April Trips. Alto Pass to Grand Tower and High Knob to One Horse Gap.

I had the opportunity to make a day hike with a guy named Swede to make this hike From Alto Pass with him March 31 as he completed a though Hike of the trail.

It had just finished a heavy overnight rain and we knew that the creeks would be flooded especially Hutchins Creek, but he and a partner (who was sidelined the day before) had been on the trail for 10 of 12 days and he needed to finish that day.

It was raining hard as I headed down there with some misgivings and didn’t stop until about 5 minutes before I arrived at their rental cabin at the Broken Wheel Ranch there at Alto Pass. The guy is a hard case hiker having done 19.5 the day before! I can do a long hike if I get to rest a few days after. Not Swede!

We left fairly early and walked to the trail. Aside from some drips it never rained again and actually cleared off later.

There were a couple of wet crossings, nothing worth mentioning, but Hutchins crossing was impassable at the trail. We went upstream probably 1/8 mile where it was wide and rapids. (the wider the less deep.) I know this section and the rocks on the upper West end are like pumice, clean and grippy. So we crossed in water above our knees, about mid thigh with my walking stick doubling as a depth finder.

We made it ok, climbed out with the help of some roots and were on our way again. I don’t actually have a photo of the deep crossing. My camera was packed and Swedes didn’t come out. This is one of the small tributaries.  The walk down the Pine Hills road was uneventful as was the levee road walk.

You can see the suspension bridge over the Mississippi from the top of the Larue Bluffs, but it sure doesn’t look 11 miles away. Believe me, it is. The Devils Backbone State ParkCIMG1932 CIMG1933 CIMG1936 CIMG1941 CIMG1947 CIMG1950 CIMG1951 CIMG1957 is just before it.  I’ll tell you, I have finally done the Larue Bluffs to The Mississippi and it is a once in a lifetime experience. I’ll never do it again in this lifetime!  Brutally long with no shade and not much to look at. There is a soda machine at the Grand Tower bank just east of the end of the levee, but even though it offers .50 cans of Pepsi, wet dollar bills don’t work in it, and I had to exchange one.

I was busy doing that while Swede and his hiking partner Bob and his dad filmed and celebrated his feat at the Mississippi. an amazing thing to look back on. To be continued