The Shafthouse, Goose Creek Trail, Lost Creek Wilderness, CO
Colorado Spring Hang
8-9 May 2010
The Colorado Winter Hang was a success in February, so we planned a Colorado Spring Hang for May...and it petered out as a group hang, but it was still a great trip for Mustardman, MrsMustardman and me. Life seems to have gotten in the way for everyone else, and almost for me...I realized after planning it that Sunday was Mother's Day. But my wife knew that I needed to de-stress in the woods so I got my hall pass anyway. Now I owe her!
So we drove out to the trailhead on Saturday, and just as I was done with final prep and about to close the Jeep door for the trail, Mustardman drove by in the parking lot. Good timing...so we hiked in together. It's a quick trip of almost 4 miles to the campsite...very nice hike. The low was 28F with a steady wind thru our campsite the whole time, but we were comfy. Here are the pics!
DISCUSS this trip here, and read Mustardman's trip report and see his pictures!
|8 May 2010|
|Mustardman and MrsMustardman came in from the North (Denver area), and I almost did too b/c the site that I got directions from came in from that way. But I knew there should be a quicker way from here so I went down I-25 to Hwy 24, out past Woodland park, and came in from the South. That brought us both to the same 11 miles of dirt roads. There was some pretty good washboard rattling everything but it wasn't too bad in the Jeep.
I stopped several times to take some pictures...this was a really nice view but all the red and orange doesn't show up in the picture.
|Another view of the landscape on the drive in.|
|This was the area of the 2002 Hayman Fire. The area is recovering but you can still see clear evidence of it during the drive in and the beginning of the hike. Here's a charred tree next to some fresh growth.|
|I saw this interesting spot and had to pull over to take some pictures. There's a stream feeding it on the far side of the left picture, so it's more than just a puddle but not big enough to really be called a pond. The water in several places on this trip had this greenish opaque color. I liked how the Aspens grew right from inside the water here, but that probably means this is created from snowmelt and isn't full very often.|
|Here are the trailhead signs. The parking area was pretty busy...probably just under 20 cars, and a survival class was grouping up, preparing for the hike in...about 15 of them discussing pack weight and balance, etc. They didn't stick around long, and I was about 5 minutes behind them...but just as I was about to step out of my Jeep, I saw Mustardman and MrsMustardman drive by and park. We had a few minutes in the parking lot while they got their packs ready and then we were off!
Considering how busy the parking area was, we didn't see many people on the hike in. We did end up camping in the same place as the survival group, but other than seeing their fire and watching them walk past our site a few times on the trail, we hardly knew they were there. Very quiet and respectful.
|The first mile or so of the trail is in the Hayman Fire area. There are very few old trees in the area, and still some charred ones laying over the trail in a couple places, but there's a lot of new growth coming back. Here's an American Pasque Flower that we saw poking thru the rocky soil...these were pretty common in the burn area but we didn't see very many once we entered the more mature forested area.|
|The landscape was beautiful on the way in, especially once we passed the burn area. After the burn area, the trail follows the course of Goose Creek for a while, which has an interesting reddish color. It looks almost like the tannins found in swampy water, but Mustardman said it's probably from the red granite in the area. That makes sense...so I suspected that the water we get from the streams would have a strong mineral taste. It didn't, though...which was a good thing for us! Tasted like normal mountain water.|
|Here's a pic of me just to show the scale of some of the landscape. This was after the trail separates from Goose Creek, looking over the river valley to the opposite ridgeline. There were lots of places even prettier than this but we couldn't stop at them all!|
|This is the intersection of Goose Creek trail and the path to the Shafthouse. Taking this trail leads to the historic buildings, and turning right at the Shafthouse sign takes you up there in about 1/4 mile. Looking to the left, you'll see the historic buildings below, and just past these buildings are several campsites.|
|Here's the first building on the way in...there's been some vandalism (everyone wants to know that Kilroy was there) but two of the three buildings are still standing. This chimney was pretty cool, and there was what looked like a stovetop inside the building.|
|Sign on the front of the first building.|
|The second building had some gear outside of it. I'm not sure what the piece is leaning against the wall, but the one on the ground looked like a yoke for a big animal...maybe something they used to pull in the gear to build the dam. If you know what these are, please email me and let me know!
UPDATE: Mike B. emailed with this comment: "The piece of gear lying on the ground at Shaft House is the front running gear off a light wagon. You can see the axel hubs, and the curved sections of metal are where the assembly swiveled for turning. It was attached to the bottom of the front end of the wagon box." Thanks, Mike!
|The date on this piece says 1924...almost a hundred years old already.|
|We hiked down past the buildings a bit and found a nice little hollow on the right side of the trail. It was pretty warm out in the open area, but we were under shade, next to the frozen stream, with a steady wind coming through the site...chilly! It was a great site, though. I had this big boulder acting as a windbreak...until the wind shifted directions!
Mustardman and MrsMustardman looked for trees where they could hang close together. My pictures of their tarp setup came out fuzzy, but they tied a cord between the two of the trees on the left side of this pic, and tied their tarp ridgeline to that cord. This way the tarp would be centered over both hammocks even though there wasn't a tree in the middle. But both of us hung our tarps in the skins and didn't stake them out. (Mustardman posted pics of his tarp setup on Hammock Forums in the Trip Report thread.
|The white part on the left side of my site is the frozen stream. It was awesome b/c we could hear the muffled sounds of the water running under the ice. The stream flows underneath that big boulder, still frozen. It came out of the ice down my Mustardman's site so we didn't have to walk far at all to get water, but still got the nice view of the ice.
