We started day three of our long weekend with Alder Creek. Monica had left Friday night after dinner, leaving just three vehicles again. We decided to run the trail in the opposite direction, so we started at highway 285. Finding the trail was easy as we had noted it the evening before as we returned to Salida from running other trails in the area.
We were all aired down already, so after only a brief stop we proceeded up the trail. Route finding was easy, although there were a few spurs that went left down to the creek and to some dispersed campsites.
We followed the trail up Alder Creek, opting to stay near the creek rather than taking a branch of the trail that paralleled our route further up the ridge to the north. We'd leave that exploring for another time.
We stopped where some mine tailings towered over the trail at a switchback and wondered about the wreck of an old vehicle over the side of the trail. It looked like it dated to the 1920s.
We stopped at the Colorado Belle Mine and at the log outhouse further up the trail. We wondered, who would make an outhouse using logs 16" in diameter? Even with these stops, we made good time and were soon above tree line.
We climbed up to Round Mountain and enjoyed the view. The climb was loose and you almost needed lockers to get up it. After that, we took the spur to the left over Mount Manitou to where it intersected with Whale Hill so we would have that complete GPS track. The views are worth the side trip and the descent and climb of Mount Manitou, although short, is worth the ride.
We continued down the trail after returning to Round Mountain and we were soon at the Antora Mine site. This was a perfect spot for lunch so we got out the chairs and sat in the old boiler house to take advantage of the shade. No one came while we were there and it was nice to have the site to ourselves. After packing up, we proceeded the short way left to intersect with the Toll Road Gulch trail. After that, we were off to find Kerber Creek!