Rolling Creek Trail. If you find the trail, you will find the creek, the Rolling Creek. A fellow I will call “J-Man”, closer than a brother, rallied us up about Rolling Creek Trail, and finally led the way in his red Subaru wagon. Six of us in all, ready to hike, but not knowing what to expect. Three miles in, a huge herd of boulders … massive boulders … had been dumped all over the side of the mountain (who knows when) on the right side of the trail. “J-Man” (not his real name … he dislikes paparazzi) took off up the boulders, hopping from one to another, not stopping to explain. The summit, made up of immense boulders the size pickup trucks, gifted us with a view. A wildly majestic place, breathing out cool winds, the smell of pine, and a silent taunt of intimidation. The boulders were big enough for us to run around. And yet, everyone took the threat of falling off very seriously. It was a long way down. After a short while the enthusiasm dropped down a couple of notches from exhilaration to a wordless and sacred thankfulness; we sat together on the rock floor, staring off into the north, the south, the east and the west. The profound question came, but I do not remember from who:
Where are we?
J-Man took a bit of time before answering, and to this day I think I know why. The Wilder Man was …
reluctant to give out specifics about … where we were, in his attempt to guard his special place. “Pike National Forest”. We all waited for J-Man to tell us more, but he didn’t. Out of respect for J-Man, it wouldn’t be right to my friend if I gave out many specifics … BUT, I will give you just a bit more than J-Man did. Rolling Creek Trail goes from 8,300 (plus) elevation on up to 10,600 (plus), and intersects the Colorado Trail. It is true that this trail is open year round; BUT, the winter and spring months are pretty spicy with ice and snow. Not that you needed my warning, but I try not to assume.
The first part of this trail is fairly easy to hike, with minor “ups and downs” and a few small stream crossings. Soon after, you enter a tight canyon, the trail becomes very steep. Not a place for horses. The good news is that when you climb out of the canyon, a view happens to the north. You can see a steep, wild-looking rock formation called the Castle, and some granite along upper Rolling Creek with a good share of mountains in the distance. For what it is worth, the 1954 Windy Peak Quad map does not show the location of the first 1/3 of the Rolling Creek Trail.
The picture of the trail head, above, came from a great blog, “Adventures of a Couchsurfer” / Travel Photography. You should check out his blog for some great pictures. And check out his post on Rolling Creek Trail, 09/01/12.