Colwell Cedars Retreat
~ merging awareness, creativity, and nature ~
~ Dirty Dog Trail ~
The east Dirty Dog Trailhead is halfway down the The Ridge Trail, and winds west through juniper, sage, cactus and boulders.
It shares a short stretch with the Cabin Creek Trail, then crosses the Creek, with its lower trailhead along Sleeping Cedar Trial. The lower portion of the trail is wild and weedy.
The Dirty Dog honors our white spitz mix, who helped us find, settle and explore Colwell Cedars. She had long pure white hair—-a magnet for mud, briars and cockleburs.
~ Ruby Springs Trail ~
Ruby Springs Creek Trail, named after Joe’s mother, leaves just south of the house but unlike the parallel Center Ridge Trail, it drops east downhill. It is steepest where it joins Laughingwater Trail at the creek. To continue on a loop around Center Ridge itself, don’t head downhill, but join the Center Ridge Trail to come back uphill.
Hummingbird Trail joins the Ruby Springs Trail just before Baldy Knoll. Baldy Knoll is an opening overlooking the Ruby Springs drainage, and was named for the bald eagles soaring overhead the first time we stood here.
Below and across the creek from Baldy Knoll is Colwell Cedars’ rare orchid habitat; you will need a guide to explore there due to hidden rocks, swampy ground and thickly vegetated wildness.
~ The Center Ridge Trail ~
This Ridge is the middle of our three ridges. The house and campus are located on the north end, but the south half of the ridge offers a scenic hike between the two creeks. The upper trailhead is south of the Main House, and the trail traverses the ridge top, ending near the south fence when it joins Ruby Springs Trail.
Several trails leave this trail to head down into Cabin Creek (Dirty Dog, Phacelia, GanderCon).
We call the south end of The Ridge “Pinion Point” as there are more pinion pines here than anywhere else at Colwell Cedars. Try to find the huge old pinion below the trail just before it joins Ruby Springs.
Also just below the trail you can find Adobe Milkweed in bloom in April and May— the “jewel of Delta County.”
~ Tao Trail ~
‘The Way.’ This short trail from below Jupiter House to the north boundary was an obvious Way to get from here to there. It goes past the campfire circle and is the only trail to have concrete sidewalk as part of the trail.
The trail passes through juniper, sage, and grasses, east of the Colwell Cedars vegetable garden, before ending at the Sage Flat Trail. Deer often hang out near the campfire circle.
This was the area where Hazel had her homestead cabin. Her root cellar was underneath the ancient apricot tree next to the campfire area, and her four huge old lilac bushes are north and west of the apricot. This trail goes through or past a lot of the early (modern) human history of what we now call Colwell Cedars. It truly is the Way.
~ Gimmee Trail ~
This was originally a deer trail. Thus it was a Gimmee. It’s upper trailhead is below Baldy Knoll on the Ruby Springs Creek Trail.
Joe has changed the Gimmee switchbacks several times improving footing across steep, rocky and wet sections. The Gimmee is the quickest, shortest access to Laughingwater Creek Trail.
The lower trailhead junctions with the Laughingwater and Wetfoot Trails. There is a seep midway down where Buttercups flower in spring.
Near the bottom of the Gimmee is where we first discovered a small patch of Epipactis orchids. Joe initially thought they were Veratrum viridi (corn lily); a year later we had documented thousands on the Ruby Springs Drainage hillsides.
~ Rock Boy Trail ~
This was a ‘second thought’ trail with its upper trailhead south of the Main House, then zig zagging downhill through rocks, cactus and sage to meet the Lost Trail.
It serves the area between the Lost and Cabin Cutoff Trails. What else can we say --- Joe likes to build trails. An unusual name for a trail: the protagonist in Joe’s 2000 novel is a geology professor with a license plate that says “Rocks”; the heroine of the story calls him Rock Boy.
~ Lost Trail ~
The upper trailhead for the Lost Trail is south of the Main House. The trail zig zags downhill to Cabin Creek— through rocks, juniper, sage and cacti— with its lower trailhead on the Sleeping Cedar Trail.
When first built, Joe kept getting off the trail, unable to find it—thus the name. It is well marked now, and the Rock Boy and Jupiter Trails connect with Lost.
The upper Cabin Creek Trailhead is immediately below where Lost joins Sleeping Cedar Trail. Quite often near the creek crossing, you may spook the Great Horned Owls, who tend to hang out there; you have to be very observant since they fly silent.
Center Ridge Area Trails
There are seven trails in this section. Here, too, we recommend reading/hiking only a few at a time and return again for subsequent "hiking-reads." ~~ Enjoy!
30048 North Road
Hotchkiss, Colorado, USA.
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