CO – Grand Mesa National Forest, Early Spring Jaunting (05/22)

Known as the world’s largest flat-top mountain, it exceeded my expectations when I found real forests, lots of lakes and hiking trails, and nothing resembling flat. Altitude was around 10,000 feet, giving my lungs reason to complain.

It was a great escape from the heat but not so good for hiking. I wasn’t surprised, after all it was mid May and still early spring at 10,000 feet.

Some plants are early spring bloomers. You won’t hear me complaining!

I found plenty of lakes in early thaw status.

The Crag Crest Trail was calling my name. If only I could get through the parking lot without postholing to my knees. But with infrequent overnight freezing, that wasn’t going to happen.

From this vantage point, I found marmots, a pika and some fat robins singing the sounds of spring. They were camera shy and didn’t want their portraits. During this trip I saw five marmots, a pika and a weasel, several elk and lots of deer.

I also enjoyed some colorful sunsets and sunrise views.

It was fun to witness the “here today, gone tomorrow” when the ice suddenly disappears.

The Scotland Trail is possibly at the lowest elevation. I met some rangers who recommended giving it a try. Well I did and found snow within 1/4 mile and soon it was 75% snow with deep postholing. I have up after a mile and took a short-cut back down to the road.

Road walking proved more enjoyable.

Even then I found sections of snow to wade or waddle through.

I wonder who you will be?

I enjoyed finding surprises.

From the mesa you could see many of the big mountain ranges.

With the recent snow melt, I found these buggers. I was thankful for my mesh window coverings on my car. I hear this area is known as mosquito hell in the early season.

Tips:

  • The Ranger Station Visitor Center is only open seasonally, usually opening Memorial Day weekend. However they had WiFi available outside the building and open heated restrooms with a potable water refill station.
  • There were a few large snow parking areas which I’m guessing offer dispersed camping in the summer.
  • Based on the infrastructure at Grand Mesa Village, a private holding within the forest, my guess is this is a busy place in the summer.

Resources:

4 thoughts on “CO – Grand Mesa National Forest, Early Spring Jaunting (05/22)

  1. Looks like another amazing adventure! I always look forward to your very descriptive comments! It’s the next best thing to being there!

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