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Alberta Peak
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mini location map2021-09-22
30 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Alberta PeakSan Luis Valley, CO
San Luis Valley, CO
Hiking6.00 Miles 1,298 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles   3 Hrs   22 Mns   1.93 mph
1,298 ft AEG      15 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
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1st trip
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Pagosa Springs, CO - September 2021 - Hike #2
Having done five CDT hikes in New Mexico a year ago Tracey wanted to hit at least one section of the CDT on this trip. Since Alberta Peak would likely be a popular hike on the weekend we decided to knock this one out mid-week, yup even though I hadn't fully recovered from yesterday's butt-kicker.

Just as we reached Wolf Creek Pass on US 160 we noted a large group of what appeared to be middle-schoolers a few hundred yards out about to head into the trees. Oh great, just what we wanted... NOT!
No matter, to give them a bigger head-start we took our time getting our gear together... Ahem! Getting MY gear together, as Tracey is always ready within minutes.

Still, it wasn't a half mile into the climb before we encountered a half-dozen tail-end-charlie's of the group. One very slightly-chubby kid in particular was splayed out next to the trail contemplating out loud how they could expect to continue, or words to that effect. To which I replied, Hey, I'm 71 with issues and I'm not crying about it! The response wasn't positive but no matter, on we go. Unbeknownst to us at the time, the rest of their group left the trail taking a shortcut before we caught up so this would be the last we'd see of any of the middle-schoolers until the return trip.

Although climbing fast, with plenty of switch-backs on the CDT (Section #813) it was somewhat easier than V Rock Trail... at least it felt that way. During much of the climb among the trees the views were nothing but trees. Once it leveled out the trail began an arc along the contour we now had extended scenic views. As we passed the Treasure Mountain Trail junction I had a thought of tacking that on during the return trip... that is until I checked the map and realized that round-trip would double the AEG for the day, plus the trail bypasses Treasure Mountain and did not go to the summit.

Right about this time we are caught up by a SOBO CDT through-hiker... one who we had seen walking on the sidewalk in Pagosa Springs as we drove out US 160. We laughed at him then due to his long white beard and colorful plaid Scottish kilt, so it was kind of fun to chat with him for a few minutes about his CDT trip, being mindful not to hold him up. For kicks, be sure check him out in the photoset!
When his trail name, he responded "What better than to use my real name, Sean Connery!"

Other than Sean, we would be passed on three occasions, all being couples with dogs... (with ONE exception out of seven dogs on tomorrow's hike) these would be only well-behaved dogs we will encounter on all our hikes. It seems in Colorado "dogs on leash" means "leash on dogs"... the leash trailing behind in the dirt with no owner attached.

But I digress... While on the ridge we were rewarded with grand scenic views all around. We dawdled a bit checking out a few pieces of slope-grooming equipment before continuing toward Albert Peak. With the wind picking up significantly we sought a refuge of sorts hunkering down behind a log snow-fence while taking a snack break. Ok, maybe a snack for Tracey, but with my stomach growling for the last 30 minutes I ate everything in my pack.
Between the howling wind and the rugged terrain of non-stop boulders the last 50' feet of elevation to the summit neither of us felt the urge to reach the actual summit.

On the return trip we began by taking the 'shortcut' along the ski-lift access road passing the various buildings and ski-lifts along the way. This is when we met up with the bulk of the middle-schoolers and their bus driver, who although taking the shortcut, were still on their way up to Alberta Peak. The driver told us four stragglers plus a teacher had stopped and would be waiting for the rest to return before going back.

We followed the access road for a bit but getting a bit bored Tracey wanted to reconnect back with the CDT for the descent so just past the Raven's Nest we found a connector back to the CDT. As we reached the CDT here was the group of stragglers, including the kid I had admonished.
And now the fun begins...
After chatting a bit we learned it was a team-building exercise.
Then I happened to look at the pack the outspoken kid had been carrying... it looked absolutely chock full so I picked it up to see how much it weighed and wow, what a surprise! It felt like 50 pounds, to which the student admitted it had been 45 pounds at the start!

That's when I said with astonishment...
Me: How much do you weigh?!!
Response: That's a dangerous question to ask a female.
Me: Sorry, I couldn't tell
In my defense, dressed in a hoody with the hood pulled tight (like others in the group), even Tracey thought the student was a boy.
After her admitting to a weight of 90 pounds, I said That is HALF of your body weight, that's far too much for ANYONE to carry!

As we were about to leave the girl pulls out one of her 'snacks' and there in large bold print I saw 600 Calories! And here again, stick foot-in-mouth, that's almost half a full day's intake!
Thankfully when another hiker approached we broke up the party and headed back.
(Actually, she appeared a happy-go-lucky kid with a great sense of humor, one who if I were a teacher would love to have her in my class... after all, I was that kind of kid at that age)
After that somewhat raucous laugh-fest the rest of the return trip was a non-event.

Back at the trailhead I thought of one thing I neglected to say as we left the group, If this was supposed to be a real team-building exercise, why didn't any other members of the "team" offer to spread the load? So the whole group can reach the destination together?
In reality, the chaperones should have been more proactive by at least checking packs before leaving the school. But then as an old geezer with 71 years life experience, what would I know about anything?
Nice warm-up hike but not enough miles so we'll check out another one (or two) hikes on the way back to town.
Stay tuned...
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[ checklist ]  Alberta Peak  Treasure Mountain
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