Hiking Colorado | Summer 2012

Got out to hike a bit more in the “backyard” a bit more in the summer of 2012. A relatively light load at work meant I was able to sneak away for a few hours during the week. This was great for two reasons: first because it meant little or no crowds, and second because it meant I could go longer than on weekends when we’d go out as a family with our 5-year old who cannot go as far.

One of the first of the summer was Buffalo Mountain — did it on a whim one afternoon when I was bored at home (the trailhead is a 10-minute drive). Unfortunately didn’t make it to the top because of the late start (had to pick up my son from school). But still fun to climb the hill that’s one of the most prominent landmarks of the area.

Lake Dillon from Buffalo
Wildflowers along the way
Blue River Valley – our house is somewhere down there

My next hike was to Willow Lakes (about 7 miles round-trip). The trail for this started at the end of our neighbourhood ,so it was very easy access. The first part of this trail is through a thick forest. Seems almost interminably long and claustrophobic with the trees thick on either side, blocking off any grand mountain views.

Trail to Willow Lakes
Trail junction
Still no end to the trees

After a l-o-n-g slog, the trees start to clear out and the views emerge. A short while later I arrived at Willow Lakes at 11,500 feet.

The views starting to emerge
Almost there!
Lunch-spot at 11,500′

The best thing about this hike was the profusion of wildflowers — everywhere, of all colours, shapes, and sizes.

       

For my next hike, I started off earlier in the day to explore an area I’d previously approached from a different way. The target was South Willow Creek basin which sits above our house.

An early start meant a cool start
Good place for a rest

After a while I climb out of the forest into the open valley above.

Looking back down the way I’d come, with Buffalo Mountain on the right

Once the valley opened up, the view was breathtaking. Ringed by mountains, surrounded by wildflowers, and a trail running through the whole scene.

A storybook scene

I sought out a spot by an alpine lake for lunch at 11,500 feet. Not a bad way to spend the day.

Lunch with a view

 

And to round it off, a couple of shots from Loveland Pass…

Loveland Pass
Pass Lake
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