Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ice Lake Basin

Ice Lake or Ice Lakes Basin is believed by many to be the most beautiful place in Colorado, visited by a lot of people despite how remote and hard it is to get to.  It took us about an hour and a half after we left Telluride and drove over Ophir Pass to get to the trailhead at South Mineral Campground not far from Silverton.

The trailhead is at 9,810 feet above elevation.  We had a long hike of going up.

Jay helped Maralee get across the main water crossing.

We were at about 12,275 feet here.  Ice Lake is an eye popping shade of blue.  The explanation of the blue color is best at, "Upper Ice Lake is a glacial tarn—a lake carved and fed by glaciers—that gets its near-fluorescent blue color from rock flour. When a glacier moves, it grinds the bedrock below, creating a crushed-rock powder that suspends in the water and absorbs the sun’s light spectrum in a way that creates a beautiful cerulean appearance. There are only a handful of similarly colored glacial lakes in the state."

The wildflowers in the basin are stunning. I've never seen so many Indian Paintbrush in one place. I cut off Vermillion Peak here for the view of the wildflowers, but Vermillion is the highest peak in San Juan County at 13,894 feet. I also mentioned this peak in my photos of our hike to Hope Lake, which is in a basin just on the other side.

I started up the trail to Fuller Lake, and this was looking down at the large unnamed lake with Ice Lake and Ulysses S. Grant Peak (13,767 feet) behind.
After some more elevation gain, I reached the end of the trail and Fuller Lake at 12,609 feet. That pointy mountain is Fuller Peak, 13,761 feet.  Jay and I did enough walking and back tracking in the basin that our total elevation gain for this hike was almost 3,000 feet and total walking distance about 9 miles. Maralee only missed the last stretch up to Fuller Lake, too tired to keep going up, so Jay and I took turns sitting with her.

There is a pretty big miners' cabin at Fuller Lake.  Just when I felt good about hiking up there, seeing that someone had built a house and hauled all kinds of stuff up there for mining was pretty amazing.

I saw at least three metal bed frames up there.

Maralee took a picture of me.

One more similar shot of Ice Lake. Can't get enough of looking at this.

This was definitely the roughest and hardest section of the trail.  There is a pretty good drop off on the right here.

This last shot is of the lower Ice Lake Basin as we headed down.  I regret not having the time or energy to get up to the next basin to see Island Lake.  Also my photos of waterfalls in the area didn't turn out the way I wanted them to. I definitely plan to get back up there sometime.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Telluride's Annual 4th of July Parade

I can't believe 2012 is halfway over!! Another July 4th has come and gone.  At the parade we started with honoring the Veterans and the flyovers.

Glider Bob.

Darth Vader and John Deere.

This was our year of no fireworks due to the extreme fire danger.  Thankfully it has rained pretty consistently since the 4th.

I liked the root beer float float! They even gave all of the judges a root beer float.

Normally Roudy's group finished the parade for obvious reasons.  I thought it was strange that there was another float behind the horses. A couple had something special planned.

Melissa and Scott Harris said their vows in front of the courthouse and in front of thousands of people.  Sweet way to end the parade!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Silver Lake

Earlier this week we hiked up to Silver Lake, high above Bridal Veil Falls.  The elevation gain is almost 1700 feet in 1.5 miles.  I mostly just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.  We parked near the house at the top of Bridal Veil Falls, and walked about 10 minutes to get to the trailhead, an obvious clearing on the right after crossing Bridal Veil Creek.

I have never been able to find detailed pictures of the trail on the internet, but I had read descriptions that some short sections were "extreme."  We did find this to be true.
Looking down at Black Bear Pass and the Black Bear Mine, I noticed a truck on the trail.

In another cleared spot we were looking down again at Black Bear Pass, and the house/power plant at the top of Bridal Veil Falls.

After what felt like a long 1.5 miles, we finally reached Silver Lake at 11,788 feet.  The rumors about the trout in this lake are true. We saw several huge ones swimming around.

I had my camera out to take more photos of the trail on the way down.  There were a few steep loose dirt areas, steep enough that Jay, Garrett and I all slipped and fell.  Thankfully no injuries.

That's Garrett looking down at the trail that leads to Blue Lake.

Some spots were steep, rocky and through the brush.

Even though Garrett didn't use hiking poles, Jay and I were glad we had ours.

Bridal Veil Creek, above the falls.

We did it!