After a frustrating week of work (and a some frustrating events in my own life in general) and preparing to move into a new place (eating terribly, not exercising enough this past week). I desperately wanted to get out of town for the weekend.
I was invited to a happy hour on Friday. Had another opportunity to "party" on Saturday. But, I wanted the simple joy of being in the backcountry instead.
On Friday, I drove directly to the Moffat Tunnel trailhead. Loaded up my pack and did a leisurely 4 mile hike to Rogers Pass Lake in the shadow of the Continental Divide. I had planned on hiking further to Heart Lake just above treeline. But the storm hanging on the divide convinced me to find a nice campsite in the trees by the lower of the two lakes instead.
The view towards the divide, the rain gently falling on my shelter, a beer I packed in and a good book all proved to make for relaxing and satisfying Friday evening.
The following morning, I woke up to a much more crowded trail and trailhead. The hike out was pleasant if uneventful.
Relaxed in the small mountain town of Nederland over a leisurely breakfast.
Finally drove back to Boulder for part two of the weekend: A walk on the Continental Divide.
I met up with my good buddy d-low, picked up our friend Nira (42 to you AT hikers) fresh from her summer of being an instructor for Outward Bound and we drove up to Guanella Pass Road.
This road was car camping central! Many people; most of whom seemed to be chopping down wood with chain saws, shooting targets (when shooting is not allowed on the road) and generally making lots of noise in what is rather nice valley. Not my idea of fun, but to each their own…
After finding a parking spot, we started up the South Park trail, crossed a creek and quickly left the noise and crowds behind. I suspect most of the car campers would not hike this trail and most hikers are probably reluctant to start a hike in this busy area. Plus, many of the hikers tend to go to the nearby 14ers.
The three of us ended up having this area to ourselves and enjoyed the views towards Bierstadt in the evening light.
We found a decent camping spot, set up our shelters and enjoyed the soothing sound of the brook when we finally called it a night.
The following morning we followed the trail to the ridge and the Red Cone jeep trail. Early in the morning, the normally busy trail was deserted. We enjoyed the above treeline views towards the divide, the not-so-distant 14ers and the nearly cloudless sky.
After summit Red Cone we followed the jeep road a bit to the physical divide and then followed a use trail up to a series of 13k foot peaks.
Funny. We could see Grays and Torry's peaks, Evans and Bierstardt at some point throughout the trip. All very busy and popular peaks because they are 14ers. Below us, we could see a fair amount of jeep traffic on the roads below.
On this gorgeous day, with outstanding views along this ridge? We were the only people. Using the logic of d-low, I am glad so many people get wrapped up in "bagging" 14ers. It leaves the other peaks to us.
I love ridge walks. And being on the Continental Divide, with mountains all around us, is about as good a ridge walk you can get.
We took a leisurely break on our last peak and headed down to Lake Josephine for lunch.
The lake was tranquil and provided a good look towards where we had been all morning.
A storm started brewing, so we packed up our gear, and headed down one last jeep road to make our way to the car.
The jeep road walk was actually pleasant. Nice views, a meandering creek and so quiet. Almost all the campers were gone. The valley was again quiet. It was easier to appreciate the beauty of the valley without listening to guns, chainsaws, loud music and other types of noise we experienced the previous day.
The rain opened up. Luckily we were two minutes at the most from the car. We changed into dry clothes, drove off and again had another enjoyable weekend playing in Colorado.
All the photos