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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Indulging My Courthouse Compulsion


There are certain hikes that one never tires of repeating. For me, Courthouse Mountain is just such a hike...particularly this time of year.

Though initially a deep woods-hike, Courthouse Trail eventually breaks free from its mantle of gloom and soars like an eagle aloft, with wide-angle far-view rewards that photos fail to do justice.

The Courthouse Trailhead lies over Owl Creek Pass, alongside the West Fork of the Cimarron River
What Courthouse Trail lacks in mileage is made up for in verticality. Right out of the "gate" you sense achilles tendons stretched to their max and a little soft burn in the bum. It's a Stair Master...only outdoors instead of in front of the "boob tube."  




Major peaks rise above stands of timber, from left to right: Precipice and Redcliffe, which we have bagged, and Coxcomb, the "comb" of which is above our comfort level...


Sprinkled along Courthouse Trail are unobstructed and inspiring views of the monolith, Chimney Rock. I must have a thousand photos of Chimney, and still can't resist adding a dozen more to the collection. I beg your indulgence...






Above the plague of timber we are thrust upon alternating sections of solidified volcanic vomit, tipsy boulders, and deeply rutted tundra from a gazillion day hikers who, thankfully, are back to work or school. Perhaps we will have Courthouse all to ourselves on this beautiful day.


It's not dangerous as long as you don't slip...



Unfolding on the horizon above Chimney Rock are the West Elk Mountains over Crested Butte way. I think I can make out 14'er Shavano to the right.


The obligatory closeup of Bobbie's backside...as she negotiates a route through tipsy boulders





While there is no such thing as a "bad summit," I was disappointed in Ms Autumn's neglect of the humungous aspen grove that surrounds Courthouse Mountain. Only 50 "crow-fly" miles south on Red Mountain, the colors are past peak. 

More indulgence, please...








After nearly an hour of aloneness on the summit, we hear voices. Looking down our arrogant long noses we spy a group of invaders. Time to hoist packs and head down. Turns out two of the "invaders" are co-workers of Bobbie at Mountain Fever Gifts...Petra and Dan. 
Small World... 


Just for fun, I zoomed in for the above shot of the "invaders" near and on the summit. 

I will return next fall. It is my Courthouse Compulsion...a little known neurosis common among mountain folk.


11 comments:

  1. Such a gorgeous view of that majestic towering structure. But oh, those boulders evoke a painful memory.

    I can't believe the aspens are already past their peak...it seems like fall color is never gonna get here in western Maine!

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  2. Am I the only one who likes deep woods hikes? I didn’t realize there was anything about your comfort level. Chimney Rock is fantastic. What a monolith! B/W, colored, Bobbie in or out. Love the pictures. Words of wisdom “It’s not dangerous as long as you don’t slip”.

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  3. Courthouse is still on my list of hikes I want to do around Ouray, along with Columbine Lake, although I'm not sure I could complete either one!
    Gayle

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  4. Courthouse is stunning! More intense of a hike than I expected...I'd give it a shot tho...

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  5. Cool closeups of Chimney Rock! I have only seen it from afar. Your fall hikes are killing us ( in a good way). We only have a high of 91 for tomorrow.😝 I'm afraid our fall leaves are just going to dry up and blow away rather than turn. Harvest is right around the co!

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  6. I have similar compulsions. I love yours! We will indulge you to show us as many photos of Courthouse as you want :) I was by Red Mountain just a couple of weeks ago, and it looked like it was just about to peak. Funny how different things are over such a relatively short distance.

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  7. I can see why it would be a favorite--gorgeous photos!

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  8. Indulging compulsions. Don't we all?

    Reminds me that I need to plan at least one more Colorado mountain excursion before the snow takes over.

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  9. Great hike, I can see why you keep going back!

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  10. Chimney Peak and the ridge connecting it to Courthouse are certainly photogenic. Yet another wonder for me to one day witness myself.

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  11. Strange how we bottom dealers along the Russian River in Sonoma Co have that same Compulsion, come fall we have to find ourselves amongst the Aspens in YOUR BACK YARD. A drive of just over 1,000miles that was Spectacular this year thanks to the major snow storm that hit the Nevada ranges and the Wasatch Mt's.
    God this is a Beautiful Planet, too bad so many never get to experience it before they lose their balance and fall off the DAM BIKE.
    See ya soon :)

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