Bike, hike, and paddle the Grand Mesa

Bike, hike, and paddle the Grand Mesa

July 1, 2023 Off By Hawkeye Johnson

Hawkeye’s annual adventure fundraiser

My adventure this year is to explore the Grand Mesa by bike, hike, and paddle to raise money for adaptive athletes and adaptive sports programs. The journey will span a twenty-five day period beginning July 20 for ten days and then again August 4 lasting for fifteen days.

Last summer I tried pack-rafting during my fundraiser hike and I really enjoyed it! I do this using a lightweight inflatable raft that you carry in your backpack and allows you to paddle across a high alpine lake that you hiked or peddled. The five pound raft that I will be using is designed to carry a backpack and bike lashed on to the front of it. Adding a four piece two pound paddle and one pound PFD (person floatation device) makes for an eight pound load on my back that gives me tremendous access and possibilities for camping and fishing.

Hawkeye Inflating the Scout pack raft from Alpackaraft. Photo by Tony Forrest.

The Grand Mesa is the world’s largest flat-top mountain. Rising above the Colorado and Gunnison rivers in western Colorado, with an average elevation of 10,000 feet it contains 300 lakes and as many miles of multi purpose trails spread over 646,555 acres of National Forest. Many of these lakes are filled with large brook, brown and rainbow trout!

Rainbow trout chasing an artificial fly. Photo by Tony Forrest.

This land contains hundreds of miles of trails, atv track and dirt roads combined with all those lakes the opportunities to bike, hike and paddle are endless. Imagine bike packing on trails to a series of lakes. Paddle across fishing on the way and making a camp then exploring other lakes on foot. The next day paddle back across and bike to the next destination.

The Grand Mesa is accessible by car and has many paid campgrounds and free dispersed camping areas so the GoHawkeye crew will be able to resupply me and we can meet up for our annual “Fish Camp.” A great get togethers where we eat delicious food, go fishing and play Park Golf.

Hike, bike, and paddle. Photo by Craig Stein.

My annual adventure is one of GoHawkeye’s biggest fundraisers and provides half of our grants to adaptive athletes and adaptive programs for equipment and experiences. Since our inception in 2012, we have helped 110 athletes and ten organizations with grants totaling over $300 thousand dollars. None of this possible without the generous support of people like you. GoHawkeye is an all volunteer group with very little overhead. We work from our homes, so your donation goes directly to helping adaptive athletes.

Every donation, no matter the size, helps improve an athlete’s life through adaptive sports. Please help us continue our mission and make a donation today.

Floating West Ute Lake 2022. Photo by Tony Forrest.

The Route …

In July I am starting on the west side. Mesa Lakes Resort area, Mesa Lakes and Lost Lake. Jumbo, Water Dog, Griffith Lakes and picking up the Lake of the Woods trail. Bull Basin and Bull Creek lakes.  Cottonwood lakes (fish camp). Craig Crest trail, Butts Lake, Forest Lake, Upper Eggleston, Eggleston, Barron, Reed and finishing at Kiser Creek area.

In August, I’m starting on the east side at Trickel Park reservoir. Cedar Mesa trail to Marcott Park and Last Chance trail. Then back to junction with 127 north to Colby Horse Park , Leon, Leon Lake trail to Weir Johnson, Sissy, Twin Lake to Big Creek reservoir (fish camp) Youngs Creek, Spillway, Kiser Slough, Alexander, Deep Ward to Island Lake road and Granby road for out and back to Granby reservoir.

Grand Mesa, Colorado.