Fri, Oct 6, 2023
Today's main objective was R1, a summit in the Rico Mtns high above the town of the same name. Nearby Blackhawk Mtn is the highest in the area, a summit we had visited some years earlier. On that outing, thunderstorms interrupted our day, forcing us to leave out the obvious bonus peak. But today we would have beautiful weather and a very fine outing to R1. I had done Section Point previously, but since Eric hadn't, we added that as the bonus today.
We drove up Barlow Creek from SR145, a 6.5mi effort to get us to the unsigned TH on the northeast side of Hermosa Peak. Most of the day's hiking was along a very scenic section of the Colorado Trail with easy gradients. The first half mile was along an old section of road no longer open to vehicles. We then merged onto the Colorado Trail, the next 1.3mi of which follows along the continuing old road. The road then goes over a saddle between Hermosa Peak and Section Point (with a view of R1), and here the Colorado Trail turns west to continue along a very pleasant single-track. We followed this to another saddle on the north side of Section Point, then went up easy cross-country to its summit, arriving an hour and a quarter after starting out. It was a nice little perch with fine views of R1 and Blackhawk looking south and southwest. I was not sure how long it might last, but we left one of our registers while we took our short break.
Rather than take the easy route back to the trail on the north side, we went off the steep SE Ridge to save us some time. Once back on the trail, we followed it for a little over a mile until it was time to head up to R1. This was a combination of easy cross-country through forest, some steep, snow-covered talus (not dangerous), more grassy strolling through forest, then a final steep, 600-foot climb up grassy slopes (with some lingering snow) to reach the summmit at the 2hr45min mark. It was a lovely spot with unobstructed views, with sunshine and no wind to make for a very comfortable summit stay. Mike Garratt had left a register only a month earlier, so no surprise there were no other entries. We briefly considered descending the West Ridge to the saddle with Blackhawk Mtn to return to the trail, but after wandering down the ridge a short distance, I decided it wouldn't save us any time and would be a little sketchier than simply returning the way we'd come.
After a nice rest, we retraced our cross-country route back down the NE Ridge and onto the Colorado Trail, then leisurely spent the next few hours heading back along the trail. We took a few short breaks enroute, including a nice one at an overlook that we dubbed Little Flat Rock. It was 3p when we finally returned to the Jeep, our outing coming in at just under 6hrs. We would return to Telluride for the evening with plans for a much easier day to follow...
This page last updated: Fri Oct 20 11:36:42 2023
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