Monthly Archives: September 2022

Colorado 2022

The annual hiking trip in Colorado didn’t disappoint!  

We picked the Mitchell Lakes area this year and hiked to Blue Lake. The lake is in the Brainard Lakes area and has some other wonderful easier hikes, like Lake Isabella, along with harder hikes like Blue Lake. I’ve wanted to hike to Blue Lake for some time but the hikes are on the longer side and steeper side so it’s remained a place on the ‘to do’ list. We had perfect weather, just a little bit of snow and rain, but otherwise beautiful.  

Like most years, we caught the sunrise on the trail and the alpenglow was stunning. It was a special treat to watch the clouds burn off the surrounding peaks. It’s a rare scene hard to describe in its splendor and certainly gains a place with the other ‘wonderful, astonishing, rare, very fortunate to see’ experiences I’ve had in my life. We started so early we had the trail and lake to ourselves. It was serenity and the reason why I hike in nature. The company and conversations were wonderful too, all in all, an impossible experience to replicate.   

We did manage to encounter a moose on the trail this year. I knew moose are large but moose are LARGE. The realization I am just a soft / fleshy bag of vital organs covered protected by some breakable bones near a giant moose during rutting crossed my mind more than a few times as we were figuring out what to do with a moose on the trail directly in front of us. The moose gave us the side eye and we eventually walked off the trail / around the moose when we saw the moose simply wasn’t moving. While hiking on a different point of the trail we heard some moose in the thicket and it sounded like branches and trees were being ripped up by heavy equipment. It reminded me of the sound we heard while hiking in Alaska where we were crossing a super thick thicket and it sounded like a school bus started driving through the thicket – we always thought we spooked a moose and it seems the sounds are similar enough to confirm we did, in fact, spook a very nearby moose in the thicket while hiking in Alaska.  

On an aside – timed entry is screwing everything up. We have to plan well in advance to get access to pretty much any trail. The outdoors are closed and it’s heartbreaking. It truly seems I am the last generation who enjoyed simply going to national parks and other wonderful outdoor offerings in the US whenever we wanted. I get that something needed to be done but this is too bad since people need to plan super far in advance, pick a place that does timed entry far enough in advance to be useful, or get lucky. Timed entry is preferential to those who are free during the week so schlubs doing a 9-5 M-F are at a very large disadvantage compared to the leisure class. It is too bad and it is disheartening. 

Enjoy the photos!

Chris W.

North Shore 2022

What a surprise this year – no fall colors.

We go to the North Shore about the same time, within a few days, nearly every year. Every year we’ve had spectacular fall colors. The maples along the tops of the Sawtooths are gorgeous. One of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen – and I’ve seen a lot of beautiful sights around the world.

This year was different. Fall is late. Very late. Instead of fall colors we saw the end of the wildflowers and about a billion pollinators. It was so much fun to see the impatients, golden rod, blazing star, and a multitude of other flowers I’ve never seen on the trails over run by may different types of pollinators I’ve never seen.

We spent quite a bit more time hiking this year than in the past. Usually a hike in the morning and a hike in the afternoon. It was a lot of fun to revisit some of the falls I haven’t seen for about a decade – going to Devil’s Kettle in Judge CR Magny State Park and hiking the 192 stairs was 100% worth it. All in all we hiked in every single state park along the north shore sans Split Rock Lighthouse State Park and Grand Portage State Park – we hiked Goosebury Falls, Tettegouche State Park (Illgen Falls), Temperance River State Park (Hidden Falls), Cascade River State Park(Cascade Falls), and, Judge CR Magney State Park (Devil’s Kettle). Outside of state parks we had very rewarding hikes at Oberg Mountain, White Sky Rock + Lake Agnes, and Caribou Falls wayside rest. I think our favorites may have been Devil’s Kettle and Caribou Falls simply because of the type of trail and surrounding forest. We did visit the Grand Portage National Monument but that’s a bit different than the state park.

The restaurant situation is still a bit jacked up. Everyone is hiring, one restaurant didn’t have enough employees and had very limited services, another restaurant had employees but they were on a worker exchange visa program of some sort and from all over the globe, and one of the best places we ate, Voyagers Brewery, had a crap ton of employees, great service, a bunch of customers, and reasonably priced food. The places with a shortage of employees and services must not pay well.

Beyond the restaurants, it seems all the COVID related changes are gone – a pretty different experience compared to visiting in 2020. Looking back at my post history, it looks like I skipped writing about the north shore visit in 2020. It’s probably a good thing to keep my opinions on that experience to myself. However, the fall colors were spectacular that year 10/10.

Once again, we had a fantastic time on the north shore. We look forward to visiting next year!

Enjoy the photos!

Chris W.