Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Devil's Head Lookout Trail (2008)

Wednesday was once again hike day! Here's your visual walkthrough of my journey along Devil's Head Lookout Trail this morning, which sounds like it should be the setting for either a Hardy Boys book or an episode of Scooby-Doo, but I'm pretty sure is neither.

The last nine miles of the drive to the trailhead are on Rampart Range Road, which is all dirt and pretty washboardy. I was afraid my teeth and/or transmission would shake loose at some point, but escaped with both dentiture and automobile intact.

Very green and lush at the start of the trail, but fairly steep. You gain almost 1,000 feet in elevation over just 1.4 miles to the lookout tower.

The sky was pretty clear at the start, and the light through the trees made for some striking settings.

Heartleaf arnica with some globeflowers? Wildflowers may make for some good pictures, but I really know nothing about them.

Nice view to the east about halfway up the trail. The skies were still pretty clear at this point.

What the North Ten Mile Trail lacked in vistas this made up for in spades. It seemed a view like this greeted me around nearly every bend.

I decided to take the descending trail to the Zinn Overlook before heading up to the tower.

I've often found dead wood to be really visually interesting.

Going to the overlook turned out to be a great decision, as this view of Pikes Peak was waiting at the end.

There was also a really intriguing crevasse at the overlook that I had to check out. It couldn't have been more than three feet wide and it didn't lead anywhere of note, but it sure did bring out the claustrophobe in me.

Wildlife sighting! There's apparently plenty of stuff for chipmunks to eat up here. This guy didn't appear to have missed too many meals.

Fire Service volunteers who man the overlook have their own accommodations near the summit.

A 143-step metal staircase covers the final leg to the lookout tower.

Calling the tower at the summit "exposed" is a bit of an understatement. From claustrophobia to acrophobia all in one hike!

Great views from the summit to the west...

...and to the east. Notice how much it had clouded over since the view in the same direction about an hour earlier.

The frayed edge of the American flag at the summit made it clear that this wasn't the first windy day it had seen.
Another solid hike. Two hours up and down, and despite the threatening skies I didn't get rained on. I'm not sure if Zak would be ready for it this summer or not, but I'd like to come back with him sometime. I may make him study wildflowers first, though, so he can be useful.

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