Kessler and I started at the Slavonia Trailhead and hiked up past Gold Creek Lake to the 8800 foot elevation area. We decided to try and old abandoned trail along Gold Creek in order to head farther up the valley, but this was a big mistake and we got soaked in the marshy areas. We camped where the Ute Pass Trail crosses Gold Creek.
The weather forecast was good, but it rained anyway.
In the morning, we realized that we had forgotten the water filter, so we boiled enough water for the hike today. It was cloudy and overcast with low clouds covering the mountains.
We hiked up to Red Dirt Pass. It became colder and windier as we ascended. At the pass, it was really blowing and it was misty. We had planned on climbing both Peggy Peak and Flattop, but we decided to forget about Peggy Peak since there was poor visibility anyway.
We climbed up to the mesa-top of Flattop Mountain and headed south towards the true summit. It was windy, cold, and foggy for much of the way, but occasionally the fog lifted. We actually got some pretty good views from the summit.
We descended the mountain to Ute Pass and then took an old trail back down to our campsite, which we packed up before heading back down to the trailhead. The weather was a mix of partly cloudy and overcast skies. It was a good climb.
I always remember mountains that thwarted me upon my first attempt. Flattop Mountain was a fun, scenic excursion that took me two tries due to 2011's incredible snowpack. Along with me were my two favorite hiking companions: Sopris my ten year old Carolina Dingo and Watanga my new ten month old Australian Shepard. A perfect day.