Peak 7643

Location: Roosevelt National Forest, along the Poudre River, northern Colorado
Trailhead: Eggers Picnic area; UTM NAD83 457963e 4504596n 6830í
Access: From Tedís Place on Hwy 287, take Hwy 14 west up the Poudre Canyon for 25.7 miles to the Pingree Park road. Continue on Hwy 14 about ¾ mile and park in the Eggers Picnic Area on the south side of the Hwy. 
Trail: From the picnic area, cross the highway to the north and head north into the woods. Find an old dirt road that follows the creek, and at some point, break off and head due west towards the top of the visible peak. There is no trail to the summit, but the slope is manageable and open. The best views up-canyon are from a lower point to the west of the summit. A roundtrip to summit and lookout point is about 2.3 miles, with 813í elevation gain.
Maps: USGS Rustic and Big Narrows quads
Dogs: No restrictions
Fees: None
Weather:Snow map Local Forecast



Feb 27, 2010

On a cloudy morning, the wheels of my Subaru rolled along the dark pavement Hwy 14, under a sky white-washed with undefined clouds. The lack of color was reflected in the landscape: all snow-white and pine-green with splashes of tawny brown where the snow had melted off the rocks or senescent bunchgrass.  I parked at the Eggers pullout, not far past the Pingree Park Rd junction. Makenzie and Henry spilled out of the backseat, and we all three quickly crossed the highway to the north and headed into the trees. We crossed over a fence, and found an old road that led uphill along a ravine. Soon the road passed by an old mine, fenced off. We continued on, and where the time seemed right, crossed the semi-frozen stream in the ravine, and began heading uphill to the west, on the east flank of Peak 7643. 

It was very slow going. Deep snow slowed everyone down, and where the snow wasnít deep, the ground was extremely slick. Iíd probably not have made it up without my walking sticks to keep my balance. The dogs threaded a path through the sagebrush, and I followed, urging them to work back to the south so that we could get out of the deep snow. Once we made the south face, it was easier going. The sky remained solidly clouded, just a white haze covering everything. The air was quiet and still. We reached a minor bump of barren rock along the ridgeline to the summit, and then dropped down a bit to a saddle that preceded the main summit, continuing west. The last bit up to the top was through more deep snow, and we reached the forested summit about an hour after leaving the car. The view from the summit was obscured by trees to the west, so I walked a bit more down a slope to the west, and back up to a second point, lower than the first, that provided a more open view of the canyon almost directly below, and of the wider valley beyond called Indian Meadows. Tiny cars passed by on the ribbon of pavement far below, and dark green mountains, speckled with white, hovered above the river cut in mounds that increased in size, one upon the next. In the canyon, you donít see the big mountains that fold out endlessly from the canyon walls. I found a nice flat rock near the dropoff and sat down to enjoy a snack, pondering how lucky it is I live and work so close to such a paradise.  Makenzie brought me a seed cone from a Ponderosa pine, presenting it like she does a tennis ball, for me to toss. Given the proximity of the cliff, I didnít throw it anywhere. Henry disappeared, again. I whistled, and seconds later the jingle of his rabies tag signaled his return from a wide loop through the pines and Douglas firs to the north. 

I avoided the deep snow on the way down by sticking to the ridgeline almost all the way to the highway, breaking off just before the fenced mine area to rejoin the little road. When I returned to the Eggers parking area, a man and woman were examining their Saab, which had just lost a chunk of its oil pan, and had bled oil all over the snow in the parking area. I gave them a ride back to Fort Collins, and picked up a Big City burrito while I was there.

Peak 7643, Roosevelt National Forest
The view to the south from Peak 7643

Peak 7643, Roosevelt National Forest
Henry with his winter camouflage

Peak 7643, Roosevelt National Forest
Lonetree Mt to the northeast

Peak 7643, Roosevelt National Forest
Peak 7643, as seen from beginning of the hike

Peak 7643, Roosevelt National Forest
The east slope of 7643

Peak 7643, Roosevelt National Forest
Beatiful craggy summit of 7643

Peak 7643, Roosevelt National Forest
Looking down the south slope towards the Poudre River

Peak 7643, Roosevelt National Forest
Poudre Canyon

Peak 7643, Roosevelt National Forest
Hwy 14 winding through the Poudre Canyon

Peak 7643, Roosevelt National Forest
Rough summit of Peak 7643

Peak 7643, Roosevelt National Forest
Opposing slope of the Poudre Canyon covered with Douglas Fir

Peak 7643, Roosevelt National Forest
Hwy 14 along the frozen Poudre River

Peak 7643, Roosevelt National Forest
Makenzie at the western point of Peak 7643



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