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!