Mt. Evans Wilderness Backpacking

This past weekend, I joined my good friends Wendy and d-low for a fairly easy backpacking trip in the Mt. Evans wilderness.

The planned trip was to drop my vehicle at Echo Lake at the base of the Mt. Evans auto road, pile into another car and drive over Guanella Pass to start the trip.

After some car shuffling, we started our jaunt from the Abyss Trail Head with a striking view of the 14k ft+ Bierstadt. On this June day, the trailhead just up the road for this peak was crowded. On this trail? We had it all to ourselves.

 

 

After hiking in the open meadow for a bit, we quickly entered a trail lined with aspens.

 

 

The warmth, the easy tread and the subtle scenery made the miles go by.

 

Eventually we entered more open terrain…and saw the increasingly dark clouds, felt the wind pick up and felt the pressure drop. Some precip was on the way!

 

Luckily the rain and graupel stopped about the time we were ready to make camp. Wendy spotted a grove of aspens across the creek. Crossing the creek, we came to what looked like a hunters camp. A clearing, big firepit, well placed logs and plenty of places to pitch a tent. Perfect!

 

D-low showed how committed he is to his current relationship by..well..the photo says it all.

 

The sun slowly set, the creek babbled on and a slight wind flowed through the trees. The twilight filtered through our camp and made for a soft, pink sky.

 

 

The following morning, I took off by myself and powered up to the officially unnamed pass below the impressive looking Rosalie Mountain. At 11900', and in the cool, clear, morning air, there was no where else I wanted to be. Sitting on the pass and basking in the warm sun I was as content as any time I've been in my life. My pleasures of choice are simple ones. In in this simplicity, I find myself more content than not. As the Shakers said "Tis a gift to be simple. Tis a gift to be free". On this glorious Sunday morning, I felt free and satisfied.

 

 

A little while later, Wendy and d-low made it to the pass. Together, we continued to enjoy the view, the warm sun, the simple feeling of basking in the mountains surrounding us.

 

We had a brief comedy interlude as well. Shortly before we packed it up, a couple (maybe?) showed up. The man was clad in a balaclava and sun glasses and looked like he was ready to join the swat team. I should mention it was fairly warm and not very windy. He wanted to know where Rosalie was located. He also neglected to remove the balaclava from his mouth as he was talking.

D-low and I just looked at each other.

We pointed to the very obvious peak above us.

Shortly thereafter, a woman came to the pass. The air about her was much more competent. She was dressed in the dorky, yet functional, outfit of long johns and shorts, seemed to walk like she belonged in the mountains and obviously felt comfortable in her surroundings.

She overheard the dude ask where the mountain was as she was walking up. She said "I thought you knew where you were going?" She also mentioned something along the lines of how she thought the guy had the map.

Long story short, I offered to show them the route on the map. The woman shooed the guy away and she sad "I trust the guy with the map more than you!" Wendy, d-low and I just raised our eyebrows and gave a knowing look to each other. Gave us quite a chuckle. We do not think these two will be going on any further hiking trips together.

After the comic interlude, we packed up out gear and made our way down the pass. A brief, but rewarding, pit stop was had as the two Roosevelt Lakes.

We continued down the north facing side of the pass with its attendant snow. As we went lower, the snow dissipated.

Lunch was had at small tarn. I then struck out on my own for the last five miles of trail.

From the lake, it was a steep climb through burnt out terrain. Once past the burn line and to the top of the climb, the trail gently descended to the edge of the wilderness boundary and in a lush pine forest.

The weather started turning again just as I reached my truck. Just as I stashed my gear, the heavens opened up. Rain came crashing down. No worries…the gift shop, with its cafe', was open! I grabbed my book, ran over and killed time with some hot joe and a slice of hot apple pie.

What a wonderful way to kill time while waiting for my friends. Some quiet, unstructured time. Shortly after my pie and three cups (yes) of coffee finished, the storm stopped, the sun came out and the skies turned blue.

I walked back to my truck, grabbed a chair always stashed in there and read in the warm sun.

One and a half hours later, the happy couple showed up. We piled into the truck and retrieved the other car.

The evening ended with a beer and some family style Mexican food.

A wonderful way to spend the weekend!

All the photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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