Mohawk Lakes Backpacking

Another adventure with Avery and Josh on a child friendly backpacking trip. This time to Mohawk Lakes.

Last year, I was asked to help my buddy Josh out on Avery’s first backpacking trip.

This past year, I was again asked to accompany my friend and his son on a backpacking trip.

At this point in Avery’s life, he is very comfortable with being outdoors. Whereas I had to be introduced to the outdoor lifestyle later in life, Avery and his brother Elijah were introduced to the outdoors quite literally since infancy.

Camping, skiing, hiking and backpacking are as normal to their everyday life as playing the Atari was to Josh and I in our childhoods.

Again this year, Josh researched a child friendly backpacking place.  A route that would have waterfalls, mining ruins, great views and a relatively easy hike in.  Perfect for any boy!    My role in this? Play sherpa/trail guide. 🙂

The chosen place was Mohawk Lakes outside of Breckenridge (Breck), CO.

After work on Friday, I swung by the Zapin household, loaded up my vehicle and off we went into Summit County.

The Spruce Creek TH was reached just before dusk and we hiked in perhaps .5 miles to make camp for the evening.

Hiking by headlamp for a short ways and th n setting up camp proved to a be novelty and a fun part of the adventure.

Avery quickly fell asleep while Josh and I chatted a bit over some Deviant Dale’s I packed in.

It occurred to me that my Dad and the other Dads did much the same thing when I was on Boy Scout trips many years ago!  (I suspect my choice of beer was better than what the adult volunteers for Troop 71 drank, though ) 🙂

The following morning, we had a leisurely breakfast. From our spot nicely hidden off the trail, we could see the people making their way up to the lakes.  The trail would prove to be a popular one!

We packed up and then headed up the trail ourselves.

As we made out way up to the trail, we came to an unnamed pond that had great views towards where would be hiking.

We made our way to Mayflower Lake and found a great place to make base camp for the rest of the weekend.

Avery enjoyed seeing the old mining cabin remnants.

We climbed up towards Mohawk Lakes and made a quick stop at the Continental Cabin.

This cabin is still fairly intact and looks to be used by locals as an unofficial backcountry hut in winter.

From the cabin, we made our way to a great view of Continental Falls.

On our way up to the Lower Mohawk Lake, the weather started turning. Right at the lake, graupel fell.

We took cover in some handy krummholz and manged to stay dry and out of the wind.

As the storm passed, the sun peaked out.

We were greeted with an amazing view of the lake and the mountains above.

Almost since we started in the morning, Avery reminded me of a treat from last year that he REALLY wanted again: Lemon Slushies!  Take some snow, a little water and some lemonade mix and you have a backcountry treat par excellence.

Now that the sun was out and snow was nearby, he just wasn’t going to be delayed any longer. Lemon Slushies were served….

We made our way to Upper Mohawk Lake. Perhaps 10 minutes from the lake, the weather started moving in again. As we were at treeline, we decided to head down.

The weather did make for a moody scene back at Lower Mohawk, however.

Back in camp, the second round of treats were broken out.

Cold Coke for Avery…

And beer for the adults! 🙂

After a restful night, we deiced to head out early to grab a hot breakfast in town.

As it was early, and we wanted to make a small loop, we hiked out by the jeep road. The views from the jeep road would prove to have good views.

Along the way, I gave some some impromptu map lessons to Avery. He proved amazingly good at reading the features (roads, streams, junctions) and figuring out where we were on the map.

We made our way back to the car where a cooler full of iced teas and Gatorade awaited!

We finished our cold drinks, packed up and made our way to a later breakfast.

Another great trip.

Until next year when Elijah will be old enough to hike in with us. (And Avery promises he’ll be the one to show his little brother how to make Lemon Slushies!)

All the photos

Trip  Details

Getting There: has good directions and a description of the trail

The Route:  At 3.5 miles one way, but with 2000′ gain, it makes a good solid half-day hike for many locals….or about right for a 7 yr old boy’s backpacking trip.   It is not a trail for solitude and it one of the more popular in the area.  At night, though, no one was around.  Mayflower Lake (below the Continental Falls) made a great basecamp.  Avery  practically ran up the trail after carrying his pack.

If you start early in the day, the jeep road just after Mayflower Lk makes a nice alt route out. Good views, easy walking and heads back to the car directly.   By 10am, when we reached my vehicle, the road was getting busy however.

The Map: Trails Illustrated #109 Breckenridge has the needed data.

Post Trip Chow: Breckenridge has the Breck Brewpub….but we were in the mood for breakfast.

We decided to go down I70 a bit for a late breakfast and hit Marion’s in Idaho Springs.  Being northeast transplants (Brooklyn for Josh, RI for me), we had an affinity for this place that is a bit like a Rocky Mountain version of the diners we grew up with. Nothing fancy. Just good, solid and inexpensive comfort food.  I’ve always enjoyed their breakfast burrito.

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Kelly Campbell
Kelly Campbell
11 years ago

Sounds like you had a great trip and the photos look wonderful. It would be great if you could let me know how you make lemon slushies, I haven’t heard of them before.

Backpacking Engineer
11 years ago

The Oskar Blues can brings back memories. While sectioning the AT in the White Mountains I stopped for the night at the brand new Garfield Ridge Shelter. Someone was nice enough to leave some Oskar Blues G’Knight cans. I slept great that night and better yet found one of my favorite summertime drinks!