Conquistadores Mounting Earth Knockers

      6 Comments on Conquistadores Mounting Earth Knockers

Spanish Peaks and some crazy dikes (NOT MY PHOTO)

West Spanish Peak: 7 miles and 2,600 ft (Cordova Pass TH)

East Spanish Peak: 9.25 miles and 3,150 ft (Wahatoya TH)


Steve and I were looking for something new and relatively close and decided there were some breasts of the Earth to mount in the southern part of the state. West Spanish is a Bi and East Spanish is a prominent 12er. The two combined make for a nice rack, and with some crazy dikes in the region, we figured we were in for a treat.

We agree to haul a pair of bikes down there just in case the road to East Spanish and the Wahatoya TH was too rough. What we would later come to realize is how many shits the Honey Badger (Steve’s Rav-4) really gives (that would be none). The first objective was West, and we arrived at Cordova Pass just before 8am. To get to this trailhead, just take CO-12 south from CO-160, passing through La Veta and then Cuchara. A couple miles south of Cuchara is Cuchara Pass (9,995 ft), where you take a left directly at the pass and then follow signs for Cordova Pass. Its very simple. The trailhead is located where the campground is and the trail for “West Peak” is across the road.

Gaper Free-way.

“Hello boys! I’ve missed you!”

Ok, that’s enough with the boob talk. We started down the easy West Peak trail and reached the wilderness boundary before reaching a golden meadow with West Spanish looming overhead in the background. A nice intro to the area:

The sign looks brand new, probably due to the fact this area was designated a wilderness less than 15 years ago.

West Spanish with the standard route going straight up the ridge where the sun meets the shade.

There is a trail all the way through the woods to treeline, and there is no snow to contend with at the moment. The views along the route once you get above treeline are pretty spectacular to the West, with views of the Culebra Massif, Taos and New Mexico’s highpoint – Wheeler Pk to the south, and the bulk of the Sangres to the NW.

Culebra Massif, Southern Sangres.

Wheeler Massif – home of “Paco”.

The Crestones.

One of the more interesting aspects of this area is the decommissioned Cuchara Mountain Ski Resort, due SW of the small town of Cuchara. Built in the 1980’s, this cult following of a small, local ski hill experienced the exchanging of owners numerous times through the years. With 1,600 vert and some moderately interesting terrain in a unique, off the beaten path area, the mountain had potential and some solid ski visionaries made a valiant effort to make the place accomodating. But in the end, a lack of consistent snowfall and isolation buried the mountains chances of survival and it closed its door indefinitely around the year 2000. Rumors of some deals among wealthy Texans have surfaced here and there, but the mountain is still closed. Its tough to keep a mountain going in the Drygres.

Anyways – we could see Cuchara pretty well from West Spanish:

Cuchara Mountain Resort.

One of the cooler parts of standing atop West Spanish was the view of the Dikes that had formed around the northern flanks of the peaks. I’m not a geologist, so my knowledge of these rock formations are elementary at best, I thought they were just cool to look at, and to avoid any tasteless sexual orientation jokes, here are some pictures of intrusive dikes:

Dikes.

Blanca Group.

East Spanish Peak and nothing but flat plains for far as the eye can see.

On the descent we admired the Bristlecones….

In a land before time….

And more of the Blanca Group over yonder:

A classic Sangre setting.

After a quick calorie fuel back at the Honey Badger and some cold ones waiting in the snow, we made way for the Wahatoya Trailhead for East Spanish Peak. To get to this cluster f**k of a trailhead, if you are heading south on Route 12, at the south edge of La Veta, just before you veer West towards Cuchara, take a left on to Cucharas St, then a right on to Birch St, which is 360, which you take for a 1/2 mile, then take a left after some reservoirs. After this left, you take your first right, which is still 360, and you follow this for 5 miles or so until you reach some random, hard to find 4wd road, which is in fact a rough road. The only advice to finding this 4wd road is if you’ve gotten to some place called Wahatoya Camp – which looks like a more rustic version of Manson’s Spahn Ranch (Its really cool) – you’ve gone just a little to far.

Anyway, the handy dandy Honey Badger made short work of this road (I wouldn’t recommend driving any kind of Subaru up this thing though).

Look at that crazy f**k

Anyways, with quickly fading light and some grumbling bellies, we hustled up ESP. Here’s the route in a nutshell:

1 – Find this trail junction

2 – Hike up this talus hump of shit

3 – Enjoy this view

The pros of prominence peaks.

4 – Feast here

Corner of 31st and Hwy-24 in CSprings.

Here’s the actual route map:

East Spanish Pk trail.

Thanks for reading.

6 thoughts on “Conquistadores Mounting Earth Knockers

  1. Ben

    Thanks for some nice photos and a few laughs, Brian. That area is super cool. Did you guys happen to check out the town of La Veta at all on the way through? It’s a unique little place – southwest meets mountain town kind of feel. I wonder how many rocks we would have hit if we tried out that ski area back in the day? We probably could have made it big by setting up a base grinding machine at the bottom and charging out the ass for it.
     
    Nice work getting both peaks. When Anna-Lisa and I were there, all I knew was the east peak looked pretty far away but it appeared to be a cool hike in it’s own right. As for Honey Badgers go, I’m hoping to procure a Honey Badger of my own in the next calender year and I sincerely hope it doesn’t give a shit. Those are stout little mini-SUVs that’s for sure.

    Reply
    1. Brian Post author

      Benners – we took a piss on the side of the road around La Veta, that was it. Cuchara looked like a mini Taos Ski Valley with probably more paoti and gritty hippies. And its good to see you finally got yourself a Honey Badger for your mountain escapades.

      Reply
  2. DKYarian (Zambo)

    I chuckle to think of you sitting in your house, Googling pictures of boobs to try to find the best one for this report. That should be step 5 of the TR, Brian.

    Reply
    1. Brian Post author

      Mr. Zambo – There was a screening process for the perfect boob shot, but I figured Blazing saddles fit the bill as it encapsulated the day the best.

      Reply
  3. Steve

    Damn, Brian, you nearly outdid yourself. I don’t know how I missed seeing this dandy little write up of our pechugas chingadas. That was a great day, though – the only detail I think you missed is that our ho-humming and missing the turn for E Spanish squandered daylight – so we made it up in – what, 1 hr 20 min? 2:20 to 3:40 I think – and then it took us a tad longer going back down in the dark. Those views were sweet.

    Reply

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