Fun Scale Rating: Type II Fun
Colorado has a lot of trails. A LOT. But for some reason unbeknownst to most hikers, the intrepid few continue to head into the bush in search of pristine campsites and secluded lakes. While the rewards are bountiful, charging up a valley and then climbing a mountain without a trail is no easy task. The constant navigational requirement takes a huge physical and mental toll compared to zoning out on a trail and stomping one foot in front of the other.
Miles of Type II Fun in exchange for a few nights of remote backcountry camping is a small price to pay for Andy, our main character for Episode 2 of The Fun Scale.
Deep in the San Juans of Colorado lies a lake named Leviathan. It sits below a peak of the same name and features one of the best cliffjumping spots I've ever seen in Colorado. That being said, it's extremely difficult to access. We approached from Hunchback Mountain starting at 10am, and found ourselves at the base of the valley 6 miles later. After crossing Vallecito Creek, you can expect to enjoy 3 miles and 2600' of thick trees and steep boulder fields. We found the river to be the easiest route up, jumping from rock to rock and scrambling up the waterfalls.
After 7 hours on the trail, we found our destination right in time for a hail storm. Waking up the next morning however, we fired up our Alpine Start instant coffee and waited for the sun to greet our cheeks.
The weather windows are short in the San Juans, but for a few hours we were treated to enough sun for a day on the water.
Bushwhacking is not easy, but it's always worth it when you wake up in paradise.