Bushwhack Hike to Clear Creek

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Larry Tucei
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Bushwhack Hike to Clear Creek

Post by Larry Tucei » Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:42 am

NTS- On August 8th the team of Chris Morris, Mark Rouw, Matt Markworth and myself hiked somewhere around 5-6 miles to Clear Creek. The journey started from Durango at Junction St west to Hwy 240 then a 1 hour drive on rocky Hwy 250.
Rocky Road.jpg
I mean this was the slowest rode to travel on at times the rocks are so bad we were 5 mph. We arrived at the Trailhead around 1000 that morning and started the 4 hour Hike to Clear Creek with GPS in hand.
Aspens on Trail with Chris Morris in photo.jpg
A nice stand of Aspen with heights to 105' I believe at the front of the Trail with Chris in the Photo.
View of the San Juans 2 from 10,600.jpg
Views of the San Juan’s as we hiked along the ridge in. The Guys at a turn in the Trail.
Chris Morris, Mark Rouw and Matt Markwork.jpg
Last of the Trail before bushwack.jpg
The Trail showing the last bend before we dropped off.
View of Bushwack Gulch looking toward Hermosa Creek.jpg
We followed the Trail for a mile or two and if was easy until we dropped off trail into Bushwhack Gulch we called the gorge that runs into Clear Creek.
Lunch.jpg
View of Clear Creek.jpg
View of Clear Creek with Hermosa in the background. After the almost straight down climb into the Gulch we stopped for lunch.
Ground water.jpg
The headwater of the Gulch formed a waterfall and pool of drinking water. Chris and myself proceeded down the drainage while Matt and Mark stayed on midslope we starting measuring some tall Engelmann’s almost instantly with heights to 140.
Bushwack Gulch.jpg
Wildflowers at the Gulch. We then spied the one!
Height Record Englemann Spruce.jpg
Me and Chris lined Matt and Mark up on the tree and we got 152.5' x 9.7" a new height record for Colorado! Woo Hoo!
Chris at the Champ.jpg
We hung around the tree for sometime then took off down the drainage a spotted a Martin in another Engelmann.
Martin.jpg
We finally got to Clear Creek drainage at 200 PM and only had 30 minutes till we had to leave for the 4 hour hike out.
Guys at Clear Creek Trail.jpg
We took a break at the Trail then Chris found a really tall Aspen as he went East down the Creek.
Tall Aspen 1.jpg
It turned out to be another record at that time! 113.5'.
Tall Aspen 2.jpg
Chris with his tall Aspen! Well time was short so off we went back up from 8600' to 10,600' and it weren't no picnic. We went up at 45 degrees at times and it was one of the toughest climbs of my life.
Looking back at climb out.jpg
We finally got to the Ridge after a couple of hours of struggle but from then on it was way easy.
View after climb out.jpg
Views coming up and views from the top. Horned Lizard at 10,600' and Volcanic Rock. After another hour and half we finally made it back to our vehicle. Wow what an adventure we went in one way and came out another for a total of 5-6 miles and a 3000' Elevation change. The views were fantastic and the Company was great. This region had never been measured and I feel more records could be waiting to be broken in this region. Larry
Attachments
Horn Towed Lizard at 10,000'.jpg
View of the San Juans from 10,600.jpg
Last edited by Larry Tucei on Fri Aug 22, 2014 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Lucas
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Re: Bushwhack Hike to Clear Creek

Post by Lucas » Fri Aug 22, 2014 12:22 pm

Seeing a marten has to very rare. They are not easy to find.

