North Cheyenne Canyon

Today was disappointing on so many levels, but wonderful
because I was able to spend some time outside!

I’d wanted to hike a 13er today (the weather was absolutely
perfect!)  but due to my truck issues I’m
stuck with a 2WD rental car that wouldn’t make it to the trailhead.  So I decided to take another hike in North Cheyenne

I woke up at 5am and because it was still too early (cold)
to head out I ran for an hour on the treadmill, took a shower, and did 30
minutes of yoga.  

I made it to the trailhead at 8am and started on the 7
bridges trail.  I was aiming at hiking
Runs-Down-Fast mountain, which is on my Atlas but not in my GPS or on any trial
map I’ve seen.  

North Cheyenne Canyon has a lot of amazing, well kept
trails.  They’ve been doing a lot of work
in the area maintaining their trails, which is great, but in the process they’re
destroying established trails and making new ones, and sometimes changing
existing trails and moving them to other routes.  In other words, none of the maps sync.  It’s been very frustrating hiking in the area
lately!  They have posted signs with
terrible maps that make no sense and are difficult to read.  Not all of the trails have trail signs on
them, and some of the names are wrong.
It makes for quite an adventure!
Even with a topo map nothing makes sense (because the trails have

The 7 Bridges Trail is still the same.  Today it was all iced over!

I took 622A to 668 and was looking for the turn off to 622
to bring me west towards the mountain.  I
hiked and hiked and hiked, and crossed this area that took a lot of
concentration (I couldn’t tell how tough the ice was or how far the creek

Most of the trail was free of snow at this point

Then I followed the pipeline trail.  I tried to find some history on the pipeline
and failed.  Basically, it looks old and
it obviously hasn’t been functional for quite a while.  

I rounded a corner and saw where the 622 A intersects with
the Pipeline Trail, but there was no route at all hiking west.  So I continued to follow the trail for
another half a mile before pulling out my topo and realizing I was way too far
south.  So I backtracked to the cutoff,
and nope, still no trail west.  I kept
going for another quarter mile and realized my mistake:  Just at the creek crossing I was paying so
much attention to was a snowed over trail.

It was unmarked but looked like the trail I was looking for
(it matched on the topo).  The only
problem was it was obviously a trail they didn’t want me to follow.  It looked like crews had purposely destroyed
it, making it difficult to follow.  

I followed it anyway and ended up at intersecting the 667
trail. Ugh!  I knew I was too far north
at this point, so I headed back, figuring I’d missed the 720 at some
point.  I never found it.  Instead I took a route that brought me nowhere.  I could tell I was supposed to head west, but
it just didn’t look possible.  I bushwhacked
for a bit, heading in the direction of Runs-down-fast Mountain, and eventually
came to some orange marking tape.  

Woohoo!  I figured
this would get me to the 720 or the Forester Trail, so I followed it for about
half a mile.  Nope, it brought me to this
big hole in the ground.  Ugh!  

However, at this point I heard some motorcyclists and
watched them speed past me about 50 feet up the hill.   I headed up to the trail (once again hoping I’d
hit the 720 or Forester) but nope:  I was
back at the 667!  

Now I was extremely frustrated.  I knew where I wanted to go, but apparently
when I’d backtracked the second time I didn’t backtrack far enough. I knew where I was and what I’d done wrong, but at this point I had two options:  Backtrack again and try it a third time, or
head back down the trial and make it a look by taking Cap’n Jacks Trail over to
Mt Buckhorn and follow High Drive back down.

I decided I wanted to get back home to my kids, so I took
the loop.  Here’s the entire route I took

It was frustrating not summiting anything (especially when I
had 3 ‘easy’ summits I wanted to hit today), and basically hiking in circles,
but I did take a few trails I haven’t taken before, and I was able to problem
solve and route find.  I also mapped out
in my head where several trails intersect so next time I’ll be more prepared.  

I’m not done searching to summit Runs-down-fast, but I think
I’m going to start at a different trailhead next time, at least until North Cheyenne
Canyon gets their act together and publishes some accurate maps available
online (I mean this with the utmost respect).

Author: Laura M Clark

Laura has summited over 500 peaks above 13,000' solo, including being the first woman to solo summit all of the Colorado 14ers, as well as the centennials. After each hike, she writes trip reports for each one and publishes them on her blog, which is read by fans all over the world. Author of Wild Wanderer: Summiting Colorado’s 200 Highest Peaks, which is available to purchase on Amazon.

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