Sunday, June 1, 2014

Devil's Head Fire Lookout

Devil's Head Fire Lookout and Pikes Peak
It’s been two months since my last post, that feels like a eon.  Spring and Maymester at school were quite busy so this was my first opportunity to get out into the mountains.  A month or so ago Kristi asked me about the Devil’s Head Fire Lookout.  I had no idea what it was, but apparently it is visible from her office area.  This is a short hike reasonably close to Denver; we thought it would be a good fit for a Sunday morning hike.  Jenny and Joel wanted to get out on a hike and we were happy to have some new friends along for the day.
Pikes Peak
Getting to Devils Head FL is pretty easy, and any operational vehicle should be able to reach the TH without any difficulties.  Find your way to HWY 85 heading south towards Sedalia.  From the “village” of Sedalia head west on to CO 67 for about 10 miles till the road intersects with Rampart Range Road.  Turn left (south) where the pavement ends and a decent dirt road will lead you to the TH about 9.25 miles down the road.  There are signs the whole way so chances of getting lost are minimal.  I will warn you this is a heavily used road and covered in washboard.  Be careful of the teenage drivers in dad’s truck taking up the narrow roads.
From the TH this is a pretty straightforward hike.  It is about 1.5miles to the fire lookout and the elevation gain is not too bad.  The area is well covered with trees and there are large monolith boulders of weathered granite.  Just expect to see everyone you have never met from Denver; the trail was quite busy for us today.
The Crew: Nick, Kristi, Jenny and Joel
The fire lookout sits on top of a large monolith of granite, so to make it accessible there is a grand staircase in place.  From the base of the steps there is a climb of 143 stairs to the lookout.  Everyone is huffing and puffing at this point so don’t be ashamed.  After the climb is over the lookout seems rather small.  This is a manned lookout, so there will be a ranger present during operational hours.  The views are amazing; I would say this is the best view around of Pikes, so maybe you will get lucky with good weather. 
We hung out at the lookout for about 15 minutes.  Thanks to Jenny for bringing up rice crispy treats for us, one of the best mountain snacks I’ve had in some time.  Next time I would bring up some binoculars for the far off view of the mountains.  As the hordes of people kept coming up the stairs we knew it was time for our exit.  It took a little patience with the other humans, but we eventually made our way down to the earth and rock.  The staircase is pretty impressive and can give you a small rush if you look down in the right spots.
As we descended the trail the amount of people heading up kept increasing.  The parking lot was over stuffed, so If you head up come early or carpool with others.  I think we all really enjoyed ourselves on this short hike today.  Hopefully there will be more of these to come, since everyone in the group wants to get up their first 14er this summer.
One last thing.  My biggest supporter of my blog, my Aunt Janet is not doing well.  I know that you will read this or listen to it.  I think about you every time I'm in the mountains and look forward to climbing my next one since I know you will be there to help me overcome the mental obstacles that always try to bring me down.  I love you and just want to know how much I appreciate your support.
GPS Track

Date: 6/1/2014
TH Elevation: 8,826ft
Devil’s Head Fire Lookout: 9,748ft
Total Gained Elevation: ~900ft
Class: 1
Distance:  3.08 miles
Time: 1:36 moving, 0:40 stopped. 
Climbing Partners: Kristi, Jenny, Joel

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