This was a new one for the group, though Roger had done it before. It was one of his favorites, and he enjoyed expertly showing us around. We spent so much time enjoying the trail that we ran out of time to do Flume Creek, a trail right next to Lost Canyon. There's always next year.
We found the trailhead behind the gas station in Granite, and we were soon headed down the very dusty and easy dirt road to the main trail. We were soon heading up, happy to get out of the dust.
The early switchbacks for the first half of the trail were nice and mellow. We were really surrounded by aspen trees for a good portion of it, and they made a canopy over the trail in many places. Unfortunately, the leaves had already fallen off of them. We were already talking about coming back in future years to see them all yellow.
We wondered if the trail would always be this easy, but at about the halfway mark it suddenly got more difficult. It was right at some mining equipment. Up to this point, it would be a really good trail for an SUV driver new to mountain driving.
It got steeper and rockier as we climbed above timberline. We first took the little spur to the gate at the Gold Basin Mine, and we all got out to enjoy the scenery. We saw a couple of trucks at the very top, high above the mine, and we knew that was our destination.
We started climbing up to the top, and we soon passed the trucks. We were headed out to Roger's favorite overlook, Overlook 3 on the map. We didn't get out again until we were all parked there.
The views were amazing! It was windy and a little chilly, but not too bad at all. We could see the Clear Creek Reservoir and Lost Canyon below us, as well as a lot of surrounding mountains.
We headed back out, stopping again at the big cabin. It was almost like a duplex, with two doors and a wall between the two big rooms. Where it was situated was very windy, and we couldn't imagine why someone would build such a big structure there.
We didn't hike down to the mine, but Roger told us about it. We had more to explore. We soon headed over to the Overlook 2 area.
This part was the fun and challenging section of the trail. It was a steep climb, and soon we found the trail covered in snow. Luckily, there were bare patches of snow where the tire tracks were that formed the trail, so we could see where it was. Everyone had a good time slipping and sliding to the top.
We stayed at Overlook 2 for awhile, really enjoying the views. We were at over 13,000 feet, which was a real treat. We were all reminded of the rocks at the top of Twin Cone. It was extremely scenic, and we were glad we could get to the top.
We headed down and then over to the smaller cabin and Overlook 1. The views from Overlook 1 were also good, but not as good as the ones we'd seen. Still, it offered a new view of the area to the west and north.
The sun was going down already, an unfortunate part of wheeling in the fall. It looked like we weren't going to get to Flume Creek. We headed down and aired up in the daylight, which was nice.
Six of us even made it to Quincy's in Leadville for prime rib, one of our favorite places to eat dinner after a long day of wheeling. There was hardly anyone there, and we were waited on hand and foot. We all talked about the biggest wheeling adventures we'd ever had, and it was a great time. It wasn't too long before we were headed for home. What a great day!
Reports from Other Days: 2
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