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To the Top! Hiking Colorado’s 14ers

Program Number: 9891RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/14/2013 - 7/20/2013;
Duration: 6 nights
Location: Rocky Mountains, Colorado
Price starting at: $1,198.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking; Natural History Activity Level: n (see description)
Meals: 16; 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    

In hiker parlance, it’s called a “14er” — a mountain that exceeds 14,000 feet above sea level. With 54 to its credit, Colorado has the most 14ers in the continental U.S. Get ready to join rarefied air, as you accompany our expert naturalists and outdoor professionals on an exhilarating and enriching Rocky Mountain hiking adventure to bag a 14er yourself. Choose from two offerings: The first includes beautiful hikes that build throughout the week, culminating in a summit attempt of a single 14er; the second offering is for experienced hikers and is extremely challenging, as you attempt climbs of three different 14ers. Each of the three climbs builds on the last in difficulty and unique beauty to create a truly “peak” experience!




Highlights

• Discover the teamwork, challenge and tremendous sense of achievement of summiting a Rocky Mountain “14er.”
• Experience the Rockies from a different perspective: on an exciting whitewater-raft trip.
• With an expert naturalist, learn firsthand about the area and its resident plants and animals.



Activity Particulars

Hiking 8-12 miles a day. Hiking elevations of 8,500-14,000 feet.



Coordinated by Mountains and Plains Institute.




Rocky Mountains

The Rocky Mountains contain many of the highest peaks in North America, including more than 50 14,000-footers in Colorado alone. Separating the Great Plains to the east from the Great Basin to the west, the mountains have inspired songs and legends, lured gold-seekers into their midst and provided hunting and fishing grounds for indigenous peoples.



Accommodations
Comfortable motel with indoor swimming pool.
Meals and Lodgings
   Holiday Inn Express
  Salida, CO 6 nights
 Holiday Inn Express
Type: Hotel
  Description: Holiday Inn Express Salida, Colorado combines the friendly, personal service and western hospitality of a small mountain town motel, with the modern amenities and facilities of a big city hotel chain. Salida is located in Chaffee County, Colorado, the county with the most fourteeners (fourteen-thousand foot high mountains) in the United States.
  Contact info: 7400 U.S. Hwy 50 West
Salida, CO 81201 USA
phone: 719-539-8500
web: www.hiesalida.com/index.htm
  Room amenities: All rooms have executive workspace with Free wireless Internet access H B O Remote Control Cable 25" TV In Room Refrigerators and Microwaves Hair Dryers Ironing Board/Iron
  Facility amenities: Friendly, Helpful Staff Available 24 Hours a Day Deluxe Hot Breakfast Bar Non-Smoking Indoor Pool & Jacuzzi
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call hotel for rates Early Arrival / Late Departure stays in the hotel are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and rates vary depending on how far in advance you book your room. Call hotel for reservations
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Call hotel for rates Early Arrival / Late Departure stays in the hotel are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and rates vary depending on how far in advance you book your room. Call hotel for reservations
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrive by 4 p.m. Required orientation at 5 p.m. You will be staying at Holiday Inn Express that night.
  End of Program:
Breakfast is provided. Independent departures after breakfast. You will be staying at Holiday Inn Express the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Acknowledgement of Risk-Liability Waiver Form
  Parking availability:
No charge
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Salida, CO
  Nearest highway: US 50 and 285
  Nearest airport:  Colorado Springs
  From End of Program
  Location: Salida, CO
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Salida from Denver International Airport

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Black Hills Stage Lines
phone: 877-779-2999
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Approx. $30
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

3.5 hours to Denver Transit Center, another 30 minutes to airport 

   

Reservations-tickets can be purchased at website: www.blackhillsstagelines.com/book-your-trip.asp A different option may be to fly from Denver to Gunnison and then take Black Hills Stage from Gunnison Airport to Salida. Cars also may be rented at Denver or Colorado Springs airports

 
Driving Directions
  Salida-All directions in Colorado Salida can be located on a road map in the center of the state; all roads are clear and passable in the summer. Routes are available by traveling through Glenwood Springs heading east on I-70 taking either US highway 24 south to Minturn or Colorado highway 91 south at Copper Mountain. >From Denver take I-70 west to Colorado highway 91 south at Copper Mountain or US highway 24 south to Minturn, both highways will merge in Leadville and continue south to Salida via Buena Vista. If arriving form the south from Colorado Springs take US highway 24 to Buena Vista then South on US 24/285 to Salida. Highway 285 also travels north to Salida from Monte Vista.
Elevation Note: Salida is at 7,000 feet; hikes will occur from 7,500-14,000 feet.

