26 June 2011

Indian Peaks Excursion 6/26/11

I hadn't been to the mountains in far too long. Combine that with a forecast that malevolently predicted sinister temps in the 90s in Denver, it seemed like a good idea to gain some altitude.

The National Weather Service though wanted to thwart my intentions; they predicted 60 mph wind gusts in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. That made me pause and reconsider, but decided to take my chances.

It was well worth the gamble as where I hiked remained calm, occasionally interrupted by a stray gust here and there.

There's still a lot of snow up there

This was taken on the banks of Long Lake. The road isn't plowed to the trailhead yet, as a couple of large snowdrifts still loiter on the roadway.

Lucy & I wandered this way and that, making it around the lake. But there were quite a few people around.

I like going to the mountains to get away from everything, including people. They all have a right to be there. Just like I have a right to go where they aren't.

So we went back to the trailhead, up the road, and hiked up the Mitchell Lake trail. We got to the lake quickly -- I'm glad I brought my snowshoes -- and left a couple of small groups behind as we kept heading west up the basin.

A small tarn in the upper Mitchell Lake basin

We finally made our way to a steeper snowfield that led to a low shoulder of Mount Audubon. He made our way up to the talus -- Lucy was a happy maniac on the snowfield, running with a dog smile on her face -- where I slowly led her safely to a small rise that would do just nicely for a rest area.

Mt Audubon and its east ridge

Looking back towards Mitchell Lake and Brainard Lake in the distance

Pawnee ridge

Little Pawnee Peak on the left, Mt Toll on the right

It was nice getting out into my element without being Type A, obsessed with summiting a peak. We just went where we wanted to.

The intrepid author & his camera-shy canine

Lucy slept well that night

Looking back from near the truck