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Showing posts from 2010

Mt. Yale Hike (October 2010)

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I haven't posted any 14er hikes this year, so here's one. Three of us hiked up Mt. Yale, about 10 miles west of Buena Vista, Colorado, in early-mid October. It is one of the collegiate peaks in the Sawatch Range. At 14,196 it is the 21st highest mountain in Colorado. Colorado did not get much rain this summer, but in October the skies started to open up. The mountains had a nice dusting of snow making for some nice views when we were there. We started at the Denny Creek Trailhead and went up the Southwest Slopes - the standard route. The trail roughly follows Denny Creek until the one turn we had to make. There the trail got a little bit steeper. The further in we went, the steeper the trail got. Near treeline we started going though the snow. It never got more than a few inches deep. A GPS track of the route helped out where we couldn't see were the trail went. There is a reroute on the trail starting just below tree line, but with the snow it was hard to follow and we en…

Crater Lakes Hike (October 2010)

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This hike was to the same location as the last one in my last blog. The difference was, there was no snow, so we stayed on the trail and after the middle lakes we went up and did not visit the first one. We started on South Boulder Creek Trail and turned onto Crater Lakes Trail. There is a sign at the junction. The trail to Crater Lakes was a bit steeper than the South Boulder Creek Trail. The trail took us to the northern middle lake first. (On the snowshoeing trip we went to the southern one first.) Moffat Tunnel passes under this lake.

 Crater Lake #2 North
The other is close, only separated by a small ridge (about 20 ft high).

 Crater Lake #2 South
After taking a short break we went west and took the trail that curved along the west end of the northern lake. It turned west and started climbing up to the upper lakes. On the way up, there were great views of the two lakes we were just at.

View of the Two Middle Lakes from the Climb Up to the High Ones
The next lake is the smallest one.

Crater Lakes Snowshoeing (March 2007)

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The Crater Lakes are in the James Peak Wilderness, southwest of Boulder. The closest trailhead is at the East Portal of Moffat Tunnel (usually called just East Portal). This area usually has a good snowpack in the winter. The main trail through this area, South Boulder Creek trail, is usually packed down. The lakes we went to are off the main trail. The hike up to the lakes and back to the main trail was probably some of the roughest snowshoeing I have ever done.

We started going up the South Boulder Creek Trail. In some sections the packed trail does not follow the actual trail, including where the turn for Crater Lakes was. Once we realized we had passed the Crater Lakes Trail, we followed some ski tracks going towards the lakes. There was no broken trail to the lakes. It was hard going through some snowdrifts and we followed tracks when we saw them. We ended up at the two middle lakes first.

Crater Lake #2 South
Blown Snow Crust on Crater #2 South

I walked out on the lake and checked…

Heavenly Lakes and the Heart of Darkness (September 2010) Part II

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After Inkwell Lake there was some more above treeline rock scrambling. Two of us headed over towards Doughnut Lake, which is in a separate drainage from the other until below Arrowhead Lake. We found a great spot which overlooked both Doughnut Lake and Arrowhead Lake. We could also see Love Lake, which is about 200 feet above Arrowhead.

Doughnut Lake
Arrowhead Lake (or is it Right Turn Arrow Lake) Love Lake is just to the right and above the point of the arrow.
After using a few climbing moves to get down, we regrouped near the shore of Arrowhead Lake. We went along the right shore, which ended up being the harder side to go around. After Arrowhead Lake we began to enter what the trip organizer called the Heart of Darkness, the forested hidden bottom of the canyon. We were not sure what we would find in there. We still had a bit more downhill to go, but now we had to deal with downed trees. Between Arrowhead and the next lakes, Rock Lake and Little Rock Lake, there was some steep downhil…

Heavenly Lakes and Heart of Darkness (September 2010) - Part I

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Rocky Mountain National Park has a road called the Trail Ridge Road, which goes above treeline for several miles. At its Forest Canyon Overlook, you can see several lakes in a side canyon. Many people stop and stare at them, but they get few visitors, since there is no trail to them. I have seen these lakes many times and have been wanting to get over there to walk around them. I finally got my chance last weekend. We started at Milner Pass, hiked up Mt. Ida, down along the Forest Lakes, across Forest Canyon and up to Forest Canyon overlook. After Mt. Ida there was no more trail. We started early and the moon had yet not set.
Moon Over the Never Summer Mountains
After summiting Mt. Ida we climbed down a rocky slope to a saddle. We could see our ultimate goal, a few miles away on the other side of the canyon. We also saw one of the lakes that can not be seen from the overlook, Highest Lake. It would have been a climb after the saddle so we did not visit it. Azure Lake, the second highes…

