Thursday, October 06, 2016

The Crater

On September 25th, Chewy the dog and I went on a little adventure to a seldom-visited spot on the slopes of Pikes Peak-- "The Crater." The Crater is a geological phenomenon likely formed by a glacial moraine at the time of the last ice age. It is flat and appears from a distance to be a crater. Rarely it will fill with water. I've been to the Crater half a dozen times, but never when there was water in it.

Two weekends before while doing trail work with Friends of the Peak on the last mile of the Barr Trail near the summit of Pikes Peak, looking down from the one-mile-to-go sign I saw water in the Crater. The following weekend I tried to go to the Crater, but I took a bad fall running on the trail and limped home. This little movie chronicles my successful journey the following weekend.

The most efficient way to reach the Crater is to run nine miles up the Barr Trail to the 3-mile-to-go sign then cut across the slopes on an obscure 100-year-old Fred Barr mule trail leading into the cirque. From the middle of the cirque, one proceeds east across granite scree and large boulders, then down steep timbered slopes. Just before reaching the Crater there are a series of a dozen springs coming directly out of the mountain. Sometimes these springs produce enough flow to fill the Crater.