Equipment Requirements: Daypack, water bottles, good broken-in hiking boots, rain gear, recommended list will be mailed.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Orientation/Safety Lecture/Introduction
(Sunday, July 14)
   
 Arrive To: Arrival by 4 p.m. Required orientation at 5:00 p.m. Welcome to Salida and your Road Scholar “Hiking the Central Colorado Rockies” Program #9891. We'll have an informative overview of the program to come plus an opportunity to meet the program staff and your fellow participants during an introductory get-acquainted session.
 Dinner: Dinner will be catered to the hotel tonight.
 Evening: We’ll review the updated schedule, cover responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.
   
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Colorado Trail, Segment Near Brown's Creek
(Monday, July 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in motel
 Morning: Day long hike along Colorado Trail, Segment near Brown's Creek to Brown's Creek Falls; 5-6 miles round trip, 500 ft. elevation gains and losses along a rolling mountain trail traversing the Collegiate Range. This is a very fun hike to a beautiful waterfall. The hike has plenty of variety that will keep your interest including meadows, pine, and aspen forest.
 Lunch: We will offer supplies for you to pack your lunch each day to eat and enjoy along the trail in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.
 Afternoon: At the falls, look for the Dipper. The American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus), also known as a Water Ouzel, is a stocky dark grey bird with a head sometimes tinged with brown, and white feathers on the eyelids causing the eyes to flash white as the bird blinks. We will keep our eyes open for other birds and wildlife and talk about anything you see that catches your curiosity as we hike.
 Dinner: Dinner is provided at a local restaurant this evening and you will have plenty of options to order off the menu.
 Evening: We will have a short meeting to discuss tomorrow's itinerary. Each program we also feature exciting educational presentations by various expert guest presenters. These sessions are optional, so if you prefer you can use the extra time to rest, relax in the hot tub, etc.
   
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Alpine Lake
(Tuesday, July 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in motel
 Morning: Day long hike to treeline and Ptarmigan Lake; 1,500 elevation gain-loss; 7 miles RT The hike starts in thick spruce-fir forest, opening occasionally as two boulder fields flow over the trail. We will gain roughly 1500 ft. to reach beautiful Ptarmigan Lake, and it’s worth it!
 Lunch: We will offer supplies for you to pack your lunch each day to eat and enjoy along the trail in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.
 Afternoon: Several lakes in Colorado bear the name Ptarmigan. The white-tailed ptarmigan, Lagopus leucurus, is a member of the grouse family that lives year-round above treeline and in the krummholz just below. Krummholz refers to the stunted, twisted tree hedges growing at the edge of treeline. Ptarmigan are masters of disguise: During winter months they wear snow-white feathers, which turn mottled brown and white in the summer. We will continue to enjoy and experience this beautiful area as we return on the same path to the trailhead.
 Dinner: Dinner is provided at a local restaurant this evening and you will have plenty of options to order off the menu.
 Evening: We will have a short meeting to discuss tomorrow's itinerary. Each program we also feature exciting educational presentations by various expert guest presenters. These sessions are optional, so if you prefer you can use the extra time to rest, relax in the hot tub, etc.
   