Here's a closeup of the frozen stream right next to our fire pit...this was just down the hill.
|This is my winter Blackbishop Bag just before I set up camp. This bag has my 1.1 oz DIY sil hammock w/o bug net, Winter Yeti, GoLite Ultra 20 Short, 6' Whoopie Slings, tree huggers and Dutch Clips (DCs). To set it up, I just wrap a hugger around the tree, clip it with the DC, pull the hammock out of the sack to the other tree, and clip that side on. Takes about 30 seconds, including adjusting the Whoopies.|
|Here's a close-up of how I did the Whoopies and huggers. I didn't want to fiddle with the toggle systems some folks use, so I just ran the hugger thru the Whoopie loop and clipped it on. One less piece to worry about, and seems easier to me.|
|This was the inaugural trip for my new Bushbuddy Ultra! It boils water pretty quickly, and I could definitely see the secondary combustion when I didn't overfill the firebox. I burned a lot of pine, and even with the pitch there still wasn't much soot on my pot. I played around with it quite a bit, though, and a few times I put so many twigs in it that the flame was above the top air holes, so secondary combustion couldn't happen. This caused quite a bit of soot on the bottom of my pot. The pot actually smells like woodsmoke now, even after the dishwasher! It'll fade, though...and under normal conditions the BB didn't produce hardly any soot.|
|The wind can make a big difference in the BB's ability to heat the pot. Here you can see it blowing the flame (and most of the heat) away from the BB. I used my Gossamer Gear NiteLite sleeping pad as a windscreen, as you can see in the pic above, and it worked very well. When the fire got low I could just move the windscreen until it picked back up, then put it back before the wind stole the flame.
One problem, though...Sunday morning I turned around for about 20 seconds to stoke the big fire, and the pad had fallen over onto the BB and pot! There's a melted spot on my pad now...not quite all the way thru, but enough that it'll cause a cold spot in winter. Gotta be more careful with that!
|We had a pretty serious fire Saturday night. Good coals came pretty quickly, and Mustardman and MrsMustardman cooked their steaks over the fire. Then we just sat on the ground, leaning against our big table boulder, talking into the night. I think we went to bed around 11pm or midnight.
I lugged this big log from two ridgelines over...I didn't think it was going to be that great b/c it was on the ground, but it still felt like the inside was solid so I carried it over. Turns out only the outside was bad, and the inside was almost all pitch! No wonder it was so heavy! We tried to burn the middle so it would split in two, but the fire quickly flared up on the fat rootball b/c that's where all the pitch was. This thing burned all night...we poured water on it before going to bed, but it still flared up a few times during the night when the wind picked up. Nothing to worry about b/c I could see it from my hammock and it never threw sparks, so I just kept an eye on it. Then we finished burning it Sunday morning...we probably got about 18 hours of flame from this end of the log! We left the other end of the log for the next folks who use this site...it had pitch inside it as well.
|9 May 2010|
|Saturday was pretty overcast, but it cleared up after sunset. When I finally went to bed Saturday night I had a great view of a very bright Big Dipper right over my hammock, framed by the trees and boulders. So perfect I didn't want to go to sleep, but I couldn't fight it for long.
It was kind of an odd night, though...I'd wake up a bit chilled, but everything was adjusted correctly and I'd quickly warm back up. My pad was under my feet, there was no gap between the Winter Yeti and hammock, etc. Nothing to fix, but then I'd warm up again. Weird. I thought maybe it was b/c the sil hammock wasn't breathable and I was wearing a ThermaWrap jacket, so maybe my jacket was damp from condensation. But when I felt my back, both inside and outside the jacket, I couldn't feel any moisture at all. Maybe it was the wind.
|This hammock is gathered at the end like the Warbonnet so it has floppy edges that enable a really flat lay. But this shows the problem with edges that are so floppy...it's easy for the pad/quilt/feet to slip out over the sides. But if I tighten the sides, I can't lay so flat. So, in my opinion, this is the purpose of the Warbonnet's footbox. It doesn't directly affect how the hammock lays, but it keeps everything inside the hammock so you don't have to worry about it falling out. You get to keep the advantages of the floppy sides (flat lay) without the disadvantages (not keeping everything inside).|
|Below is a better picture of the boulder we used as a table, and we leaned against Saturday night while watching the fire. It was a very comfortable campsite! The other one is Mustardman and MrsMustardman enjoying the morning fire.|
|Sunday morning we hiked up to the Shafthouse. Here's the sign by the historic buildings where the Shafthouse trail goes off to the north.
After crossing the stream, silly me missed the turnoff to the left for the trail, and I took us on the little trail to the right that petered out after a couple of campsites. We knew it wasn't right, though, so we backtracked and immediately saw the right trail. There was some beautiful landscape on the way up!
|This is about all that's left of the Shafthouse. You can still move some of the levers but nothing happens when you do.|
|This looks like a big firebox, so we concluded that this gear was steam-powered.|
|On the way back to the campsite, we saw this fuzzy tree right at the stream crossing. No idea what kind it is, but there were bumble bees and birds all over it. Pretty neat.
UPDATE: Mike B. emailed that he thinks this is a pussy willow. It sure looks like it from the pictures. Thanks again, Mike!
|These pictures were taken just South of the campsite. The little stream at our site fows into a larger one with some rapids flowing between some huge-ormous boulders. The pic to the left shows water flowing out from under the ice, just below the small falls above.|
|Mustardman and MrsMustardman wanted a nice easy hike back alone, so I took off around noon and set a pretty good pace back to the Jeep. Since I had skipped my workout on Saturday it was nice to get the heart pumping a bit. It wasn't all that fast, but I made it back in about 1.5 hours, so right around 2.5 mph on the hills at 9000'.|