Wright State University Payment Link
August 2-7, 2020 - Seeing the Mountains Backpacking Adventure
$200 – due January 15 – insurance renewal (Feb to Feb)
$500 – due December 15
$600 – due July 2
Backpack in the South San Juan Wilderness – Fish Creek Drainage
Approximate Distance: 24-miles
Seeing the Mountains: This route is an out-and-back hike and is one of our favorite despite it being an in and out route. The benefit of this hike is the opportunity to genuinely explore a segment of the landscape with its variety of details and terrain.
This route is considered one of our most challenging. It requires significant elevation gain of 4,000-feet in the first 8-miles. Once above tree-line the landscape is less challenging in terms of elevation gain, instead encountering an undulating up and down pathway that is exposed and magnificent in its openness.
Sheep, elk, coyote and marmot are the homesteaders of this area. We want to minimize our encroachment on their space while also observing their presence.
The South San Juan Wilderness covers more than 127,000 acres of spectacular mountainous terrain and offers high tundra, sweeping vistas and solitude. Elevations in the wilderness range from 8,000-feet to more than 13,000-feet.
Ages of volcanic activity followed by the infinitely patient carving of glaciers left the rough, imposing terrain of the remote South San Juan Wilderness, an area typified by steep slopes above broad U-shaped valleys cut sharply deeper by eroding streams. You’ll find high peaks and cliffs, as well as jagged pinnacles and ragged ridges, making travel difficult. Elevations rise as high as 13,300 feet. Thirty-two lakes, most of them formed by glacial activity, hold much of the area’s moisture and drain into turbulent creeks. The Conejos, San Juan, and Blanco Rivers have their headwaters here, and about 25 miles of the Conejos River has been recommended for Wild and Scenic designation. Erosion of rich volcanic rock in combination with heavy snowfall has produced ideal forestland, certainly among the best in the state. Forest ecosystems rise from the shadowy cover of magnificent lodgepole pine to aspen, then through Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir to alpine tundra. Much of the forestland has a peaceful, park-like quality under the trees where sun-starved undergrowth grows thin and low.
You’ll find some of the most exemplary backpacking in the state. A great bear was killed here in 1979, the last known Colorado grizzly. But rumor, extrapolation, and scientific evidence all join hands to suggest strongly that more grizzlies, if they still live anywhere in Colorado, inhabit the recesses of this rugged Wilderness, which many claim as the wildest left in the state.
This course emphasizes skills and techniques essential to basic backpacking and will incorporate Leave No Trace minimum impact outdoor ethics and education.