22-Apr-2005 -- One fine spring day, my favorite confluence hunters agreed to trek with me to 40 North 106 West in the mountains of Colorado. We left the Denver area at 10am and were in the vicinity of the confluence two and a half hours later, laden with layers of clothing prepared for the volatile weather that is the Rocky Mountain Spring. We approached from the west via Forest Service Road 133 south of US Highway 40. However, we were halted about 5 km north of the point where we had intended to start hiking by a snow barrier. Beyond the barrier, the road had not been plowed. Despite the 65 degree F (18 C) afternoon, it would take several more weeks at this temperature for the road beyond to be passable. Not to be daunted, we donned our hiking boots and sunblock, gathered our GPS, water, and cameras, and set out on foot at 12:50pm local time. Beaver Creek rushed by us, carrying snowmelt to the Colorado River, near its headwaters, to the north.
Two hours later, at 2:40pm, we had only reached 40 degrees north, sinking into the snow with each step. We had hiked on the road 2 miles (3.2 km), and were forced to concede. The confluence still lay 1 mile (1.6 km) to the west up a very steep, snowy ridge named Blue Ridge. We took the photos and a movie and enjoyed the montane beauty, vowing to make it into our own Rocky Mountains more often. We had seen evidence of wildlife--Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep, perhaps, and deer, and saw a beaver running at top speed for the first time in our lives.
We hiked back to our vehicle, arriving at 3:50pm. We felt that if we had been able to drive closer to the confluence, those 3 hours of hiking would have netted us a successful visit. This would have to wait for a summer's day. An early autumn visit when the aspen leaves were turning colors would also make for a fine outing.