Saturday, August 27, 2011

8-27-11 Chicago Lakes = Tori's Bermuda Tri

FINALLY, I think, I'm going to get in my Chicago Lakes hike this summer.

Stop #1 is a muffin. Fuel is key for what should be about 6 hours of hiking.

Take in the amazing blue sky of Colorado. I  never get tired of it.

Evan is impatient to get there, too.

I finally get a picture of the tree I admire every time we pass it going up to Echo Lake.

And of the tree we park beside to set out on our hike.

It's 9:30, we're right on schedule to make it back before 4:00.

On the way up, Bob finds ways to add to the hike. He has dropped 30 pounds in 4 months and is now packing on muscle to be ready for his February trip.

Along the incline, as we're catching our breath, a lone hiker, Emily, double checks that this is really the Chicago Lakes trail. It's very hard to follow. I assure her, yes, you have to get to the top and then, when there's nowhere else to go, take a right.

The ground is very soft -- it appears they've gotten a lot of rain this past week. The red mushrooms are shiny in the morning sunlight.

 Evan is lying down a good bit as we get toward the top. It's a definite lung burner to start.

See? Doesn't really look like a trail anywhere.

 Evan laps up the water I drip him from the water pack. I think, within the hour we'll be down at the creek and he'll have his fill of water.

And we reach the top, like I have multiple times, no problem.


About the time we finish taking the above pictures of the panorama, Emily appears, still turned around. She asked if she could follow us a bit. This portion of the trail is really washed out, tons of trees fallen over, so many similar looking boulders. And somehow, for the first time, we don't hit the trail. We end up getting hopeless lost in the depths of the very steep inclines, somewhere, I'm sure, underneath the actual trail that we never hit. There are  no pictures of this hour of lostness. Between trying not to fall off the mountain, keeping Evan from falling off the side of the mountain, scrambling on all fours (holding a leash), pulling up sometimes with nothing but your upper body, I didn't quite find a good time to take pictures of the insanity. Poor Emily. You definitely hooked your horse to the wrong cart today.

The inclines were INSANE. Think rock climbing with no ropes. The muscle burn and heart rates were definitely a good workout, but I'd have preferred getting to the creek and playing in the water. So would Evan.

We FINALLY seem to get to the trail. The algae and mushrooms are brilliant colors. And, we think, so, it was a little detour, but we can still get to the creek soon.

This mushroom grew up and is pushing this rock off of it.

And then . . .

We get the surprise of the day.

We aren't anywhere close to where we think we are. We find ourselves at the side of the Mt. Evans road looking way down to Echo Lake far below.

We are on the wrong side of the mountain.

So, down to the road, and across, and towards the lake we go. Because going back the way we came is not an option. And making the hike to the lakes isn't happening today. It's already climbing toward noon now. (There's Emily, Evan, and Bob below)

So, yeah. The Chicago Lakes hike is my Bermuda Triangle. Something always happens. The first time with Courtney we only made it to the reservoir and didn't have time to finish. The second time I couldn't make it to the upper lake with Stephanie and Deana because I'd blown out my knee. The third time, Sammi couldn't make it past the upper crest because of her sunburn. Number four and I'm on the wrong side of the mountain. Maybe the fifth time's a charm.

So by 12:30  we were back to the lake and decided to just call it a day after our three hours wandering.

 We sat and relaxed and let Evan watch the ducks on the lake.

And then we drove home through the clouds.


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