Spring fever had been afflicting me big time over the past month or so. This has been my first year in Colorado. I had a great winter of snowboarding with my son, but I had just about enough of snow. I was itching to get out and do some hiking. When I saw the recent posting for Muscoco Mountain I thought it would be a great way to stretch my legs for the first hike of the spring. I wrote the page for Mt. Cutler and have hiked it probably a dozen times since moving to Colorado Springs from Maryland last May. I walked past the trail for Muscoco all those times, but never thought about seeing where the trail went.
I started about 9:30 a.m. and made it to the top in just over an hour. For the most part the trail is very easy to follow, but there are a few route finding spots. Shortly after branching off the Mt. Cutler trail there is an outcropping of rocks where the trail appears to stop. If you go to the right side of the rocks there is a small notch to climb through and you will easily see that the trail keeps going from there. Prior to reaching a small summit, which is before the start of the traverse across the north face of the mountain, there are two trail forks that confused me. Fortunately there were tracks from a recent hiker that I followed on faith and my gut and they turned out to be the right way. Essentially, the key at these forks is to go to the left towards the east face of the mountain. From there it was an easy hike. The summit is a long ridge of rocks with lots of great views. I worked my way down to the south end and found a great spot to take it all in. I spent almost two hours on the summit with it all to myself and soaked in great views of all the surrounding peaks. A cool thing that happened while I was on top was a cell phone call I received from an old college friend that I have not seen for probably close to 15 years. He is a Roman Catholic priest up in Denver and found out that I had moved to Colorado Springs. It was great to talk to him after so long and we promised to get together soon.
The way down was mostly uneventful, except for one potential mistake that could have caused route finding of epic proportions. Somehow, I lost the trail around the small summit that I mentioned above. However, my brand spankin new Garmin eTrex Legend GPS saved my butt. This was the first time I used it and I was marking waypoints periodically on the way up. I simply tapped in for it to lead me to the nearest waypoint, which was only 500 feet away ... in the opposite direction that I was looking to pick up the trail! Other than that, it was a great climb. I'm looking forward to doing this again with friends visiting from the east. It took me about half the day, but that included lots of solitude time on the summit.
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