N 52° 31.189 W 116° 05.149
BCP627 – Coliseum
Strider’s Ride and I got an early start from town this morning to make the trailhead at sunrise, as we are planning to take a larger group up next weekend. The trailhead has a number of caches which take you a bit off the main trail and led to us doing a significant portion of off-trail travel on the way to the top.
About half-way up we rejoined the main trail and enjoyed the pleasant switchbacks on the final stretch to the bowl. After a short little scramble across a stretch of scree we rejoined the pleasant main trail. The stretch across the upper ridge provides outstanding views of the many interesting rock formations and outstanding views to the south and north at certain points.
We quick made the trip across the ridge and after emerging from a small section of trees, we enjoyed the short walk to the summit. It was pretty chilly at the summit with overcast skies and a stiff breeze, but we took our time and enjoyed finding the unique “Coliseum” marker. What a fine spot so close to the former lookout site.
After searching unsuccessfully for the cache near the summit we headed down and ran into a group of six hikers who had taken an alternate way to the summit. They convinced us to take the alternate way down and it turned into a most interesting experience.
The first stretch on the way down is across a bit of scree that leads to a steep cliff band. We were able to find a weakness in the rock band to the west and enjoyed a challenging, but short scramble around the cliff band. After getting through the chute, we followed the lower edge of the rock band to a most pleasant ridge. The ridge is well flagged and leads down a maintained trail and later a quad-trail back to the parking area.
Over all we took close to two hours on the way up using the traditional trail and just over an hour on the way down – with route finding – using the alternate trail. We had the good fortune of the Sun coming out on the way down, which made this an especially fine experience. Thanks OFTH for setting up this most pleasant cap, and to Strider’s Ride for the fine company and conversation on the trail. I’m looking forward to a return visit next weekend with a group and perhaps the route will become known as the Coliseum Mountain Horseshoe!