Arapaho Glacier Trail (August 2010)

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This trail starts from the Rainbow Lakes campground, crosses into the Indian Peaks Wilderness and quickly climbs above treeline. The trail goes along the border of a restricted area where part of Boulder's water supply comes from.

Looking Up the Valley at the Divide
The trail continues to climb until about 12,600 feet where it levels out. After about a mile and a half of going along this ridge, I came around a corner and saw South Arapaho Peak.

South Arapaho Peak
I had seen it from a distance, now it was right there. When I saw it that close I knew had to climb it, again. Even before getting on top of the peak, the views were great. Mt. Neva, just to the south, is a fun mountain to climb.

Mt. Neva and Lake Dorothy
About half an hour later and 700 feet higher I was on the peak. While I was taking a lunch break a marmot came up to where I was.

A Marmot Begging for Food
I was also able to look down on Arapaho Glacier.

Arapaho Glacier
On the way back down, there were a couple of ptarmigans…

Wildflowers and a Moose (July 2010)

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Last weekend went hiking around Long Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. My main camera was having problems, so I had my old camera with me and the pics are not as sharp as usual. After about a half mile I was really wishing for my other camera. The wild flowers along the trail were great. It was an amazing display of colors.

Elephant's Head
 Field of Flowers
Mixture of Colors
Trail Through the Flowers
White and Purple
There was also a bull moose not far off the trail. Deer and elk are easy to see in these mountains; they are sometimes even in large herds. Moose are much less common. Before this I hike, I had only seen moose once before in Colorado.

Bull Moose Laying in a Field Next to Long Lake

Chasm Lake Hike (June 2010)

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Chasm Lake sits at the base of the face of Longs Peak and is one of the most scenic lakes in the park. The lake is at 11,800 ft (just above treeline) and Longs Peak at 14,255 towers above it. We started from the Longs Peak trailhead on the east side of the park. The trail starts out climbing through a pine forest. Once it crosses the treeline the views get amazing. This first picture is of Longs Peak with Mt. Lady Washington just in front of it on the right side.


Once crossing over the ridge coming off Mt. Lady Washington, we could see Columbine Falls which comes from Chasm Lake. Also one of the less common routes up Longs Peak via The Loft is visible, but covered in snow. It goes almost straight up to the lowest point left of the peak.


The trail crosses the creek above the falls, but first we had to cross two snowfields. This picture is looking back on the snowfields after we crossed them.


The lake itself was still mostly frozen. Near its east shore, where the trail ends, the ice wa…

May Snowfall in Boulder

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Last Tuesday night and Wednesday morning we got about 4 inches of snow. This time of year, the snow down here is a lot wetter than usual and sticks to things. This picture is of a bike path bridge over Foothills Parkway. The bridge is covered with a fence and this day the snow made it feel like a covered bridge.

Powderhorn Snowboarding (March 2010)

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Last week I was lucky enough to go to Powderhorn, the day after the skies opened up and dumped 10 inches of white fluffy stuff. It was great boarding, especially in the trees where it was deep enough to be sweet powder, but not so deep that it was hard to get going after falling. Here's the view from one of the lifts.

Aspens
Powderhorn is not on a mountain like most ski resorts, it's on the side of a big mesa.

View of the Side of the Mesa
I am a tree hugger when I snowboard and there were lots of good trees to board through.

A Wide Spot in the Glades with some Fresh Powder
In the morning the top branches of the aspen trees were coated with snow.

Snow Coated Aspens
Close-up of a Snow Coated Aspen
The Glades Later in the Day
Another interesting thing about Powderhorn is that later in the season their hours are 10-5, rather than the usual 9-4. The sky was clear and snow was good all the way until the lifts stopped, which made for great views and sweet boarding.