CacheCrazy.Com: X6945

Friday, February 6, 2015




Becoming a mad scientist is hard work... so, naturally, I steal away whenever I get the chance. The threat of an impending snowstorm, the end of coursework and teaching for the year, and a special visitor from Pennsylvania provided ample opportunity for a much needed trek. So, the pair of us, and Boltzmann, headed south to Colorado.

A local cacher turned me on to the area over the summer, when she double dog dared me to grab a back-country cache, and ran into some nasty cacti along the way. Given my love of multi cache challenges, first introduced to me by none other than the clever Bloodhounded, I returned to the area, tempted by part one of a nine part challenge cache. The challenge investigates Greyrock Mountain, a massive and very distinct chunk of rock. The ominously named X6945 offers amazing views of the local scenery, including the northeast profile of Greyrock. So, with the sun shining brightly and the temperature perfect, we set off on an epic adventure.

The trek started off on a weird note, as we spotted a helicopter skirting extremely close to the ground and mountains. We speculated on what it might be doing, and the possibility of stumbling on a lost hiker, and having an encounter with an escaped convict. The possibility that we could become lost hikers did not even cross our mind, though I admitted my first instinct of "take cover" at the sound of helicopters. That kind of screams, "escaped convict", don't you think?

This means you, cachers.
Following the trail soon led to trouble. A gate and sign I had come across during the summer had been very recently replaced and relocked. To turn around would add several miles and steep terrain to our hike. Besides, this is national forest land. It's not like it's home to some secret government experiments, closely guarded by a daily helicopter patrol... This sign is probably just old, from before the government bought up the land to make a national forest. So, in my (disturbingly) usual, "The rules don't apply to me" fashion, I may have made the judgment call to move forward, but to do so quickly. I wasn't too keen on that helicopter coming back.

The rest of the hike to X6945 was less eventful. We ran into some local wildlife, and pushed forward as the snow became deeper. Trekking across hilltops gave better vantage points to plan an approach, and less snow, but at the cost of dealing with constant terrain changes. The choice paid off, sort of: when the ridge ended, we had a perfect vantage point of the approach we needed to reach X6945. Including the steep climb down we'd need to take in order to reach the climb up. Oh well, at least we were still on a trail.

Clambering uphill proved a challenge, but the view from the top was well worth it. Greyrock indeed was ominous peering at us from a distance, but we also had a spectacular view of the nearby Poudre river valley. Socks were changed, caches and peak registers were signed, and I briefly entertained taking a Spottish shortcut, bypassing the "private property", and taking a shorter route through the more mountainous terrain. Remembering how shortcuts always end up working out for CacheCrazy scouting parties, I quickly opted to retrace our steps for the return route. Setting my GPS to record the route, I learned our one-way trek distance was a whopping 10.77 kilometers, a 21.54 km, or about 13 mile round trip! This half-marathon hike makes a personal best for me, but is doubly an accomplishment for my Pennsylvanian visitor, hiking at a mile high altitude change.

So, if you're in the rockies, be sure to check out this area. Cacher or not, beautiful views any time of year make this a must see.


Kim@Snug Harbor said...

Great story and look at those views!!

Dodger said...

Far out!


Great to see you out and about in Colorado. I love the post and really enjoyed the pics too. Nice day and you got home alive to do it another day! What could be better?

Kevin Bloodhounded said...

always good to see DctrSpott in action to get a good weekend kicked off! Great views!

CrazyCris said...

Fun adventure! But I wouldn't expect anything less from someone who claims to be a Mad Scientist! (is there any other kind?) ;o)

I'd love to do more hiking in the Rockies! I haven't been since I was a teenager, and then it was only on well marked National Park/Forest trails... The views around there are amazing!!! As your photos show! :o)

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