I can see Spring is everywhere (can’t be avoided) – needed one last SNOW hike before the long season wait to Fall.  So…off to Indian Peaks.  I remember being ‘snow challenged’ on my Feb 25th hike to Lake Isabelle – which ultimately ended at Long Lake.  Today’s goal Pawnee Peak – at the very least, should be able to make it to Lake Isabelle or even Pawnee Pass.

No surprise after four months into my 2012 Hike Challenge – ROAD CLOSED (again) just past Ward.  New Plan: 7 miles to trailhead; let’s hit it.  Lodgepole pines lined our hike to Brainard Lake – elevation 10,300 ft.  Almost all water now, saw only ice in February.  Remains a speactacular view against that mountain backdrop.  WOW!

Viewed our first ‘Pawnee Pass’ sign — 4 miles to go.  Always kinda cool to see that first sign; instantly, vision’s now tangible.  From online research, mapping out the drive, to reaching our end goal target each week – it’s been mighty life fulfilling with each successive week’s hike completion.  Long hike, short hike, snow or spring flowers – I’ve stuck to it, consistently hiked outdoors (all winter) and expanded my Colorado knowledge base.

Hiked through a marshy stretch to Long Lake where I took the opportunity to shed some clothes and enjoy the sun.  Even with snow all around, our high altitude sunshine is super intense.  LOVE it!  Long Lake was much more iced than Brainard – could only expect SNOW to deepen as we continued our climb.

Followed ski tracks past Long Lake to Pawnee Pass.  Deep snow – déjà vu to the February 25th Indian Peaks hike.  Climbed a 2nd snow bank – FEET of snow – then kicked back for a minute and just soaked it all in.  Snow-capped mountains, crisp mountain air, sunshine.  Didn’t want to take this moment for granted — this 2nd chance gift [at life] free from concrete, clutter, busy used air.

Top of Pawnee Pass – FEET FEET FEET of snow.  Hit the tundra treeline and kept hiking.  No possibility reaching Pawnee Peak – looked kinda like Everest all steeped in snow & glaciers.  ‘Little’ Pawnee Peak was a possibility with its increased exposure to sun…though Ro and I had to fight off large terns nesting in the rocks, protecting their family nests.

Lunch break, water, power nap…and snow clouds quickly move in.  Temps dropped 20 degrees so pulled clothes out of the backpack.  Ro enjoyed 4 miles of off-leash freedom, racing wildly across the snow, retracing our foot path created earlier in the day.  Saw our first human in (literally) hours – a ranger — who did not reprimand me about Ro (being off-leash) but rather warned that ‘gun shots’ I heard earlier were actually shifts in the snow as this was prime avalanche season, who knew?  Argh; potential deadly mistake luckily averted.

Last heavy snow hike of the season.  Today I felt silly emotional & close to my Creator after logging in continued hours of panoramic arias.  Too much to intake/comprehend/process in a single day span.  Walk in the wilderness; highly recommended.

 

“Hiking in the Indian Peaks Wilderness: Long Lake”

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