Our latest adventure was backpacking into the Sangre de Cristos Wilderness west of Pueblo. We originally chose a trailhead that turned out to be inaccessible, so we instead hiked up the Stout Creek drainage. It’s only 4.5 miles, but it is straight up hill the entire way. The elevation gain is evident in the pictures from the campsite, which show the view all the way back down to the Arkansas River Valley and US highway 50 below.
We had intended to hike up to the lakes, but we didn’t quite make it. That’s partly because we were delayed while we waited out a rainstorm in the shelter of some trees, but the real reason is “The Wall”. The last 300-400 feet of elevation gain up to the lakes is a near vertical pitch. When we reached the base, we were just too tired to consider tackling it. We had noticed a clearing next to a beaver pond just below the wall, so we decided to go back and set up camp there. It turned out to be a nice little spot.
We were able to hike up to the lakes the next day. They are both well above treeline, with no shade or firewood to be found, so we were happy with our choice of campsites. On top of that, a storm rolled through the valley Saturday night that brought with it an impressive lighting display, which was interesting to watch from our vanatage point high up in the hills.