Coleman 400A Stove Repair

Coleman 400A

Well, I needed to be in town for a wedding this weekend, so I did something a little different though still related to backpacking. After the drive to the Venable Lakes trailhead, last month, I noticed a fuel smell coming from my pack. I figured I bumped the on/off valve on my Coleman 400A backpacking stove and some fuel had leaked out. When I got home, I pumped up the stove and noticed that there was a slight hissing sound. I tried to tighten the packing nut, but it didn’t stop. I’ve owned this stove since I bought it new in 1987 when my wife and I went on our first backpacking trip in the San Jacinto wilderness. Anyway, I figured it was probably old and worn out so I ordered a new one from Coleman.

The new valve arrived last Friday, just in time   Continue reading

Fishing High Mountain Lakes in Colorado


I like backpacking in the Colorado Rockies. I also like to fish. When I began backpacking, I chose trips which had lakes as the destination so I could do both. Some guys at work told me that I should use a Panther Martin #1 or #2, black with green dots. Others said I should use a Kastmaster.

Panther Martin and Kastmaster Lures
Panther Martin and Kastmaster Lures

I tried them and had some success, but many times, I could see the fish swimming in the clear mountain water, but they just ignored my lures. Man, that is frustrating! This went on for a while but one day I happened to be talking to   Continue reading

Medano Lake – July 2013

Colorado Columbine

Colorado Columbine – Medano Lake Trail

Writing last week’s post helped me realize I hadn’t explored two lakes, suitable for backpacking, accessible from the east side of the Sangre de Cristo Range.

Heading south from Westcliffe on highway 69, we turned onto the Medano Pass road around 7:30PM. The road goes over Medano Pass and all the way to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, so I thought it couldn’t be too bad. In fact, the road from the highway to the edge of the National Forest was a maintained gravel road, but after that . . . not so much. It turned out that due to a washout the road is closed just a few miles past our destination. Anyway, there were a few sketchy spots with   Continue reading

Backpacking – Sangre de Cristo Range (east side)

IMG_2085 (2)
The Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range is in southern Colorado and extends from the Arkansas River near Salida in
the north to La Veta Pass in the south. Some sources say they actually run all the way down to
New Mexico, but I’ve only really explored this northern section as it is close to my home in Colorado Springs.

I love backpacking in this range, and have been for 20 years, because of the   Continue reading

Elevenmile Kayaking – July 2013

Drove up to Elevenmile Reservoir and State Park today with my wife. We brought my 13 foot Mill Creek and her Sea Island Sport. I built both of these boats side by side several years ago and both are a pleasure to paddle. We spent a few hours paddling and then visited with some friends who were camping there tonight. The weather was good while we paddled, but just as we finished our lunch on the shore, the sky grew dark and decided to put the boats back on the truck.
It only rained a little so we could have gone paddling longer, but frankly, after climbing a few days ago I realized that the muscle groups are similar and mine could use a break. Nice day.IMG_3558

Climbing – Independence Day, 2013

I went climbing today, since it is a holiday, with my two younger sons (19 and 21) at an indoor climbing center. I began climbing a couple years ago, but hadn’t done much over the last 18 months. It was a struggle and my hands are really sore. My sons are ridiculously strong and I was impressed with the ease at which they climb.
I need to get stronger and it wouldn’t hurt if I lost 20 pounds either. My left arm is weaker than my right and I’m finding that most all of the problems seemed to move to the right, meaning I need to pull up with my left to reach with my right . . . very difficult. My 21-year-old is very good at teaching technique, when asked, and gave me few pointers which also helped me get past a few problem areas. Still, it was challenging and a good workout.

Venable Lakes – Backpacking, 2013

Two former co-workers and I arrived at the Comanche/Venable trailhead parking lot, which is close to Westcliffe, Colorado in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. I like to use the Sky Terrain topo map for this area as it has the trails clearly marked with brief descriptions and estimated hiking miles, elevation gain, etc. The backpacking hike begins here at 9,500 feet. I’ve backpacked here several times and it has always been a good trip. If you like to hike, you can hike to the lakes, but you can also continue past the lakes and hike over Venable pass to the west side of   Continue reading