Every year I look forward to my backpacking trip, usually to Southern Colorado. Putting on the pack and walking into the mountains is always such a great way to mentally escape the stresses of life.
This year we choose the Conejos River area near Antonio, Co for our backpacking adventure. We hiked from the Three Forks Trailhead to Blue Lake. As I’m sure you know, Colorado got a lot of snow this winter, and it’s still hanging around up high! This meant that 2 of our 3 stream crossings were cranking pretty good.
The gravel road out to the trailhead is about 25 miles, overall is in good condition and a sedan should have no problem getting out there.
After we parked and loaded up, off we went on the trail, passing through fields of wild flowers and sub-alpine meadows, and into the forest. After the second steam crossing, that was thigh deep and cold, we started running into snow drifts that blocked the trail. The last third of the hike entailed navigating around these, trying to keep the boots dry.
We got to Blue Lake in the late afternoon, found a campsite and got set-up pretty quickly. It’s always nice to get the tents set up, take off the boots, relax and take in the beautiful views.
The next day we planned on hiking somewhere else, but my friend’s boots did him no favors on the hike in and his feet needed some rest. Hanging out, a little fishing, exploring the area right around the lake, and a nap. Not a bad way to spend a day. The rain started about 6pm and lasted almost all night, the volume was impressive sometimes!
After our leisure day and 12 hour stint in the tents hiding from rain, it was time for a hike! Blue Lake is right next to the Continental Divide Trail, an easy decision on what to hike!
The trail was super cool. So many hikes we do in the mountains are up-up-up for hours and then down-down-down. This trail, not surprisingly, was a rolling trail with saddles of alpine tundra and amazing views.
We got in about 6 miles, a nice relaxing hike. Someday I’d really like to do a decent distance, point to point hike across an awesome trail. I’ve not yet been able to organize that, but it’s on the list for sure!
The damage to the forest by beetles is terrible. So many dead trees, I’m very worried when this area goes through a dry spring/summer.
The day we hiked out we had a relaxing morning and slowly packed up. Pretty sure I had 2 cups of coffee that morning. It’s great to be able to have a laissez faire attitude about packing up!
The hike out overall was pretty nice, except the streams we had to cross were cranking because of the rain.
Three stream crossings was a bit much. One is cool, but it’s such a momentum killer. Take off the pack, take off the socks and boots, put on the sandals, put the pack back on, cross the stream, and then sandals off, dry the feet, boots and socks on, pack on. All just to go a 100 feet, even writing it kind of makes for a run on sentence😁.
I enjoy these trips so much, the simplicity of your worries while being in the backcountry is very freeing. Shelter, food, as much fun as you can have. Here’s to more adventures, please feel free to share any of your favorite hikes!
stuff I use and RECOMMEND
Going Down the Trail is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I personally use.
A few days late because I was in the mountains!
1 week until the Colorado backpacking!!
Stoked the Colorado backpacking trip is only 2 weeks away, so here’s a pic from one of those great trips!
While I think we all know that no picture of an amazing outdoor scene truly does it justice, you can still capture some great shots. I think I’ve gotten some cool shots for some guy snapping pictures with his phone’s camera while hiking around, so here’s some of my favorites.
All pics taken with various models of iPhone and some have been instagramed.
I’ve been taking a backpacking trip to Colorado every summer for the past 3 years, it is not hard to find some beautiful views,
Last year was my first time hiking Grand Canyon and it was awesome, so awesome I’m going again this September! If you took a picture of every amazing view you’d never get to the bottom,
And there’s always more pics on the ol’ Instagram.
Working in the restaurant industry in Phoenix necessitates taking vacations during the summer. While it can be a little warm in Phoenix, I’m still able to do a decent amount of outdoor activities and get away for some cool backpacking.
One of the first escapes should be a few days car camping with my wife. I just recently got us a 6 man tent, for excellent comfort in the campgrounds. While I enjoy the backpacking experience immensely, some comfy car camping is fun as well!
After that comes the Colorado backpacking trip, usually the highlight of the year for outdoor adventures. The past few years, for various reasons (impressive volumes of rain and wind or serious lack of precipitations), we haven’t been able to have a campfire. Really hoping for a few small campfires to sit around this time. Heading to an area around the continental divide, moving between some lakes. After a long hectic season of work the simplicity of backpacking and the beauty of the mountains help recharge the spirit. I feel like I can live pretty comfortably while backpacking, the REI Co-op Double Shot Press Mug doesn’t hurt (apparently it’s not available anymore, but I bet you can something similar). A real cup of coffee sure makes mornings in the mountains exceedingly nice.
Then in early September it’s back to the Grand Canyon! There will be four of us this time, should be a fun group. We’re going about two weeks later than last year, but it’s early September so it will probably still be pretty hot! As usual, i’m sure we’ll challenge ourselves. So we’ve got that goin’ for us , which is fun. The canyon is such an amazing place, around every turn is another incredible picture!
If I mix in some SUPing out at the lakes around Phoenix, it should be a good summer.
Who else has some sweet summer adventure plans?
Been slacking off on the blogging so trying to catch up a little bit, so here’s an overview of last summer’s Colorado backpacking adventure!
In late July we hit up 2 spots in South Central Colorado, the Blue Lakes and Ice Lake. They are both amazing alpine lakes, they do get some traffic, so during the week is the way to go!
The Blue Lakes of Colorado are near Ridgeway and Telluride. We drove up from Phoenix and made it to the Alta Lakes campground near Telluride. Cruised around Telluride a little the next day, picked up some supplies and off into the hills we went.
It’s 3 miles to Lower Blue Lake from the trailhead, feels pretty tough with a full pack and coming from the lowland of Phoenix doesn’t help. Found nice campsite and moved in. The past few years our backpacking as featured a lot of rain and this year was no exception!
The next morning after enjoying some coffee and waiting for the rain to stop, we head up to hike to the Upper Blue Lakes and I wanted to give Mt Sneffels a shot, the local 14er’. It was a nice hike up to and over the pass into Yankee Boy Basin, I made it about 2/3 of the way up the Lavender Couloir, before an approaching storm made me turn around. By the time I made it back to camp it was a full on thunderstorm. Hooray for smart choices in the mountains!
After hiking out from The Blue Lakes we drove over the huge Red Mountain Pass and into Silverton. After a quick resupply we headed off to the Ice Lake Traihead.
After a rainy, tough, but cool hike in we found ourselves a nice campsite, set up, got some dry clothes on and relaxed. Which is easy to do with views like these!
The hike to Upper Ice Lake is short but super steep! It is an amazing high alpine area once you get up there. We hung out up there hiking around and enjoying the area.
After 5 days in the tents it was time to head back to Phoenix, there’s nothing like these mountain escapes, so good for the mental state! The simplicity of backpacking and living out of a tent in an amazing place can’t be beat. Get out and Go!