Took a hike yesterday day that if it had gone properly should have taken 2 hours and 5 miles each way. It didn't work out how I had planned though. I started the hike just north of Turret Colorado with the intent of hiking down to the Arkansas river, having some lunch and then hiking back. What I found was a maze of canyons, box canyons, ledges, cliffs, a thick PJ forest and anywhere from 6"-24" of snow.
I left my truck at 9 and two hours into the hike I was maybe halfway to the river and from looking at the terrain I still had to cover I knew there was no way I'd make it to the river and back by dark. I decided the prudent thing would be to head back to the truck. Even though I was headed back up I had to keep going down for another 1/4 mile due to the steepness of the terrain. Finally I was able to get out of the canyon and start back uphill and what took two hour to go down took almost 6 hours to go back up. Boulders, blowdowns and slot canyons that you couldn't see until you stepped up to them blocked my every move. I had to break down my shotgun and stuff it into my Kifaru and throw it off the edges of the slots just to be able to climb down to the bottom safely.
I limped up to my truck at 4:45 just as the sun was setting over the Collegiate range to the west and the temp was dropping quick. If I had turned around 1 hour later I would have spent the night in those canyons due to the severity of climbing out during the daylight, there would have been no way to climb out safely in the dark, even with a headlamp.
I had appropiate gear to spend the night even though the lows have been hovering around 0 and were probably colder in the canyons. All my clothing was either synthetic poly or wool and I had Military softshells for an outer wind/water barrier, in my pack I had a 5x7 MEST, space blanket and survival kit with more than enough food. I would actually have enjoyed the stay if it weren't for my wife worrying to death back home. I also had a SPOT to let her know I was ok in the event I didn't have cell service.
I hope you enjoy the pictures.
IMG_1956 by Hunt4lyf, on Flickr
IMG_1957 by Hunt4lyf, on Flickr
IMG_1960 by Hunt4lyf, on Flickr
IMG_1962 by Hunt4lyf, on Flickr
IMG_1963 by Hunt4lyf, on Flickr