Thursday, August 7, 2008

Blue Lake Hike

A hike to Blue Lake is one I have been looking forward to for a long time. This hike shouldn't be confused with the hike to Blue Lakes out of Yankee Boy Basin. The Blue Lake hike begins at the top of Bridal Veil Falls. The trail is rated "moderate" in our guide books, but I think it could only be considered that for someone in excellent shape that is acclimated (good thing I'm acclimated, but the shape part, not so much). The steady climbing on rocks seemed to be more on the difficult side. We passed a couple of people on our way down that said they had passed at least 10 people that turned around and gave up! Here is the "parking lot" near the power house at Bridal Veil Falls. The trailhead is above the Bridal Veil Falls house at an elevation of around 10,000 feet. It's actually the trailhead for many hikes up in this area. Blue Lake is in East Basin above the tree line at 12,200 feet.
The trail is about 2.5 miles to the lake. The first half of the trail looks like this, pretty easy, but steadily climbing.
Looking back at the mountains north of us, around the Imogene Pass area.
I had read this was one of the best wild flower hikes, but I had no idea there were so many waterfalls. Water is literally coming down all over the place in the basins up here and all of the water eventually meets up with Bridal Veil Falls. My videos actually turned out better than my waterfall pictures, so I have placed some of them at the end.
The trail gets steeper and the rocks get larger the higher up you go. La Junta Peak is peaking up here. Thank goodness we brought our hiking poles. We used them most of the way up and really needed them on the way down. They take a lot of pressure off of the knees.
Old mining home in front of La Junta Peak, elevation 13,470 feet.
Endless green vegetation and wild flowers way above the tree line.
I was about to give up on that lake actually being up there at this point. It was obvious we were close, though.
Hiking through snow in July! There is a private home near here and we saw the bulldozer that had plowed through this part of the trail.
Finally we saw Blue Lake!!! It's actually private property and I'm not sure how close to it you're even allowed to be. You can't get in it anyway since you'd likely become hypothermic within seconds.
I was facing north when I took this while we sat on the rocks eating some Zone bars and almonds.
I did go ahead and get a little closer to the lake. I couldn't resist.
Almost touching the sky!
I've never seen butterflies like this before. They are blue male coppers and they are "mud-puddling."
Getting a really early start is the smartest thing to do on a hike. We were unable to start very early because of Jay's part-time job, so we did get caught in an afternoon thunderstorm and got hailed on. The hail was tiny, but painful. I even had hail hit my eyeball, so I put on my sunglasses and we started to hike back down quickly due to the lightening. You don't want to be above the tree line while it's lightening. I'm not comfortable being out when it's lightening even when we are in town. This is some of the hail that had piled up on the side of the trail.
We took our time hiking up to Blue Lake, probably 2 1/2 to 3 hours, but I think we made it back down in one hour in that thunderstorm. Like I said above, thank goodness we had our hiking poles! They really made a difference hurrying down the wet rocks.
Waterfall videos!


Lois said...

My little 4 year old grandson James is a huge fan of your waterfall videos. I happened to show him one awhile ago when he was at my house and he made me play it about 10 times. Now when he sees me with my laptop he always asks to see the waterfalls! He will really enjoy these.

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

Ah, wonderful photos...we love to do the same things. We often take our Jeep Wrangler and find neat little areas up here in the mountains of British Columbia to find the perfect spot to hike or fish. You have some beautiful footage... it was a pleasure to visit your blog and I'll be sure to link you up on my blog so I can check back from time to time! Thanks for coming by to visit mine! =)
Mountain Retreat

Lake Lady said...

We tried that hike on impulse the first time we were up there...after hiking up to see Bridal Veil from town! No hiking sticks, no water, no power bars. Needless to say, we didn't make it all the way. I spent the next day in bed with a splitting headache. Now when we go, we spend the first day or two acclimating and hydrating! Thanks for showing us what we missed.