Add Heading HereOn Wednesday November 19, 2008 My friend Mike and his wonderful lab Aiko and I awoke along N. Crestone Creek and soon began the wonderful walk upstream to 3 Forks. There had been quite a bit of more recent blowdown in the area, large trees snapped head high off the ground.
I am of the opinion posted mileages in this drainage are off. I would think the total up to Groundhog from the N. Crestone Trailhead is 3K vertical and 5, maybe 5.25 miles. Nothing for the uberfit, a bit tougher for the rest of us.
Before 3 forks we followed a moderate sized bear's tracks for sometime. Mike saw a fresh Mt. Lion track above the Venable Pass the main trail below the Basin on the way out. We encountered a the head/rack from a nice elk kill somehwere around 11,000' right on the trail in that same area going up. We saw a Mt. Goat on the Rim above Groundhog and Mike saw several Bighorns heading down. I saw a bear, could have been the owner of those tracks, just down the hillside from 3 forks following them out at a considerably slower pace. Apparently aiko might have smelled him 40 minutes or so before me.
This is a wonderful hike. It is however relentlessly rugged and steep. I'd follow the Goat's route if you want out of Groundhog without dropping back down to much. The rest of that cirque is nothing but cliffs and the steepest of talus. I'll try and post a couple of pics of that later.
I put 7 pics here:
You can see the Sangres need snow. They may have gotten just a little bit last night. Right now is a great time for a great range. I'll post another trip report for Dry Lakes soon. Thanks for your time folks,