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Monarch Pass
(Wednesday, July 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in motel
 Morning: Day hike along the Alpine Tunnel Trail; 500-600 elevation gain, 6 miles. This scenic trail follows the railroad grade of the Denver, South Park, and Pacific railroad from the historic townsite of Hancock to the caved-in east portal of the Alpine Tunnel. A long time ago, during Colorado's settlement era in the late 1800's, a railroad route was needed to cross the imposing Continental Divide in central Colorado. This remote and mountainous area between the once bustling mining towns of St. Elmo and Pitkin was selected as a site to build a 1,771 foot tunnel through a mountain ridge. The railroad and tunnel were eventually abandoned in the early 1900's as mining activity diminished, upkeep was deemed too expensive and snow removal became overwhelming. We will hike past some nice interpretive signs with great pictures and stories about this area.
 Lunch: We will offer supplies for you to pack your lunch each day to eat and enjoy along the trail in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.
 Afternoon: Watch and listen for Marmot and Pika as you hike down from treeline. The yellow-bellied marmot is a ground squirrel in the marmot genus, a little smaller than a football. Pikas are smaller mammals in the rabbit family, with short limbs, rounded ears, and short tails. On our return drive from the trailhead we will stop in one of Colorado's most preserved ghost towns, St. Elmo. The town was at its pinnacle in the 1890s, when it included a telegraph office, general store, town hall, 5 hotels, saloons, dancing halls, a newspaper office, and a school house.
 Dinner: Dinner tonight is "On Your Own" to explore the local eateries and the historic downtown of Salida.
 Evening: Free night.
   
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Brown's Canyon of the Arkansas River
(Thursday, July 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in motel
 Morning: This morning we will offer an optional hike on Monarch Crest Continental Divide Trail, a gorgeous and pleasant trail that leads us over rolling terrain in a loop that is approximately 4 miles in length. We will take some time to look at the diversity in the trees of this area and talk about forest health. This scenic trail climbs to the Continental Divide Trail near the Monarch Ski Area.
 Lunch: Picnic box lunch provided.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we rest our legs and enjoy a raft trip! This popular half day raft trip offers some of the most exciting whitewater on the Arkansas River and beautiful mountain scenery. Your wet 'n wild ride through Browns Canyon will provide lots of thrills and laughter as you weave through Pinball, tumble down Zoomflume, squeak by the Devil's Punchbowl and barrel through the rest, leaving you with memories that will last a lifetime.
 Dinner: Dinner is provided at a local restaurant this evening and you will have plenty of options to order off the menu.
 Evening: We will have a brief meeting to discuss the details of tomorrow’s itinerary and answer any questions.
   
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Mt. Sherman/Final Farewells
(Friday, July 19)
   
 Breakfast: Early breakfast in hotel.
 Morning: Day long hike climb of Mt. Sherman: 14,036 feet; depending upon route selected: 2,150' elevation gain, loss, 6.5 mi. RT Mount Sherman, in the middle of the north- to south-trending Mosquito Range, is a rounded 14,036-foot-high peak that rises above the western edge of South Park in central Colorado. Like all the Fourteeners, Mount Sherman needs to be treated with respect. Thunderstorms brew over the Sawatch Range to the west and move in quickly. It always seems windy on Sherman’s upper ridge and summit. It’s best to get an early start, carry rain gear, keep an eye on the weather for thunderstorms and lightning, and keep an open mind. The view from the top is unforgettable!
 Lunch: We will offer supplies for you to pack your lunch each day to eat and enjoy along the trail in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.
 Afternoon: Today, a turn-around time will be announced. When this time comes, whether you are catching your breath on the rocky summit of the mountain, or enjoying the view from a saddle below, you will turn around and start re-tracing your steps to the trailhead. This time is dependent on weather and group ability. You will have the great luxury of being with experienced guides on the trail that will help show you the most beautiful parts of Colorado, but work with you to stay safe in this challenging environment.
 Dinner: Dinner is provided at a local restaurant this evening and you will have plenty of options to order off the menu.
 Evening: After a delicious dinner, we will get together for one last group meeting to share our highlights of the week and to share our experiences.
   
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Departures after breakfast
(Saturday, July 20)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast is available in the hotel beginning at 6:30 am. End of program, safe travels! Room check-out by 10:00 am.
 Morning: Independent departures after breakfast
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


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