Upper Sand Creek . . . for grouse

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I thought I might go back to the Music Pass/ Sand Creek lake area for grouse. Like, maybe . . . next year. Instead, I went back with Jeff this last weekend.

It was supposed to be a beautiful late-September weekend and, it didn’t disappoint. We headed out after work on Friday night and arrived a the lower parking/camping area around 9PM. It was quite nice, with warmer temps than  when Lisa and I were there two weeks ago. We set up our tents, had a beer, and then a few shots of Rusty Nail and went to bed around 11PM. Once, many years ago I had a beer, or two, at the trailhead just before a 5-mile backpacking trip. Later in the day my head was pounding so much I thought I might just die. Apparently, I need to stop this behavior, even the night before, as I awoke on Saturday morning with a headache and a bit of an unsettled stomach. I made my breakfast and some coffee, using two of more recent purchases, the 1982 Coleman 400 for cooking and the 1946 Coleman 530 which I used to percolate coffee. Both worked well, though that 530 is still a bit difficult to get continuously burning. Anyway, once it was going it was a little blast-furnace. After breakfast, I was still feeling a little sick, so I told Jeff to head out to the upper lake and I’d meet him there.

The 1946, Coleman 530 percolating coffee on the right and my Coleman 400 ready for the skillet

The 1946, Coleman 530 percolating coffee on the right and my Coleman 400 ready for the skillet

I slowly packed up my tent and other gear, except for my Cabela’s sleeping pad. This, I laid out in the sun and then took some rest . . . after I took two aspirin. In about an hour I woke up feeling much better. I packed up the rest of the gear strapped on my pack and headed up the trail. It took me 35 minutes to hike from the trailhead to Music Pass, then another 35 to get from the top of the pass to where the trail splits, going to either the upper lake or the lower lake. What a difference it makes not having 50 pounds on your back!

Atop Music Pass with Pikes Peak in the Background

Atop Music Pass with Pikes Peak Very Faint in the Background

In another 40 minutes or so, I arrived at the upper lake and ate lunch. A little while later Jeff came walking by and he said he had only seen two grouse and got one. Pretty strange, we thought. The place was loaded with them just two weeks ago. Oh, well. We decided to go over to the lower lake but instead of hiking down and then back up we took a “short cut”. It took a little longer than expected, and there were a few sketchy sections, but we managed okay. Unfortunately, there were no grouse found at the lower lake either.

Jeff as We Traverse a Narrow Section Between the Upper and Lower Lakes

Jeff, as We Traverse a Narrow Section Between the Upper and Lower Lakes

So, for the weekend Jeff got two grouse, while I got none. Still . . . it was a beautiful weekend to get out into the mountains, though the 9 miles of hiking left me pretty exhausted.

Thanks for visiting my blog.


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