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Flattops Wilderness Backpack




After years of trying to execute a backpack trip and journey into the western Colorado Flattops Wilderness, a friend and I set out for a three day loop hike in September. It was in this area where Arthur Carhart of the US Forest Service surveyed during the 1920s and recommended it managed as is; where Wilderness was born. This area is known for its wildness and remote rich ecosystem and wilderness values.
The 25 mile loop trail followed mountain streams, wound around large alpine lakes, got lost in the abnormally wet dense spruce/fir forest, opened up on top of the Flattops where the trail completely disappeared due to a lack of foot traffic and lead us to beautiful views and vistas.  Due to a lack of human presence, wildlife spottings were abundant. We encountered elk, eagles, schools of trout, fox, coyotes and we even came upon fresh bear tracks. The magical sounds of the elk bugling woke us up in the morning and also echoed through the forest long into the evening. Rainstorms brought multiple rainbows and the incredible fresh post rain smell of the meadow and forest. I camped using my favorite MSR twin peaks tarp. Along with my most comfortable Therm-A-Rest I have ever used, my Therm-A-Rest sleeping bag and my roomy tarp I had one of the best sleep systems I’ve ever had during my past 20 years of backpacking. During this 25 mile backpack we hiked long days, one being 12 miles and significant elevation, it was wonderful to have such an incredible good night’s sleep.


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