Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day hike in Highwoods

Plenty of snow on Highwood Baldy still

Arrowleaf Balsamroot and Larkspur cohabitate

North Fork Highwood is raging
The Highwood Mountains offer a number of great loop hikes suitable to any mood.
I took the 10-12 mile Thain Creek-North Fork Highwood loop Sunday and threw in a climb of Windy Peak (elevation 5,998 feet) for good measure.
I was up to stretch my legs before the expected bad weather rolled in and to enjoy the greenery and flowers. I was able to do all three.
There’s still plenty of snow at about 6,500 feet, with the north and east flanks of Arrow, Baldy, North and Middle peaks still covered.
All streams are high and the eight crossings of Thain Creek were a challenge.
As expected, the Arrowleaf Balsamroot was the most numerous followed by larkspur. There were plenty of lupine and sticky geranium out here, too.
I had a sensory overload from all the green in this pastoral mountain range.
It was smoky on the horizons, so I didn’t get my usual great views when I scaled Windy Peak.
Hit the Highwoods now before the cattle are let out onto the public lands.

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