Weminuche Wilderness Weekend
Last weekend, Christy and I went down to the Weminuche, in the heart of the San Juans. It’s an incredible place, one of our favorite spots in the state.
The Weminuche Wilderness handily takes the award as Colorado’s largest wilderness area. At nearly 500,000 acres in size (Maroon Bells/Snowmass is 181,000 acres by comparison) it is so vast, with so many impressive peaks, lakes and valleys, that a single trip can’t do it justice. It’s something you just have to visit and revisit, exploring different sections on different trips, and if you’re lucky, after a good half-dozen forays into its depths, you might just cover enough ground to get a basic sense of what it’s all about. Christy and I– having hiked the trails and climbed the surrounding peaks of Ruby, No Name, Vestal and Weminuche Creek(s), and after making several trips to Chicago Basin and the Needle Creek 14ers, with a combined 14 backpacks to various areas here– feel as though we’ve barely scratched the surface.
So in an effort to explore new parts, we ventured in from a quiet and curiously-named trailhead known as “Beartown”, which was new for us and accessed the eastern Grenadiers, a mountain sub-range within the Weminuche. After camping at the trailhead we started in the next morning with some pretty large backpacks, and after cresting the aptly named Hunchback Pass, we were in the Weminuche. Unfortunately we saw no bears in Beartown but as a consolation, after departing the lonely trailhead for our 3-day backpack, we saw no people either– not one.
Our destination this time was Trinity Creek, a tributary of Vallecito Creek, below the easternmost peaks of the Grenadiers– The Guardian, Silex Peak and Storm King Peak. After a four-plus hour backpack, we were there, and had two days to scamper around the area during what was the last weekend of summer and our first wedding anniversary. The photos tell it best:
On the third ridiculously beautiful day, our anniversary, we hiked out over Hunchback Pass. Following a different route home, west over Stony Pass to Silverton, the fall colors were exploding. What a trip, we’re already looking forward to going back.