Perseverance comes to mind when I think about Buckskin Pass, a 9.2 mile trek that is part of the trail system at Maroon Bells. Accurately rated as strenuous, it is truly one of the most difficult, yet most rewarding trails we have hiked. However, by taking it slowly, making frequent (and when I say frequent, I mean frequent!) stops along the way, most hikers will be able to master this “beast”!
The trail begins at Maroon Lake, and leads hikers to Crater Lake.
From there the trail forks to the right, a constant ascension from an elevation of 9580 feet to 12,462 feet! About a mile from the fork, is Minehaha Gulch, an excellent place to rest and take in the extraordinary view!
An alpine meadow followed, a flat reprieve before the narrow, seemingly endless trek up Buckskin Pass.
My breathing became labored, and my stops to rest became more frequent. For a moment, the thought of turning around seemed quite attractive. Not wanting to disappoint Kurt or myself, I kept my eyes on the trail, putting one foot in front of the other.
We met several hikers along the way, who were very gracious with encouraging words, mental fuel which swept away the idea of faltering from the forefront of my mind.
Upon reaching the summit, with legs like jello, a bit breathless and John Denver’s voice swimming around in my head, a sense of peace and gratitude swept over me as the spectacular view came into focus.
Hiking Buckskin Pass pushed me, and subsequently revealed that I had more than a bit of grit, possibly enough to merit Super Hero status!