17th March 2012

I've gradually been exploring Sand Creek with Biff from where it crosses the Great Western Trail near the Torrey water tanks up towards the cliffs. Today we drove almost as far as we could in the truck and walked on from there, this area should have been under snow but we have had a shortfall this year. The weather forecast had suggested that the incoming storm might make up for some of that and it was quite gloomy up there.

Our starting point was a grove of aspen trees that are going to look fantastic in their flourescent spring green,
the storm clouds made them look a little forboding today.
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© Bob Palin 2012


This area is a maze of red and white formations. The red colours in this article are all genuine, very bright, in sunlight they wash out a little but on cloudy days they are incredible. No colour exaggeration has been done in any of these pictures, in fact in a couple of cases the colour has been toned down a little.
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© Bob Palin 2012


As we walked up (and up and up!) the trail more of the red/white intersection came into view.
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© Bob Palin 2012


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© Bob Palin 2012


Eventually we came to a place where a fairly major wash crossed the trail and the trail went up a steep hill. I decided that we would just take a short look up the wash before turning round.
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© Bob Palin 2012


Biff found the snow a bit deep in places.
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© Bob Palin 2012


The wash constantly changed character, in places being stream-like with trees and bushes,
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© Bob Palin 2012


and in other places being scoured out.
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© Bob Palin 2012


Evidence of quite violent flash floods was everywhere.
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© Bob Palin 2012


Fantastic narrow red canyons in places.
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© Bob Palin 2012


That looks like rather an important organ to have left here on a rock!
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© Bob Palin 2012


As we continued up the wash, 'just to look round the corner', it seemed to me that we must be getting back towards where the trail would probably go, so we looked round the next corner a couple more times.
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© Bob Palin 2012


And sure enough there was the road again. The hill on the far side is very steep and loose and the weather was beginning to get a bit darker so this was our turn around.
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© Bob Palin 2012


The road actually went uphill on both sides of the wash, which I suppose makes sense,
and from the next high point there were some magnificent views.
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© Bob Palin 2012


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© Bob Palin 2012


This is the valley we walked up, we were parked way down around the corner to the right of the white tipped peak, about 2.5 miles away.
Torrey is in the dark valley just below the cloud line in the distance. It was here that the first flakes of snow fell.
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© Bob Palin 2012


Almost level with the sandstone layer junction, about 8,400 feet above sea level.
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© Bob Palin 2012


As we walked down we soon came across this - no driving the Tundra here!
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© Bob Palin 2012


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© Bob Palin 2012


Biff chased the ball all the way down the road.
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© Bob Palin 2012


then decided we had gone far enough about half a mile from the truck.
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© Bob Palin 2012


The snow started for real at that point and he reconsidered the final push for the truck and a re-supply of biscuits.
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© Bob Palin 2012



We walked almost 5 miles with a total ascent of about 4000 feet, it was 60F when we left and 44F when we got back to the truck. I'm really looking forward to exploring further though more time will be needed since we can't drive much further up the hill. The storm left some snow up there but not enough to prevent a return visit fairly soon.


Blog March

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