If you're looking to climb Mt. Garfield, you might want to put those plans on hold for a day or two. Recent snow and rain has left the area a little muddier than you might expect.

Last Sunday, November 20, I set out to Palisade for a much anticipated opportunity to climb Mt. Garfield. Between the handful of days the ground had to dry, combined with an outside temperature of 37, I assumed the ground would be more than solid enough. Wrong.

The task of getting to the parking area at the base of Mt. Garfield was hard enough. The tunnel heading under I-70 has a tendency to pool with water. It wasn't so bad as to require scuba gear, but the water was deep enough to prevent passage to some vehicles.

After parking, it only took about 100 feet for me to realize it was still too muddy to make the hike. Please keep in mind, when people hike during muddy conditions, it can do serious harm to the trails. Many of Western Colorado's designated paths have signs asking hikers not to use the trails when muddy. Signs such as this are not present on the trail to Mt. Garfield, but the same common sense applies.

I make the hike to the top of Mt. Garfield from time to time to check on the status of the flag at the summit. Weather, and in some cases vandals, take the flag down from time to time. This trip was accompanied by a new flag and pole. Unfortunately, checking on the flag's status will have to wait until next weekend.

As soon as weather and conditions permit, make the hike up to Mt. Garfield. You're looking at investing roughly four hours of your time to make the round trip. Rest assured, it's worth every second.

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