One of our favorite places to camp when visiting Colorado, lies within the Pike National Forest along the South Platte River, just east of the Lost Creek Wilderness area. The area is dominated by majestic granite mountains, covered with sweet smelling pines. There is a little traveled side trail off the Colorado Trail (Seg. 2) that zig zags up to our campsite on Scraggly Peak. I would rate the trail at moderately difficult just because it is so steep in some places and virtually disappears the closer you get to camp.
We like the area because it is relatively isolated, and you don't see a lot of campers or hikers. During our stay we only spotted one group of trail riders along the Colorado Trail. It took more than 4 hours to reach camp with frequent breaks, and our main obstacle just trying to cross the river. Since I didn't want to get my hiking boots wet, I changed them out with a pair of neoprene water shoes to cross the South Platte. The water was cool and came just up to our knees as we made our way across.
Our first challenge was just trying to find a shallow spot to cross the South Platte River!
Just before crossing the river, I spotted a cute little pincushion cactus in full bloom on an out cropping of red granite.
This is the type of terrain we encountered on this hike, moderately difficult in some areas and very steep.
About half way up, we decided to stop for a picnic and rest in the shade, by this old stump. We ate 1/2 of our chicken subs, and snacked on teriyaki jerky & tropical trail mix to keep our energy levels up!
The trail peters out and turns into nothing more than a game trail 1/8 mile from camp. Apparently I didn't crouch low enough and my backpack got caught on this low hanging branch. Don had to walk back to free me before we could continue up the trail.
Lower saddle on Scaggly Peak, where we set up camp.
We reached camp about 3:00 pm in the afternoon, and had everything pretty much set up by 5. I didn't really feel like cooking that first night so we just finished off our subway sandwiches. The rest of our day was spent relaxing while enjoying the view from camp, and watching red tail hawks as they soared over the mountains!
The following pics are of a young buck we spotted grazing on grass near the back of our tent. He was within 30 feet of our tent when these pics were taken. So exciting! We spotted him a couple of different times during our stay grazing on the western slope of the peak.
In addition to deer, we also spotted a coyote making his way down the mountain one morning! We had heard a couple of them howling the previous night, so I'm sure he must have had a mate somewhere in the area. We lucked in with the weather during our stay, and only had a spattering of light rain on our 3rd day. All in all, we had a real good time exploring the area and watching for wildlife!
View from our campsite on Scraggly Peak.