Rolling Creek Trail, 9/1/12
I looked through my guide book for a short hike, four hours or less at a slow pace. I found a four miler one way that looked to dead end into another trail nearby our property in the Colorado front range, so I thought I would try it out. Trail number 663 is known as Rolling Creek and begins at and elevation of 8,200 feet. Over 4 miles it gains 1,400 feet and terminates at the Wigwam Trail according to both the guide book I purchased and the map at the trailhead.
I meandered along the trail enjoying the distant view of various rock formations as chipmunks scampered from tree to tree preparing for the upcoming winter days. The path led me through a patch a lodge pole pines, to an overlook, and then down to the creek. Eventually, I reached another trail, that looked more like a logging road that was unnamed. Unfamiliar with the trail, I was unsure if this was the Wigwam crossing or not. Since the Rolling Creek Trail did not dead end, and it didn’t seem like I had hiked four miles I continued.
I continued for miles. I walked up a canyon, followed the path in places where it almost became indistinguishable. It crossed trickling waterfalls, switched back and forth and increased substantially in elevation. I ended up climbing over several fallen trees. I followed a few cairns that marked the trail. I came across a carcass of an elk or a deer…a somewhat fresh kills will fur still left on one leg above the hoof. I felt like I was in the backwoods.
The trail ended up never ending. I basically got to the top of the mountain where I came across alpine tundra, and it looked like I could cross over and go down on the other side. Instead I turned around and headed back to where I started. My round trip 8 mile, 4 hour hike turned into 7 hours and more like a 14 mile adventure! ETB