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Backpacking in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado


Aaron Zagrodnick
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Aaron Zagrodnick

The San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado have some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country. The views are filled with high peaks, beautiful waterfalls, scenic valleys, and prolific wildflowers which call to you to explore! I have spent several vacations in the area over the years, and was long overdue for another visit. This trip was with three of my hiking friends from the flatlands of Oklahoma and Texas – Craig from Houston, and Ward and Joel from Oklahoma City. We all live at low elevations, especially Craig, so acclimation to the elevation of our trip was of some concern. The backstory of this trip is that many years ago, I was a student at the Bowling Green State University geology field camp in Durango, Colorado. A fellow geology student (Craig) and I have birthdays one day apart, so we celebrated by having ice cream sundaes at the local Dairy Queen. Last year on our birthdays, we wished each other “happy birthday” on Facebook. My wife suggested that we meet in Durango for ice cream again, so we decided to make it a hiking and backpacking trip, with ice cream again, of course. Our schedules did not allow for the trip to happen exactly on our birthdays, which turned out to be a good thing. In June and into early July, the 416 Fire was burning in the mountains north of Durango...

@Steve Ancik shares this trip into some serious high country scenery in Southern Colorado, take a look at the full story below in Issue 39:

A San Juan Mountain High

Backpacking in the San Juan Mountains

Issue 39 Page 1

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Not in the article, but: The Author: Steve Ancik is a landscape architect by profession whose hobbies include mountain biking, photography, hiking, and backpacking. He lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. You can see more of his photographs at http://www.lightwavesimages.com/

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I have packed horses in the Wimenuche several times.  A great place but you have to be ready for rain, sleet and frost at any time.  I packed some elk hunters in late October.  We had a lot of snow and it was below zero several nights.  Not very forgiving, but a great place to be. 

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