6/18/19 – I had kind of a cold and restless night, but woke up and warmed up with a small campfire at around 6 am. Had a breakfast of oatmeal with raisins and coffee, packed up and set out for our second day of adventure at around 8:15. Shortly after leaving camp, we encountered two buck deer in the trees to our right. We watched each other curiously for a time and then went our separate ways.
After about a mile of hiking through the forest on single track, the trail merged onto a dirt road. We would follow a series of roads, both paved and gravel, as we navigated around private property. The 5.7 miles of road hiking passed by a youth camp (Frontier Ranch) and the Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort. The pools and water slide we’re inviting, but we resolved to make some miles today. We also passed underneath the Chalk Cliffs, which as I understand it isn’t actually chalk, but is granite that, over time, has been altered by the hot springs. We also passed through “Bunny Lane”, a small community along Chalk Creek. Several Bunny Lane residents greeted us and asked if there was anything they could give us to aid our journey toward Durango. We did accept one resident’s offer to fill our water bottles from his house spigot. Having descended about 1,100′ from our perch above Dry Creek during our road hike, we reached the end of segment 13. We stopped there for a few minutes to dry out our tents in the sun. They had gotten wet in the rain the evening before and hadn’t dried out overnight.
Segment 14 travels through the southern end of the Sawatch Range, passing Mounts Antero and Shavano and Tabeguache Peak (all fourteeners). The segment begins with a steep climb of 900′ in 1.3 miles. We then descended a few hundred feet to Eddy Creek (8,920′) and had lunch, including summer sausage, cheese and crackers. We crossed the creek and continued on down the trail. From the trail, we could look back and see a unique view of the Chalk Cliffs. Some caves in the cliffs, which we couldn’t see from the road, resembled the face of an alien or ghost. Zooming in on a photo revealed what looked like some kind of stone structure inside the caves…perhaps ancient native people once lived there.
After hiking a total of 13.7 miles for the day, we settled in to our camp perched above Browns Creek and below Jones Peak. We soon heard voices at the creek below, where several people were filling water bottles. It turned out that a group of 50 were setting up camp across the creek. The group was from New Boston, MI and consisted of 13 adults and 37 teenagers from an Adventurers group (co-ed teen explorers). We could see their tents spread out up and down the creek, but didn’t hear a peep from them all night, over the running water from the creek. It was Chinese night at the Camp Cafe and Chicken Teriyaki was the entree of choice. Jerry Hertzler Click here for the Pledge form