Sunday, May 3, 2015

My hiking buddy, Marty, and I hit the Embudo Trail Head early that morning. Must be a pretty popular place because there was plenty of paved parking. Gates opened at 0700. We arrived at 0715 ready to hike.

This trip represents a departure from the way I typically document my hikes. For the past few months, or even longer, I have been seriously thinking about leaving my full-size DSLR camera at home and switching exclusively to video. There are numerous reasons that make video more appealing to me, and I decided this hike would be a good place to make the switch. This is the first time I have ever hiked and not taken a single still image. And if you’ve ever hiked with me and/or looked through my blog, you know that represents a major change. And, yes, it did feel really weird not to have my other camera with me. 🙂

Update: For the two other trails that lead to Oso Pass:

Embudito Trail to Oso Pass
3 Gun Spring to Oso Pass

By the time we arrived at the trail head, there was already a lot of activity. Walkers, joggers, and a few mountain bikers, all getting an early start to their Sunday morning ritual. As mentioned, plenty of paved parking, and no parking fee, but no facilities of any kind. To get there, just go east on Indian School Road from Tramway and a few minutes later you will end up in the trail head parking lot. Elevation at the trail head is 6,242 feet.

The Embudo Trail Head is is also the trail head for the Whitewash Trail, which was where we were headed. The only sign I saw from the parking lot was the one for the Embudo Trail. Fortunately, I had a GPS track provided by someone I have hiked with in the past (thanks, Ken!) so we followed that track out of the parking lot. If it weren’t for that GPS track, finding the Whitewash Trail would have been difficult. Reason: the Whitewash Trail is an unmaintained trail and, just out of the parking lot, there are numerous minor trails, all criss-crossing each other, none of them numbered, none of them named. Unless you are hiking with someone who has done the Whitewash Trail, or you are following a GPS track, it would be very easy to get confused as to which way you are supposed to go.

For the first 0.3 miles out of the parking lot, we were navigating the minor trails. But once we were on the Whitewash Trail, we immediately started climbing… and climbing… and climbing. Not kidding. If you want an early morning workout, this is the trail. For the next 1.5 miles, we climbed 1,500 feet at an average grade of 22%, and there was still another 1,000 feet of climbing to go(!), although the grades weren’t nearly as bad. Total distance to Oso Pass was 4 miles, with 2,541 feet of total climbing.

Oso Pass is at 8,500 feet and there were six hikers there when we arrived. After our lunch break, we went down 3 Gun Spring Trail for about 0.5 miles at an average grade of -13%. Rather than go all the way down this trail to its intersection with the Embudo Trail, we opted to go off-trail and follow a shortcut route, which was part of the GPS track I was using. Just guessing, but I’d say the shortcut saved us about two miles. And although it was technically off the main trail, it must be a popular shortcut because it was a well-traveled path. Total length of the shortcut was 1.5 miles at an average grade of -13.5%. Turned out to be a very pleasant side trip.

Once we merged with the Embudo Trail, we followed it for a little over two miles, all the way back to the trail head. Average grade was only -8% and, for the most part, the trail was very easy to follow. There was a pretty good area of boulders that you have to navigate, which was interesting and could prove confusing when trying to decide which way you should go. GPS track to the rescue again! I wanted to get video of that, but, unfortunately, I only had one battery for my camera and it died a few minutes before we got there. The backup batteries I ordered have arrived, so that won’t happen again.

We hiked a total of 8.3 miles in just shy of six hours. Total climbing ended up being 2,653 feet.

Click Here for the topo map with the trail route, then click on the individual icons for trail notes. If the icon info comes up empty, try reloading the map.

Topo Map / Trail Route

Elevation Profile

Part 1 ~ For the best quality, after you start the video, click the gear/wheel at the bottom, right, of the video panel and select 1080p. To watch in full-screen, click the [   ] at bottom, right, of the video panel, then press your “Esc” key to return to the blog.

Part 2 ~ For the best quality, after you start the video, click the gear/wheel at the bottom, right, of the video panel and select 1080p. To watch in full-screen, click the [   ] at bottom, right, of the video panel, then press your “Esc” key to return to the blog.

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