Post by Peter Bakwin on Nov 1, 2009 22:32:30 GMT -5
Peter Bakwin has the FKT, 8h57m on May 3, 2011 Lisa Ledet and Stephanie Ehret have the women's FKT, 10h57m on April 7, 2007 (with Buzz Burrell & Peter Bakwin).
Mee & Knowles are two spectacular and extremely remote canyons in the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness of the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area in western Colorado. If you like rugged desert landscape and don't want to see other people, this route is for you! Closing the loop requires around 38 miles of on- and off-trail hiking/running with somewhat tricky navigation. The route is described in Michael Kelsey's Canyon Hiking Guide to the Colorado Plateau.
Peter Bakwin reports his run with Buzz Burrell, Lisa Ledet and Stephanie Ehret as follows:
Buzz had talked up this route for years. It has all the requirements: remoteness, difficult terrain, a little scrambling, tricky route finding, and of course the fact that nobody does this in a day. Buzz had done it a couple of times, but had never managed to get out before dark. Buzz, Lisa, Stephanie & I started at the Knowles trailhead at dawn on April 7, 2007. We ran down Knowles and up Mee. We were able to find sufficient ambient water in both canyons. Back up top, getting from upper Mee back to Knowles TH is somewhat tricky, as the area is a maze of ATV roads. Compass or GPS is helpful. -- Peter Bakwin
Peter Bakwin on the climb out of Mee Canyon, photo by Buzz Burrell
Lisa Ledet above the Colorado River, photo by Buzz Burrell
Post by Peter Bakwin on May 3, 2011 18:05:25 GMT -5
Set a new mark on this today, 5/3/11, at 8h57m. My GPS gave 36.3 miles for the whole thing from the Knowles TH. It occurs to me now you could save 2.2 miles by starting at the Mee TH & avoiding the Knowles TH out & back. For reference, my time to close the loop (w/o the out & back section) was 8h32m (from my GPS).
I started at 5:51AM, just when it was light enough. It was darned cold (below freezing), but warmed up nicely later. I found good water running the full length of both canyons. I didn't see anyone all day (Tuesday) until the spectacular climb out of Mee Canyon, when I caught up with Stan Wagon, the founder of Ultrarunner Magazine! He & his partner had visited the huge undercut in upper Mee. From the Mee TH, I cruised pretty well along the cow path back towards my car until taking a wrong turn near the stock tank 2-3 miles out & ended up navigating cross-country via GPS to get back on track. Oops! Otherwise, no problems with navigation.
I estimate that a little over half of the route is off-trail. That includes pretty much all of Knowles once you reach the bottom of the canyon, much of the way along the Colorado except near Black Rocks camp, and most of Mee except for an excellent trail for the first couple of miles after you leave the Colorado. Up top its mostly old cow paths.