Upper and Middle Blue Lakes – Colorado
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!
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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!