Being a touch smarter, I left Friday night and accepted I would run into Interstate 70 traffic on the way up.
As part of the one-million people who moved to Colorado in the past fifteen years (sixteen in my case), I guess it is to be expected.
However, when I leave Friday and wake up in a beautiful place on a Saturday, I am in a much better frame of mind versus a frustrating drive that morning.
So that is what I did.
Drove to a place, hiked in ~2-3 miles by and woke up to the sun shining, the stream flowing and the wild flowers in full bloom.
The weekend had started.
And I was refreshed.
My loop would take me past some campgrounds.
But once past that, I would not see anyone all weekend save three backpackers earlier in the morning. Not until I was a mile from my car late Sunday afternoon.
The trail would take me up to above tree line and on the St. Louis Divide.
The only companions up this high would be two fighter jets that streak by very quickly. Perhaps the marmots were starting aggressive maneuvers…
The wildflowers continued to impress. Fields and meadows full of color.
I looked back to where I came. Loving being on the ridge and above it all.
The weather started building up. I went off-trail into a valley off the Continental Divide.
On the way down, I again could help but stop and admire the wildflowers.
I soon reached a lake. Off-trail, miles from any trailhead and surrounded by mountains.
And I had it all to myself.
The following morning started off well. The divide above reflected the color of the morning light.
I made my way down the drainage and soon reached a dam and then a dirt road.
Soon, I’d pick up a trail again and start a stead climb into another small range of mountains.
I soon reached the cusp of tree line.
I could see my pass up ahead. But I’d have to hurry. Weather was moving in again.
I soon reached the pass. The views were wonderful.
But I could not linger. I needed to reach the trees.
I made a steady climb down.
I reached the trees as the rain came and the thunder started.
I was safe(r).
I relaxed a bit.
The walk was enjoyed on the lush trail with the dark greens and almost red bark of the forest.
The rest of trip was through pleasant woods.
I saw, what I think, was a college orientation group, a mile or so before my vehicle.
All weekend I was mainly with my own company.
I found a little pocket of solitude.
And it was enjoyable.
I reached the car. Changed out of my wet shoes and shirt. Put on cotton.
Brewed up a cup of coffee for the road.
And headed back home.
Until next time.
Thanks for sharing your wonderful weekend journey. Sounds like a perfect stroll. If one considers the possibilities, there is always an off- or on-trail walk of solitude to be enjoyed, even on weekends during the height of summer.
Great account of your weekend trip and beautiful pictures. Mind sharing the general location? Where is south fork?
Near Jones pass is the general area… a caltopo search will show it
What a wonderful peaceful trip. You captured the event beautifully. I especially liked your humor in marmots starting aggressive maneuvers. I always say a good hike is seeing no more than two people. You’ve got me excited to get out on my next hike and I just got back from one. Thanks for the great post.