Great pix and I didn't know these kind of forests were still in CO.
We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir

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Don
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Re: Bushwhack Hike to Clear Creek

Post by Don » Fri Aug 22, 2014 3:39 pm

Larry-
An excellent adventure! You guys set an ambitious goal, and did it...kudos!!!
I had a co-worker, Donny, when I worked on the Daniel Boone NF who was known for walking the legs off of anybody accompanying him. He told the story of his come-uppance when he and a crew went on a western fire assignment. His crew were hard workers were respected by their sector boss, so when Donny saw a smoke off in the distance, he radio-ed in to their sector boss, who told Donny if he thought he'd be able to get to the smoke, put it out, and back to his location by nightfall, to go ahead.
Donny allowed how he thought they could do that, and headed out. He said they walked, and they walked, and finally an hour or two before nightfall, they'd arrived at the smoke and had managed to extinguish it...they then faced the prospect of returning, this time uphill to their original location, and hitching up their gear, headed back. They radio-ed in just before midnight, having hiked for nearly 10 solid hours (plus an hour or so extinguishing the hotspot) over what must have been 18 miles roundtrip. They were roundly applauded for their effort, but what they wanted most was time off their feet...they were pretty much done in, and crawled in their fire bags without dinner.
Not used to seeing that far off into the distance, having lived all their lives in SE Kentucky, they just didn't have a mental scale to judge distance by, in this case the San Bernardino National Forest (the general area is so spread out that San Bernardino County is one of the largest in the nation), known for its distant panoramas.
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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Matt Markworth
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Re: Bushwhack Hike to Clear Creek

Post by Matt Markworth » Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:24 pm

Larry,

Great report and great photos! What a great hike with friends and a great Engelmann spruce that we found! Hopefully the four of us (and other NTS) can explore more areas of the western side of Hermosa together some day.

In addition to the 152.5' x 9'7" Engelmann spruce (at 8927' elevation), I also wrote down these measurements that we got on Engelmann:
144'
143.5'
132.5'
129.5' x 8'11"
123.5' x 10'5"
128' x 10'8"

Here are some more photos...
View from up top
View from up top
Larry and the 152.5' Engelmann spruce
Larry and the 152.5' Engelmann spruce
152,5' Engelmann Spruce
152,5' Engelmann Spruce
South Facing Slope of Clear Creek
South Facing Slope of Clear Creek
North Facing Slope of Clear Creek
North Facing Slope of Clear Creek
Matt

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Jess Riddle
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Re: Bushwhack Hike to Clear Creek

Post by Jess Riddle » Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:26 pm

Larry,

Sounds like a thrilling adventure. Your vista shots really help give a feel for just how much forest there is to explore in that area. Those aspen certainly blow away anything I've seen in the Northeast.

Jess

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: Bushwhack Hike to Clear Creek

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:54 pm

A pine marten!! I've never seen one! That's amazing!

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Don
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Re: Bushwhack Hike to Clear Creek

Post by Don » Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:17 pm

James-
Please send your email address to:
forestoration@msn.com
that I may email to you a narrative with images of Tehipite Valley,
in Kings Canyon National Park...tried sending one through NTS-BBB
but it must not be current.
-Don
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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Don
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Re: Bushwhack Hike to Tehipite Valley

Post by Don » Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:47 pm

James Robert-
Part of what it's all about...
TehipiteValley3D.pdf
Google Earth image of Tehipite Valley
(711.53 KiB) Downloaded 124 times
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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Don
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Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:42 am

Re: Bushwhack Hike to Clear Creek

Post by Don » Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:52 pm

James Robert-
I dug up an account by the fellow I've misnamed in my narrative emailed to you, his name is Bob Burd (not Bell), which can be read (with his hypertexted photos, some that were used in my narrative), at:
http://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports ... ome_1.html
I'm not recommending you try to match his 24 hour marathon round trip...this is a hike to be enjoyed, and if you attempt the Valley, I've more to tell, perhaps only one other person would be able to tell it (my friend who accompanied me on the Valley hike).
-Don
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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Matt Markworth
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Re: Bushwhack Hike to Clear Creek

Post by Matt Markworth » Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:54 pm

All,

Here are some more photos from this day:

Trail sign:
IMG_0553.JPG
Logging roads:
IMG_0555.JPG
Engelmann spruce cones:
IMG_0558.JPG
Bushwhack Gulch Engelmann Spruce:
IMG_0561.JPG
Matt

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