A fine outing!
We parked at the Coulson Gulch TH, and followed the road that goes east to the Buttonrock TH until it made sense to head to 7985. Quick scamper over there, nice little summit block. Down the west side to the Gulch Trail, we opted to hit Cook Mountain first and then 7071, since we wanted to leave the option open to hit "Bathtub Bump", a BoCo soft rank to the east. We descended to Higgins Park, and then ascended the NW slopes of Cook, which look steeper on the map than they are in real life. Cook has a splendid little summit area, and the register is as old as I am (1974!). This was the best peak of the day. From Cook, we headed NE down to the road briefly, then ascended the WNW area of 7071, getting into some fun scrambling which might not be so fun with lots of snow. The register here needs a new canister, as the ziploc bag and broken glass with no lid won't last long. From there, we retraced north and then west to the road, continuing west to Coulson Gulch Trail, which we followed north back to the car. Saw some bear tracks on the closed road - a momma bear and a baby bear. Didn't see the animals, though. Took a little over 6 hours, I think. Good hike, with options to make it longer - add Bathtub Bump or add Smithy Mountain. Read in the Cook register that someone traversed over to Cook from Smithy, so logically reverse would work, but add quite a bit of work.
Only negative for the day was the gunshots/bang bang bang with people target practicing. Pretty annoying. Other than that, I recommend this area! Really nice, as is the Buttonrock group.
Stats & Links
10.1 miles, 2650' gain.
Maps: Trails Illustrated #100 - Boulder/Golden. Arapahoe N.F. map.
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