As indicated on my previous post, my intention was to head up to Rock of Ages Pass near Wilson Peak (14,017). The trail was quite rocky but well defined within a smooth trough for much of the ascent.
There was mining relics laying witness to earlier years on this mountain. Nearby is Mount Wilson (14,246). I’d seen a sign pointing in the direction earlier and kept my eyes open for possible routes. Seemed impossible, but I know it’s not.
Looking back at what I’d descended thus far. There is no real trail just lots of rocks and slip sliding marks from previous hikers. Once again this was way outside my comfort zone. I happened upon more mining history.
I was so happy to be out of the rubble headed toward Lizard Head Trail #505 with it’s namesake mountain, Lizard Head (13,113) clearly evident in the distant. It took me 6 hours to reach the trail junction after leaving the ridge.
The weather had been threatening all day and my wishes to have thunderstorms hold off until I’d descended the sketchy rock thankfully came true. By late afternoon however the hail, rain and thunder became intermittent.
After crossing over the pass, I quickly ducked into the first thunderstorm-safe campsite I could find. The temperature dropped quickly, the thunder grumbled, lightning flashed, it started hailing, then sleeting . . . then snowing.
- Date(s) Hiked: September 14-15, 2017
- Mileage: about 18 miles (per View Ranger)
- Elevation Gain/Loss: about 4,500′ gain, 5,600′ loss, ranging in elevation between 10,086 and 13,310 (per View Ranger)
- Trail Conditions:
- Tree obstacles: minimal
- Overgrowth: moderate, some bushes and plenty of decaying summer plants, made worse by rain and snow.
- Signage: moderate
- Terrain: combination of rocky exposed to smooth well groomed
- Navigation Skills: experienced for the section between Rock of Ages Pass to Lizard Head Trail
- Water availability: moderate (review map in advance)
- Camping availability: moderate
- Solitude: I only saw two people from the time I left Navajo Lake until I was part way down the Cross Mountain Trail where I started meeting a few hunters and hikers.
- Bugs: nearly non existent
- Wildlife: lots of pika!
- Precip: be prepared, yep I got wet, cold, and snowed up.
- Temp: 31 overnight low in my tent
- LNT: Although this is a high use area I saw very little abuse of LNT.
- Jan’s Cherry Picker Delight Scale: 4 cherries (out of 5) Views were outstanding, rocky section of trail was challenging.
- Check in with the ranger station in Dolores
- Plan on a long drive to the trailhead
- Plentiful dispersed camping near the trailhead