25 June 2015

Mesa Top

Grand Mesa National Forest

Rather than go to a high point on the mesa, like Crag Crest, this trail travels the typical top of the mesa that claims to be the highest flat top mountain in the world. I thought it would make a nice evening hike. This is another that is not on my map, although it is well signed from the road. (It is a Trails Illustrated 136 Grand Mesa map that seems so incomplete.) There is a map at the parking lot showing a trail progressing a few miles southwest with connector trails to the road to the west. I think I will maybe do a little loop and a couple hours.

flat grasslands
Wide grasslands lined with pines at the top of the mesa.

Past a line of pines, there is wide grassland just getting started. It looks like it becomes cow pasture eventually, but is not yet. A faint old road seems to travel the middle of the meadow. Dotting the flat grasslands are a number of shallow ponds. Some areas are marshy and require careful foot placement to keep dry feet.

shallow pond in the meadow
One of the ponds along the way.

particularly green meadow
A particularly green spot.

dirt track in the grass
Following the dirt track into the trees.

After a brief sojourn across a small corner of the meadow, I find myself under the cool trees again. The bugs are quite enthusiastic, especially if I pause slightly.

lots of flat
Looking back across the meadow.

pond among the trees
Another pond in with a few trees.

Deeper in the trees, the trail flirts with the edge of this particular section of flat. Below, mostly obscured by trees, there are much larger lakes. Around me, there is broken up blocks of basalt.

a small open spt
Taking in another opening.

basalt as a columbine planter
Rocks at the edge of the local planar area.

A short climb from the edge, the trail reaches the first junction and I turn down it. A few hundred feet more, it seems to hit an old road, which is actually heading my way unlike the trail. It is already getting late, so I figure it cannot be all that hard to follow some old road across the flat. At first there is a trail along it. Eventually this fades and I am on a cow path that eventually ends in a familiar pond with the trail on the far side. In a little over a mile, I am back at the parking lot.

trail through the meadow
Following the trail back through the flat meadow.

©2015 Valerie Norton
Posted 7 Aug 2015

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