsite.
We awoke the next morning to the sound of running deer. We ate a quick breakfast of squashed peanut butter sandwiches, a hard boiled egg and celery before breaking up camp and heading out.
We hiked for a couple of hours before deciding that we were too tired. We turned back and headed for home.
We did not get to the cabin, or to see the other interesting sites. I did google search and came up with some interesting posts from others who have spent more time exploring this wonderful valley. These posts just inspire me to do more exploring. We certainly did not do Goose Creek Trail justice. We will certainly return. Soon.
Check out this website for a great description of the Goose Creek Trail hike, and some really beautiful photographs.